The “Fallout” episode of The Flash speeds on where we left off last week: Snowbarry zooming away from the mushroom cloud that is Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein. Yes, it’s a mushroom cloud and, yes, it looks, really bad, but there’s no radiation according to Cisco and Wells via the comms. It’s all good! The last-minute Quantum Splicer worked.
I wonder how many times Grant Gustin had to scoop up Danielle Panabaker into his arms because he’s starting to grimace with effort a little bit. I do enjoy Caitlin just hopping into Barry like he’s a bike or a car or something. That’s the Snowbarry in me talking.
Caitlin finds Ronnie’s body on the ground, not knowing if it’s Ronnie inside or Stein. “What is your name?” she asks.
The lovefest SnowStorm reunion is quickly interrupted by Professor Martin Stein in the body of Daddy Warbucks Martin Stein, and he is so over everything and everyone.
“We’re comin’ home. All of us.” Barry says into the comms.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Ronnie and Cisco share the huggiest hug of all hugs. I feel like Cisco released all of his guilt into that bro-union; I hope this means we don’t have to deal with the sideplotting, serious Cisco who makes bad decisions. I want my villain-naming NOC Cisco!
Top Secretly, the military government bad guys investigate the fallout of the Stormsplosion. We do not know how they know about F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. but they do.
Caitlin’s face is nearly split in half as she gives her once-dead, now back again and still fine-as-all-hell ex-fiance a medical physical. I have no doubt in my mind that they’ll be “playing Doctor” later tonight, especially since they keep stealing kisses in between sentences. Good for you, Caitlin. Awkward for the rest of S.T.A.R. Labs, except Stein, who might be kind of into it due to reasons which we will find more about later. Turns out, both Firestorm halves are running a temperature of 106 degrees.
Stein, actually, is beyond ready to get the hell out of there and away from Ronnie. Ronnie and Stein bicker like Oscar and Felix; Ronnie’s angry that Stein took over Ronnie’s body and Stein thinks Ronnie is too wildly emotional and dangerous. This is when we first hear the phrase “bodymate” and I love it. They argue about eating garbage and not being able to get to Caitlin until Stein has had enough. Stein is 100% done. And Ronnie is all, “Whatever, I’m getting pizza.”
Barry escorts Stein home, the slow way, and Stein reconnects with his wife. There will be a lot of Firestorm “reconnecting” tonight.
Instead of going home to rest, Papa Joe insists on bringing Barry to his old house to show him the mirror-picture projections… OF BARRY’S MOTHER’S MURDER. I don’t think it’s a good idea, but Joe needs to tell Barry about the new discovery: Barry’s adult blood was at the scene of the crime meaning that Barry is/was one of the two speedsters present at Nora Allen’s death.
Team Flash holds a group pow-wow (sans Caitlin, who I assume is doing some pow-wowing with Ronnie) at S.T.A.R. Labs as Wells pretends to not know anything about time travel. What a shady motherfucker. They continue to ponder how time travel would affect certain events; Cisco is the man and simplifies the different theories with pop culture films (Two of my favorite film franchises, to be exact).
Terminator: Is the act of going back in time the causal factor in a chain of events?
Back to the Future: Are alternate timelines created by changing the details of the past?
Cisco is my Nerd of Color champion.
Oh hey, Iris West is doing things still! No sign of Eddie, though. Iris’s coworker, Mason Bridge, has been investigating Wells and the Particle Accelerator blueprints. Unlike her daddy, Iris believes Wells is a good man who saved her best friend by keeping him alive in S.T.A.R. Labs. Bridge offers bribery danish pastries to convince Iris otherwise, since he knows by now that Iris is the missing (yet clueless) link to all of Wells’ lab secrets.
