The CW’s The Flash Back to Normal TV Show Review. The Flash: Season 2, Episode 19: Back to Normal has slowed things down for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) as he lost his powers last week due to Zoom (Teddy Sears). In almost every superhero story, there would be an arc where that superhero would lose his/her powers and must learn to survive without them or find a way to get them back. That’s what Barry faced in ‘Back to Normal’ as he and Team Flash had to protect Central City without his speed as they went against a strong metahuman named Griffin Grey (Haig Sutherland). After some fast-paced episodes, tonight’s installment did the same thing that Barry was forced to do: Slowing down.
Even though we didn’t get to see Barry with his speed anymore, the episode did make good use in developing him more as a hero. It was great that the episode didn’t make Barry too depressing after that big loss last week. We got to see Barry at his lowest point, but he suddenly rises up as he discovers what are the qualities that make him a hero. It’s the traits that define a hero without the use of superpowers, which is something that every superhero story teaches us. Barry still wants to protect his city, but he just doesn’t have the resources to do it anymore. Barry’s life was more in danger than ever before, as he had to rely on his wits rather than his speed to take on this latest metahuman.
The episode also was a return to form as it reverted back to its season one roots. We go back into the metahuman-of-the-week with Griffin Grey, who was also affected by the particle accelerator explosion. Grey ends up kidnapping Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) mistaking him for the Earth-One version. He forces Wells to create a cure for him since he ages rapidly for every time he exerts his superhuman strength. He was one of the few villains that we feel sympathetic towards because he was only an innocent teen whose life was turned upside down after gaining his abilities. He was on borrowed time as he was about to die, so he had no choice but to force Wells’ hand into creating a cure.
Wells also had a big development this week as he was forced to look at all he’s done and take responsibility for his actions. Even though he didn’t commit the same act as his doppelganger, Wells admits that his actions and his Earth-One counterpart aren’t so different after all. Earth-2 Wells had to lie and manipulate his way into getting what he wants. Despite that it came down to protecting his daughter Jesse (Violett Beane) to go to such lengths, Wells still has to redeem himself. He ends up doing that as the episode closes. It was great to see that Jesse forgave her father for what he’s done, but it felt too quick for her to let bygones be bygones after what Wells has done to keep her safe. With Wells planning to recreate the accelerator to recreate Barry’s speed, it would be a huge risk because it may repeat the same results as the last time. Plus, Wells did create an evil speedster as a result so how can he be sure it won’t happen again? Hopefully that will be explained during next week’s episode.
Teddy Sears also gave a great performance this week as he went into his villainous side for once. He’s not the same after that big revelation last week, as he shifted from being Jay Garrick to his true persona, Hunter Zolomon. We had most of the characters play two different versions of themselves, so it was great to see Sears pulling off the same method and play a completely different character. We also see the vulnerability he has towards Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) as he tries to win her heart again.
Caitlin Snow had some trouble after Zoom kidnapped her last week while she also came face-to-face with her doppelganger Killer Frost. Panabaker did a marvelous job playing both Caitlin Snow and her villainous counterpart Killer Frost. It was a great exchange between doppelgangers, and Panabaker pulled off playing both personalities so well. We even got to learn a bit about Caitlin’s family and how differently their upbringing came out. Hopefully we get to explore more on Caitlin’s family history someday.
Even though the episode was fairly dark, it stayed pretty positive throughout the hour. Grey had a lot to suffer through after becoming a metahuman, so it was good to see that he got what he wanted after being defeated. Instead of killing him, Grey managed to revert back to his teenage self. We even got to see The Flash and Wally West (Keiynon Loinsdale) meet up in person. This would become a big step for Wally as he slowly gets introduced into Team Flash. After meeting with Wally, it also reminded Barry that all the decisions he made were the right ones. It would’ve been nice to see more of Cisco (Carlos Valdes) this week since he has been working on his powers lately. With Barry out of commission for a while, this would’ve been the perfect opportunity for Cisco to become Vibe and help Barry out. Hopefully his time will come sooner than we think.
‘Back to Normal’ was a return to the season one formula, but it did provide some new material to work with. The villain this week helped remind us about what makes Barry a hero, with or without his super speed. The episode may not have been exciting enough, but it did offer to put on some great performances from some of the cast. Things may start to shake up in the last three episodes of the season, so we look forward to how the season unfolds.
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