It took me a few minutes to realize what’s going on with this episode of “Flash.” It’s a pretty good episode. It’s been a while since the show’s had a pretty good episode without some major qualifications—last season had way too much bad acting from the season guests and way too little Jesse L. Martin because of an injury.
Almost everything about last episode—the season premiere—was concerning. Almost nothing about this episode is concerning. And even the episode’s big fail is easily dismissible. The fail is the villain reveal and showdown. We’ve already seen Barry Allen Flash’s face melt off as he runs to outrace the Crisis. A Flash of Lightning has delivered. And more, it even makes this comic book nod work in the show’s context. Lightning finally brings back a justifiably conflicted and overwrought Barry Allen. You know it’s justifiable because Grant Gustin is awesome when it’s justifiable and kind of boring when it’s not. And Gustin’s awesome this episode. Even when the dialogue isn’t great, he’s awesome. He’s double-jarred this episode too. He doesn’t just see billions of versions of billions of deaths of billions of people, he’s also discovered since getting back to Earth-3 Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) has gone and married Gustin’s dead mom’s doppelgänger, Michelle Harrison. The show doesn’t go overboard with it either, just has the nicest touch.
It’s almost like the show’s missing a season; not they needed another one before Crisis, but they needed another one before the future daughter one. Gustin and Candice Patton needed to grow a little bit more. They seemed off last episode. They don’t seem off this episode.
And there’s a great Joe and Barry scene. Again, not the dialogue but the actors and the tone. The show’s sure footed all of a sudden. Like with Danielle Panabaker’s Killer Frost arc and Hartley Sawyer’s constantly pleasantly surprising Ralph stuff. And Danielle Nicolet is awesome getting to do the law stuff. She’s even getting a real subplot. “Flash” feels like a show again all of a sudden. This episode should’ve been the season opener, not whatever they did last time.