Last week we saw The Flash hand over his powers to Zoom in order to save Wally West, right before Zoom (now revealed as Hunter Zolomon and not Jay Garrick) kidnapped Caitlin and hightailed it back to Earth-2 to plot… something or other. I’m 100% positive that we haven’t been privy to all of Zoom’s
diabolical plans. But that’s for another time. “Back to Normal” kicks off with a very fun take on a normal morning with Barry with his powers and then sans powers. Yes, now he has to stand in line for coffee and take the bus like the rest of regular people. This could have easily been played for laughs, and if it had taken place earlier in the season, it probably would’ve been.
Wells has finally pinpointed Jesse’s location and goes to get her, only to find that she can’t quite get over the fact that he killed someone. Headed back to Central City, Wells is intercepted by Griffin Grey (guest star Haig Sutherland), a metahuman with super strength. Grey is seeking revenge on Wells, mistaking him for the Earth-1 Harrison, for his particle accelerator explosion. It gave him super strength, sure, but it’s also causing him to age prematurely, so for an 18-year-old, he looks middle-aged instead.
Elsewhere, Iris and Barry find Jesse and bring her back to the lab to help locate her dad. Barry is having a hard time being powerless, but still decides to go up against Grey anyway. Back on Earth-2, Caitlin is still prisoner to Zoom, but she gets to have a face-to-face chat with her doppelganger, Killer Frost, who is killed by Zoom immediately after Caitlin helps her escape her cell. Why? Because Zoom was only keeping her around because of her physical resemblance to Caitlin. The only thing that is revealed here is that Killer Frost had a brother named Charlie, which Caitlin doesn’t. The entire way Zoom is trying to show Caitlin he cares for her is a bit forced, mostly because he no one can get on board with his delusions of grandeur.
Ultimately, with the help of his team, Barry defeats Grey and Wells is reunited with Jesse. Still trying to figure out a way to get his speed back, Wells suggests something pretty crazy: He wants to recreate the particle accelerator explosion that gave Barry his powers to begin with. As much as exploring life without powers may have proved interesting, the episode didn’t fully take advantage of the scenario. Even Cisco, whose developing powers are growing, doesn’t get to do much with them here, which was a wasted potential. Also, Wells has been paying for what Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash/Earth-1 Harrison Wells (Wow!) has done for most of this season. He sees the effects the particle accelerator has had on people like Griffin Grey and the army of metahumans it created on Earth-2 that are now at the disposal of Zoom. Yet, somehow, he thinks it’s a good idea to recreate it without any repercussions. Is this how he wants to redeem himself?
Jesse is back at S.T.A.R. Labs and she’s forgiven her father (because dangerous situations where you think you’re going to lose someone always makes any anger dissipate), but it was a bit too easy? In the end, this is ok, because it didn’t need to be dragged out for so long, so I’m fine with it. Iris is more greatly (finally!) being more incorporated into Team Flash. I, for one, am so happy about this. But the writers also need not forget is that she’s also a journalist. Somehow, they need to find a way to show this aspect of her life without it being neglected. Regardless, it’s also nice to see her relationship with Barry move forward. The fact that he mentions (and remembers) that she’s the first person he saved was really well done. “Back to Normal” was a decent filler episode that doesn’t have a lot of forward movement, but does have some nice character development for everyone involved (with the exception of Wells, who takes a step back development-wise).
"Back to Normal" is a slow down from the prior episode, and while there were a lot of missed opportunities, the focus was more on a bit of character development, with the big reveal of how they can possibly get Barry's speed back being the big cliffhanger.