Episode Title: “Fast Lane”
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh
Directed By: Rachel Talalay
This week’s episode of The Flash was essentially divided into three parts that can be defined as bad, better, and best. Let’s start with the bad. Barry is on the trail of a new meta-human killer, a smalltime hood who was turned into a living pile of tar by the explosion at S.T.A.R. Labs. Tar Pit, as Cisco names him a microsecond ahead of Barry, is the very definition of a disposable villain. His backstory and origin are not compelling in the least and his presence is merely here is merely so the other two plots can play off. This is the bad portion. Tar Pit is simply the villain of the week in the vein of the first couple of seasons of Smallville. The one positive is that when Tar Pit took on his more monstrous form as a seething, giant being of tar he did look exactly like he does in the comics.
Wells has secretly created a device and attached to Barry’s suit which will allow him to siphon off a small portion of the speed force when Barry uses his power. Wells is feeding the stolen speed force to Zoom and must continue to do so in order to keep his daughter safe. This sets up Earth-2 Wells as the antagonist just as Wells of Earth-1 was during the first season. It is the reaction of the rest of the team when they discover Wells’ duplicitous actions that make this the best element of this week’s episode.
Finally, both Joe and Iris confront Wally over his illegal street racing. Iris goes undercover in order to expose the man behind the ring of criminal activities and finds her life in danger. All three plots come together when Tar Pit attacks the scene of the race and Barry is too late to save Iris from being injured by a shard of glass due to his speed being reduced. Again, nothing special or compelling her but this served to galvanize the entire West family and also Barry and the team as they make the bold decision to take the fight to Zoom on Earth-2 next week.
Couple of points about “Fast Lane”…I am not buying that Wells could sneak a device onto Barry’s suit without Cisco noticing. The suit is Cisco’s creation, and his baby. With all the monitoring systems he has setup it doesn’t seem plausible that this could escape his notice but I am willing to go along with it for the sake of forwarding the fight against Zoom. Wells’ betrayal, after telling Barry that he would always choose his daughter over him, was the centerpiece this week.
A mixed bag this week but in all honesty this episode was simply the table setter and the appetizer to next week’s journey to Earth-2