Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Flash! Proceed with caution, speedsters. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Rupture,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.
As Leo Tostoy famously observed in the opening of Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” But it’s a pretty safe bet that no unhappy family was as uniquely unhappy as that of Cisco and Dante Ramon, as this week’s episode of The Flash makes abundantly clear.
It’s been a year since we last saw Dante, when he was kidnapped and used to by Captain Cold to force knowledge of the Scarlet Speedster’s secret identity out of Cisco. Unfortunately, the brothers’ relationship hasn’t improved in the interim, what with Dante now blaming his younger bro for his abduction and almost losing his career as a concert pianist. When Cisco vibes the elder Ramon, however, he discovers the existence of Rupture, Dante’s Earth-2 doppelganger. Ironically, Rupture, though a villain, seems to have had more affinity for his own Cisco, and is driven by revenge into joining Zoom and attacking Cisco on Earth-1. Rupture, by the way, first appeared in comics as a third Ramon brother, Armando Ramon, created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Chuck Patton for December 1984’s Justice League of America #233.
“Rupture” flirts with some ideas that further explore the dynamic between Cisco and Dante, like a glimmer of delight that runs across Cisco’s face when he traps the villain with the aid of his homemade Flash hologram (it’s clear that the S.T.A.R. scientist is working out some issues). But it doesn’t go much deeper than that, with the exception of a last-minute reconciliation between the two after Cisco witnesses Rupture’s death at the hands of an angry Zoom.
What this week’s episode is primarily concerned about is the decision by Barry to allow Wells to recreate the particle accelerator explosion that first gave him his powers, in a bid to restore himself to full fighting form. It’s a decision that arrives too late to save a platoon of police officers from being killed by Zoom. Yet Barry, who could have had a chance at saving them if he’d only heeded Wells’ advice earlier, handles his guilt oddly well, especially given his history of blaming himself for minor injuries that have befallen his friends at S.T.A.R. Labs. But knowing that the accelerator explosion experiment would “fail” anyway by episode’s end (and having a limited amount of time to tell this week’s story), it’s perhaps understandable why the writers didn’t have Barry take a more visible guilt trip.
The most immediately noteworthy aspect of the experiment is that Wally and Jesse are caught in its blast, and are presumably now imbued with the super-speed powers that make them, in the comic books, Kid Flash and Jesse Quick. With constant references to Wally’s “need for speed,” I figured he’d get his abilities at some point this season. But I didn’t expect Jesse would become a speedster quite so quickly. Now when Barry does return from whatever alternate universe/reality the accelerator blast has sent him to, he’ll have two sidekicks for the price of one.
I just wish (and I realize I sound like a broken record here) that the show’s producers could more fully integrate Iris into this season’s storyline, as they have most every other character. But this week she at least gets to tell Barry she thinks they’re destined to be together, and that her feelings for him are in no way dependent on whether or not he again becomes the Flash.
Barry himself, however, insists that the Flash is the best version of himself, and winds up giving his life for his city before a horrified Iris and Henry Allen. Henry, it turns out, has decided to move back to Central City just in time to lost his son again. His main purpose this week, though, is to tell Barry that Garrick is his mother’s maiden name. Might our friend in the iron mask somehow be Earth-2’s Henry Allen? Or a version of Jay that’s related to Henry? We’ve now just two weeks left to find out.
—- So why didn’t Zoom take away Caitlin’s cell phone when he chained her up?
— “No Fringe on Earth-2. Noted.”
— When Zoom tells Caitlin he’s seen the darkness in her (a.k.a. Killer Frost), it opens up a new line of questioning. Was he first attracted to her because he’d already seen that darkness? Was he compelled by the thought of bringing that darkness out? And might this season’s central plot have been improved by Zoom corrupting Caitlin (and Cisco for that matter) rather than simply endangering them?
— “You’re Princess Bride-ing me right now!”
— Barry’s demise in the accelerator blast is visually reminiscent of the Flash’s disintegration when he reaches maximum velocity in DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries.
— “I thought it was you until your World of Warcraft doppelganger showed up.” Cisco sets a new record with his pop culture references this week.
— “How do you know about the Harry Potter convention?” Case in point.
— Barry’s torn chest emblem lying on the floor of S.T.A.R. Labs makes for a hell of a fade-out image in what is The Flash‘s best cliffhanger ending yet.
Next week: Where’s Barry? Can he return? Does he want to? And what’s Zoom getting up to in his absence?!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Images: The CW