I expected this week’s episode to be a bit of a filler, and while it certainly was that, there was still some pretty great character stuff happening. That’s one of The Flash‘s strongest points: it can use filler episodes to focus on some strong character moments. And though I’d like to give the big character stuff to the Wests in “Fast Lane” since it was definitely set up as their episode, it was all overshadowed by what went down with Harry this week.
Tom Cavanagh was the breakout performance of season one, and though he’s been thoroughly consistent in season 2, he hasn’t had an episode to really shine on an emotional level. “Fast Lane” was his show. His entire speech to Barry about his eventual betrayal and Barry’s forgiveness of Harry at the end was (unfortunately) more impacting of a family story than what was going on with the Wests. To be fair, the performances of the entire West family were great this week, but their story just feels so disconnected from everything else at this point. Once Wally becomes a member of Team Flash, this won’t be such a big deal. This does need to happen sooner rather than later.
I keep harping on it but it bears repeating: I’m just not that into Zoom. His presence has felt so diminished after his fight with Barry, and the mystery of his identity isn’t enough to keep him intriguing. With a trip to Earth-2 planned for next week, I’m really hoping that we get a better handle on Zoom. I keep saying some variation of that every week and it doesn’t happen. Maybe it’s just because the Reverse-Flash was such an amazing villain last season that Zoom can’t help but be inferior. The reveal of his identity is going to have to be a serious wallop to make up for his absence as a strong villain.
Speaking of villains, it’s a good thing that Tar Pit looked cool in human form because the acting and writing for him was awful. I liked his kind of horror monster look… until he turned into an actual CGI monster that made me wish for the return of King Shark. Man, he looked goofy and not the good kind of goofy Flash has done before. He was also disposed of as such an afterthought that his presence in the show was one of the most inconsequential so far. I feel like there was a more compact way to tell the story they wanted this week without throwing an unnecessary metahuman into the mix.
Season two is kind of in its “make or break” period. It’s been good enough so far, but it really needs to up the ante at this point. We’re on the back half of the season and it doesn’t feel like it. Some of that had to do with it paving the way for Legends of Tomorrow, but with that out of the way things need to get big. We’d already discovered the Reverse-Flash’s identity by this point last season, leading to him growing as an even more complex and fascinating antagonist. I hope the trip to Earth-2 does the same for Zoom. Also, give Wally the Speed Force! I’m ready for more speedsters!
Favorite moment: If I was being serious, it would be Harry’s speech to Barry about being a father before being a friend to Team Flash. Knowing he’s already carried out the betrayal he’s talking about makes it even more poignant and Cavanagh nails it. But, if I’m going for pure fun, it’s Harry nonchalantly tossing a nitrous grenade for Cisco to catch. Harry/Cisco is where my fan fiction will be focused. I love those two together.
Unfavorite moment: This week made it abundantly clear how dependent Caitlin Snow is to her male counterpart, Jay Garrick, in this season. With him not showing up in this episode (Why? Why has Garrick been so absent from the Team Flash control room? It makes no sense, unless the actor portraying him is also Zoom. Hmmm…), Caitlin felt like part of the background. I love Danielle Panabaker and the character of Caitlin Snow, so seeing her downgraded due to her codependency with Garrick bums me out.
Next Episode: Welcome to Earth-2