“You were right about taking a breather. Just a moment with you—being grounded again—everything becomes more clear.”
Let’s face it, this has been an inconsistent year for The Flash. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some extremely fun episodes but when much of a show depends on its villain and said black hat is as lame as Devoe, it’s tough for the season to really find its legs.
“Enter Flashtime” is a reminder that, despite an increasingly uninteresting villain, The Flash can still deliver kick-ass episodes.
Taking the oft used (but still very effective) tactic of dropping us in media res, an exhausted and panicked Barry admits that he’s done. “I can’t save us this time,” he admits, on the verge of both a mental and physical breakdown. After watching the episode, there was absolutely no other way to start than here.
Rewind 8 minutes, 49 seconds and Barry, Iris, and Cisco are working on his speed (again). This time it’s an attempt to pass through one of Cisco’s breaches before it closes, simulating Devoe’s pocket dimension rifts. But then the fun stuff starts: Veronica Dale, a domestic terrorist linked with Eden Core detonates a nuclear bomb a nano-tick before Barry can stop her. Considering that such an explosion would destroy the city and the Flash himself if he stops moving, Barry has no choice but to maintain his super speed. Thankfully, he’s not alone as Jesse Quick—who’d arrived from Earth-2 moments before the alert went out—and then Jay Garrick throws their hats in the ring. Unfortunately, nothing they do works, including bringing Cisco and Killer Frost into Flashtime. Even Harry’s idea to portal the bomb into the Speed Force is shot down by Jay. On the verge of collapse and out of options, Barry goes to see Iris one last time for a final goodbye.
“You’re my lightning rod, Iris.”
It’s amazing how a few words can spark an idea and Barry’s goodbye does just that. Maybe it’s how in tune she is with Barry but Iris is a major part of saving the day when she tells Barry that maybe the quarksphere, what they used to break him out of the Speed Force, will work. On his last legs, Barry’s able to do just that and the trailing Speed Force storm—following the sphere—stabilizes the reaction and ends the threat. The day is won.
All too often people think that the only way you can have high stakes in a movie or show is if there’s a chance that someone important may die. “Enter Flashtime” is a perfect example in that, even though we know the outcome, we can be brought to the edge of our seats. From the first moments of the episode, the tension is set with that image of a worn-down Barry. As the hour progresses and each idea fails, as first Jay then Jesse physically break down, and Barry’s all alone, we’re left with that question: how in the hell is he going to do it? Iris being a major factor in the solution, coupled with their earlier scenes, makes sense. As mentioned, she’s in tune with Barry in a way beyond heart and mind.
Even with the strength of Barry and Iris’s relationship on display, the two most emotionally powerful moments involved Harry and his precious Jesse Quick. We finally discover why he was booted from Team Jesse; he still hasn’t dealt with his wife’s death and that, in Jesse’s mind, is something that he must face. Harry’s initial reaction, one where his pain becomes a physical manifestation in his quick burst of violence, startles Jesse (and likely much of the audience). After the day is won and Jesse comes to say goodbye, Harry shares with her why he’s having such a hard time. Yet this is not with words; instead, he tweaks the inhibitor he crafted for Cecile to allow Jesse to read his thoughts. It’s a most intimate gesture and it shows us a different side of Harry, offering us a glimpse of his internal pain.
Back to the Flash, Barry took himself to the limits to save the day and that effort has given him the confidence he needed. “I’m more than fast enough to catch Devoe,” he tells Iris at the end. Sure, they need more answers and sure, Devoe may be a genius but, like all brilliant bad guys, hubris will be his ultimate downfall.
Well, that and Team Flash.
- One of my issues with The Flash as a whole (and it’s very minor) is that they are so inconsistent with just how fast Barry can be. His ‘Flashtime’ ability (and that of Jesse and Jay) go so far beyond what we’ve seen him able to do throughout the series. That’s not a bad thing at all, just a minor quibble that is often lost in the fun The Flash
- So Jay is training his replacement and it’s a “she”. Hmmmm…is that “she” peppy girl we see run into Caitlin and Harry at Jitters? Is it someone else we’ll be introduced to next season? Inquiring minds and all…
- Finally, for the first time, Caitlin was able to tap into Killer Frost’s actions. More than that, the concern her meta alter ego displayed (“Don’t let Caity die”) was quite the interesting turn. Does that mean the pair are coming closer to uniting as one? This has to be a foreshadowing of things to come. Just what that is, well, that’s the killer question.