‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 7: ‘Power Outage’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the episodes, 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 Central City’s finest hero, Barry Allen: The Artist Formerly Known As The Flash.
This week, we’re looking at the seventh episode episode of the first season, “Power Outage,” which features a guy with zap-hands looking for revenge, a Time Lord with Asperger’s, and a cop hopped up on goofballs. Hold on to your butts, cuz things are about to get zaptastic.
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
This week’s episode starts off with a ethnically diverse group of college students (no, seriously, IMDB just has the other two actors listed as “College Boy,” and “College Girl,” which are still better Legion of Super-Heroes names than Infectious Lass) engaged in some tomfoolery. One of the group, Farooq, is climbing up some power lines, because this is a good thing that you should definitely do.
The 20-somethings are planning on getting ripped on a Costco-sized bottle of booze and watching the particle accelerator get ignited. College Boy also mentions plans for “getting naked and howling at the moon,” but sadly, that is cut short by the accelerator starting up and then pretty quickly exploding, sending its now-legendary shockwave of metahuman particles across the Twin Cities. Farooq yells to his friends to take cover in their car, and at this point, I’m like, “Oh cool, are they gonna become metahumans who turn into a car, because that would be AWESOME,” but no, it just hits Farooq and (SPOILERS) gives him zapitty-zap electropowers.
We cut to S.T.A.R. Labs, and see Harrison Wells sneaking into his secret future clean room to talk to his personal AI, Gideon, but it’s just a chance for us to see Barry in action as The Flash, using his Flash powers to help people and also fulfill his desire to be a temporary barista. It also gives Wells the chance to do an opening monologue (I refer to it as his creep-cap) because Heaven forbid we do an episode of this show without some sort of opening narration. Wells’ theory is that people are holding Barry back from realizing his full Flash potential (Flashtential?), and so he’s gonna fix that to make Barry the Best Flash who ever Flashed, because he is a super-creep.
Later, Barry shows up at S.T.A.R. Labs and Wells gives him a guilt trip about not helping him find the cure for cancer by utilizing his speed powers, but Barry gets a call about a homicide before he can give Wells the full, “WTH are you even talking about?” look.
At the crime scene, there’s a burned up body just sitting there, looking 100% Uncle Owen. Barry points out that the burn patterns around the body are in line with arc electricity, so this dude was zapped to death. Joe West says that they need to ID the corpse and Eddie Thawne is all, “Ew, his face is burned off,” and Barry’s like don’t worry, I’ve got “mad skillz.” (The “z” is implied.) Joe puts a stop to that nonsense with a quickness. Joe’s still shaken up from his visit from the Yellow Streak, who, you will remember, carved threatening stuff into Joe’s walls and stabbed a picture of his daughter, Iris. He probably also de-alphabetized his CD collection and left just a little bit of milk in the milk jug.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco runs the burned-up dude’s photo through a computer and cross-references that with the DMV photo database and figures out our Uncle Owen is actually a security guard at an electrical substation and OH WAIT somebody just used the burned-up dude’s ID card there HOLY CATS Caitlin says that particular station is experiencing a power surge right NOW! Barry rushes out there and finds Farooq zapping it up out there.
Barry shows up and says the least badass thing he could say, “I’m pretty sure this is a restricted area,” and then Farooq says in his best Zool-voice that he has to feed, and I guess Taco Bell is out of the question. No Fourth Meal for Farooq. Farooq zaps Barry with green lightning before he stumbles off mumbling that it’s “too much.” Barry’s gotta get out of there. He goes to run, but … he has no powers. He has been de-flashed.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, C+C Science Factory, Feat. Harrison Wells are testing Barry out, and yep, he definitely is running really terribly. Wells says he'll get Barry's powers back, but then he makes some pretty hardcore gasface that makes it really hard to believe him.
At the cop barn, Joe smashes Barry's favorite coffee mug to see if Barry's B.S.-ing him about losing his powers, which he isn't. This freaks Joe out because he needs Barry to protect Iris, who shows up all chipper, saying that hey, the cops will protect the city, and, barring that, we always have the Flash. Barry then stutters and stammers and all but says, "But doctor, I am The Flash," to her as he tries to talk her out of her Flash fandom, but she's not budging.
Joe basically pushes Barry out the door before he can totally give away the fact that he's The Flash to Iris. Iris notices the broken mug on the floor and mentions that Barry loved that mug and now it's destroyed. Joe just sits there thinking, "Welp, that had better not be some foreshadowing-ass foreshadowing." Heading downstairs, Barry encounters a super-eccentric prisoner who compliments his watch. This guy is the Flash TV show version of The Clock King, just in case the one million references to time, or the homemade glasses made from watch parts, didn't tip you off.
