Hey, do you remember when Zoom coerced Harry into helping him steal The Flash’s powers? It was only 3 episodes ago, functioning as the big cliffhanger in the mid-season finale. However, “Fast Lane” marked the first time we actually saw Harry steal Flash’s speed, but it will probably be the only time because this story line was put to bed by the end of the episode. You could say they…
Bad puns aside, it was both surprising and encouraging to see the writers put everything out in the open this so quickly. It’s a shame that what ultimately got them there in “Fast Lane” was a lackluster particle-accelerator-villain-of-the-week, a thug dropped into a tarpit at the time of the accelerator explosion two years ago. Now he’s targeting his would-be killers for revenge, which mostly translates to Barry hunting down a tar-themed villain who himself is hunting down a bunch of (ex)criminals. Then again, there was something refreshing about seeing Team Flash take on a straightforward Earth-1 bad guy with no concerns about time travel or alternate universes.
While that provided the episode its structure, the heart of the story was Harry’s struggles with actually going through with his plan to steal Barry’s powers, and Iris convincing Joe to actually be a father to Wally and discourage his street racing. This translated to an episode that was kind of all over the map, despite the remarkably capable direction from Rachel Talalay (Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, the most recent Doctor Who season finales).
Harry continued to work in secret in his bottled-up crazy corner of STAR Labs until Barry, eager for the distraction while getting over Patty, offered to help. For once, though, Barry’s charms did not result in him earning yet another father figure. Harry tolerates him for a little while before throwing an eraser in his general direction as a preferable option to listening to Barry finish his story about how the Earth 1 Harrison Wells was a mentor to him. They later have an argument in which Harry flat out tells him that his goal is to save his daughter, and at the end of the day he will do anything to pull that off, even if that means betraying Barry. However, as idiotic as it sounded Barry promised that he still believed in him, and the two ended up becoming an effective team, creating a device which can actually permanently close down the wormholes between Earth 1 and Earth 2.
Iris, meanwhile, takes to the over-protective sister routine and continually hounds Wally about his street racing, even going the undercover reporter route to gather intel about how exactly the racing operation works. However, she can’t get through to Wally, who at least cops to the fact that his love for racing isn’t about his mom anymore (who apparently died in-between episodes off-screen!). He just has a need for speed, and it’ll probably get him killed someday. Joe is reluctant to back Iris up because he doesn’t want to lose Wally by so quickly stepping in as his dad since that didn’t work out so well for him a couple of weeks ago.
All of this is perfectly in The Flash‘s wheelhouse, ultimately furthering the family drama that is this show’s emotional core. After all, Harry’s treachery is tied to his love for his daughter, and Iris is merely looking out for her brother. However, in the latter case they did in such a Fast & Furious kind of way, somewhat annoyingly so.
In one part of the episode, you have a bland villain out for vengeance. In another, you have a traitor attempting to distance himself from those he’s betraying, and in the last part you have 2 CW Fast, 2 CW Furious. They all collide at a race pitting Wally against Tarpit’s final target. The cars are attacked, sending debris everywhere, including a piece of glass which lands in Iris’ shoulder. Barry was able to save everyone and remove all the debris from the air other than the piece of glass because by that point he was 2% slower than usual. When Team Flash discusses Barry’s suddenly reduced speed at STAR Labs, Harry comes clean, and is instantly attacked by Joe. When they finally hear him out he explains how it was his attempt to steal Barry’s speed which almost cost Iris her life, and he can’t stomach that. However, now that he won’t be able to keep up his agreement with Zoom anymore his daughter’s as good as dead.
Kudos to them for actually wasting no time in going a new direction with this, dropping all of the subterfuge and getting everyone in the same page. After all, of course Cisco would instantly notice the drop in speed!
In the end, Barry’s goes full-on boy scout and points out that what Harry did is not really different than things they’ve all done for family. They won’t honor his request to simply send him back to Earth 2 and close all the wormholes behind him. No, he’s part of their team now. They’re going to Earth 2 with him to figure out how to save his daughter. You know what that means – hello alternate universe versions of Barry, Iris, Caitlin and Ronnie next week.
Here’s how Twitter weighed in on all of this:
2 CW Fast, 2 CW Furious
Iris’ Date with Mr. Glass
Harry & the Team Flashertons
Rejecting the Entire Idea of Somehow Stealing Barry’s Speed
Barry’s Big Speech at the End
Twitter’s Favorite Moment of the Episode: