Silver bells. Silver bells. It’s Christmas time in Central City.
This week’s episode is the mid-season finale, which means we should go in expecting a cliffhanger, right? Last year’s mid-season finale gave us the first real Flash versus Reverse Flash confrontation and the introduction of Firestorm. What gift does The Flash have for us this holiday season?
Lots of family drama.
Sounds about right to me.
We open with Zoom chasing down Earth-2 Wells through the corridors of Earth-1 STAR Labs. When Zoom catches Wells (seriously, was there ever any question… Zoom has already out-ran the Flashes of two worlds, what was Wells going to do?), Wells offers his own life if Zoom will spare Wells’ daughter, Jesse. Zoom’s response? “Merry Christmas.”
Call that the first in an episode socked full of one-liners.
Throughout the episode, Wells is distracted. Something is on his mind. Zoom returns sometime mid-show and asks Wells for his decision. Wells asks for and receives one more day. It’s pretty obvious that Zoom expects Wells to betray Barry in return for sparing Jesse, but it’s not until the show’s end that we get Wells’ decision and learn exactly what it is that Zoom wants.
Wells isn’t the only father figure having a tough time this Christmas. Joe is lamenting to Iris that he doesn’t know what to get Barry for Christmas. If only Iris had been a boy, it would all have been so much easier. Or something like that. Iris and I both kind of zoned out. Iris was thinking about Francine’s secret, that Joe has a son. I was wondering if this has been a common conversation between Joe and Iris over the decades. “Did I every tell you how I got this watch? I wish I had a son to pass it down to.”
A guilt-ridden Iris breaks up smoochy time between Barry and Patty to tell Barry about Wally. Can you say “third wheel?” Anyhow, Barry agrees that they should tell Joe together. And they do. Joe is shaken up by the news, but by the time of the annual West Christmas party, Joe has come to peace with the fact that he has a son that he did not raise in Wally, a boy that he considers a son in Barry (passing on his father’s watch to Barry), and a daughter that he would have named “Wallace” had she been a boy in Iris.
Lest we forget, Iris and Jesse aren’t the only daughters with complex daddy issues –would that make them daddy complexes? Our villain of the week storyline centers around Mark “Spartacus” Mardon, AKA Weather Wizard, busting Captain Cold and James “The Joker” Jessie, AKA The Trickster, out of Iron Heights. This would be the same Mark Mardon who killed Patty Spivot’s father while Mr. Spivot was making a night deposit. Like Joe and Wells, Patty carries way too much blame for what happened to her father. Patty played hookey from work at her father’s shop on that fateful day.
Patty tells The Flash (not Barry, never Barry) that she should have been the one killed. She should have been the one making that night drop. Even though she lived, Patty’s life was ripped from her that night. She has spent the rest of her life being the best police officer she could be. Sacrificing. Studying. Training. Getting onto the Meta-Human Task Force. All so she could some day get the chance to take Mardon’s life from him in return for the lives he has taken.
So, Mardon busts Cold and Trickster out of prison to help him kill The Flash. Wherever Mardon has been holed up since the end of last season, he apparently hasn’t heard of Legends of Tomorrow. I’m not sure how that’s possible. In a show where two men get the power to fly this episode –first Barry when saving Patty from the exploding dreidels and later Mardon– the idea that there exists an Earth that hasn’t been inundated with ads for Legends of Tomorrow requires the largest suspension of belief of all. Captain Cold tips off Barry that Mardon and Trickster are after him before exiting stage left.
I wonder where he’s going…
Barry enlists the team at STAR Labs, including the returned and apparently sticking around Jay Garrick to help him stop the rogue duo. Cisco recreates the Weather Wand that he built for Barry last season (prior to Barry resetting the timeline). Cait and Jay make googly eyes. Wells mopes around, distracted by Zoom’s offer/threat, but shows that even half-a-Wells is still more of a genius than the rest of the team combined.
Trickster’s first shot at The Flash involves hijacking the air waves and drawing Barry to an abandoned toy warehouse. Look, we all know that Mark Hamill is channeling his Joker persona for Trickster, but this… I’m pretty sure most of what Trickster does this episode has been ripped from one episode of Batman: The Animated Series or another. Still, it’s good to see Hamill can get work in Hollywood. I wonder what else he’s been up to lately.
After freeing himself and Patty from a swarm of wind-up exploding dreidels by using his newfound power of flight, and after listening to Patty’s “I blame myself” story, Barry is no closer to catching Mardon and Trickster. What could that joker –I mean Trickster– be up to? How about posing as the world’s third-worst Santa (don’t ask me about the other two, my therapist tells me to let it go already) and passing out 100 neatly wrapped bombs to the good little girls and boys of Central City.
Cisco and the team hone in on Mardon at the Central City tree lighting ceremony, where Mardon leads Barry to the manically jolly man in the red suit. Like Wells, Barry is given a choice. If Barry will stand there and let Mardon kill him, then Trickster will not detonate the bombs. If Barry fights, then 100 Christmases will kick off with a bang. Barry takes his beating while Wells and Jay give Cisco a lesson on what happens when a pair of Earth-2 physicists put their differences aside and work together.
With the bomb threat neutralized, Barry makes quick work of Trickster and Mardon. The cavalry arrives in the form of Patty, who locks down Barry with one of the CCPD’s anti-meta-human weapons so that she can kill Mardon. (I know I’ve said it before, but how do people keep firing projectiles and hitting Barry?) Barry talks Patty down, reminding her that if she does this, then Mardon wins because the new life that Patty has made for herself, as messed up as it might be, will be taken from her. Again. Officer Spivot trades her gun for a pair of cuffs and makes the arrest.
Before heading to the party at the West house, Barry talks to his mental image of Wells in the form of Earth-2 Wells behind glass. Barry states that he is tired of that little spark of hate he has continued to hold in his heart for Earth-1 Wells (who wasn’t Wells). Barry tells Earth-2 Wells –well, his back, at least– “I forgive you.”
Funny, since Earth-2 Wells is about to betray Barry, too.
At the party, Jay and Cait finally kiss beneath the mistletoe, to everyone’s relief. Patty shows up wearing an ugly sweater and sporting one for Barry. Patty is ready to come clean with Barry about what’s been going on with her for the past few days. If only Barry could do the same, huh? But, keeping secrets is the sacrifice the menfolk have to make in order to keep the ladies safe, isn’t it? The last to show is Wally, surprising everyone at the West house and no one watching at home.
As for Wells, he’s figured out what it is that Zoom wants. Zoom stole Jay’s speed. Zoom would have stolen Barry’s, but there wasn’t enough of the speed force there worth taking. Not yet. Zoom wants Wells to make Barry faster. Stronger. The same thing that Earth-1 Wells (who wasn’t Wells) wanted from Barry. Why? So the next time Zoom pops over to face The Flash, it’ll be worth his while. Zoom gives Wells his daughter, just for a moment, before showing Wells that he can take her away again just as quickly.
Devastated, Wells agrees to Zoom’s deal.
With that, from all of us here at Same Geek Channel, happy holidays. We’ll see you in January for another episode of The Flash. Same geek time… you know the rest.
Catch all the first half of the season recaps of The Flash on Same Geek Channel:
Episode 2.01: The Man Who Saved Central City
Episode 2.02: Flash of Two Worlds
Episode 2.03: Family of Rogues
Episode 2.04: The Fury of Firestorm
Episode 2.05: The Darkness and the Light
Episode 2.06: Enter Zoom
Episode 2.07: Gorilla Warfare
Episode 2.08: Legends of Today