In Review: The Flash, Episode 35 “Fast Lane”

The villain is secondary, as the characters have got a lot of revelations to deal with.

The Flash, Episode 35 “Fast Lane” Broadcast February 2, 2016

Teleplay by Kai Yu Wu & Joe Peracchio

Story by Brooke Eikmeier

Directed by Rachel Talalay

“Previously on The Flash,” Joe confronts son Wally on his illegal street racing and things do not go well, Iris confronts brother Wally on his inability to visit their dying mother, Patty leaves Central City — and Barry — to pursue a CSI career, speed siphon the Turtle is found murdered at S.T.A.R. Labs, and Earth-2 Harrison Wells vows to help Zoom steal the Flash’s speed to have the villain release his daughter.

Two years ago at the Hudsons Roofing Tar Industries building, two thugs, Daniel and Clay, are holding Joey Monteleone over a vat of tar to get him to reveal where he’s hidden some money. He does and is rewarded by being dropped to his death. The criminals exit the facility just as S.T.A.R. Labs has its “incident.” In the present, Hudsons is being torn down. The concrete in front is being scraped back, revealing a bubbling ooze. A hand covered in black tar emerges. Cue opening title sequence.

In his Flash outfit, Barry speeds home. Seeing Wally, Joe, and Iris together in the dining room smiling, the Scarlet Speedster leaves to give them some family time. Wally reveals he wanted to be an astronaut when he was younger, since they need to go so fast to escape earth’s atmosphere. This allows Iris an opening to ask if he’s still street racing. This sours Wally’s mood and he leaves. Once alone with her father, Iris asks who he’s trying to be for Wally because she doesn’t know the dad she just saw. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison is recording his secret findings into a specialized watch. With what he’s learned from the Turtle’s brain and his encounter with the Reverse-Flash has allowed him to create a device he can place on the Flash’s suit that will allow him to steal his speed when he next taps into the Speed Force. “I wish there were another way, but there’s not.” Barry’s arrival stops his planning. Harrison says he wants to be left alone to work because Barry doesn’t understand the science of what he’s doing. Seeing the professor’s books, he grabs one and speed reads it, and then another. When done, he says he can work with the professor for about a half an hour, the length of time his short term memory will retain the information. At a gathering of the street racers that night, Iris arrives dressed to kill to fit in and talk to Wally. She can’t convince him to drop out of the final race, though she is able to take a picture of the organizer, Clark Bronwen. In another part of town, Daniel spies an oil spill in the center of his auto detailing shop. Joey emerges from it and confronts the man who dropped him into the tank. He wants to show Daniel how he died. His hand enlarges and heats up, then he reaches for thug. Cue first commercial break.

This looked to be a fairly simply “Villain of the Week” episode, but the last third of the story went into character overdrive. Tom Cavanagh was the heavy hitter his week, as the torn Harry — wondering if he’s making the right choice selling out Barry to Zoom. Next would be Jesse L. Martin who’s an emotional powerhouse when something is revealed. He also has an outstanding speech that he gives to Wally in a hallway. These two actors steal the episode, but that’s not to say the rest of the cast are far behind: Grant Gustin gets the most heartfelt speech at the end of the episode, mirroring the delivery of Christopher Reeve from the first Superman movie. Gustin has Barry wearing his heart on his sleeve, and it’s impossible not be to warmed by it. Carlos Valdes has his usual amount of funny lines and Danielle Panabaker gets to work in doctor mode, but when something is revealed, they, like Jesse L. Martin, really rise emotionally. Just a look is enough to know what they’re thinking. Candice Patton got her best episode tonight. Iris was a go-getter, doing what daddy wouldn’t, and she showed how strong she could be. Because of such strong character moments, the story by Eikmeier and the teleplay by Wu and Peracchio deserves much praise. New villain Tar Pit, played by Marco Grazzini was good, but I have to admit that his final appearance of the evening was the one I preferred. The effects were also top notch, with the scene involving a car amazing. This episode rocked.

The good: Tom Cavanagh, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, the story and script, the effects, and a scream worthy Iris incident.

Fun lines: “It looks like he was dipped in a volcano,” “Did I just make a metahuman Tinder?”, “You know that’s annoying?”, “You are coming home, Jesse. You are coming home,” “Felicity Smoak,” “Life is either or,” “I ain’t letting you go,” and the final line of the episode which cannot be spoiled because it made me cheer like a madman.

The bad: What was up with the camera work on the scene between Barry and Joe at Diamond Detailing? It was horrible — bobbing up and down like a sinking ship. Thankfully, this was the only scene I noticed this occurring.

The final line: The villain is secondary, as the characters have got a lot of revelations to deal with. I’m watching for the heroics, but loving the character interaction. Thumbs up! Can’t wait for next week! Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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