The Flash
“The Flash” himself, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), had to learn to fight evil without the benefit of his superpowers in Season 2, episode 19, titled “Back to Normal.” The CW

After losing a very important battle to his archnemesis last week, things looked dark for the hero on the CW’s “The Flash.” With no more superpowers, it wasn’t those abilities giving the scarlet speedster the bravery to fight evil, as the audience learned.

The episode opens after the Flash’s (Grant Gustin) defeat by Zoom (Teddy Sears), where the demonic speedster stole the hero’s superpowers. Now Barry Allen has to learn how to live his life again without the benefits that super-speed offered him. While a montage of the character waiting in line, being too slow to catch a falling cup and agonizingly riding an uncomfortable bus was fun, there’s one man who never finds people’s antics cute.

Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is furious that the Flash failed and not only lost his powers, but gave Zoom the ability to breach between worlds again. No longer safe on Earth-1, Wells knows that he needs to find his runaway daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane). He bluntly explains that people from his world, Earth-2, vibrate at a different frequency, thus allowing him to track her movements through cellular dead zones. He finds her living with a new friend, wanting absolutely nothing to do with her old man. After all, she’s had a madman hold her captive and been ripped from her own world, all because of his antics. She reminds him that the straw that broke the camel’s back was learning that he was willing to kill people in order to save her.

The passion is too high, and Wells isn’t able to explain to her that Zoom could be after them again. He drives away from her apartment, but is ambushed by a meta-human with super-strength. Obviously, since so many people believe he’s the man that caused the infamous particle accelerator accident, he’s the man that can cure their meta-human symptoms.

Meanwhile, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) wakes up to find herself handcuffed in Zoom’s lair. He took her captive before leaving Earth-1 last week, and now viewers learn why. At the end of last week’s episode, Caitlin made a passionate plea to any part of Hunter Zolomon that actually cared about her to spare Barry’s life. It turns out he took her because he truly fell in love with her. However, love from a serial killer means proving that he’s not like his father and won’t murder the woman he loves.

Obviously, this isn’t a stable environment, so when the villain allows her to openly walk about the lair, she immediately goes looking for an escape plan. She finds one in perhaps the most unusual form. Her doppelganger from Earth-2, the villain Killer Frost, has been one of Zoom’s captives ever since he turned on her and helped the rest of the team escape in their previous adventure in the alternate world. Realizing that she’ll need a meta-human’s help to escape Zoom and his lair, she agrees to help bust her out.

While that’s happening, Wells wakes up on Earth-1 and meets his captor, Griffin Grey (Haig Sutherland). He tells the scientist that he needs to reverse what happened to him. When Wells points out that super-strength isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person, Grey reveals that the process has aged him rapidly and, despite looking like he’s in his 30s, is just 18 years old. Barry, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) enlist Jesse’s help and manage to track Grey to a warehouse. However, without The Flash, the meta-human gets away and seriously injures Barry in the process.

Meanwhile, Caitlin finds a way to break her doppelganger out of her cell, only for Killer Frost to live up to her title and try to murder her. Obviously, Caitlin is no match for a meta-human, but she’s got the love of the universe’s most maniacal speedster on her side. Zoom shows up and kills Frost and makes it clear to Caitlin that if she tries to escape again, he’ll kill his other prisoner.

Back on Earth-1, Cisco has come up with a plan to stop Grey. During their last fight, Barry noticed that Grey aged as he exerted energy. Although the Flash doesn’t have his powers, the hope is to make Grey believe it long enough to use too much of his power. Cisco redesigned his suit to take a single punch. They track Wells to an abandoned amusement park, which prompted Cisco to reasonably question why villains have such bizarre taste in lairs.

“Because they’re crazy,” Joe quips.

Together, the trio head to the amusement park and encounter Grey, who was in the middle of trying to beat Wells to death for not being able to reverse his condition. With some clever lighting work, the hero manages to outmaneuver Grey long enough for him to age into an elderly man and die. Sure it cost him a rib or two, but the point is, Barry Allen saved the day once again. Just when it looks like things will end on a high note, despite Barry not getting his powers back, something awful and downright spooky happened.

In Zoom’s lair, he’s explaining to Caitlin that he’s doing her a favor by keeping him by his side. He is literally capable of bringing her the world. His demented mind morphs the conversation into a plea to her that he’ll demonstrate his love by bringing her world to its knees. Fortunately, Wells is hatching a brilliant high-concept scheme of his own. He wants to get Barry his speed back, and he’s going to create another particle accelerator explosion in order to do it.