Back in Wells' Super Secret Future Room, he's reading the papers for the future and … IT'S TOTALLY CHANGED! No mention of the Flash. No mention of Barry Allen. Oh, and the postal service is closing down; sorry, my letter carrier, but Harrison Wells sure has screwed up the timeline!
Down in the lab, Barry's looking wistfully at his Flash suit when Caitlin walks in. Barry gets all mopey about losing his powers, but Caitlin gives him a pep talk and things get all about-to-kiss-y between the two of them, but Cisco comes in with his iPad, telling them he's figured out who the metahuman is. Basically, he Farooq-blocked Barry. Oh, and who shows up at the door but Farooq, who's there to kill Harrison Wells, thereby avenging the deaths of College Boy and College Girl.
At the cop house, Captain Singh is like, "Joe, I gotta run, but this super-dangerous criminal is just going to hang out in our office, so can you look after him? Kthxbye." and then he flashes out of here while the William Tockman, AKA The Clock King looks all menacing. Oh, and Iris is there, because it'll add to the dramatic tension for both Joe and Eddie if she's there once Clock King escapes.
Which he totally does when Farooq jacks up the city's electrical grid trying to get into S.T.A.R. Labs, grabbing a cop's gun when the power cuts out for a second. Given Tockman's speech patterns and obsession with time, I'm pretty sure he's Max Braverman from NBC's Parenthood, all grown up.
Outside the police station, Singh didn't even make it to his car before things turn to crap inside. Meanwhile, Wells is coking up some harebrained theory about jump-starting Barry's powers by electrifying the treadmill. Barry argues that maybe they should, you know, talk to Farooq, but Wells is like, nah, let's shock the hell out of you and then waste the zap-guy.
At the police palace, Tockman is negotiating with Singh while Eddie Thawne tries to sneak up on him. It doesn't go well, with Eddie trying to get the drop on Tockman, but winding up shot instead. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry tries talking to Farooq. It doesn't go well either, and Wells gets to drop a huge, "I told you so," all over Barry before they get ready to try his initial plan of shocking the poo-poo out of Barry.
Barry and Caitlin get to the treadmill to prep it for maximum shockage, but wind up having to hide from Farooq. Meanwhile, Wells literally walks down to the secret underground prison he curates and releases Dirtbag Colossus from last week's episode in hopes that he can take out Farooq. In the treadmill room, Caitlin and Barry are hiding from Farooq and it's like the raptor scene in Jurassic Park only slower and with way less tension and with a zapper guy instead of prehistoric murderbirds. Advantage: Jurassic Park. (SPOILERS: the advantage always goes to Jurassic Park.)
Girder shows up and him and Farooq fight.
Caitlin and Barry get the treadmill hooked up and Barry's like, "Alright! Shock me!" and Caitlin's like, "No!" And Barry's like, "Please?!" and Caitlin's like, "Nope." and Barry's like, "Pretty please?" and Caitlin's like, "Okay." So she zaps him, and even though his hand does that blurry zoomy thing afterward, Barry says it didn't work.
At the police station, things are getting tense, with Clock King starting to lose patience with the cops, but he agrees to give Eddie basic first aid and does this thing where he writes the time he applied the tourniquet on Eddie's forehead with own blood. Which is pretty cool, actually. Is this a real thing that field medics do?
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry finds Girder, who's basically dying, and he gets all sad. They run into Cisco and they're like, "So Girder must have gotten out during the blackout and also he's now totes dead," but Cisco says that's not possible, that somebody must have let him out. Wells pokes his head in the room and was like, "Meeee! I did it" And then everybody argues but Wells is emphatic that all that matters is saving Barry, probably because he will start to disappear like Marty McFly if his plan doesn't work.
Meanwhile, the Clock King finally got his helicopter and he's gonna take Iris with him as a hostage. Joe talks him into letting Iris say goodbye to Eddie, something Tockman is bitter he wasn't able to do for his sister who died while he was in prison. He relents, and Eddie whispers something in Iris's ear before Clock King pulls her off him. WHAT COULD IT BE?!
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, they're freaking out while Farooq roams the halls, so they decide to beat feet to the garage and take off in a van. Also, Barry's got his healing factor back, so maybe his run-run powers are gonna come back, but only if Barry believes in himself or whatever. They get in the van to go, but Farooq's there, draining all the power. Can Barry overcome his mental block and save his friends and also Doctor Wells?
