FLASH: SPOILER Review 1×13 – “The Nuclear Man”

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The Flash (1×13) – “The
Nuclear Man”
Written by: Andrew Kreisberg &
Katherine Walczak
Directed by: Glen Winter
Quick note:  Forgive
the delay, my ISP and Hulu were not co-operating with each other Wednesday.
This week opens with Barry getting ready for a date with
Linda Park.  It seems he has some first
date jitters as he’s unable to settle on what to wear until Joe finally
threatens to put a bullet into him.  He
then speeds off to Linda’s apartment and arrives precisely on time to meet
her.  The two go out for tacos and
despite Barry ducking out twice to handle his Flash-related duties (a robbery
while she washes up and foiling a suicide attempt while she takes a phone call)
the date went well enough that Linda ends the date with a kiss.
Across town, a man named Quentin Quale is leaving his office
when he’s confronted by Ronnie/ Dr. Stein. He convinces Quale that he is indeed
Dr. Stein despite appearances by revealing something he only ever told his old
college friend.  He’s trying to get help
but before he can asks his powers flare and Dr. Quale is severely injured.
The next morning, Barry has met up with Caitlin and
Cisco.  He has told them how much fun he
had with Linda the night before but when he mentions their upcoming second date
Cisco warns him about going too fast. 
Barry scoffs but Cisco didn’t mean it emotionally, there could be some
serious drawbacks to being the Fastest Man Alive.  Barry stresses that it’s only a second date
and that is when Iris enters the conversation. 
Barry tells her he’s started seeing Linda and Iris starts to act oddly
but is saved from embarrassment first by Cisco leaving to help out a friend and
then by the television reporting that “The Burning Man” attack on
Quentin the night before.
The friend Cisco left to help is Joe, he’s asked Cisco to
meet him at the Allen Home.  Joe is
hoping to go over the crime scene in the hopes of finding something out about
the night of Nora Allen’s murder.   When
Joe explains this Cisco tries to bring in Dr. Wells and Caitlin but Joe is
resistant to the suggestion. They are greeted by the woman who lives there now
and the woman is very willing to let
Joe have a look around.
At STAR Labs, Wells Caitlin and Barry are discussing
Ronnie/Stein’s apparent attack on Quire. 
Barry wonders why it would be Stein in command of Ronnie’s body and Wells
hypothesizes that it’s a matter of Stein having the better mind of the
two.  He then states they no longer have
the luxury of letting “them” roam free and wants to make sure that
Caitlin isn’t conflicted on the matter.
Barry then asks what they know about Stein and Wells pulls
up a picture of the man.  It seems Barry
met him on train the day of the Explosion and the two discussed physics before
Barry got off the train.  Stein continued
to STAR Labs with a case containing the FIRESTORM experiment.  The blast consumed him and the experiment,
fusing him with Ronnie in the process.
Back in the present, Barry, Caitlin and Dr. Wells visit
Stein’s wife and ask her a few questions. 
When Barry shows Mrs. Stein a picture of Ronnie she tells them that
about a month after the explosion she saw him. 
He seemed confused or disturbed and frightened her but when she
threatened to call the police he left. 
Dr. Wells decides they should stake out the Stein residence but when
Barry’s date comes up Wells tells him to go.
At the former Allen home, Cisco is using STAR Labs equipment
to look for some residual evidence of the murder but is having little
success.  Cisco doesn’t think they are
going to find anything either.  Too much
time has passed and the woman, Sherry, who lives there now, has likely changed
too much.  But not everything, Joe points
a mirrored cabinet that was there when the Allens lived there.  When he inspects it, Cisco becomes hopeful as
the mirror was back with silver nitrate, a substance that is also used in
photography.
Linda arrives at Barry’s door this time, dressed to impress
for their second date.  Yet when Barry
offers up his plans for their date she counters with her own plan, one that
involves staying in.
Caitlin and Wells are on their stake out, Caitlin asks why
Stein would keep coming back and Wells explains that it’s because he loves his
wife and wants to get back to her.  He
then explains to Caitlin that the biggest reason he want to help Ronnie and
Stein is his sense of responsibility. 