Meanwhile, Barry is too excited at the prospect of becoming Marty McFly and revisits Professor Stein’s house. Oh please oh please don’t be interrupting the husband and wife reunion, I pray to myself. Mrs. Stein answers the door (fully-clothed, thank god) and reveals to Barry that her husband has been craving pizza despite the fact that pre-Firestorm Stein despised pizza. She actually said “despised pizza” as if the pizza had said or done something particularly offensive to them at a social gathering.Cue a puppy dog-like Stein wondering if the pizza boy has arrived. He wilts a little when it’s just Barry Allen, the speedster who saved him, and asks Barry to please please please get a pineapple pizza please?
Barry is confused but aims to please. Flash! Pizza has arrived. “Bravo!” exclaims Professor Martin Stein, recipient of three Conrad Prizes for Scientific Advancement. He actually cheers, I kid you not. I’ve decided that from now on, whenever someone gives me pizza, I am going to shout, “BRAVO!”
(I’d also like to quickly address the fact that Barry Allen revealed his superspeed to Mrs. Stein. Is that okay? Is that a thing that’s okay? Whatever. Iris better find out soon. She’s becoming Detective Lance in terms Just-Not-Seeing-It.)
Once Barry mentions time travel, Stein goes into Doc Brown mode. He literally unveils an old chalkboard covered in equations. I wonder if he’s always been a mad scientist, or is this his post-Firestorm personality? He begins telling Barry about metaphorical time highways and living between metaphorical time off-ramps. “Whoa, this is heavy,” replies Barry McFly.
Doc Stein is practically bouncing off the walls at this point. Between the pizza and time travel discussion, he’s having an awesome first night back in his own body. Barry reveals to Stein that he may have already traveled to the past, and Stein’s brain figuratively falls off his toilet while trying to hang a clock.
“That must be a side effect of your incredible speed. In some future date, you actually move so fast that the resulting kinetic energy buildup smashes a hole in the space-time continuum!
Stein even slaps himself as he postulates this. Barry is his Flux Capacitor! But Barry is not as excited to be Marty McFlash as he once was; he realizes that if he did manage to smash through the space-time continuum, he couldn’t manage to save his mother from dying.
Apparently, Caitlin has spent the whole day regaling Ronnie with Flarrow stories at Jitters. Ronnie thinks it’s cute, but suggests that the meta-human chasing days are behind her now that he’s back and SnowStorm could start fresh. Caitlin isn’t really up to leaving Team Flash because she has found a new way to help people. Ronnie thinks it’s dangerous. Before the coffee date morphs into a full-blown argument, some of the bad guy military snipe tranquilizers into the coffee place like it’s no big deal. I don’t know how I feel about this, as a military brat, but they go 0 to 100 real quick. Real quick, whole sniping squad on that real shit.
At the Stein residence, Martin Stein can feel “Ronald’s” terror. Luckily, Barry is there to flash to where General Wade Eiling is not dead and wants Ronnie to give him F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. in an alleyway. Flash quickly takes down the General’s army men, but Gen. Eiling has had a weapon developed especially for the speedster.
It’s a grenade that release motherfucking microfragment needle spikes attracted to kinetic energy, and it looks horrendously painful. So he’s also an Army General of Evil Science?
Caitlin de-porcupines Barry at the lab. Stein shows up and admits that he can tell when Ronnie and Caitlin are having sex. Not really, but I bet he does! Aughhhhh, it’s freaking me out. But, yes, Ronnie and Stein’s brainwaves are identical. Barry talks about how nothing is impossible on his TV show, and Cisco agrees that things have been crazy since the third episode. Ronnie isn’t caught up with everything so no spoilers! He’s been busy eating garbage under bridges so he’ll watch the rest of the episodes when he has time to get on hulu. They put the “meta” in metahuman programming.
Barry volunteers the West house for the Witness Protection Program — SnowStorm is moving in! I fantasize about the possibilities of Barry/Ronnie bro-time and Snowbarry growth and Netflix nights and… I’m getting ahead of myself. I just have so many ideas for Flash webisodes, you know? Joe asks nothing. Iris busts in and asks everything.
