This week’s episode of The Flash, “The Nuclear Man,” heats up with both the Firestorm storyline and Barry Allen’s love life. This show is too hot, hot damn. We take a break from our usual villain wreaking havoc on Central City and delve into some of the overarching mysteries set up during the first half of the season: F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M, Nora Allen’s murder, and what happens when The Flash get sexually excited?
Don’t believe me? Just watch1.
“So how does a superhero get ready for a date?” Barry asks us. The same way we all do, apparently: blasting Bruno Mars and turning your closet upside down while telling your reflection, “You can do this. You are awesome. Don’t throw up.” The nervous speedster keeps modeling his potential outfits to Papa Joe who responds, “You change one more time, Imma shoot you.” C’mon, Barry, just put your Chucks on with Saint Laurent. Then kiss yourself because you’re so pretty.
Barry meets up Linda Park and they head out to eat the spiciest tacos in Central. Barry learns that the tacos really are too hot (hot damn, make a dragon wanna retire, man); it is the first of many heat references within the episode. Team Flash keeps interrupting Barry’s date with saving people errands. So whenever Linda goes to the bathroom/takes a phone call/blinks, Barry speedily saves a Central City Citizen. It’s fantastic superhero trope-y entertainment, but also hints that Barry’s love life is going to be exhausting if his romantic interest doesn’t know about his super identity.
It’s also exhausting being two separate consciousnesses sharing a single sexy as hell body. Ronnie Raymond’s body corners a professor named Quentin Quale, but it’s Dr. Martin Stein who interrogates him. He needs this man’s help, but he bursts into flames, and seemingly not on purpose. Firestorm is unstable… maybe even nuclear?
At CC Jitters2, Cisco and Caitlin give Barry the sex talk. They are concerned that Barry’s speed might mean that he’d be quick about other things that involve accelerated heart rates. Oh shiii–
To make things more awkward, Iris overhears “second date” and sidebusts. She thinks Barry and Linda are great. Everything is great. The sky is great. And life is great. But not really.
Cisco leaves to help Detective Papa West with the subplot: the reopened investigation of Nora Allen’s mysterious death. At the scene of the 15-year-old crime (Barry’s old house) lives a divorced woman who likes to drink sherry (which is her name, coincidentally) while scantily clad in lingerie. Cisco doesn’t mind because he keeps staring at Sherry’s breasts as she invites them in. I don’t care if Sherry is thirsty AF, which is painfully obvious btw, because she has a sweet voice and Papa West could use some lovin’. Looks like Barry’s love life isn’t the only one to heat up.
At S.T.A.R. Labs sans Cisco, Wells theorizes that in line with Darwinism, Martin Stein’s strong mind and Ronnie Raymond’s youthful body have melded into one top-of-the-food-chain Burning Man. Barry reveals that he met Stein on a train on the day he got his powers, and in a Flashback we get our first encounter with Victor Garber as the physicist-turned-Firestorm. Barry charms him with his nerd love for science while Stein smiles enigmatically; he has a F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. briefcase underneath his seat. We see where Stein was during the particle accelerator explosion, and the round fiery orb inside the briefcase3; intercut with flashes of Ronnie trapped inside S.T.A.R. labs we can assume this is the moment body merge occurred.
“Where is my body? I see my life but I can’t reach it.”
I guess that’s why he became a hobo and gave up on haircuts.
While Wells and Caitlin setup a stakeout and Barry gets ready for his second date with Linda, Cisco is UV Super Lighting Barry’s old house/Sherry’s new house with Joe. Sherry is werkin’ hard to seduce Joe with her “sinful” strawberry daiquiris and a Freakum Dress of her own. Huh, like father like son.
