‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 14, “Fallout”
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the latest episode of The Flash, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of the fastest man alive, Barry Allen, more widely known as The Flash.
This week, we’re looking at the fourteenth episode of the first season, “Fallout.” This episode has everything: professors eating pizzas, armed Army guys, fissured Firestorms, phosphorous Flashes, and investigative Irises. Oh, and a grumpy gorilla for goofs and giggles. Onward, Flashers!
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
This week's episode picks up right after last week's, with Barry and Caitlin flashing away from the Firestorm-splosion. Caitlin is freaking out because they probably got exposed to hell of radiation and got all the cancers, but nope, their readings are normal, so they head back to the blast-point, which is now a pretty impressive crater. In the middle of the crater, they find Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein, now separated from each other. Their little contraption worked! Stein points out that they both need some new clothes, since theirs got lightly singed in the blast that left a hole in the ground. Seriously, I wish they hadn't mentioned the clothes, because it just hangs a lantern on the fact that their clothes should not be there because A) huge explosion and B) so, like, the atoms that got fused between Stein and Raymond *included* clothing? How does this work, because now you've got me asking questions that I'm sure you don't want to have to answer.
They all head back to STAR Labs and there's a hearty welcome for Ronnie, and then Stein's there, asking if they're gonna sing "Kumbaya," next, which is something only jerks ever ask. Seriously. Meanwhile, Actual Human Giant General Eiling is on the move after his Army guys picked up the explosion on their state-of-the-art explosio-meter. They find the crater as well as two snow angel-shaped impressions in the ground which leads Eiling to deduce that his Firestorms have been separated from each other.
Back at STAR Labs, Ronnie and Caitlin are horndogging it up in the medical bay, but they get interrupted by literally everybody walking in to talk to them about science. Wells tells them that hooray! Ronnie and Professor Stein have now been separated and also Professor Stein got a free STAR Labs sweatshirt/pant/sneaker combo out of the deal. They're both running a slight fever, and both are sick of sharing a body with the other, so Stein is like, "Whatever, get me out of here. You are all sixes while I am obviously a 10. Seacrest out." Barry takes Stein home to his wife and they smooch. Stein and his wife, not Barry and Stein. Or Barry and Stein's wife. Save if for your fan fiction, pervs.
Barry heads to his cop lab where Joe is waiting for him. He takes him back to the former West home, and I guess the lady who lives there is still at the movies, cuz Cisco's Way Back Machine is still shooting out the 3D hologram of the night Barry's mom got killed by the Reverse Flash when they get there. Joe shows Barry the hologram, you know, the one from the worst night in his life, and it obviously freaks Barry out, especially when he notices that he's one of the Flashes in the hologram. Which means time travel. Which we all already figured out, right?
Back at STAR Labs, Wells and Cisco unpack what this means for Barry via a few movie references that don't include history's greatest achievement, time travel movie or otherwise: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
At the Central City Picture News offices, Iris and her mentor, the Jim Varney-looking dude from a couple episodes ago, Mason Bridge, are discussing the reactor explosion and apparently, Bridge is a STAR Labs Reactor Explosion Truther. He says something about how jet fuel can't melt steel beams and tries to talk Iris into doing some digging into the story. Iris is reluctant.
At the Stein house, Barry has stopped by to pick the Professor's brain on time travel, but Stein is waiting for the pizza guy to deliver a piping hot pizza pie. Every since he separated from Ronnie, he's had a craving for the stuff and it is very much alarming Mrs. Stein. Martin is practically climbing up the walls with the pizza shakes, and man, I know that feel, bro. He talks Barry into Flashing to the pizza place and picking him up a Hawaiian pizza and I wish so hard I could screencap the sound he makes when he opens up that pizza box. Some real primal grunting and legit the best acting Victor Garber squeezes out this episode.
Barry asks Stein about time travel and he's like, "Step into my office," and it looks like A Beautiful Mind and Good Will Hunting had a baby. Stein talk about how he believes spacetime is a "free-flowing highway that intersects with our time and blahblahblah, you can probably travel through time if you run fast enough, Barry." This bums Barry out, because it means if he can actually do it, he's already failed when he travels to his past in his future. Also, Stein wants to travel through time to argue with Tesla, because killing Hitler as a baby or having relations with Cleopatra is so passé.
At the coffee shop, Caitlin and Ronnie are reconnecting but then Ronnie has to ruin it all by being over-protective, trying to get Caitlin to leave town. She's like, "Nope. I like being a science person who catches bad super-people," and he's like, "But it's dangerous," and then as if to prove his point, the joint gets raided by Eiling's goon squad. They start shooting tranquilizer darts every which way, hitting a server whose parents were probably pretty proud to see their little boy fulfill his lifelong dream of pretending to collapse on television.
Speaking of collapsing, Stein starts staggering around his kitchen because HE FEELS RONNIE'S EMOTIONS! They're still Firestormmed together! Barry figures this out and Flashes over to the coffee shop to save Ronnie from getting picked up by Eiling, but the General has a nice box full of nails that he shoots at Barry, which is just very inconsiderate and also rude.
