TV Recap: The Flash “Potential Energy”

“Potential Energy” Plot:

Barry and the Star Labs team hunt down The Turtle who can slow down time, especially anyone with speed. Barry faces a choice of whether or not Patty should learn his secret identity especially after Zoom returns to Earth 1 to kidnap her.

Listen. Was this episode particularly good? Not really. Do I blame it on Flash having to give up five excellent characters to Legends of Tomorrow? Most definitely. Do I think it can get better next week? You’re goddamn right I do. For now lets look a four missteps (and one big win) in “Potential Energy.”

A Throwaway Villain

This is the single problem that Flash should NOT be having. Save for Batman, Flash has the most fun and interesting Rogue’s gallery in comics and thankfully not all of them are tired up in Legends of Tomorrow. The Turtle, while not the cream of the crop, should still be a solid character. You have someone with powers that pretty perfectly mirror Barry’s in a way that finally isn’t “He’s even faster than you Barry! You better get reeeeeeally fast!” What do you have him do? He steals random valuable artwork, then Patty because he kinda thinks the Flash loves her, and then gets beat down like a chump. Oh and how do we beat him? You gotta run really reeeeeealllly fast. Whomp whomp.

The Flash -- "Potential Energy" -- Image FLA210a_9625b -- Pictured: Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West -- Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “Potential Energy” — Pictured: Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

West Family Nonsense

Wow. I had a feeling this would be rough but it is turning out to be rougher than I had ever imagined. When your show is taking cues from the Batgirl subplot of Batman and Robin, you know you have a problem. Why are we even bringing Wally into the show if all he is going to do today is leave? Maybe the relationship is more complicated than that. It has to be. But the show really needs to start showing it in a meaningful way. This is coming off less as “Here’s a great story we can tell.” and more as “Here’s a popular character we should probably introduce now. We can figure out what to do with him later.”

S.T.A.R. Shenanigans

The fun of the S.T.A.R. team is usually the big redeemer in an otherwise boring episode and it delivered big time. Cisco is great. Carlos Valdes brings a ton of personality to the roll and is exactly what the show needs more of right now. His quest to catch the Turtle was just the right amount of silly even though the whole “Barry hasn’t heard of him” gimmick really ran it’s course halfway through the episode. I also adore how Caitlin and Jay are completely ignoring the speed serum even though it was seemingly 100% successful the only time they tried it.

The Flash -- "Potential Energy" -- Image FLA210b_0078b -- Pictured (L-R): Shantel Van Santen as Detective Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “Potential Energy” — Pictured (L-R): Shantel Van Santen as Detective Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW© 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

It’s Complicated

So after a short hiatus, the Barry/Patty relationship has met its breaking point and Patty is off to Midway City in hopes of becoming a CSI. I can’t say that this bothers me too much. I like the idea of a single Barry. I think it is a fun path that superheroes very rarely take, usually because of their destiny relationships (Lois and Clark, Peter and Mary Jane, etc.). I certainly prefer it to the hoops Arrow is currently jumping through to make the Olicity relationship work. My gripe with this week’s execution is mainly with the circumstance surrounding it. Patty getting kidnapped by the Turtle was confusing and her realization that she had to leave felt incredibly rushed. I imagine we will see more of her in the future (as Zoom, of course) but I don’t love the way they chose to write her out of the show.

No Future Teases

This is really where Flash lost me this week. Besides Barry having a bunch of nightmares, we didn’t get even a tiny bit of new Zoom information. I am starting to feel like Harry. Has everyone forgot how big of a threat he is? He can mess up everyone at a moment’s notice. After the capture of the Turtle, you think the gang would go into berserker mode trying to use the Turtle’s power to create some sort of speed dampener. Thank god for Harry bringing us plenty of Zoom related exposition and killing Turtle in the post credits scene, even though it feels a lot like a scene from Season 1 where Wells stole Blackout’s powers and did absolutely nothing with them.

RATING: 4/10


Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he focuses on film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He has an unshakable love for U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. His twitter handle is @NationofNando. Did we mention how handsome he was?

Matthew Nando Kelly is a cool and tough Senior Staff Writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.