The Flash: Enter Flashtime

"We're too late."

In a season chock full of ups and downs this episode is a reminder of why I love the show so much. It may be a departure from the standard Flash format, but it is all the better for it. What a fantastic hour of television! Just don't think about the science.

We begin in the midst of Barry's defeat. A nuclear bomb has gone off, and Barry can't figure out a way to stop it. He returns to S.T.A.R. Labs to spend his final moments with his wife.

Rewind 8 minutes and 49 seconds.

Barry's desire to defeat The Thinker has him unsuccessfully attempting to speed through breaches. For Cisco, this means hours of opening and closing breaches until he calls a timeout, much to Barry's frustration and dismay. With no leads and no feasible way to defeat DeVoe, Barry is inching along the only path he sees forward. Iris reminds him that sometimes the only way to find the answer is to take a break. Barry agrees that a date night might be just what the doctor ordered.

Meanwhile, Harry and Jesse's conflict has come to a head. At first glance, the issue of Jesse's long-dead mother seemed to come out of nowhere.  She's never been mentioned before and is, well, long dead.  Since Harry and Jesse have been bickering with each other since their introduction, I'd assumed that it stemmed from Harry's controlling nature and his obsession with keeping her safe. While my assumptions were correct, we learned that his demeanor change for the grumpier began with his wife's death.  And his desire to keep his daughter safe is a logical extension of that loss.  As is his overall grumpiness.

But wait, there's more. Joe and a large contingent of the CCPD are under attack as they assist A.R.G.U.S. with the protection of a mystery box containing – you guessed it – a nuclear bomb. Don't ask why a federal agency the size of A.R.G.U.S would need CCPD's help.  Just roll with it. Once Joe realizes they're out of their depth he calls for reinforcements but Barry arrives too late.

Then we are treated to something rarely seen in a superhero story – the anatomy of a defeat. Jesse and Barry can't evacuate the city for reasons, and the very essence of their speed will incite the explosion. Plus they are moving far too fast for Killer Frost's abilities to function or Cisco to breach the bomb somewhere harmless. All Jay can manage is to warn them that the dangers of sending the bomb into the Speedforce far outstrips the threat of changing the timeline, something Barry has finally learned not to do. The fact that Barry was still willing to consider sending the bomb into the Speedforce speaks to how desperate he was for an answer. The one viable solution they come up with, to hit the bomb with three concurrent lightning bolts, is thwarted by old age.

Out of options, Barry returns to the person who brings him solace. If you ever needed proof that Barry and Iris are the Flash, here it is. Iris finds an answer where three genius and five metas could not. They don’t need to bring the bomb to the Speedforce. They just needed to bring the Speedforce to the bomb. Barry races to do her bidding and the world, or at least Central City, is safe once more.

We are then treated to several lovely codas. First up was Jay Garrick’s retirement announcement. I can't wait to meet his replacement.  There was also Barry’s admission that Iris grounds him. Power bars and sweatpants is a perfectly acceptable date night as long as they’re together. My personal favorite was Harry showing Jesse how he feels about her mother in the only way he could.

Finally, our Mystery Girl was back. This time it was not all fun and games. Is her "Aw Shucks" persona just an act? What is her agenda? What was she trying to get out of her "meeting?" Whatever it was, she did not seem pleased.

Ok. I do have to mention the science just this once. As brilliant as I believe this episode is, it highlights the inherent problem of speedsters. If Barry is as fast as he seems how can he ever be defeated? This episode is even worse because if Barry can move in Flashtime, which he has done more than once, then why is Barry's ability to speed through a breach a question? They even make my argument for me. When Cisco is unable to breach the bomb to another earth, they say it's because there isn't enough time for a breach to form. That means that Barry is definitely fast enough to get there before a breach could close. Barry says as much to Iris at the end of the episode.  If you're still not convinced watch this.

So what do we know?

While this episode had precious little to do with The Thinker, we did learn a few things. The first being that they now have the means to track DeVoe's breaches from the pocket dimension. The second being that he's been going in and out of said pocket dimension for at least three years. If Team Flash is correct, DeVoe has been at this for a long time. All those brains and a three-year head start? Damn!

For all the cool effects what made this episode special was the interpersonal moments. Jesse berating her father because she couldn't stand to see how much he's hurting. Yet going back to die by his side. Barry's inability to say goodbye to Joe and racing back to Iris instead. Or the headscratcher of Killer Frost pleading with Barry to save Caitlin's life. Regardless of how this season ends, this episode will always be on my personal highlight reel.

4.5 out of 5 picoseconds (It would have been 5 but, you know, the science.)

Parting Thoughts:

So did DeVoe not see this coming or was he aware that Barry would find a way to save the day?

Harry tells Jesse that he couldn't save "her" meaning his wife. Is the failure to save his wife the reason that his failure to stop DeVoe is affecting him this way?

I know Barry is incredibly smart but why is he explaining nuclear fission to Jesse, a confirmed genius? I'm going to go with it's his show rather than mansplaining.

Barry says that when time is altered, it affects the speedsters friends and family "especially." Or could it be that they are the only ones whose fallout he witnesses?

Veronica Dale AKA Hyrax was a New Earth eco-terrorist and leader of the Eden Corps. However, she was a foe of The Green Arrow, not the Flash.

Using the Speedforce the way they did will come back to haunt Team Flash at some point. Right?

Just in case you didn't realize how in sync Barry and Iris are. Catch that last scene where even their outfits match.

Quotes:

Barry: "I can't save us this time."

Iris: "Come on Cisco. Just one more."
Cisco: "She said two hours ago."

Barry: "We have no way to track DeVoe. No way to stop him. He can't be this smart!"

Barry: "How can we live together, work together, sleep in the same bed together and it feels like we never spend any quality time together as husband and wife?"
Harry: "Allen, West-Allen. Cortex. Now!"
Iris: "I have no idea."

Jesse: "You know an apology cube works a lot better when there's an actual apology on it."

Harry: "Your team is a bunch of idiots."
Jesse: "Ok."
Harry: "No offense."

Jesse: "The second we slow down it's all over."
Barry: "I know. That's not helping.

Cisco: "I'm guessing this is our Ark of the Covenant."

Killer Frost: "I see all these frozen people around me, Flash, and this time it's not my fault."

Barry: "I don't know how much longer I can hold out."

Barry: “Are we dead?”
Joe: “No.”
Barry: “That’s good.”


Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I enjoyed this one as much as you did. Even though I did the same "this doesn't make sense scientifically but I like it anyway" thing in my head. :)