A battle with an electricity-siphoning metahuman leaves Barry feeling drained. Literally. And while this shocking new villain launches an attack on STAR Labs, The Clock King takes hostages at police headquarters... including Joe and Iris West. The Flash may not be able to save this day, but Central City is not without heroes...
Flashpoint (the character of Blackout) and every classic Flash comic where Barry Allen lost his powers temporarily.
How is Barry able to fix drinks for an entire line of people at the coffee shop? Assuming Barry had some training as a barista or that there was an employee guidebook he could read through and that his super-speed would allow him to manually replicate the actions of most of the appliances present (grinding the beans, etc) that still doesn't explain how he'd know everything the people in-line wanted, as there wasn't any indication that they had already ordered!
The raccoon-eyes make-up on Blackout just looks weird.
The Clock King misquotes Thoreau, saying "As if you could kill Time without wounding Eternity." The original Thoreau quote said "injuring Eternity". This seems a bit odd given how meticulous he is about everything else. Nearly as odd as Joe West - who has never shown any inclination towards scholarly reading - recognizing Tockman's quotes. (Perhaps this was a bit of subtle humor on the part of the writers, showing hidden depths to Joe's character and showing that Tockman is not as smart as he thinks?)
Robert Knepper is as delightfully unbalanced as ever as William Tockman. He was one of the best villains in the second season of Arrow and it's nice to see him again, though I had hoped we might see him as part of the new Suicide Squad.
The music throughout the episode is wonderful, particularly the subtle use of clock sounds around William Tockman.
Farooq aka Blackout was created for the Elseworlds story Flashpoint, which was set in an alternate universe created by Barry Allen's going back in time and changing the past. As in the comics, he has electricity manipulation powers.
Barry using his super-speed to get ready for work in seconds and stripping a criminal at super-speed, leaving them unarmed and in their underwear are both running gags from The Flash comics.
William Tockman - aka The Clock King - is a combination of several comic book and cartoon villains who used the name of The Clock King. I wrote an article about the history of The Clock King, which can be read here.
The Arrow/The Flash version of Clock King seems to be a combination of the original William Tockman version of The Clock King from the comics (same name and the motivation of needing money to take care of a sick sister) as well as Temple Fugate - the Clock King created for the Batman: The Animated Series, with whom he shares an amazing gift for precision and efficiency. He also borrows a number of Temple Fugate's time-related catch-phrases and puns. (i.e. he comments on the "striking resemblance" between Joe and Iris. Striking! Like a clock!)
There are some names among the list of people killed by the particle accelerator accident that Dr. Wells lists off that may be familiar to DC Comics fans. Ralph Dibny (The Elongated Man), Grant Emerson (Damage), Al Rothstein (Nuklon aka Atom Smasher), Ronnie Raymond (Firestorm), Will Everett (Amazing-Man) and Bea DeCosta (Fire aka Green Flame) . The one common link between all of these heroes is that they all had powers that involved their bodies being changed on the molecular level.
Another reference to the number 52. We clearly see two signs in The Pipeline that label it as Intake 52.
Iris notes that her best friend is always swearing he'll never run late after The Flash apologizes for not being there to save her from The Clock King. Barry running late is a frequent running gag in The Flash comics.
The homicide victim Barry examines was burned to death by heat in access of 2,400 degrees.
The soot pattern around his body is consistence with that of an arc-blast. An arc-blast is when high-amperage currents travel in an arc through the air.
Cisco uses the same facial reconstruction software used by archaeologists to identify the homicide victim. Thanks to Felicity's reprogramming, he can use the same program to match the face he created to a DMV record.
Barry's DNA was changed by the particle accelerator blast.
Blackout does not electrocute people. He siphons electricity from other sources. His attempt to siphon the electricity from Barry Allen's body results in Barry losing his powers.
By Cisco's estimate, it will take 20,000 kiloamps to jump-start Barry's system. This is more electricity than is run through an electric chair.
According to Blackout, the average human body generates 342 watts of electricity. The numbers here seem a bit off, as what limited research I've done on the subject suggests that the average human at rest, generates 110 watts/hr. However, that increases to 550 watts/hr during vigorous amounts of activity. Averaging the two numbers comes close to 342 watts but not exactly.
(After winding up late for an appointment at STAR Labs after thwarted a mugger who tried robbing him)
Barry: Sorry guys. I got a little held-up. (beat) You had to be there.
Barry: I love being The Flash. I love everything about it. The feeling of running hundreds of miles per hour. Wind and power just rushing past my face. Being able to help people. I'm not sure I can live without it, Caitlin.
Clock King: It should take you less than three seconds to discard any thought of rebellion and comply. I take it I don't need to count out-loud?
Capt. Singh: You've got demands. I want to hear them. But first let the civilians go.
Clock King: Would you prefer I sent them out alive or dead? Please be more specific!
Dr. Wells: You were right. I don't care much for people, Barry. I find them misinformed and short-sighted.
Barry: So why do you do what you do? Why get up in the morning?
Dr. Wells: Because I believe in a better future.
As the episode opens, it has been 311 days since Barry was struck by lightning.
The computer in Dr. Wells' secret room is named Gideon. Gideon is capable of scanning future news media for specific references in a matter of seconds.
Joe West briefly flashes back to the attack by The Yellow Man in F106.
Cisco makes reference to Felicity enhancing the STAR Labs computers in F104.
The Clock King is seen for the first time since A214.
Barry's power loss results in the future being changed, according to the newspaper headline Wells examined.
After the future is changed, the major news story on the day Barry was supposed to disappear was about the United States Postal Service permanently closing down. Curiously, the other articles have also changed, with the Wayne Tech/ Queen Inc. merger falling through and red skies continuing to threaten the world. (F101)
The Clock King makes reference to his dying sister - his whole reason for turning to crime. She died sometime between A214 and this episode. His request for a furlough to see her one last time in person before her death was denied by the district attorney of Central City.
Barry makes reference to what Oliver Queen said about him getting his powers for a reason. (F101)
Girder, last seen in F106, is killed by Blackout.
Joe West is surprisingly well read. He recognizes The Clock King's quotes from Ben Franklin ("You may delay, but time will not.") and Henry David Thoreau ("As if you could kill Time without injuring Eternity.") Curiously, The Clock King misquotes this last line as "wounding Eternity".
Wells memorized the names of every person killed by the particle accelerator accident.
Blackout's body is put in a body bag and locked in a cell in The Pipeline.
As the episode closes, it is 312 days since Barry was struck by lightning.
Wells takes a blood sample from Blackout's dead body, saying he must learn how it was possible for him to steal The Flash's speed. The Mist (last seen in F103) can be seen in his cell in the background while this occurs.
The Fridge Factor
Averted, as Iris takes down The Clock King by herself, after palming Eddie's gun while pretending to give him a final kiss.
The Bottom Line
A decent episode but not a great one. While it's good to see The Clock King again, he seems woefully underused and one wishes for an episode in which The Flash must literally race against time to outmaneuver his plans within plans. Likewise, Blackout suffers from a ludicrous make-up design and an uninspired power set. Still, Caitlin Snow gets a few nice character moments with Barry, Dr. Wells gets some more definition and the opening with Barry having fun while using his powers to make his morning easier is as fun as the classic comics. And even though it is a little forced, it's nice to see Iris saving the day without The Flash having to step in.