"The Flash" only just returned from its Season 2 winter break, but already a new villain is trying to slow Barry (Grant Gustin) down. In episode 10, "Potential Energy," a new baddie named the Turtle (Aaron Douglas) with the ability to zap the Flash's speed shows up in Central City and gives the superhero a whole lot of trouble.
The Turtle's arrival is welcome news to Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), who fans will remember promised Zoom (Tony Todd) that he would steal Barry's speed in exchange for his daughter's (Violet Beane) freedom. Wells believes the Turtle could hold the secret to doing just that and for most of the episode retreats to a private room full of equation-covered blackboards to analyze the new foe.
Wells taunts Cisco (Carlos Valdes), for whom the Turtle has become a bit of a "white whale" — "Do you remember Zoom?" Wells clearly has other priorities.
Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) deduce that the Turtle is able to use his energy pulses to steal surrounding persons' potential energy before it turns to kinetic energy, allowing him to essentially slow the world down around him. Plus, Cisco's heavy research on the baddie reveals he has a penchant for stealing objects with personal value to his owners.
On the personal side of things, Joe (Jesse Martin) is stressed out about fostering a better relationship with his son, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale), who surprised the detective with a visit in the winter finale.
Joe invites Wally over for dinner, but much to his dismay, Wally is a no-show. Joe does what any detective would do — he tracks him down, discovering that his estranged son is quite the drag racer. He confronts Wally about it, but Wally is immediately defensive, claiming racing is the only way he can pay for his mother's medical care. When Joe offers to dip into his pension to help, Wally rebuffs him.
"I'm the man of this house," he declares.
Meanwhile, Barry's personal life needs some work too. While he has the Turtle to deal with, Patty (Shantel VanSanten) is determined to crack her secretive boyfriend's shell (no pun intended). She is getting frustrated with Barry's odd behavior and habit of bailing on plans. Barry knows he has to do something or he will lose her and decides to take some extreme measures — he plans to tell her he is the Flash.
Barry also has the perfect opportunity. Cisco believes the Turtle will go after a painting being displayed at a fancy ball downtown, so Barry, Caitlin and Jay all suit up for the party. Barry, against his friends' recommendations, decides to invite Patty.
At the ball, Patty is wearing a killer dress and the happy couple dance. However, before Barry gets a chance to tell Patty his big secret, the Turtle shows up and Barry ditches his date once again. Patty, though, notices the Turtle too and pulls her gun on the criminal. Unfortunately, she is unaware of the the Turtle's powers and soon she is standing paralyzed by the meta-human's pulses as a chandelier falls from the ceiling toward her head. The Flash is able to fight through the Turtle's pulses to save Patty, but the robber gets away clean.
To make matters worse, the next day, the Turtle kidnaps Patty! He hopes to lure the Flash to him with Patty as bait. Barry does not disappoint. However, things do not go the Turtle's way. While he gets some good punches in at first, Barry's love for Patty motivates him and he is able to move in between the Turtle's energy pulses to capture the foe.
After Patty is safe, Barry pays her a visit as himself, determined to finally tell her the truth. However, before he can get the words out of his mouth, she drops a bomb — she is leaving Central City. Now that her father's killer is in jail, she wants to follow her lifelong dream of studying to be in CSI and is leaving for school in Midway. And yes, that means she is breaking up with Barry. Ouch! Barry is devastated.
Elsewhere, Wally reconciles with Joe over some Chinese food as they vow to take things a little slower; Caitlin discovers that Jay is sick and promises to stop Zoom to get Jay's speed back and save his life; and Wells appears to kill the Turtle in an effort to get his blood for his speed-stealing research.
However, the biggest surprise of the episode comes in the last scene when a familiar foe appears back in Central City — Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash (Matt Lescher)! Barry may now have to contend with not one, but two speedster supervillains. Uh-oh!
"The Flash" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on the CW.