When last we left “The Flash,” the West extended family was welcoming Wally into their home for the holidays, and the Harrison Wells of Earth-Two was secretly working with Zoom to steal our hero’s speed and/or kill him. And if that good news/bad news isn’t enough, in this episode the Flash faces the newly revamped television version of a Flash super-villain who dates back to the Golden Age of comics – the Turtle! Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Potential Energy.”
Why Won’t Barry Tell Patty?
Why won’t Barry tell Patty that he’s the Flash? This has been an ongoing concern for quite some time now. Not that I want Barry and Patty together, mind you – I am a big proponent of the Barry/Iris romance, a love that in the comics transcends time and space and life and death, but I don’t think the showrunners are there yet. But let’s face it, Patty is just about the only person on the show who doesn’t know Barry is the Flash. Hell, even Captain Cold knows!
At the start of this episode, we open on Barry’s nightmare – Zoom killing Patty, perhaps that’s why. I did like the burning roses trick, though I would think by now Barry would know what his super speed aura protects and what it doesn’t. Regardless, it’s driving Patty nuts too, as she even goes to Iris for advice on what’s wrong with Barry. He had five opportunities in just this episode alone to tell her, and yet he doesn’t. And now it’s too late.
First appearing in 1946’s All-Flash #21, the Turtle, as the world’s slowest man made an interesting match for the then-Flash Jay Garrick. They fought a handful of times before the Golden Age of comics faded and in 1956, a new age, the Silver Age of comics dawned. In Barry Allen’s first appearance in Showcase #4, a new Turtle-Man emerged (this being the Earth-One version) to slowly battle the new fastest man alive. The villain had one gimmick, and not a very useful one. As fast as the Flash was, he was significantly, almost surreally slow, almost advantageously so against our hero.
When Wally West took on the mantle of the Flash after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, he actually fought both versions of the villain – the Turtle and the Turtle-Man, both of whom over the years had developed their slow powers to the point of stopping time and even time travel. Standing outside the rest of the Rogues Gallery, and as silly as his name implies, the Turtle remains one of the Flash’s (any of the three) most diabolical enemies.
The TV Turtle
In the show continuity, the Turtle is totally new, and a bit more psychopathic and dangerous. A victim of the particle accelerator accident, Russell Glosson, as played by Aaron Douglas of “Battlestar Galactica,” can emanate a field of slowness, an inertia zone so strong that it absorbs all the kinetic energy around him. He appears to be moving at super speed – even teleporting – because he makes everything around him so slow. This is achieved with some very cool effects.
The Turtle is Cisco’s white whale, and he has a penchant for stealing things of great personal value to others, just for added nuttiness. Everyone but Barry seems to be aware that Cisco has been tracking this villain for some time. Perhaps Barry being the only one who doesn’t know about the Turtle is an analogy for Patty being the only one who doesn’t know Barry is the Flash. Of course, after their first encounters, the Turtle knows what the Flash values most, and kidnaps Patty.
That West Boy
As much as Joe is enjoying getting to know his new son Wally, it does not seem that the feeling is mutual. When he brings the boy to work, another kid being booked calls Wally ‘Tail Lights,’ hinting at a mysterious past. After missing a family gathering, Joe tracks him down to a drag race, where Wally is apparently top dog. Well, at least he’s already used to speed.
As it turns out Wally came to Central City because no one would race him in Keystone City any more. Sooo… Wally is a bad kid, not a criminal, but a bad kid. Perhaps in the future ‘the white shadow,’ I mean Barry can straighten him out, and make him more like Kid Flash material. In the end, like Patty, Wally takes a powder. It makes me wonder why even bring him into the show to begin with. Keystone, by the way, is just one of the DC Comics name drops this episode, along with Midway City (hometown of Hawkman and Hawkgirl) and Markovia (homeland of Geo-Force and Terra, also mentioned in “Arrow“). Also Martin Naydel, co-creator of the Turtle and comic book artist, has his name on a museum.
Soap and Speculations
And then there’s Jay and Caitlin. I just can’t see these two together no matter how right the television versions of them make it seem. Like seeing Barry and Linda Park (in the comics, Wally’s wife) together, I just have a mental block. I keep thinking “What about Joan?” who in the comics is Jay longtime sweetheart and wife. Anyway, apparently Jay has a mystery illness that will kill him unless he gets his speed back, and the only way to do that is to stop Zoom.
While waiting in the van during the museum stake-out, Harry reveals to Cisco the origin of the Zoom name. On Earth-Two, a trap was set by Zoom where several police officers were killed by the villain. One cop described “blue lightning zooming about.” Previously I had surmised that Henry Allen of Earth-Two might be Zoom, but now I have a different theory. There was a character from the comics that wanted to steal the Flash’s speed and also had a blue energy associated with him… Cobalt Blue! Could the Earth-Two Barry, a ‘twin’ of sorts, be Zoom?
Next: What did Harry do to the Turtle? And holy crap, what, how… is the Reverse-Flash back???