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"Potential Energy" delivers a solid, albeit slower-paced, offering by cleverly balancing the time spent on Barry's personal issues and on the villain of the week.
Barry's relationship drama also crosses paths with the meta-human-of-the-week. We don't have any hot, low-level criminals, or a thief with a surprising way of words - man, this episode could really use Captain Cold's energy.
There's still the matter of Barry's superhero identity hidden away, and Iris suggests to Barry it may finally be time to tell her.
Potential Energy maintains an ideal balance between the villain-of-the-week story and various personal complications, while keeping Zoom in the picture as the looming threat of the season.
Despite the winter finale having left me feeling cold it certainly feels like the show has been gone for far too long even if in reality it has only been a little over a month.
That reveal of Reverse-Flash elicited an honest-to-god gasp from me. Welcome back, Eobard Thawne!
They've out-crazied themselves in the past so "Potential Energy" had a high bar to jump over if it wanted to keep raising the stakes, but it doesn't feel like they wanted to do that just yet.
Once you throw in the always unpredictable Dr. Wells, this episode delivered on pretty much every front.
Wells has grown frantic in his quest to rescue his daughter from Zoom. While he promised the villain he'd help him steal Barry's speed in exchange for Cassie's life, he's open to Cisco's idea of stealing Zoom's speed instead.
Overall there was too much fun to be had for me to get worked up over anything. If you've gotta do a disposable villain episode, this is how you do it.
I understand that this episode was ostensibly about teaching Barry some lessons - to protect those you love and/or don't be so slow to the draw to open yourself up to someone.
Don't let the title fool you. "Potential Energy" isn't a zippy plot, but the slower pace is necessary. The Flash needs time to refocus on Barry Allen and Barry needs time to decide what is most important to him.
While I was glad to see Patty take her leave, it didn't give me reason to celebrate, and there wasn't much else of note going on during the hour, either. It wasn't the episode I would have expected coming back after the break.