This is the first good episode of The Flash since that Earth-2 episode, and with only one more left before the season finale, it’s about time we see the show attempt to do some damage control.
Enter Grant Gustin to the rescue. He’d been saddled with terrible scripts all year with Barry’s constant whining and moping around being huge turnoffs, so it’s refreshing to finally see his potential in a character-driven, heartbreaking episode. Gustin’s performance during Barry’s scene with his mother was an outstanding showcase to how much this actor can add to a crumbling show and to an unlikable lead.
In fact, this was truly Barry’s hour. He’s been sidelined all year with Caitlin’s cringe-inducing romance drama and Wally West’s pointless arrival taking center stage instead. His entire adventure inside the Speed Force (regardless of how head-scratching that may be) was the most compelling thing this show has done all year (although that’s not saying much, is it?). I loved that the show delved deeper into the origins of The Flash’s speed, and even if we all knew he was going to regain his powers by hour’s end, watching the Speed Force take the human shape and feel of several of Barry’s close friends and family was gripping and all kinds of awesome.
Sadly, the stuff happening back at STAR Labs was quite dull as expected. It’s hilariously boring how the show continues to add weekly villains that are non-threatening, predictable and add absolutely nothing to the overall story as the team rushes to find a solution in typical procedural fashion. This week, it was Girder who was affected by the second particle accelerator (even though he was in the STAR Labs morgue!) and returned as a half-zombie, half-metal dude. I can’t fathom why this was even part of an already jam-packed episode, and had the writers stuck solely to Barry’s psyche arc instead of adding a tonally jarring subplot to the mix, this would have been a perfectly great episode.
The cliffhanger packed a nifty little twist to the Zoom/Caitlin storyline which has been dragging on for weeks, with Zoom unleashing a whole bunch of metahuman villains from his Earth into Central City. That should prove to be a fun, violent approach to close out this rather hugely underwhelming and disappointing season.
– This episode was directed by Kevin Smith, a longtime comic book fan and director. Apart from a few visually impressive scenes inside the Speed Force and that long take in the teaser, nothing really stood out for me.
– Amazing opening scene with Cisco picking up Barry’s suit and the team finding Wally and Jesse unconscious.
– On that note, I’m not too fond of Wally and Jesse potentially becoming speedsters on this show. They’re both underdeveloped and uninteresting, and I’m not ready for The Flash to become an ensemble team of superheroes.
– I love that the Speed Force (in all its forms and shapes) always referred to oneself as “we” like they’re some sort of shady organization or something.
– This might be the one time I actually loved Iris. She had a couple of good one-liners and was actually a badass for once in her life!
– That one lighthearted scene between Joe, Wally and Iris at the house was so bad, I cringed all the way through it. Very disjointed and weird.
– Such a relief for the show to finally mention Barry’s travelling back in time in last year’s finale where he ended up not saving his mother’s life. Him crying over her grave: gut-wrenching.
– Barry reprising the words of the book “The Runaway Dinosaur” with his mother got me all teary-eyed.
– I didn’t even notice Caitlin was missing from this episode until that closing tag!
– They should have used Zoom as the villain chasing after Iris and the team. That would have made him a tad more useful.
– Of course Cisco decides to “vibe” Barry’s suit again when they’re all trapped, just in time for Barry to regain his powers. It’s contrived as hell and had me shaking my head repeatedly.
– Jesse waking up from her coma just as The Flash walked into her room is so very intriguing. The team’s reactions were priceless.
– Katie Cassidy guest stars next week as Black Siren! I’m too excited!
Red Blurs & One-Liners
Barry: I’m talking to the Speed Force? Isn’t that like saying I’m having a conversation with gravity or light?
Barry: So you’re saying I’m talking to the source of my power, which just so happens to look like my adoptive dad? That’s trippy.
Iris: Ew, you guys have a morgue?
Cisco: A zombie? For real?!
Cisco: You ever seen The Walking Dead? It’s The Walking Dead, but without higher brain function and with major rage issues.
Cisco: Good news is we lured Tony back to STAR Labs.
Iris: Bad news is we lured Tony back to STAR Labs.
Nora Allen: Even the Flash can’t outrun the tragedies the universe is gonna keep sending your way. You have to accept that. And then you can truly run free.
Cisco: Girder came back to life, and he’s all Young Frankenstein now, and he only recognizes Iris, and she lured him to my workshop so we could demagnetize him, but the machine shorted out, so he’s about to come through that door and smush us all into chunky salsa and possibly eat our brains out.
Cisco: Are you, like, magic now?
A solid, emotional episode and a vast improvement over everything that’s preceded it this season, but still not without its flaws.