Iris takes one look at the beautifully symmetrical face of Ronnie Raymond and comments that he looks familiar.
Harrison Wells wheels into General Evil’s office; the general insults Wells and reveals that he knows the Flash’s true identity. Oh shit, now we know GENERAL GOTSTA GO. General asks Wells for help in retrieving F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M., and we see Wells is planning something in his dark, twisty, secret-keeping smile.
You know who doesn’t trust that twisty, secret-keeping smilke? Papa Joe. While Barry is still moping around with the weight of the blood match and time travel, Joe tells Barry that he ran the DNA test against “everyone who worked in S.T.A.R. Labs” but really just Harrison Wells. He lies about trusting Wells had nothing to do with Nora Allen’s murder.
This is why Papa Joe is also Detective Joe… because as Barry insists that Wells is a good man (and somewhere Iris is eating a Danish insisting that Wells is a good man), Harrison Wells is doing not-good man things to Martin Stein. Wait, there’s gotta be a better way to phrase that, Cisco tells me in my head. Wells has just roofied Stein’s whiskey. Stein collapses. Then General Evil Science walks in and abducts Stein as Wells watches.
In the West house, Ronnie nearly falls flat on his face. How about we use the Odd Couple link to find him, yes?
General Eiling tortures Stein the way he did “a gorilla”; Ronnie feels his pain and cuts the word “WHERE” into his forearm. Ahhhhhhhhhh it’s tough to watch. The scar appears on Stein’s forearm, and Stein taps Morse code by using the cold metal to illicit cool sensations against his arm. Also maybe because it feels good since Ronnie just shredded the shit out of his skin. This is why Stein was the “brains” of the operation; Ronnie will react to the pain and impulsively act to get a result whereas Stein will assess the options other than spelling out word into my skin using a shard of glass.I still love Ronnie, despite his recklessness.
Ronnie decides to go to Stein, even if it means the merge again. Caitlin kisses him like she’s knows it’s goodbye. Then my dreams come true and I guess Barry lifts Ronnie into his arms and they run away into the night? Okay, I just made myself laugh. They run to the hidden military Facility 27 where Stein is being kept. Our two future Justice League members, Flash and Firestorm(ish). We get a quick hint of justice-y banter from Barry whose lighthearted sarcasm is almost quicker than his feet.
Flash is faster than the speeding bullet that General Evil aims at Stein’s cranium, and Stein opens his eyes to realize he is in Barry Allen’s arms. They’re outside now, but the General of Evil Anti-Flash Science was prepared: he shoots a missile that douses the Flash in burning chemical phosphorous. The Flash must run fast enough to create a vacuum so that he won’t burn, leaving him unable to keep track of what Ronnie and Stein can do.
RonStein decides to fuse again, and Ronnie tells her the goodbye he never got to say while trapped in the pipeline. This is pretty shitty, considering it’s only been a day since Ronnie’s been back.
But they’ve accepted the balance and now RonStein is truly Firestorm! Ronnie looks badass as all hell while Stein/Victor Garber speaks to him through voiceover. It is incredible to watch.
General Eiling still manages to impress me/make me hate him with another anti-metahuman contraption, this time created specifically to fight Firestorm. He detonates an Ion Grenade which bombards Firestorm’s atoms and destabilizes his being. But Barry Allen has amazing timing and speedpunches the General right in the face. His suit is a little bit singed, but he’s still smiling. I love him so much. I love superheroes helping superheroes so much.
Barry and Ronnie both kind of stand there in their young, superhero-ness and take in the moment for a little bit. “Ronnie… home?” Flash asks Firestorm. AND THEY BURST OFF.
“FLASHSTORM!!!!!!” I scream while running laps around my living room.
Firestorm reverse-merges (unmerges?) back at S.T.A.R. Labs, and the two bodymates decide to leave Central City. Caitlin already knows this of course. “I’m connected to you, too,” she tells Ronnie. They gotta let the other Firestorm wifey know, so they officially say their goodbyes at Stein’s house. They’re heading to Pittsburgh, I guess, and they’re going to fly there as a burning man. Not totally discrete, but it saves them money.
