The Flash: Fast Lane review

The Flash takes on Tar Pit in an episode that felt like its feet were stuck in the mud.

This The Flash review contains spoilers.

The Flash Season 2 Episode 12

It’s exceedingly rare, but sometimes I feel like The Flash isn’t really trying. “Fast Lane” was anything but what that title would lead you to believe. It was disjointed and poorly-paced, with perhaps the most disposable villain in the show’s history making an appearance to go through the motions.

I never had any particular desire to see Joseph “Tar Pit” Monteleone in live action. This is a bottom rung DC villain, and with him we got an appropriately half-assed episode. As usual, though, The Flash is built on such strong foundations that there’s always something to redeem it, and “Fast Lane” is no exception.

So, I’ll stop with this in a minute. Tar Pit is dreadful, the half-assed connection to Wally’s drag-racing hobby was regrettable, and there was little reason for us to keep coming back to him at all, other than that brief (and not bad at all, to be honest) shot of him in all his glory. I’d rather have more King Shark, though. At this point, any time we’re going back to using the particle accelerator accident as a villain engine, halfway through the second season, it’s a bad sign of things to come. 

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Everything important that happened this week took up about fifteen minutes of actual episode time. To be perfectly honest, I would have watched an entire episode of Iris West acting as an investigative reporter to try and pull Wally out of the drag racing racket. Hell, they could have given us an entire episode of Barry and Harry bonding as they try and close more of the dimensional portals. I would have been just fine with that.

I loved Harry’s half-assed confession early in the episode. As usual, Tom Cavanagh is tremendous, and I really did believe that Wells wanted to come clean there. But without more “mutual respect” time with Barry and Harry, his final, actual confession just didn’t feel as cathartic as I wanted it to. Even though we knew damn well that Joe was gonna lay him out there (and who could blame him), Harry finally accepting that he needs help and the people helping him deserve to know the truth could have been a little bit more of a “fuck yes” moment than what we actually got.

Barry losing 2% of his speed shouldn’t have amounted to him being unable to stop a piece of glass from a generally conventional car wreck. That whole scene and slo-mo sequence was pretty overdone, and we’re all safe in the knowledge that Iris will be out of the hospital with hardly an arm in a sling to show for her troubles when this is all done. If Harry had been slowly sapping speed force from him over the course of a few episodes, perhaps I could have bought this (and perhaps that could have given us the excuse for more non-costumed time with the two focusing on science). 

Also, did we miss Francine West’s actual death? I know she was at death’s door last week, but wouldn’t her actually getting put in the ground register a little more with the Wests? This show takes place in real time, so I feel like the fallout of a funeral would still be felt if she died, I dunno, six days ago. It was just one more thing that made me feel like “Fast Lane” was just lurching from scene to scene, unsure of what it was supposed to be.

I am, however, warming to Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West. He’s a different kind of troubled character than we usually get on these shows. I’m so used to the rage/angst balls we get over on Arrow that Lonsdale’s quietly rebellious Wally is a breath of fresh air. He’s not such a penis that his “rehabilitation” will feel particularly overt or tough to watch, but he’s got just enough of an edge that if (oh, who am I kidding…when) he ever does get to experience some proper speed on this show, he’ll be different enough from Barry without us going “ugh, but remember what a douche he was when we first met him.” I think they’re pacing his relationship with Iris and Joe pretty well, too.

We’re now officially at the halfway point with The Flash season 2, and this was handily the worst of the bunch so far. Overall, this is still a stronger season than what we had at this point last year. But I can’t imagine that “Fast Lane” is the kind of episode that anybody, not even a die-hard like me, would ever actively want to revisit. It’s not terrible or insulting to the intelligence, but it’s about as dull a 45 minutes as I’ve ever seen The Flash produce. And “dull” isn’t a word I ordinarily associate with this show.

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Next week looks like it will be more fun, though!

Flash Facts!

– Tar Pit first appeared in The Flash #174 in 2001. He was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. One of the perks of being an executive producer on a show like this (that would be Mr. Johns) is that you get to see your creations get realized in live action. Even when they don’t deserve to be.

– This may be a coincidence, but Diamond Detailing sure does seem to have the same logo as Diamond Comics, the monopoly that your local comics shop gets all their books from.

I probably missed other DC Comics stuff, because I was struggling to keep my eyes open during this one. Sorry, folks. Hit me up with corrections/suggestions/hate mail in the comments or on Twitter, and I’ll update this (or the season 2 master post) when I can!


2 out of 5