Luckily Caitlin swoops in with the STAR Mobile and is all, "Come with me if you want to live," so Ronnie grabs Barry and they book it back to the Lab, where Caitlin has the thankless task of pulling every one of those pins out by hand. Seriously, having a low pain threshold but an accelerated healing factor probably kind of suuuucks. Also, they talk about peeing on each other. BIFF! ZAP! POW! Comic show aren't just for kids anymore!
Caitlin is like, "Oh yeah, that one research guy told me they gave all of Stein's paperwork to General Eiling." Then Stein shows up and they analyze their brainwaves or something.
At the West home, Barry shows up with Caitlin and Ronnie, who he's decided to let stay at their place as a safety precaution without consulting Joe, which continues Barry's trend of being the worst roommate ever. Iris shows up and is like, "Um, who are these randos?" and somehow, every single person in that room manages to come off like the worst liars in the whole land. That any one of these people thought Iris bought of any of this is, frankly, insulting.
At the Army Place, General Eiling is talking to … Harrison Wells? OH DIP! He mentions that he knows that Barry Allen is the Flash because remember when Barry took off his mask to help the bomb-lady? Yeah, that. Eiling makes a pitch for Wells to help him build a metahuman army, because that worked out well the last time they worked together trying to make an intelligent gorilla soldier.
At the West home, Joe and Barry have a heart-to-heart about how Joe kind of messed Barry's head up by showing him the hologram of the night his mom for murdered. Barry also asks him how he knew the blood belonged to him, and Joe tells him that he had Cisco check it against everybody at STAR Labs and Barry's like, "Listen, Harrison Wells had nothing to do with my mom's death," and I was like, "Maybe let's not toss out that possibility just yet, Barry Allen. I mean, have you seen the teaser for the next episode? Or have you read these recaps? Dude is shady, is what I'm saying."
And as if to back up my suspicion, back at STAR Labs, Wells is pouring a drink for himself and Professor Stein, but he totally roofies Stein and turns him over to the Army. Such a cool guy, that Harrison Wells. Always on the up and up. At the exact moment, Ronnie is getting all dizzy at the West home. It's like that Cheech and Chong movie, The Corsican Brothers, only with way fewer poop jokes, unfortunately.
At the paper, Bridge is asking Iris about Caitlin Snow and her involvement in the craaazy army attack that happened in a coffee shop. Iris is trying to act cool, but she knows that something is up and that literally everybody in her life is in on it but her. Which is really messed up. The final straw is when she looks up a picture of The Burning Man on her own blog and she's like, "Oh yeah, that's that guy who's staying at my house. The guy from The DUFF, in theaters now."
At STAR Labs, Wells is goldbricking as usual, pretending like the Army broke in and took Stein. They try to figure out how to find Stein and before you can say "The DUFF, in theaters now," Ronnie's hooked up to the brain machine while they try to find Stein using their Tomax/Xamot powers. Suddenly, Ronnie feels all cold because Eiling has Stein in a super cold room in a secret bunker somewhere. Eiling gives him a speech about how he's gonna use the Firestorm project to create super-soldiers and then he starts cattle-prodding Stein, which makes Ronnie break out screaming at STAR Labs, and he asks for a glass of water.
But PSYCHE! he breaks the glass and starts cutting his arm, sending a flesh-message to Stein. Eiling and his goons leave him alone for a second to recover from all the ball-shocking, and he manages to Morse code his location back to the STAbbers. Using the power of the internet, the STAbbers manage to find the decommissioned secret army base where Eiling is holding Stein.
Ronnie and Caitlin have a tender moment before he takes off with Barry to rescue Stein. They get to Facility 27 and Ronnie can feel Stein's presence, and Wells warns that if they reintegrate, they may not be able to split up again. Meanwhile, Eiling is ready to just kill Stein and take his precious bodily fluids from his corpse. But Barry manages to Flash in there and save him. The Army guys show up as Barry reunites Stein and Ronnie, but they shoot a missile at Barry that he tries to redirect, but it explodes all over him. Turns out it's full of a phosphorous-derivative and will keep burning away at Barry unless he can deprive it of oxygen, which means that he has to run fast because Wells said so. I wish all of my troubles could be solved by running away. *glances longingly out the window*
Ronnie and Stein are being chased, and they decide they have to merge again, but this time as partners instead of hostile co-occupants. They activate the harness doohickey, do a bro-forearm-grab, and voila! they're Firestorm again. This time it goes a lot better for them because they are using teamwork. Truly friendship is magic. A Jeep comes towards them and RonnieStein blows it all to hell but they do the A-Team thing where they make sure you see all the guys jump off before it blows up, so it's totally fine. Nothing to worry about, parents, I mean, besides us talking about The Flash prematurely ejaculating!
RonnieStein confronts Eiling, but Eiling has another magic box that manages to temporarily knock out their powers using … I want to say … ions? EIling's about to shoot Firestorm when, you guessed it, Flash manages to swoop in and knock Eiling out and Flash and Firestorm get the heck out.
