I have to admit, I was a little bummed when I discovered that the Nuclear Man this episode title is referring to is just a reference to what Caitlin’s husband has become and not actually the long-nailed, sun-produced Nuclear Man of Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Despite that little snag, The Nuclear Man was another strong episode from one of the finest superhero shows on television.
There’s a lot to enjoy in this latest episode. First of all, you’ve got the supervillain himself: Firestorm. You’d be forgiven for thinking he was a poor man’s knockoff of the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch. Even Barry makes a ‘flame on’ reference in regards to Firestorm’s powers. Still, we get to see some pretty fantastic action sequences this time around as the Flash and Firestorm get to throw down a bit. The Flash’s visual effects continue to impress. Thanks to the show’s runaway popularity, these are sure to continually improve.
The villain of the week also feels a bit more fleshed out this time around. This is partially to do with The Flash setting up this storyline and Firestorm having a personal connection to one of the show’s key players. If there’s one thing the writers of The Flash struggle with, it’s coming up with compelling villains. Firestorm is a welcome change of pace from the usual tossed-off opponent fare. Even if Robbie Amell is more of a pretty face than a strong performer, he’s leagues better than some of the actors who have portrayed villains in this show.
The Nuclear Man also gave us some nice banter between Cisco and Joe, who get to do some detective-ing together. These are two of the best characters in the series, so seeing them work together was a wonderful treat.
And undercutting all of the action and excitement is Barry’s newfound relationship with Linda Park. Now, anyone who’s seen any superhero movie knows that dating and superhero-ing rarely go hand in hand. It’s no surprise when Barry has to make countless awkward excuses in order to go save somebody as the Flash. Still, Grant Gustin is a charmer and he makes it all work, even as his relationship with Iris begins to devolve into high school melodrama.
Overall, I dig where this season is heading...for now.