TV Recap: The Flash, ‘The Darkness and The Light’

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The Darkness and the Light Plot: Barry learns a new breacher, Dr. Light, has come through the portal and sets off to capture her. Jay tells Barry that Dr. Light was not a threat on Earth-2 and that Barry can reason with her. However, during a fight with The Flash, she blinds him and drops some shocking news about Zoom. Meanwhile, Barry and Patty go out on a date.

I feel like this season of The Flash, while good, has been lagging a bit behind where it should be. Maybe it is because we keep adding new characters to take the place of old ones at a rate that seems unsustainable. Maybe it’s because explaining the past of Earth-2 is taking time that we could have been using to do fun stuff on Earth-1. Maybe, and most likely, it’s because we have had two episodes so far dedicated solely to setting up Legends of Tomorrow characters for the spin off show. Whatever the reason (probably Legends of Tomorrow), I am delighted to say that this episode was excellent and set The Flash firmly on the path forward.

The Flash -- "The Darkness and the Light" -- Image FLA205A_0285b.jpg -- Pictured: Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “The Darkness and the Light” — Pictured: Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

As much as I would like to give all of the credit to the entrance of Harry, it really is a team effort. Let’s be clear here though. Harry is so good. He is exactly what the team needed. Tom does a spectacular job of playing Harry with the same energy of Wells but through a different lens. He is no longer the well meaning mentor who is secretly a villain. He is now, as Crisco so elegantly put it, a dick whose daughter is most likely being held hostage by Zoom and being forced to work with the team to get her back. It doesn’t feel like nothing has changed, and thank god. Shows like this (cough cough Arrow) have a bad habit of returning to the status quo even though so many huge events have happened that would force the characters to interact differently. The Flash takes all of the great things about the Wells character and reworks them in a way that is both logical and compelling. I could do with less of the Batman voice sometimes, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The Flash -- "The Darkness and the Light" -- Image FLA205A_0063b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “The Darkness and the Light” — Pictured (L-R): Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The success of this episode came from all sides. Bringing Wells back from non existence is a difficult task but creating a non awkward CW dating scene is a far greater achievement. The Patty/Barry relationship took a huge step forward this week with both characters flirting like crazy and eventually going on a pretty watchable date. Sure, these scenes are always a little goofy but they really pulled this one off well. I can’t help but assume knowing the truth about whatever is really going on with Patty will make this scene a lot different. She accepted his blindness way too quickly and that off handed comment about how she drowned as a child seems too heavy to not be tied to some more traditionally tragic backstory. Either way, it was a rousing success and should be looked at as the gold standard of how to do a dorky date scene.

The Flash -- "The Darkness and the Light" -- Image FLA205B_0131b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Malese Jow as Linda Park and Candice Patton as Iris West -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “The Darkness and the Light”  — Pictured (L-R): Malese Jow as Linda Park and Candice Patton as Iris West — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Let’s talk about Iris. I cannot get over how mature she has been acting. It is such a refreshing change of pace form what everyone has been expecting. I mean by this point last season we must have had more than a couple silly Thea moments that made everyone sick of Iris. I am not usually a fan of the audience of a show dictating how it is written but this seems like less of the fanservice side of things and more of the good criticism side. It is the kind of 180 that really gives me hope for other characters on other shows becoming anything but the worst. All that being said, Good Lord! The dialogue between Iris and Linda was mind numbing. They seem to speak in a language built entirely from cliches when they are together.

The Flash -- "The Darkness and the Light" -- Image FLA205A_0044b.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon -- Photo: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “The Darkness and the Light” — IPictured (L-R): Ciara Renee as Kendra Saunders, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

The fourth MVP of this episode has to be Cisco or as we can finally refer to him, Vibe. He went from striking out on Hawkgirl to embracing his powers to getting Hawkgirl’s number. I love it. The chemistry he has with Barry has become effortless and he had some really incredible looks this episode. The back and forth between Harry and Cisco was also tremendous and featured the afformentioned “just a dick” line that I love so much. I can’t wait to see more of them this season.

The Flash -- "The Darkness and the Light" -- Image FLA205B_0306b.jpg -- Pictured: Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick -- Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.
The Flash — “The Darkness and the Light” — Pictured: Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick — Photo: Cate Cameron/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

I also was really pleasantly surprised after spending more time with Jay. After just not showing up at all last week for no good reason, we got a couple of great moments that really built his character into someone fans can be interested in. He has a very understandable beef with Harry that erupted in a straight up fistfight that Barry stopped eventually. Jay was able to act like a foil to Harry and his attempt to persuade Barry to reason with Dr Light feels like something the Flash has been sorely missing. Flash isn’t Batman or Wonder Woman. He understands that his villains are for the most part just people and that sometimes they just need someone to talk to them. I still am not completely on board with the Jay Caitlin relationship but whatever. I’ll let it slide.

Let’s talk about what’s the come. Next week features the team taking the fight to Zoom and since we are less than a third of the way through the season, something tells me their plan is going to backfire spectacularly. We also got a look at Zoom holding Harry’s daughter hostage. That daughter is apparently supposed to be the speedster known as Jessie Quick but it doesn’t look like we are pursuing that story anytime soon. All in all, this was a really entertaining episode that managed to balance the crazy sci fi with the great human interactions that make  so special.

The Darkness and The Light Rating: 9/10


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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 the cool and tough Managing Editor of 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.