Jump cut to the police station, and we see what Eddie said to Iris: "ankle holster." A gunshot sounds. Joe West yells. We jump back to S.T.A.R. Labs, where Wells offers himself up to Farooq. Farooq says he doesn't care about the people who died when the reactor blew up, and Wells proves him wrong my listing off a string of very nerd-bait-y names that I'll discuss in the Flash Facts portion.
Then Farooq is all, "You died that night, too; you just didn't know it," which probably sounded cooler when he was practicing it in the mirror that morning, but still comes off kind of badass. He goes to melt Wells with his electro-powers, but WHAAAAAT! Barry's overcome his fears and he swoops in to save Wells.
Barry and Farooq fight, with Farooq gobbling up Barry's power, but OOPS, he overdoses and drops dead. Barry's like, oh well, let's go find Iris, and he zooms over to the police station. As he looks around for Iris, we see cops taking Tockman off, and he's limping. It was Iris's shot after all. Yay!
Bask at S.T.A.R. Labs, Caitlin is zipping up Farooq's body bag. RIP, Farooq. Turns out Farooq ended up choking on Barry's super-speed powers. Barry apologizes for when he was a jerk to Wells earlier, but Wells is like, "I deserve it," and also he pronounces, "brusque," strangely.
Barry goes to visit Eddie in the hospital and finds Joe and Iris there. Eddie is tripping balls on pain meds. It's wonderful. Iris steps out for a coffee and Barry gets all Flashed up to talk to here. Thankfully, the hospital has a window with the perfect amount of backlighting to conceal his identity. He flirts with Iris, yadda yadda yadda.
Another Wells epilogue, with him finding the future is intact again, and he rethinks his Flash strategy, knowing that Barry needs people to be the best Barry he can be.
Then another Wells epilogue, this time with Barry being on time to help with his scientific study stuff they argued about at the beginning of the episode. Barry is wearing weird bunched-up-at-the-bottom sweatpants.
Finally, a third Wells epilogue, this time with him walking down to the illegal prison to get some of Farooq's blood so he can try and figure out how to steal Barry's Flash powers. Creeeeeeeeeep.
- During Wells’ Creep-cap, there’s a bit where Barry’s getting mugged in an alley and we see posters for the Blue Devil and Rita Farr movies (which we already know exist from an earlier episode), but we also see a Nighthawk & Cinnamon movie poster that looks like a bodice-ripping Western romance film. Nighthawk and Cinnamon are both old DC Western characters; Nighthawk was created by Robert Kanigher and Charles Paris in Western Comics #5 (Sept./Oct. 1948), and Cinnamon was created by Roger McKenzie, Jack Abel and Danny Bulanadi, appearing in in Weird Western Tales #48 (September-October 1978).
- Blackout, aka Farooq, was a minor character that first appeared in Flashpoint: the Outsider #1, created by James Robinson and Javi Fernandez.
- Barry took an Uber car back to the lab after Count Zapula stripped him of his powers. Ugh, Uber. Ugher.
- This episode sees the return of Caitlin and Barry as a possible "thing," which I'm down with, even though I know it'll never stick. Like, does anybody who reads this actually "ship" Barry and Iris?
- The Clock King was created by France Herron and Lee Elias, first appearing in World's Finest #111 (1960). He's a villain who is obviously way into clocks. The TV version is way more toned down, but still an eccentric genius-type.
- Here's a handy answer key for the names in Harrison Wells' nerdbaity list of dead people: Jake Davenport (nobody I can find, so maybe College Boy?), Daria Kim (probably College Girl?), Ralph Dibny (The Elongated Man), Al Rothstein (Atom Smasher), Grant Emerson (Damage), Will Everett (Amazing-Man, not to be confused with 'Mazing Man), Bea (short for Beatriz) da Costa (Fire), and -- dramatic pause while staring at Caitlin -- Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm). Whether any of these people will show up is anybody's guess, but there you go.
- We set a new record on this show, with two villains getting killed off in one go. Hooray, I guess? I'm not sure why I'm surprised when they kill these guys instead of keeping them around, but here we are.
- All in all, a pretty mediocre episode. The Wells stuff was stuff we already knew. The villains weren't gonna stick around. The only real fun turns were Wells using Girder again, the almost kiss, and Joe smashing Barry's coffee mug. Not terrible, just kind of … there.
FLASH-FORWARD: Future Happenings
Next week sees the first part of a two-part crossover with Arrow! Which means I may watch an episode of Arrow! Or not, we'll see!