The Flash: The Runaway Dinosaur

"This is Barry's X-File."

It's been mentioned, hinted at, but in this episode we finally get a glimpse not only at what happened to Barry but also at where the origin of his power lies, and it's greater than I had dared hope, elevating an already-exciting series to new heights.

We finally find out what, or who, was behind Barry's disappearance in 50 minutes so full of feelings I almost lost it. I was laughing and crying more, I think, than I have for any episode of The Flash. Barry's front and center as, trapped in and with the Speed Force, he's resolving the torturous issues which have been driving him to make, frankly, some crazy decisions. I appreciated the complex portrayal of the Speed Force in this episode; the personification of... what's le mot juste? The personification of quickening: not just movement and speed, but of objects coming to life. "When the first subatomic particle sprang forth from the Big Bang to form reality as you know it, we were there. When the last proton decays, stops vibrating, and plunges the Universe into heat death, we'll be there too." Is the Speed Force a kind of god? What does it mean, really, when it tells Barry it is both the Speed Force and Barry's mother? This explosion into the mythology left me more questions than answers, but I was enthralled. It felt like a coming of age, helped along by some great acting from Grant Gustin. When a show can still hit you like this after a few seasons it's a keeper! I also liked that Barry's ability to connect to the Speed Force had some interaction with his mental state. At first I thought that shadow was Zoom, having some effect on the Speed Force.

The Team of Dads rocked. Joe, Wells and Henry took even more of a role than usual tonight, taking care of Jesse, working to save Barry and to protect Central City. Girder as a zombie was weak, but they played it well, with the half-aware Tony looking mournfully at Iris and the Law of Unintended Consequences in full effect. Still, he could have been replaced with any metahuman, really. Unless there's some zombie stuff coming up, I fail to see he's added anything.

Thankfully Cisco's able to create the necessary portal. Our Vibe is really coming into his own, learning more and more about his powers. He can even share them, as he did with Iris tonight, chasing down Barry. He had some of the best lines tonight, along with Wells and Iris. I may say that the more we see of Iris this year, and the slow development of her relationship with Barry, is irritating me far less than I thought it would.

Will others also come into their powers? Henry Allen seems to be coming into his own, finally using those oft-mentioned medical skills (and making some very smart moves in getting Barry's medical records to help understand what's up with Jesse.) Jesse and Wally are still question marks, although Barry's laying on of hands miracle seems to indicate Jesse has some connection to the Speed Force. Wally couldn't save a cup, but maybe this version of Wally West will turn out to be some sort of superengineer. Barry needs a team ASAP though: the final scenes, with Zoom laughing maniacally as a group of metahuman villains cheer his proclamation of control, make him scarier than he's ever been.

Who are these villains? Can you identify any?
And there's still the question of Caitlin. Who hasn't changed her mind, exactly, but who hasn't left, and is still sitting there watching Zoom (and maybe hoping to save Jay, for all her anger and bluster.)

Flashpoints

This episode was directed by Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes was in the episode too, mourning the loss of Mommy's car.

The scene when Barry meets the Speed Force in the guise of his mother had me throughout. I lost my own mother three years ago, and that alone is a traumatic world-shaking event outside of the evil speed-stealing villains. 

I love the fact that Joe is leading the Team of Dads. He gets both Wells and Henry to work.

Another Joe note: did he look uncomfortable with Iris clearly ready to express more love for Barry?

Looks like Henry is going to be around for a while - and very good too.

Flashcards

Henry: She should be waking up. She's just not.
Iris: It was the same with Barry. Um, after the first accident, he was in a coma that no one could explain.
Henry: What did you do with him?
Cisco: So they brought him here-- well, Wells brought him here.
Iris: The other Wells.
Cisco: Right, the Wells who was actually Thawne.
Iris: Eobard, not Eddie.
Cisco: Right. It's - it's complicated.

Cisco: I'm so glad you're back, because we're about to die.
Barry: Wait, what?
Cisco: So...
Wells: Girder.
Cisco: Girder came back to life and he's all Young Frankenstein now, and he only recognizes Iris, and she lured him into my workshop so we could demagnetize him, but the machine shorted out, so he's about to come through that door and smash us all into chunky salsa and possibly eat our brains out. I don't know. Jury's still out on that.

In a Flash

You know, one criticism of this show is a lot of episodes revolve around Barry running faster. This was different: it was about Barry turning around and coming to grips with himself. A light speed of a jump forward for our series mythology as we barrel towards the final confrontation between Barry and Zoom. Five out of five pasteboard children's books.

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Wonderful episode. It's even a Mother's Day episode of sorts, although it was also very much about Barry's three dads. I thought all of it hit all the right notes, even the silly zombie distraction, which kept making me laugh out loud. "Morgue-ish." "Chunky salsa." Cisco has become one of my favorite characters ever. And speaking of characters, it's official. They managed to turn around all of the mistakes they made with Iris as a character, and she's cool now. I'm even okay with her starting a relationship with Barry.

I thought that Henry saying he was going to stick around from here on out meant that they're planning to kill him off in the finale. I hope not. Especially since Barry finally came to terms with what he did when he could have saved his mother.

Heather1 said...

I thought it was funny that Girder was a zombie when that actor was just a zombie on iZombie. I couldn't help but think it an intentional wink.

JRS said...

Didn't know he was on iZombie! This show is all about the meta.... and that's even without the metahumans.

Lydia said...

I guess I'm the only one who wasn't as big a fan of this episode as everyone else. Don't get me wrong I did like it, especially all the cutesy stuff about the runaway dinosaur and Cisco's great one-liners. I just found all of the emotional stuff very on-the-nose and cheesy. This is something Arrow is very guilty of doing, (and one of the reasons I stopped watching it) because it turned a superhero show into Melodrama Central, if you know what I mean. I felt like I was watching a soap opera. And whilst I agree Iris' character is getting better, she's still a Mary Sue whose gorgeous and good at everything and super Nice, and other than the fact that Joe and Barry care about her and that she's a reporter, she doesn't really have much of a story on her own. More over, this best friends to lovers shenanigans cliche bores me to death, and the actors have zero chemistry. I will never be aboard the Iris/Barry boat. I, for one, am all for Fanon!Barry, who tends to be bisexual in most cases. ;)))

I also thought that it was a nice little nod to iZombie when the actor looked like he'd walked right off that set and into the Flash's for this episode. I wonder how much he gets paid to huff and puff and blow houses down?

CrimsonLine said...

In a show that has been built around the recurring phrase, "Run, Barry, run!" this was an episode built around the phrase, "Sit, Barry, sit." The idea that the fastest man alive needed to sit down and really come to grips with his mother's death is a strong one. For Barry, his grief meant slowing down a little, catching his breath, taking a little time to get hold of himself, and bring his grieving son and speedy heroic sides together.