Not just that he built the Accelerator that did this to the men but that
Ronnie’s loss has hurt Caitlin.  Before
they can say anymore, Ronnie arrives outside the house and Wells urges Caitlin
to call Barry.
It seems Barry liked Linda’s plan for their date better than
his because things have gotten a little hot and heavy on the couch.  In his excitement, Barry loses some control
of his powers but Linda seemed to like the result.  But Barry’s a little spooked when he thinks
back on Cisco’s warning at the coffee shop. 
To further complicate things, Barry receives a text from Caitlin and he
has to leave.
Outside the Stein home, Barry arrives to try and talk to
Stein.  Stein is less than cooperative
and blows up a nearby parked car.  When
Barry tries to subdue him, Stein takes off into the air and drops Barry from
more than high enough to kill him. 
However, just before Barry hits the ground, Stein saves him before
flying away.
Back at Sherry’s house, Cisco has set up equipment to work
on the mirror.  He’s developed the mirror
backing and found about ten exposures. 
He’s also added his own flare to the images by converting them into a
three-dimensional hologram.  He and Joe
look at the images and when he projects them the images clearly show Nora,
young Barry and two speedsters: one in yellow, the other in red.  Joe also notices a blood spatter on a nearby
wall in one of the images.  When they
pull back the wall paper they find an old bloodstain on the wall
underneath.  Joe says that since they had
the prime suspect with his fingerprints all over the murder weapon they weren’t
looking for other suspects, he believes that the blood comes from one of the
two speedsters that was there the night of Nora’s murder. 
The next morning, Barry tries to talk to Linda at the
Picture News but she’s less that receptive. 
She explains that with the demands of her job she doesn’t have a lot of
patience when she feels her time’s being wasted.  Barry tries to explain but is called away
again.  After he leaves, Linda talks to
Iris and she lets slip her belief that Barry is still hung up on someone.  Linda seems to know who that
“someone” is.
Barry has met up with Caitlin and Martin’s wife and three
have tracked Martin to a freeway overpass. 
They find him and when he tries to leave, Clarissa talks to Martin and
convinces him to go to STAR Labs for help. 
At the Lab, Wells gives Martin a drug treatment commonly used with Dissociative
Identity Disorders (multiple-personality) and let him clean up while they
discuss his hopes of splitting himself from Ronnie using nuclear fission.
While Caitlin takes Stein away for tests, Linda calls Barry
to tell him she doesn’t want to see him anymore.  When he asks why, she says that he’s still in
love with Iris.  Barry is angry when he
asks who told her that he was and she say that it was Iris.  Barry confronts Iris at the paper and makes
it very clear that while he told her that he loved her, she chose Eddie and he
accepted that and moved on.
At the Police Station, Cisco and Joe have used Barry’s lab
to analyze the blood sample.  They found
two different DNA samples: one A+ and the other AB-.  Joe is hopeful that the bloods are from both
speedsters and asks if Cisco can run them against records.  However, when Cisco starts to mention the
criminal database Joe has a specific person in mind: Dr. Wells.
Cisco is first confused and then angry that Joe is accusing
his mentor, stating that the Dr. Wells he knows would never do that. Joe counters
that that is almost literally what they all say.  Cisco then leaves.
Caitlin is giving Stein a physical and notices he’s running
a very high temperature.  She asks if she
can talk to Ronnie but Stein explains that’s not how it works.  He can feel Ronnie and their memories are
muddled but he can’t just switch personalities. 
Wells calls her out of the lab and explains to her and Barry that Stein
and Ronnie are destabilizing and could come apart in a nuclear detonation.
Cisco arrives and Wells tells them that Stein’s fight with
Barry has made the instability of the FIRESTORM matrix worse and Ronnie likely
has a matter of hours.  Barry asks if
they can fix it but Wells explains that trying to separate them would likely
have the same result: a nuclear blast strong enough to level Central City.  Wells then points out that if Stein were to
die before the matrix collapsed they would be safe.  That is unacceptable to Caitlin but Wells
doesn’t know any other way to stop it. 
