The Flash: Into the Speed Force

“Now we’re cooking with helium!”

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago—before I started watching Season Three of The Flash—what I liked about the show, I would have said that it was like Arrow’s lighthearted cousin. A charming, enthusiastic cocker spaniel instead of a moody and broody lone wolf. But the second half of this season of The Flash has retained its charm while dealing with serious, and complicated, emotions in a way usually reserved for season finales. And I’ve found myself liking it all the more.

Barry’s journey into the Speed Force was, to quote Wesley Wyndam-Price, a “forced death march down memory lane.” Eddie Thawne, Robbie Amell, and Leonard Snart—or their faces—reminded Barry of how many others had made sacrifices. The Speed Forcers laid on the guilt pretty thick, and Barry deserves some of it.

But I’m not sure he deserves all of it. Everyone made their choices. Barry inspired Snart’s sacrifice, but he didn’t force it. Barry tried to stop Wally. The deaths of Eddie and Robbie Amell were tied to Barry’s actions, but also the actions of everyone at STAR Labs, not to mention the various villains they’ve all defeated.

The Speed Force seems to want Barry to carry the weight of the world. (Coincidentally, the title of a Buffy episode that this reminded me of.) For most of this episode, I couldn’t tell if Barry was going to sub in for Wally in the Speed Force prison or let himself die in a Hail Mary attempt to change the future. But, as this show constantly reminds us, nobody should have to carry the weight of the world alone.

Usually, its Team STAR Labs that helps Barry. This week, it was Jay Garrick, or, as I like to think of him, Dad Flash. The interactions between these two always delight me, and Dad Flash is the perfect father surrogate for Barry’s current emotional state. Dad Flash always seems like he wants to tell Barry how proud he is, but he also respects Barry as a colleague or brother-in-arms.

Barry can’t leave Jay trapped in a Speed Force prison, of course. But Jay chose his sacrifice, and Wally is safe. That helps.

So does Jesse. As yet another STAR Labs speedster, Jesse was a third wheel, and nobody seemed to take her as seriously as she deserved. That she had to remind HR that on her Earth she is the Flash was heartbreaking: although she chose our Earth, I’m not sure she realized how that choice would push her to the sidelines. And she belongs in the center of the field. She’s the only one of our Speedsters to make real progress against Savitar.

Jesse’s decision to go to Earth-3, Jay Garrick’s world—not her own—was wonderful. Although I’m not sure the SuperFlarrowLegendsVerse needs another show, I’d be more than excited about a Jesse Quick spinoff. She and Gypsy could travel the multiverse, kicking ass, taking names, and being all kinds of fabulous.

Flashpoints:

• Julian: “Good Lord. Multiverses, breaches, halos, easy bloody peasy.”
Cisco: “By George, I think he’s bloody got it.”
Is this the show calling itself out on Julian’s bizarrely British language?

• In addition to Buffy, this episode reminded me of the Season Five finale of Supernatural.

• Why doesn’t anyone cut off HR when he goes on a coffee binge? He needs a caffeine intervention.

• Yes, I know that “Robbie Amell” is the actor’s name and not the character. I don’t care!

• I’m really entranced by the focus on fathers in time-travel stories. In this episode alone, we got two paternal surrogates: HR (to Jesse) and Dad Flash (to Barry).

• I like Wentworth Miller as Snart so very much. I really wish he were in more of this year’s SuperFlarrowLegendsVerse. Does anyone know if we’ll get more of him next season?

I was going to rate this four out of four, but then I jumped ahead to watch the next episode, which sets a high bar. So: three-and-a-half out of four Goldtooths: the Cisco Ramon interdimensional Bluetooth. He’s kinda proud of it.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

1 comment:

Patryk said...

It would be cool if they pulled a Fringe and showed some normal day-to-day activities of the various flashes on other Earths. Not just when our heroes come to visit. :)