THE FLASH Season 1 Episode 13
Episode Title: “The Nuclear Man”
Writers: Andrew Kreisberg & Katherine Walczak
Director: Glen Winter
It’s time to check back in with “The Flash,” the best new DC inspired show of the season. As always, there are full spoilers ahead!
Stealing Wally’s Girl… Again
It’s a pretty safe bet that most viewers of “The Flash” have no idea who Wally West is. So the short version is that Wally is The Flash who came after Barry Allen in the comics. Several retcons later, Barry is back as The Flash in the comics and Wally’s a completely different person now.
In the first “Flash” TV series, Tina McGee (Amanda Pays) was Barry’s love interest despite originating as Wally’s love interest in the comics. History repeats itself on this version of “The Flash,” as Wally’s girlfriend (and later wife) Linda Park (Malese Jow) is being used as Barry’s new potential love interest.
The good news is that Linda is already more fun to watch than Iris West (Candice Patton). And this episode made great use of Barry’s powers by allowing him to go off and be a hero without actually running out on Linda during their first date. That was very amusing and a nice inversion of the usual superhero trope.
The Firestorm Matrix
Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell)… or rather, Martin Stein (Victor Garber) in Ronnie’s superpowered body reappears as he asks one of his old colleagues for help. After Martin accidentally injures his friend, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) tells Ronnie’s former fiancee, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) that they can’t let him run free anymore.
Barry, Caitlin and Wells visit Stein’s widow, who recognizes Ronnie from an incident shortly after he was fused with Stein. While Barry keeps his second date with Linda, Caitlin and Wells stake out Stein’s home until he inevitably reappears. And just as inevitably, Barry has to abandon Linda just as they were rounding second base on Joe’s couch.
“Ronnie” easily overpowers Barry and takes him a wild ride in the sky before letting him fall. But “Ronnie” at least keeps Barry from hitting the ground at full impact before flying off again.
Team Flash uses Martin’s widow to convince “Ronnie” that they can help separate the two men. This leads to some awkward scenes with Caitlin as she comes to terms with another man living in the body of the man that she loves. Meanwhile, Iris continues her quest to sabotage Barry’s love life and make viewers hate her by telling Linda that Barry’s not over his feelings for her.
Seriously, is the creative team trying to sabotage Iris?! She’s already the least likable person in Barry’s entourage and this isn’t going to change that. Back to the main plotline, Wells tells Team Flash that the combined forms of Ronnie and Martin are unstable and threatening to go nuclear. Wells also floats the idea of killing them to save the city, which horrifies the team.
Meanwhile, Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) conduct an off-the-books investigation into the murder of Barry’s mother, Nora Allen. Sci-fi veteran Chase Masterson has a cameo as the current owner of the house where Nora was killed, as she hilariously flirts with Joe.
Once the cougar has been sent to the movies, Cisco uses some dubious science to create a three dimensional recreation of what happened on that fateful night. This allows them to identify two blood samples on the wall that were covered by cheap wallpaper for decades. Joe finally shares his suspicions about Wells with Cisco, but the younger man refuses to believe it.
Later, CIsco discovers that one of the blood samples came from Barry… as an adult. And that means time travel, ladies and gentlemen!
Cisco is particularly shaken by Wells’ idea that Ronnie and Martin may have to die, but “Ronnie” is kind of okay with it. However, Caitlin insists that Wells at least try to help “Ronnie” before writing them off. Although it completely undercuts the seriousness of the A plot, Barry takes a timeout to prove his devotion to Linda by eating a very spicy pepper in front of her.
In a show about a man who can run at super speeds who is trying to help a combined man who can burst into flame… that was a pretty silly moment. But Linda is still more likable than Iris!
Do you want to know why Wells is such a great villain on this show? It’s because Cavanagh gives Wells a sense of ambiguity even when he makes a decision that may be entirely motivated out of self-interest (as he does when he uses his stolen tech to come up with a possible solution for “Ronnie”). That keeps Wells from coming off as a one-dimensional adversary.
As “Ronnie” flees to the desert to prevent Central City from being destroyed, Cisco and Wells finish the makeshift device that may save Ronnie and Martin. Barry and Caitlin find “Ronnie” just before his explosion and convince him to try using the device to separate themselves. The device even resembles part of Firestorm’s comic book costume when he puts it on…
But the device can’t hold back the explosion, as Barry races Caitlin to safety. And in the tag scene, General Elling (Clancy Brown) returns as he orders his team to bring Firestorm to him.
All in all, a very good episode of “The Flash.” The writers didn’t even try to shoehorn in a villain-of-the-week!