A mysterious meta human unleashes a Kaiju-style monster.
When the episode opens Barry is crashing with Cisco and Caitlin has left STAR Labs for a while. HR is going above and beyond to win over the other members of Team Flash. He starts by getting everyone specialized coffee orders and playing back a message from Caitlin. Despite HR’s enthusiasm, Cisco urges him to back off and observe. HR gets a chance to do more than that when the city is attacked by a, literal giant monster.
Caitlin’s message just says that she’s going to be gone for a few days. She’s actually gone to see her mother, Carla Tannhauser (Susan Walters). Carla is a brilliant biologist, but maybe not the most loving mother. After Caitlin angrily displays her new powers, she agrees to try to help her out. What Caitlin really wants from her mother is emotional support, not scientific support. Caitlin’s mother had been shut off from her emotionally since her father became sick. Carla did everything she could to save him, but she shut down emotionally and never really came back to Caitlin. Caitlin decides to leave her mother’s lab, but an impetuous assistant tries to keep her at the lab for his own research. Caitlin ends up freezing the guy in self defense and her mother promises that she’ll cover it up. It’s not a lifetime of emotional support, but it’s a start for Caitlin. Later in the episode, we see her mother send her a message warning Caitlin that the more she uses her powers, the harder the change will be to reverse.
In order to try to actually figure out what’s going on with this monster, Barry tries to bury the hatchet with Julian and stay close to the crime scene. As the two start to work the case, Barry also tries to figure out just why Julian hates metas so much. Eventually Julian reveals that he simply dislikes metas because they have been given great powers and use them to steal and kill. Barry also finds out that Julian carries a gun, which becomes an issue later.
Back at STAR Labs, Cisco and Barry have becomes suspicious of HR. They realize that he hasn’t actually made any scientific contributions to the team since he’s been there. They go through his things in order to vibe him. They find a recording pen, with notes about them on it. When HR catches them in the act, he tells them to play the whole thing through. It simply reveals that he’s an author, who’s writing a book about his own adventures.
Just then, Caitlin returns and the meta-alarm goes off. The Flash races off to deal with the monster. When he arrives at the scene he tries to take it down, but realizes it has no physical form. Thinking back to he and Julian’s research, he’s afraid that the monster is being created/controlled by someone and that Julian may have gone after them on his own. Thanks to some quick work from Cisco, Flash is able to find the culprit just as Julian takes a shot at him. The culprit turns out to be a young boy who was just lashing out because he was being bullied. The Flash manages to save the kid from being shot by Julian, but he’s still turned into the police. Julian also thanks the Flash for stopping him.
Back at STAR Labs, the team is trying to figure out how to deal with HR. Even though he’s not nefarious, he’s not who they thought he was. It turns out that HR isn’t a scientist, he’s an idea man. His partner did most of the leg work, while HR comes up with the ideas. Despite not being a scientist, HR is familiar with the meta-humans on his earth and how they were defeated. He came to this earth in order to redeem himself and try to offer some level of help. The team thinks he’s a con man, but they agree to give him a chance to redeem himself.
When Barry heads back to the lab, he finds Julian there ruminating about the day’s events. He’s shaken by the fact that he almost killed a kid. However, he also realizes how similar he is to the kid who was just acting out. He reveals that he’s the first born son of a wealthy family but his interest in science superseded his desire to inherit his family’s wealth. He came to Central City to become a scientist. The real reason that he hates metas is that they changed the world. As he got to the top of his field, meta-humans appeared and rendered most of his work meaningless because he didn’t know anything about them. Barry and Julian are finally able to find some common ground to work from and they head out to get a drink together.
- Julian tries to taddle on Barry to Chief Singh. It doesn’t really go anywhere, but it kind of reaffirms Julian’s belief that rules don’t apply to Barry.
Welcome to the show Tom Felton! I was starting to think that he wasn’t going to really get pushed into the forefront of the show until we started trying to figure out if he was Doctor Alchemy. It makes sense that you can’t get an actor with his experience and not have him featured at some point in the season. As much as I don’t like the Julian character, because he seems to only exist to instigate problems with Barry, I salute Felton’s ability to make him unlikable. I guess this episode is supposed to be the turning point where Julian starts to become part of Team Flash.
This episode also gave us a twist about this new HR Wells. He’s more of a con man than anything else, but he’s going to stay around for…reasons? Functionally, it’s hard to see how this is going to really help the team much. But, from an entertainment standpoint, he’s going to really add to the banter of the series. This is gonna be even more necessary with Caitlin starting to turn into Killer Frost. I imagine that that’s going to lead to a lot more moping and brooding on her end.
As far as the villain in this episode goes, I thought the idea of having the Flash fight a kaiju was pretty cool. However, the whole anti-bullying message in this episode definitely felt shoe-horned in. We only see the kid on screen for a couple of minutes and then his whole story about being bullied, and its resolution, is shown in like 3 minutes. I really thought it could’ve been left out. To me, the only thing worse than not dealing with an important subject is to deal with it hastily.
The only thing the kid really adds to the episode is giving Julian a slap in the face with respect to his views. In that sense, he does a great job. In the grand scheme of things the kid will be forgotten, but Julian looks like he’s got plenty more to do in this season.