They either kill two people or millions.
Caitlin is adamant that they try, Wells agrees and leaves
for his secret room.  Barry goes to talk
to Stein and quickly learns that Stein is already aware of the risk his melding
with Ronnie has caused.  Barry promises
to help and Stein recalls the time they met on the train.  He then tells Barry that life is too short
for caution.
Barry takes Stein’s words to heart and goes to the Paper to
talk to Linda.  He threatens to eat a ghost
pepper if she doesn’t go out with him again, she says he’s bluffing but Barry proves
her wrong by eating the pepper and nearly throwing up in the middle of the
newsroom.  She agrees to another date and
Barry vows to let nothing come between them. 
Iris watches on in dismay.
In the secret room, Wells is preparing himself to kill Stein
and Ronnie but decides not to do it. 
Instead he asks Gideon if it possible to convert the tachyon device in
something called a “Quantum Splicer” which could split Ronnie from
Stein.  Gideon believes it could but
would hurt Wells’ timetable.  Wells
replies that there won’t be much of a timetable if they are destroyed in a
nuclear blast.  When he presents his plan
to Barry and Caitlin Cisco arrives and tells them Stein is gone.
Caitlin tracks Stein to an area about thirty miles outside
of the city just as Well and Cisco complete the device with about twelve
minutes to spare but when Wells tries to give to Barry Caitlin takes the device
and demands to go with him.  After they
leave, Cisco’s computer issues a notification and he excuses himself from the
lab.
He calls Joe and we learn he ran the tests on the
blood.  Neither of the samples belongs to
Wells but one matches Barry.  Joe says he
already knew Barry was there that night but Cisco says that it couldn’t have
come from Barry as a child.  Based on
protein levels, the blood came from an adult. 
Barry traveled in time to the night of Nora Allen’s death.
Barry and Caitlin find Stein outside of the city with a
pistol.  He tries to tell them to leave
but Caitlin convinces him to use the splicer device.  She tells Ronnie that she loves him and Stein
gives her a kiss “from Ronnie.” 
The device doesn’t seem to be working and Barry speeds her away just
before Stein detonates.
At a nearby military base, the Army under General Eiling’s
command has detective the explosion.  He
instructs them to bring him Firestorm.
Every time I vow to try and shorten these recaps, the show
seems to hand me an extremely dense episode. 
Quite a bit happened here that moved the season long arc forward: The
mystery of Nora Allen’s murder has another piece, Firestorm was introduced,
Barry and Iris troubles and as though that wasn’t enough the producers
established that Time Travel is possible in the CW-Verse.
Really, I wouldn’t have been surprised that this episode was
written to set up a backdoor pilot for a Firestorm series if the CW cooled on
an Atom spin-off.  It gave us a lot of
Firestorm lore and set up the dynamic between the two men residing in Ronnie’s
body.
Linda is a good addition. I like her chemistry with Barry
and before anyone mentions Wally West, I would like to point out that not only
could the producers decide never to introduce the character but the last time
we saw him in non-comics media he was married to another character in Young Justice.  All I ask is that the audience allows the
producers to tell the story the best way they see fit.
I really, really liked the Cisco/Joe plot.  Not only because the two actors play well off
each other, or that it was nice to see someone from my favorite Star Trek
series, Chase Masterson, on the show, but it really gave somewhere interesting
for Cisco to go for the rest of the season. 
The seeds of doubt are planted; it will be fun to watch how Cisco
handles them.
It will be very interesting to see the ramifications of time
travel being possible play out over the rest of the season.  Very, very strong episode.
Three Things We
Learned This Week:
1)     
Barry’s powers affect his metabolism in yet
another, potentially frustrating way.
2)     
Joe suspects Dr. Wells either killed Nora Allen
or worked the man who did.
3)     
Time Travel is possible in the CW-Verse.
Three Questions:
1)     
Is Eiling monitoring STAR Labs or did Wells tell
him about Firestorm?
2)     
Despite his protests, is Cisco suspicious of
Wells?
3)     
Are Stein and Ronnie even still alive?
Just another guy on the internet.