Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my all of my reviews of The Flash here.
So that went well!
We’ll get to the shocking ending in a bit, but on the whole, “Rupture” was an excellent episode of The Flash.
After last week’s ending, in which Wells suggested setting off another particle accelerator explosion to get Barry’s speed back, The Flash took its usual approach of having Barry spend an entire episode contemplating this course of action, taking advice from his friends and father figures, while a random villain of the week is inserted to fill in the blanks. It’s a solid formula, but it’s easy to criticize the show for taking a slow-paced approach when the season’s climax should be ramping up. Yet this episode worked very well for a multitude of reasons.
First off, the “fill in the blanks” villain wasn’t any random metahuman. Rupture was the Earth-2 doppelgänger of Cisco’s brother Dante. This made the conflict feel more personal and gave Cisco and his brother a strong, emotional story arc. Moreover, it wasn’t an unrelated filler subplot, since Rupture’s personal vendetta against Cisco was secondary to his main task on Earth-1 as a herald of Zoom.
Thus the main storyline of “Rupture” was Zoom’s return and planned takeover of Earth-1, following the decision he came to at the end of last week’s episode. Even after his secret identity being revealed, Zoom remained a scary villain. His assault on the police department, especially the way he snapped a dozen officers’ necks in the blink of an eye, was a terrifying scene. His deadly powers and ability to suddenly appear wherever he wanted gave even the slower parts of the episode an undertone of tension.
The threat that Zoom posed and the ticking clock of his impending deadly reign gave the “Barry contemplates a decision” a much-needed sense of gravity. A highlight of those scenes was the dynamic between Wells, Joe, and Barry’s father Henry—Barry’s three father figures who each wanted what was best for him in a different way. Iris’s admission of having feelings for Barry was also a sweet scene, even though it’s worrisome that the entire basis of those emotions seems to be a sense of fate rather than legitimate love.
In the end, Zoom proved to be enough of a menace that Barry decided to give Wells’s plan a try. That whole final sequence was very well-executed, but the best part was the way it defied the audience’s expectations. Instead of predictably leading to Barry getting his powers back like we all thought it would, the scene ended with Barry literally disintegrating before our very eyes.
For a brief second, I actually found myself wondering if The Flash had actually killed off the Flash. Adding fuel to that idea was Wally and Jesse getting caught in the particle accelerator explosion, presumably giving them the powers that would make them Kid Flash and Jesse Quick, the speedsters they are in the comics. Were the rumours that Warner Bros. wanted the TV version of Barry gone to make way for the movie version? Was this going to be a Crisis on Infinite Earths situation in which Barry was gone and Wally West took his place as the Flash? The way it was set up made it look like a legitimate possibility.
But it was only a brief second. Even if the show wanted to kill off Barry and replace him with Wally, this was definitely not how it would do it. Most likely, Barry was sucked into the Speed Force (much like what canonically happened at the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, so the parallel holds), and now has to find his way out of it. With only 3 episodes left this season, I doubt Barry will be gone for more than a week. Nevertheless, this was an exciting and oh so comic book-like development that I absolutely loved.
Plus, it seems Wally and Jesse may have finally gotten powers! It’s a weird point in the season to introduce two new speedsters, but maybe their speed will take longer to develop. Whatever the case may be, it’s great to see those two characters’ stories leap forward, although the show will have to be very careful going forward. Too many sidekicks is difficult to pull off, especially when they’re all speedsters, who tend to be overpowered to begin with.
Lastly, there was a lot of clever humour this week, mostly thanks to Cisco. His exchange with Wells about the wand legitimately made me laugh out loud. “How did you know about the Harry Potter convention?”
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
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