Spoiler alert: Do not read on unless you’ve seen episode 19 of “The Flash,” titled “Back To Normal.”
For a show that has utilized comic book story devices like time travel, doppelgangers and multiple Earths, “The Flash” is taking us where we didn’t think we’d ever go again – to the particle accelerator explosion that was the impetus to giving Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) the powers to become The Flash in the pilot.
With Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) currently in the clutches of the insane/smitten Hunter Zolomon (Teddy Sears), Zoom determined to destroy our Earth and Barry void of his Flash powers, our team is running out of options even if said option is one that could end up making things worse before they’re better
Here’s what executive producers Andrew Kreisberg, Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing, as well as Tom Cavanaugh (Harrison Wells), had to say about what it all means.
Particle Accelerator Explosion Redux
It won’t take long for us to get into whether creating another explosion is really a good idea. “It’s complicated and dangerous,” Kreisberg explained. “Everyone, including Barry, has to sort of decide if this is the right way to go, considering the craziness that ensued last time. They’re sort of faced with a damned if you do, damned if you don’t, because Zoom is about to unleash a reign of terror on the city.”
Buh-bye, Killer Frost
Now that Zoom has Caitlin, he didn’t really need her doppelganger anymore and, upon her trying to kill Caitlin, he killed Killer Frost. Kreisberg expressed regret at ending Frost’s journey but loved what Panabaker brought to playing the dual roles. “When we were designing this episode and we had Zoom kidnap Caitlin, it just seemed like a fun thing to do to be able to have the two of them together,” he said. “Then to have Caitlin actually experience time with [Frost] gave us an opportunity to sort of deepen both characters. But ultimately, she had to go.”
The Evolution of Wells
The producers and Cavanaugh expressed their joy at the arc of Harrison Wells this season since he went from someone who didn’t want to be on Earth and was often quite surly about it to now being a full-fledged part of the team. The actor explained the journey had this “nice sort of arc to it where it was like, ‘these people suck. I want to get my daughter back.’ ‘These people suck. I want to get my daughter back.’ ‘These people suck. Oh, I got my daughter back. Okay, these people don’t suck.’ The fact that it’s Wells’ idea to recreate the particle accelerator explosion says a lot about his feelings about Barry and the team as a whole.
A Fine Romance…Finally?
“This whole season has been about Iris, whether she realizes it or not, trying to take a step forward,” Kreisberg said of Miss West’s realization that maybe she should be with Barry after all. In fact, knowing that Barry and Iris were married in Earth 2 also pushed the idea along but at a slow enough pace to honor the death of Iris’s ex, Eddie. As to how quickly things might move in the final episodes of the season for the potential love birds, Kreisberg would only say, “I think you can expect some twists and turns in that, but I think you can expect it to be moving steadily forward.
Jesse & Wally with the Team
We saw Wells’ daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane) return to her father and get more folded in with the team in this episode. With Jesse’s bio-chem background, “she’s really able to fill the shoes of Caitlin and provide the science background and specialty that the team is missing,” Todd Helbing explained.
As for Wally, don’t expect him to get an inside view at the action at least for the time being. “He’s not brought in as much as Jesse is into the team,” Todd Helbing said of young Mr. West. “He also is the only one that doesn’t know that Barry is The Flash so there are still a few more episodes of him being sort of like how Iris was last year and it takes a while before he gets fully caught up to what’s going on.”
Cisco and His Powers
As Cisco gets more of a handle on his growing abilities, don’t expect everything to run smoothly, even providing some lighter moments against the backdrop of Zoom’s threat. In fact, while Mr. Ramon emotionally is in a good place, Kreisberg teased, “you’re going to see a couple of more of what we are calling ‘Spider-Man’ moments, where he’s trying to make it happen and it’s not happening the way he wants it to. There’s sort of more, ‘Greatest American Hero’ technical issues, glitches coming up this season.” The executive producer also promised that at the end of the day despite the changes going on with him, Cisco will still remain Cisco.
The Return of Barry’s Dad
John Wesley Shipp is back in the next episode but it’s not to help with recreating the particle accelerator explosion but more for an emotional reason. “[Barry] needs his dad,” Kreisberg said. “He needs his advice because Barry’s sort of at a crossroads as far as what he should do or what he shouldn’t do, because he’s being presented with a monumental decision that could not only affect him and possibly kill him, it could kill everybody in S.T.A.R. Labs. It could set off another chain reaction and affect everybody in the city.” Watch for a scene involving Barry’s three fathers (or father figures) on the episode (Shipp, Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanaugh) as they try to figure out what’s best for Barry.
Is Jay Garrick gone for good?
Now that we know Hunter Zolomon is really who we thought Jay Garrick was all this time, what about the real Jay? Did he exist or just a figment of Zolomon’s insanity? Kreisberg didn’t want to spoil much but did say, “I think the answer to that question will be answered down the line. I think it’s worth not talking about.”
Who is the Man in the Iron Mask?
Predictably, nobody was offering up the answer to the mysterious figure trapped in Zoom’s lair but Kreisberg did express his pride in the secret identity right along with Well’s story this season. “The answer is going to blow your mind,” he teased.
Kevin Smith Directing
The popular film director helms episode 21, titled “The Runaway Dinosaur,” and, yes, he’ll bring some of his own signature touches to “The Flash.” In fact, Kreisberg teased, “there’s one scene in there that is like literally a scene out of a Kevin Smith movie.” Despite that statement and revealing Jason Mewes (a regular face in Smith’s films) will be a part of the episode, Kreisberg shared that the director had one objective when he came in to direct. “He didn’t approach this in like, ‘well, here’s my chance to put my stamp on it, or here’s my change to Clerks-ify it. His biggest drive [was] he just didn’t want to mess it up because he’s such a fan.” That episode airs May 10.
“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8pm on the CW.