From nearly the beginning of the series, the character of Firestorm has been teased numerous times. From mentions to Ronnie Raymond, to his eventual appearance, to the arrival of Jason Rusch and Marcus Stein, this character has been destined for the spotlight on Flash. Finally, and truly, we got the episode we wanted.
“The Nuclear Man” was almost entirely about the situation concerning Marcus Stein and Ronnie Raymond. As Barry, Caitlin, Wells, and Cisco had to figure out what happened, and how to reverse it. On the surface, you’d think Firestorm is kind of a cheesy hero, especially with him basically being portrayed (at current viewings) as a DC version of the Human Torch. Heck, they even had Barry say “Flame on”. However, what this episode did portray masterfully, was that being Firestorm can be a burden as much as it can be a gift.
Props to Robbie Amell (Stephen Amell’s cousin) for portraying a very dual-personality character. Having to show the confusion of the situation in one scene, then having to act like an older man who’s incredibly intelligent isn’t as easy as you might think. Robbie though did it excellently. You could feel his pain and struggle as he tried to sort out what was Stein’s mind and what was Ronnie’s. The dialogue also helped his character as he seemed to be talk in different voices depending on who was in the room.
And once again, the science behind what was happening both in mind and in body was amazing. The “survival of the fittest” notion actually helped me understand why this was happening (for the record, this is different than what happens in the comics in regards to the dual personality of Firestorm) to Ronnie.
Seeing the condition of Firestorm deteriorate (at least spoken-word wise) was compelling, as it allowed us to see the different sides of the other characters. Wells’ dark side arose once more when he suggested they kill Ronnie, or for Caitlin’s “dark” side to arise when she forced Wells to use their remaining time wisely to save him. This led to a 180 from Wells where he used his tachyon device to make the quantum splicer to save Ronnie.
The one thing I didn’t like was the ending. It felt a little forced, especially since we didn’t see (outside of what we already saw before) any physical deterioration on Ronnie’s body to show he was going to truly go nuclear. Also, it was painfully obvious that Ronnie is still alive. Especially given that ending scene with Eiling. Which though was interesting, cause he wasn’t surprised it was Firestorm, I actually think that was the least compelling scene in Flash history.
As for the other stories, Joe and Cisco teamed up to find out what really happened the night Nora Alan died. These scenes were fun for numerous reasons. Yes, that includes the…uh…tennant? Of Barry’s old house? Yes, usually I would be against such things, but in this case it was funny, especially with the interactions that caused between Joe and Cisco “I won’t judge you.”
For me though, the real highlight was the mirror projection scene (once again backed by science) to show images of what happened at the house, leading to the BIG reveal that Barry (in adult form) was at the house. Which as we saw in the preview for next weeks episode, will lead to time travel.
Sadly, the real downpart of this episode was the newly formed love-triangle between Barry, Iris, and Linda. I REALLY hated this because it started off great. The opening first date scene was amazing, with Barry rushing in and out to help out people (“It’s always a little old lady”), then rushing back to be with Linda. That was great stuff. Then…the second date happened…and I was totally against it. Why? Because this isn’t Oliver Queen! I hated in Season 01 of Arrow how Ollie was with like five different girls (flashbacks included) in the span of a couple weeks. Yes, that was his character, but it made him seem hollow. I don’t see how Barry could be this way, especially given how he’s never truly been on a date. Not everyone moves that fast. Yes, pun intended.
And then Iris intervened and the whole thing became near unwatchable. Well, pepper scene aside, that was classic Barry Allen. The rest though was terrible, especially when Barry said he doesn’t have romantic feelings for Iris anymore…really? Really? Yeah, don’t buy it.
In the end though, the combination of the Firestorm story, along with the Joe/Cisco team-up was more than enough to make “The Nuclear Man” a great episode to watch. Things keep speeding along for Flash, can’t wait to see what happens next!