Caitlin drinks her feelings in cappuccino with the number one Snowstorm shipper, Cisco. Iris is still creeping around her former workplace, and interrogates them about Ronnie on the downlow. Cisco and Caitlin lie badly. Iris makes her decision to investigate her friends/S.T.A.R. labs.
Well, WestAllen is feeling pretty ballsy this week. Iris is going to dig dirt on S.T.A.R. Labs, and Barry tells Joe he’s going to change the past and save his mom.
Post-credits, a speedster kidnaps General Eiling and brings him into the sewers. It.s Reverse Flash, and he actually takes off his yellow cowl to reveal his identity to Eiling. It won’t matter if Eiling knows Harrison Wells’ secret or even Barry Allen’s secret, because he is DEFINITELY ABOUT TO DIE.
Wells calls for someone they both know, and here comes biggest OH SHIT moment: Grodd.
“Dear God,” utters General Eiling.
“Not God. Grodd,” the gargantuan and terrifying gorilla replies.
“HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!” screams all of twitter.
Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein’s relationship: I like the chemistry and the bickering. I enjoy how Stein calls Ronnie “Ronald” the way Hermione Granger does. If Firestorm does spin-off, their Odd Couple dynamic will be one of the main draws, besides the stunning visual effects.
Game of Thrones exists in Central City! Mason Bridge quickly says to Iris about the S.T.A.R. Labs blueprint “It might as well be in Dothraki.” I want Cisco and Barry to nerd out over GoT together.
Iris Hate: I’ve been seeing a lot of negative feedback on Iris West’s character or Iris being dumb or Iris being written into a corner. I think Iris’ problems are a lot less dramatic than the rest; she’d the real person in this. If my coworker told me info on my friends I didn’t know, I’d side with my friends first, too, until I felt the need to do otherwise. Like Iris. Give my girl some time, she’s still growing into her own.. just on a less-super level than the others, who are in such close proximity to the grandiose and superhuman every day.
Snowbarry/Snowstorm love triangle: I don’t want to make anything out of nothing, I promise! But Caitlin kisses Ronnie and tells him “Come back.’ Then she looks at Barry. “All three of you.” Three being Barry plus the two halves of Firestorm, of course. It’s just a fun moment, innocent and not at all a torn-between-two-lovers thing, but she does have to worry about Barry too. It reminded me of the episode when Barry leaves the same way Ronnie left to go into the pipeline; they’re so similar in her eyes now.
(My shipper brain would also like to add that after Caitlin says this, there is a shot of Wells with a pensive look on his face, as if maybe Caitlin might become a confounding variable? Sorry. I’m reaching. Ignore me.)
Also, Caitlin has gotten closure, as she tells Cisco in Jitters. She’s not torn apart by Ronnie’s departure. She can move on and continue her life. Is it a possible Snowbarry set up
for way, way, way down the line? I don’t know.
The callback to the pilot: Barry running in a circle and Wells encouraging him. It’s a reminder that he’s rooting for Barry to be strong.. even though we don’t know his intentions.
The Amell line: “I have one of those faces.” said by Oliver Queen to Felicity Smoak, and now Ronnie Raymond to Iris West.
Joe West just going with the flow: A lot of weird shit is going to go down, and Joe is smart enough to not question it and just let Barry do his thing.
Cisco’s pop culture references, even the non-nerdy ones:
- Flashpoint Paradox
- Jason Rusch, another Firestorm consciousness
- Coast City, home of Green Lantern
- Midway, home of Hawkman
So we have one month until the next episode to think up the most amazing alternate timelines that Barry could create. So far I’ve got Dark!Barry timeline, Barry/Iris are married timeline, Caitlin turns into Killer Frost timeline, Wells Isn’t An Asshole timeline… what else is there? Dammit, I love time travel. Flash ya later!