Last week on “The Flash,” Joe discovered Wally’s obsession with drag racing, Team Flash had to let go of the Reverse Flash, and Iris said goodbye to her mother. This week, Joe and Wally continued to get closer, Wells put his speed-stealing plan into motion, and Iris got caught in the crossfire of Wally’s racing and a vengeful metahuman named Tar Pit. Fatherhood ran deep in this episode, as Joe tried to get close to his new son, Wally, and Harry pushed his surrogate son, Barry, away. The team also made a very important discovery about the Earth-2 breaches, which will be addressed more deeply in next week’s episode “Welcome to Earth-2.”
Firstly, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Iris (Candice Patton) attempted to get closer to Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale.) Sometime between last week’s episode and this week’s, their mom, Francine (Vanessa Williams) passed away. Wally seemed to be doing okay, and Joe was even jovial and lighthearted, until Iris called out Wally’s drag racing. While it seemed like Iris was ruining the fun of the evening, it set up Joe’s moral dilemma for the episode: Did he want to be Wally’s friend, or Wally’s father? This was also the same problem that was set up for Harry Wells (Tom Cavanagh) tonight: Did he want to mentor Barry (Grant Gustin,) like a son, or push him away and ultimately let Zoom steal his speed?
Iris believed that Wally’s racing was dangerous, and that because Joe was a cop, he should shut the races down. Joe believed it was more important to love and accept Wally, instead of policing him, which is why Joe did nothing to stop Wally from racing. Iris, being the ace reporter that she is, put an expose article together, showing the violent injuries and deaths that street racing can cause. Her investigative work led her from the races, to the bad guy that ran them. Iris not only threatened him with her news piece, but with jail time, if he threatened her again. Iris fiercely didn’t even flinch when she was nose to nose with the baddie race-runner. Joe may not have been taking action to shut down the races, but that didn’t stop Iris. Her determination to protect her brother showed that she was willing to put her life on the line for him, even if it put her in the cross-hairs of harm.
Unfortunately Iris’s willingness to put herself at risk led her and Joe to the races the night the metahuman Tar Pit was seeking revenge on his former abuser. Tar Pit’s origin story was shown at the beginning of tonight’s episode. Apparently when Joseph Monteleone (Marco Grazzini) was left to die in a vat of tar for an unpaid debt, the particle accelerator exploded, which transformed his DNA into a tar-like property. It took him two years, but on tonight’s episode he was ready to take vengeance on the men who tried to kill him. He killed the first man by smothering him with tar. When Barry, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker,) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) tested the tar, they discovered metahuman DNA. Tar Pit tried to kill his second victim, but Barry intervened on time. The sad part about Barry making it in time to rescue Tar Pit’s target, was that he was charging up Harry’s speed device. All the while Barry was running, he was actually allowing Zoom to take his speed.
This speed-stealing plan was the invented by Harry Wells, who was forced to make two decisions tonight. The first decision: Would he actually hide a device on Barry that would take some of his speed? The second decision: Would he ever come clean about Zoom’s plan and tell Team Flash the truth? Harry’s first decision was made with trepidation, but he did it. He decided to steal Barry’s speed. He only stole 2% of it, but that 2% was enough to make Barry just slow enough that when Iris came face to face with a shard of glass from Wally’s destroyed car, Barry wasn’t fast enough to catch it. Harry kept telling himself that he was doing all of this for his daughter, Jesse Quick, but was Jesse worth the life of Iris, or anyone else who may be harmed if Barry isn’t fast enough in the future? Harry was able to come clean when he realized two things: Barry was becoming like his son, and he was starting to trust that Team Flash could help him save Jesse. He also knew that he couldn’t justify putting Iris’ life in danger just to save Jesse’s.
It was in that moment that Harry confessed to stealing Barry’ speed. Funnily enough, he was met with Joe’s fist, and then thrown into the pipeline. When the rest of Team Flash found out what Harry had done, they wanted to send him packing back to Earth-2, but Barry wouldn’t let them. Barry knew he had to fight for Harry, because Harry was only doing what he thought was best for his daughter. This scene demonstrated just how far Barry had come, in terms of forgiving someone for making the wrong choice for the right reasons.Team Flash agreed to move past their anger and help Harry rescue Jesse. This boldness also inspired Joe. Joe was able to finally decide that it was better to be Wally’s father, than to be his friend. Even though it would be tough love, it would be love, which was exactly what Wally needed right now. The episode concluded with Team Flash making plans to close the breaches and Wally spending time with a recovering Iris in the hospital. Wally even felt safe enough to tell Iris why he loved racing so much: It reminded him of his mother.
Next week, Harry takes Cisco and Barry through a breach to Earth-2. Unfortunately nothing is as it seems, and they run into some old friends who may or may not be on their side. “Welcome to Earth-2” is the first part in a two-part episode arc. The arc will conclude with an episode called “Escape from Earth-2,” which will air the following week.