“Potential Energy,” the title of 2016’s first episode, is pure nerd genius. This episode explores the coulda-shoulda- woulda potential of fresh relationships between our favorite characters and some of the show’s newcomers: Barry + Patty Spivot, Joe + Wally West, and Caitlin + Jay Garrick. By the shock-factor end tag (don’t miss it!), one pairing aggressively commits to eachother, one pairing takes the first tentative steps towards building a stronger connection, and one pairing dissolves in a pile of angst. Keep reading to figure out the fate of each duo.
Meta-human of the Week: The Turtle
Russell Glosson was a thief and robber that gained his powers during the particle accelerator explosion. As our MOTW, Turtle has the ability to channel all of the surrounding kinetic energy into himself. This means, everyone else becomes stationary, and he can move freely to thieve amongst his unsuspecting victims: he’s not really fast, he just makes everyone else really, really slow. Barry’s speedy intake of energy allows him to kinda-sorta move to see what’s going on whenever Turtle uses his powers, but he moves like he’s trapped in a vat of goop.
My favorite part about this MOTW: Turtle’s wife tried leaving him, so he used his powers to stop her from leaving. He meta-powered her to stay with him. That is some tragic, desperate metahuman bullshit. Now she’s locked away in a glass case like the other treasures he keeps that don’t belong to him. With her eyes all open and dead and fearful like an awful Ex-Wife Taxidermy exhibit.
Team Flash targets the Turtle to study him in order to find a possible solution to slow Zoom down. Harry Wells is pretty desperate to make this plan work, considering he made a deal with Zoom to betray Barry and help the evil speedster steal our Barry’s speedforce. This bodes well, to me at least, because it indicates that Harry does not want to double-cross Team Flash… he just will if he absolutely needs to in order to protect his daughter.
Once Turtle is locked up in their lab prison, Harry takes matters into his own hands. Literally brain matter. He sticks a science-gun thing up Turtle’s nose and drills out a piece of the Turtle’s brain. You know, for science. Aughhhh. Turtle Time is done.
It’s supposed to be Date Night, I guess, and Barry speeds to meet Patty. He’s late. Then his bouquet bursts into flames and he has to stomp them in order to extinguish the fire. You don’t think the date could get worse, but Zoom speeds in and kidnaps Patty. He takes her to a rooftop and throws her off the side of a skyscraper. They should’ve just Netflix-and-chilled.
But it’s a fakeout! Barry was having a nightmare… ohhhhhh.
Is the Barry/Patty relationship a good dream that’s about to turn into something awful and it’s going to jolt Barry into reality? A sweaty, sleeveless reality? Or maybe the Barry/Patty relationship is like that bouquet of flaming flowers:
The threat of Zoom taking Patty away from Barry is very real — just ask Harry Wells — so Barry must decide whether or not to tell Patty his flash-y secret. I’m with Iris and Team Secrets-Do-Not-Equal-Protection, but I also understand that Barry is getting swept up in a relationship after a very dark time in his life. He’s clinging to the good and speeding into a commitment, not knowing if Patty is down for everything that comes with being on Team Flash. Even if she is a sweetheart.
While Barry ponders this life-changing decision (and serious step of DTR-ing), Turtle kidnaps Patty after noticing how personally valuable she seemed to be to the Flash. Apparently, Turtle’s MO is to steal things of immense personal value. Sicko.
Barry saves Patty before Turtle adds her to his creepy treasure box, and decides that, YEAH OKAY I NEED TO TELL HER THE TRUTH. It’s too late, and Patty breaks up with Barry at the CCPD to go to school and become a forensic scientist. After avenging her father’s murder, she has no reason to stay in Central City. Owwwww.
RELATIONSHIP STATUS BY THE END: Over
/Iris if she had more screen time
Joe West and Wally West relationship is pre-defined: father and son. Joe is usually really good at the father part, but Wally isn’t having it. He has his own handsome secrets: he skips a West Family Dinner (including Barry) to drag race for some pink slips. The future Kid Flash is fast and furious. When Joe calls him out on accountability and commitments, Wally calls him out on absentee parenting and being the man of the house for his sick, dying mother. So Wally’s not just racing due to Daddy Issues — he sells the cars he wins to pay for Francine West’s hospital bills.
In the end, the two West men come to an understanding that forging a relationship won’t be
superspeedy, but they’re willing to stuff their faces with Chinese takeout and discover what it will be. Slowly. (Wally West isn’t really good at going slow, though.)
RELATIONSHIP STATUS BY THE END: Taking their time and going with the flow.
The SnowJay ship is just really cute and really smart and drinking champagne from beakers and cute and smart… until Caitlin steals Jay’s DNA to discover that he’s sick and dying. It’s the reason why he needs the Speedforce back — Jay will literally die without it.
I gotta say… I’m usually a Caitlin stan, and I was a little bit annoyed with how she spun Jay’s dying secret to make it about her. But, you know what? She’s just being honest about her feelings, and now they could move forward. No seriously, now these two are officially officially and together they’re fighting this thing and science-ing the shit out of the circumstances to try defeat Zoom so that Jay could take back his powers.
RELATIONSHIP STATUS BY THE END: Committed AF
Honorable Mention: Cisco/Harry
Technically, Harry Wells is a newcomer character: he has a different background and personality and agenda from Tom Cavanagh’s season one role. Cisco + Harry is a brand new dynamic of resistance and occasional give. Harry is trying to play nice [see tumblr post above], even if it’s not in his Earth 2 nature, and Cisco is trying to ignore the fact that he’s a dick
who looks like the biggest backstabber he’s ever faced. They share an important moment alone in the car discussing Zoom, and Cisco offers to “vibe” for Harry anytime he needs to be reassured of Jessie Quick’s safety.
RELATIONSHIP STATUS BY THE END: It’s complicated.
Shut up. Shut up. Did they just…?
- I’d like to bring attention to the fact that Barry Allen wears a CCPD tshirt to bed. With the sleeves cut off. Like he’s a gym rat or something.
- We got a Westallen moment, you guys!
- Flash Family + Barry’s Tardiness
- If I was wearing a gorgeous gown and sandwiched between two hot flashes, I’d be grinning as large as Caitlin Snow too:
- Also, Caitlin’s gown had icy snowflakes on the back. Such a killer dress. So frosty.
- Snowbarisco’s face during Cisco’s “Not-A-Ninja Turtle” line [See under MOTW]. I think that I missed the three of them the most during the hiatus.
- This Barry moment is being left here just so I could use this GIF for my own personal use.
- Patty/Iris: Good for you, Patty. But also, you are clueless about EVERYTHING.
- Wally obviously thinks Iris is awesome.
I try not to get emotional because I have a younger brother and I hope he looks at me like that auuughhh oh god.
- The most important information from this episode:
Thanks for reading! Now let me try and figure out what Eobard Thawne is doing back…