Cisco does some crazy genius problem-solving and hypothesizes that an old mirror present at the scene of the crime (that is still there) may have photographs super-exposed onto them due to its silver nitrate backing. So I guess they’re going to literally see what happened when Nora Allen was murdered. GO NERDS! When he develops the mirror-backing for multiple pictures (due to multiple flashes of lightning) Cisco turns the images into 3-D holograms because he is just that dope. It’s freaky because we see Nora screaming, bb!Barry screaming, and the yellow speedster plus another red speedster. And a blood splatter stain containing the DNA of one of the speedsters. BUM BUM BUMMMM.
Linda meets Barry at his house, Barry describes in tremendous detail the night he’s planned for her, but Linda Park has other plans. Linda kisses Barry, I simultaneously hate and worship Linda Park.
In a van4 that probably smells like Big Belly, Wells and Caitlin stakeout the Stein house while simultaneously sharing a heart-to-heart about finding home and feeling loved. He’s a lot more likable this episode… perhaps it’s because he’s more of an actual human being and not a secret-keeping, condescending scientist d-bag. Caitlin contacts Barry, who is busy GETTIN’ IT ON to Sam Smith. Yaaaaaaaaaaas.
This is the part where I’m trying to tweet, but I hear the vibration sound effects from my TV followed by Linda Park exclaiming, “Whoa! What’s wrong? That felt amazing!” and I lost my shit.
After re-watching, I can confirm that it was his entire body that vibrated, and not just, you know, Flash peen. But still… this is hilarious. I bet Barry is regretting not finishing his sex talk with Cisco and Caitlin now. Luckily, he gets a text from Caitlin that simply says “FIRESTORM” that saves his overexcited, about to flash-his-pants ass; he literally throws Linda’s shirt back at her and makes a clumsy, quick getaway. My homegirl is left half-naked, sexually frustrated, and confused as hell in Barry’s childhood home, and yet I’d still trade places with her5.
The Flash corners RonnieStein, who bursts into flames and fire-flies into the sky with Barry attached. It is fucking nuts that he is flying. He is flying! We barely got to see Clark Kent fly in ten seasons of Smallville, and here is Firestorm just flaming through the sky NBD while hugging the freaking Flash… who he then drops, then catches, then throws at the S.T.A.R. Labs stakeout van. Caitlin runs in front of Barry before he get barbecued, thus stopping a confused RonnieSteinStorm who flames away into the night. BECAUSE HE CAN FLY.
After Barry’s rough night, he apologizes to Linda at her office. Once again, he has to run off, leaving the girl dangling and asking Iris questions about Barry’s romantic past. Iris is unintentionally salty; she tells Linda that Barry hasn’t had a girlfriend in a while because he was in love with someone (i.e. HER) who didn’t like him that way even though she’s now realizing maybe she does because where the hell has Eddie been lately, huh? It’s really, really bad6, and Linda is a smart woman and sees right through her. C’mon Iris. Later, Barry calls her out on it and then breaks Westallen hearts everywhere:
With the help of Stein’s wife, RonnieStein agrees to let Team Flash help him/them get their old lives/bodies back. I’m sure that she’s a little bit excited to have Robbie Amell touch her face and tell her he’s her middle-aged husband. At the lab, RonnieStein cleans up and looks like the CW star that he is. Hot damn, call the police and the fireman.
I have no idea what’s running through Caitlin’s mind, because her supposed-to-be-dead, fine as hell ex-fiance just called her “Cait” (“Don’t call me that”). To push her even more over the edge, he takes off his shirt. Ronnie is literally so freaking hot: 108.6 degrees to be exact. Caitlin wants to speak to Ronnie, but Stein tells her it doesn’t work that way. He does, however, recount a memory of their proposal… with his shirt still off. Poor, poor Caitlin. No wonder she has crazy eyes.
Then Wells drops the nuclear bomb that Ronnie’s body is rejecting Stein’s atoms which makes RonnieSteinStorm so unstable that he is, in fact, a living nuclear bomb. He could destroy Central City. So they have to kill Ronnie, and therefore, Stein. Poor, poor Caitlin.
In the meantime, Cisco and Detective Papa Joe, who is waaay too close to this case to be working on it, have analyzed the blood samples; Detective Joe was right! There were two speedsters! Cisco is excited too! Until Joe asks him to run a blood match against Harrison Wells. Cisco gets defensive and non-genius-y and argues with Joe’s implications. Denial makes even the best nerds stupid. When Cisco returns to the lab and he hears that Wells insists that they kill Ronnie to destroy the nuclear host, Cisco is like “Oh shiiiiiiiiiit. MAYBE…?”
Now there’s a reason Dr. Martin Stein has three science awards that Wells is jealous of — RonnieSteinStorm is aware of his nuclear instability. You can tell he’s sad about it in that way old men get when they talk about living life to the fullest. He even inspires Barry to run to Linda Park’s office and eat a Ghost Pepper as a grand gesture of romance. It’s a good thing that Barry heals quickly because I’m positive that he burnt a hole through his tongue7. PS. Iris saw the whole thing.
Wells is standing around
on his working legs in his secret wall office, hanging out with his Yellow Zoom Suit, talking to his computer, Gideon, trying to figure out a way to quantum splice Firestorm. He’s too late, however, because RonnieStein has decided to escape to the outskirts of the city and kill himself.
Caitlin won’t deal with this bullshit. Barry flashes her to RonnieStein (despite the lab’s protests), and she begs Firestorm to try out a fission device that Wells and Cisco put together last minute to separate their consciousnesses. She tells Ronnie that she loves him and they kiss and I yell, “SNOWSTORM!”
Firestorm bursts into flames and explodes as SnowBarry zoom… into the ending title. I scream. A cliffhanger?
I’m not too mad though considering that before the Stormsplosion, Cisco called up Joe and dropped a bomb of his own: one of the blood samples they collected belonged to an adult Barry Allen. This episode has given us too much; we need a week to process before our brains explode like RonnieStein.
- Barry/Linda. Mirroring the date with the end grand gesture: peppers, and “Spice Champions” and bluffs. Cute stuff.
- Strangers on a train Flashback. Barry’s giddiness over Wells’ book and the particle accelerator is pure fanboy adorkableness.I enjoy how Stein comments on how young Barry looks, considering he just came from Starling City where Oliver Queen continuously made fun of his youthful appearance.
- Wells gets jealous of Stein’s three Conway Prizes for Scientific Advancement. This plus Wells’ excitement for a stakeout and his offering of Big Belly french fries to Caitlin… I start to like him a little bit.
- Cisco’s Big Bang Theory t-shirts
- Stein in Ronnie’s body kept touching his wedding ring. I enjoyed Amell’s performance as Stein with the way he spoke to Barry and Caitlin and even his laughs.
- Barry now being “Mr. Punctual” as opposed to his pre-power tardiness.
- Concordance Research
- Quentin Quale, Martin Stein’s former University of Chicago classmates.
- “Flame on!” Marvel’s Human Torch of the Fantastic Four exists in this universe, I guess.
Alright, now let’s hear those time travel theories! Comment/share your thoughts below, and I’ll see you next week!
- “Uptown Funk” is obviously the theme song for this recap. I suggest you listen to it while reading. ↩
- I don’t know why, but I always call it “Critters.” Which doesn’t make sense the way “Jitters” does for a coffee shop. ↩
- It’s almost a Tesseract but it ain’t. ↩
- Why would you pull a stakeout in a S.T.A.R. Labs van? It is obvious who you are. Come one, science geniuses. ↩
- I think I’m having another Cho Chang moment of envy. I want to be the Asian girl that the hero has Yellow Fever for! ↩
- “Iris is NOT being a homie right now!” is the exact livetext I received. ↩
- I’ve eaten a hot pepper before; there is a lot more crying and yelling and vomiting involved than Barry’s chugging of milk. Also, it’s a good thing that Linda’s coworker had a full carton of milk at her desk. What? ↩