At STAR Labs, Ronnie and Stein try to de-tangle and they do it! But not before Stein manages to creep the place up by talking about how lovely Caitlin is in Ronnie's brain. Or I'm assuming just Ronnie hears it? I'm not entirely sure how it works and the show isn't 100% clear. I mean, in the comics, it's just Ronnie hearing it so he's literally always talking to himself, which is a great hook for a superhero. He's just like me!
It's not all good news, because Ronnie and Stein are on the run now. They're gonna go hide out in Pittsburgh, which is a good idea, because nobody wants to have to go to Pittsburgh on purpose. They say their goodbyes, Firemerge and … it's off to Pittsburgh.
At the coffee shop, C+C Science Factory are lamenting the loss of Ronnie, with Caitlin talking about how she had him and lost him and had him again, while Cisco makes a reference to Friends, aka The Worst TV Show Ever, and is probably also thinking, "Well, at least you had a love interest. Two, if you count that stretch when it looked like you might hook up with Barry. Me, I just get to fawn over metahuman ladies who wind up dead and play wingman for a middle-aged cop."
Iris shows up and asks Caitlin how her "cousin" is doing and then catches Caitlin in a lie and is all, "Welp, you're all lying to me," and heads back to the paper to go all in on helping Bridge figure out what's up at STAR Labs. Imagine how betrayed she's gonna feel when she finds out her dad and sort-of-brother are also keeping a ton of stuff from her!
At the former Allen home/current Cougar's Lair, Barry meets Joe to tell him that, basically, he's going to try and travel back in time and stop his mom's death. I'll give my theory as to how this is gonna go down in a sec, but the short version is I hope you all liked Flashpoint.
Finally, the epilogue! Eiling is back at his Army place, having a drink after a long, hard day of being a Grade 'A' Jerk Who Gets His Butt Kicked A Lot, when suddenly, he's whisked away by, well, not the Flash, but a Flash. A Reverse Flash, to be precise. RevFlash drops him in the sewer and unmasks himself, revealing … Harrison Wells! He's brought Eiling to the sewers to reunite with an old friend, an old friend whose voice Eiling can hear in his head. An old friend who is a super-smart, telepathic gorilla. Okay, you guessed it, IT'S GORILLA GRODD FINALLY.
Anyway, he pulls Eiling off into the sewers, presumably to dine on his brains.
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- So here's my theory for the endgame of this season and the beginning of the next. It's obvious that Barry's going to figure out how to travel back in time. It's been set up enough that we know that's where we're headed. Now, his travel will result in one of two outcomes: either he goes back in time and fails to save his mom and everything stays the same, or he goes back in time, stops his mother's murder and, basically erases his timeline. We're obviously going to get the latter, because it's the more interesting of the two options. If he can't save his mom, there's no payoff. If he does manage to alter the future, we get maybe half a season of Barry in his altered timeline. A season maybe, but that seems like it's pushing it. My guess is that he'd spend some time in this new timeline where Iris isn't his sister, where he grew up with his mom and dad, where everything is good and happy but… a little off. So what does he do? He travels back and sacrifices his mom so that the "real" timeline can remain intact. It's the perfect amount of pathos for a Geoff Johns-produced TV show. We'll see if I'm right.
- Gorilla Grodd was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. He first appeared in The Flash #106, published May 1959. Grodd was originally a regular old ape whose troop got smartened up by an alien spacecraft, granting Grodd and a few other telepathic powers as well as super-smarts. He is a delight.
- RIP for Actual Human Giant Clancy Brown's General Eiling. My buddy Matt Digges was behind him at Starbucks the other day and reminded me that he does the voice for Mister Krabs on Spongebob and now I can't un-hear Mister Krabs whenever Brown speaks. Still figuring out if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
- This was the first of two shows I watched Tuesday night that involved torture via cattle prod, the other being Justified. Not really related to anything, just a weird synchronicity. The guy on Justified who got prodded was the guy who played the editor of the Yale newspaper who dated Paris on Gilmore Girls and I guess he was also on Buffy, too. Anyway, Winn Duffy zapped him a lot with a cattle prod. Good times, good times.
- So with Ronnie and Martin's departure to the nightmare hellscape that is Pittsburgh, looks like we can swing the focus back on the Flash team rather than the last few episodes that have seemed like The Firestorm Show: Featuring The Flash & Friends. Nothing against the guy, but a large chunk of this first season has been focused on Ronnie Raymond. But he had to go. His planet needed him.
- Seriously, where is the lady who owns the former Allen house? Is "sending her to the movies," a euphemism for… murder?! No no no, Joe West would never do that … OR WOULD HE?!
- Also, where was Eddie? Poor Eddie, he didn't even get his requisite walk-on scene this episode. I hope he's doing okay. Maybe he's at the movies with The Cougar. Like, he has to keep taking her to movie after movie after movie because Joe told him to. And she keeps trying to make out with him, but he keeps telling her he has girlfriend but she keeps moving her hand up his leg. It's the only reasonable explanation.
FLASH-FORWARD: Future Happenings
Next episode! Next month, apparently! Harrison Wells is exposed as a creep! Finally!
Until then, leave your theories and stuff in the comments and keep on Flashin'! (Oh wait, let me try and reword that…)