Episode Title: The Nuclear Man
Original Airdate: 2-10-15
Without really having to fall back on a villain of the week, the Flash comes around with another really strong episode that really furthers almost everyone’s character arc in some way while answering a few mysteries and creating a few of their own. It generally focuses on Firestorm, the amalgamation of Ronnie and Dr. Martin Stein, but there’s also plenty of other things going on like Barry realizing how difficult it is to have a girlfriend while being the Flash, and has Joe working with Cisco for the first time investigating Barry’s old house for some new clues.
It’s not a big stretch to say that I loved every part of this episode. The Joe and Cisco pairing was an interesting choice, as they rarely get to have any time together. But the two of them and the hilarious cougar divorcee now living at Barry’s old house had some great moments. Not only that, but there are two questions that were answered. One of those answers are fairly obvious if you know anything about Flashpoint, and that is that one of the two speedsters who were at Nora Allen’s death was an adult Barry. The other is that the second speedster was not Dr. Wells. And even though Cisco was fiercely loyal to Wells as Joe tried to cast doubt on him, the seeds have still been planted and there was a hint of those seeds finding purchase when Cisco sees Wells willing to kill Ronnie in order to save the city.
The funnier moments were with Barry’s love life. Malese Jow’s Linda Park is a lot of fun and there were several great moments that reminded me so much of earlier superhero shows like Superman from the movies and Lois and Clark where Barry is trying to have his date while still having to be a superhero without letting her be aware of it all. They also have a nice moment where they joke around the question nearly every teenage boy has had about what happens when superpowered being have sex, it was cute and it was very smoothly PG in a fitting way. Of course, the whole love story did end on a slightly bittersweet moment as Iris finally begins to realize that she does have feelings for Barry but didn’t want to admit them even to herself, while Barry is fully ready and willing to move on. It’s a classic trope of will-they-won’t-they but I feel like it’s being done quite well for now.
Of course, Firestorm was really the crux of the show and I loved where it went. Robbie Amell as Martin Stein in Ronnie’s body did a great job at feeling and sounding a bit like he really was in the wrong body. The fire effects as a whole looked very good, even the final mini nuclear explosion. After Dr. Snow had finally seemed to let go of Ronnie, her feelings pretty quickly resurfaced when it was clear that he wasn’t completely gone. And the episode ends with the fate of Firestorm unclear, though it’s highly unlikely that both people are dead. And to cap off the episode we get to see the return of Clancy Brown’s General Eiling who knows about Firestorm and is returning to Central City to investigate. As I said, it brought together a lot of threads from earlier episodes and created some new questions to be answered in the near future. Really one of the best episodes since the Flash Arrow crossover.