Flame On | The Flash “The Nuclear Man” Review
The Flash is back with “The Nuclear Man,” an episode that revolves around much more than Barry’s powers and the recently introduced Firestorm. Yes, the Firestorm/Dr. Stein teasing finally comes to a head at this episode, leaving us with another huge cliff hanger of course, but we finally get to see Barry deal with struggles from which he can’t out run.
Robbie Amell hasn’t been featured that much on The Flash, but it’s safe to say that his acting in The Flash is quite a bit better than it was on CW’s, “The Tomorrow People.” Robbie Amell did a great job acting throughout the episode. He captured the mannerisms of the trapped Dr. Stein to a T and really elevated every scene in which he was present. When Mrs. Stein is finally convinced that Dr. Stein is indeed trapped within Ronnie’s body, she confronts him. She gives him a cute little “test” to prove that it’s actually him. She asks, “What’s my favorite color,” he replies “You don’t have one, you could never pick one, striped.” The overall awe that is portrayed in this scene does a great job of pulling you into the gravity of the situation without having some fancy effects. But while Mrs. Stein has finally come to terms with what has happened, Caitlin hasn’t. After having thought she lost her fiancée many months ago, and him finally showing up for better or for worse, is a great twister for such an even keeled character.
Toward the end of the episode where Firestorm is going nuclear, literally, Dr. Stein explains that he has certain memories that aren’t his and explains that one memory is sticking out to him in particular. It happens to be where Ronnie proposed to Caitlin. Of course every time someone talks about a proposal, the next thing that happens is a kiss, and how awkward and cute it was. It’s nice seeing Caitlin go through some struggles and have a nice sense of emotional depth. While he does go nuclear, with nice effects to boot, he doesn’t die. Wells uses parts from his Reverse Flash suit to create a quantum splicer, thus recreating the events of the S.T.A.R Labs explosion on a smaller scale in attempts to separate the two. But as you know, this can’t happen without a nuclear explosion.
As with all CW shows, a love triangle is a must and, surprisingly, The Flash doesn’t disappoint. Barry has a date with Linda, the girl he met last episode after singing karaoke. Barry is the fastest man alive, but definitely can’t hold his own when it comes to hot foods. He loses to Linda by taking the first sip of water after eating a pepper. While the scene isn’t earth shattering, it does a great job of showing that while Barry Allen is The Flash, he is still human. Of course, their date is severely interrupted with Barry having to take care Central City along the way. Because of his bizarre exits, Linda asks the one and only Iris for some info on Barry’s past relationships. And Iris gives the answer you’d expect. He’s still stuck on a girl that he loved, but the feelings weren’t mutual. Yeah, it’s exactly what you’d expect from Iris. She is with Eddie but refuses to let Barry be happy with someone else. Linda then breaks if off with Barry saying that Iris told her that Barry still had feelings for her, your typical sappy love triangle right? Well Barry actually confronts Iris, something I didn’t think he’d do because he’s a very easy-going character. It was nice to see that fiery passion from The Flash, confronting her and explaining that she was way off base in telling Linda anything about his feelings for Iris.
So how does the fastest man alive win back his new flame? Barry runs into Linda’s workplace and says that if she doesn’t give him another chance he will eat the infamous Ghost chili. She attempts to call his bluff and Barry shoves the Ghost Chili in his mouth. After promptly spitting it out, Barry and Linda share a passionate kiss, right in front of Iris. I’d be lying if I didn’t have a huge grin across my face.
The entire love triangle will probably be seen as a very petty dynamic considering what’s at stake with Barry Allen. But, it does a great job of humanizing the characters. Barry is The Flash when he needs to be, but it’s clear that he is a lot deeper that just being Central City’s speedster.
The other major sub-plot from this episode brought us back to Nora Allen’s murder scene, but this time we have an oddly interesting duo. Joe implored the help of Cisco in the investigation to find what they may have missed years ago. The house, now lived in by a very flaunting woman named Sherry, delivers some huge breaks in the case. Cisco uses some S.T.A.R Labs technology and discovers that the silver nitrate on the mirror exposed images due to the yellow blurs speed. Cisco proceeds to make a 3-D representation because, well why not? They follow the traces and find blood splatter under some tacky wallpaper. By this point, it was easy to guess whose blood it was. Joe suspected Wells, but it was actually Barry’s. Although the eureka moment was strong, the previous episodes strung us along, and this conclusion wasn’t that hard to come to. But, that’s not to diminish the fact that this means time travel is in Barry Allen’s future, err… past. You get the picture.
The duo looks pretty weird on paper, but Cisco and Joe have an interesting dynamic. Cisco vehemently stands behind Wells and hates the idea that Joe could even think that it could have been Wells’ blood. The push and pull between the two leads to a couple tense moments, but the reveal that the blood is Barry’s really hammers down the scene.