Flash: Into the Speed Force

flash

You will be visited by three ghosts… no, really

Last week, Wally fell for Savitar’s machinations and ended up trapped. Now, Barry and everyone else is determined to save him. The only way to rescue Wally and hopefully get more information on how to beat Savitar is to go, “Into The Speed Force.”

The team is gathered at STAR Labs, trying to figure out what to do next. Barry, brooding in voiceover, blames himself for Wally being a prisoner. He says that no one else will ever pay for his sins again. Sounds like Barry is planning on doing something drastic. He announces to the team he’s going to go free Wally, and tells Cisco to get the equipment ready. HR manages one of his not-quite ideas that inspire some real ideas from Caitlin and Cisco, as far as tracking and maybe rescuing Barry while he’s in the Speed Force. Jesse wants to go with him, but Barry asks her to stay and guard the city. These heroes do seem to think their various home cities will fall apart without someone in costume watching over them every moment.

There’s more relationship drama with Barry and Iris based on the revelations from last time, and in my opinion, Iris isn’t handling it well. Joe tries to cheer Barry up a bit, and Barry wonders if he’s changed the future one too many times. Mind you, most of his problems have come from changing the past. Getting off Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase, Cisco opens the breech and takes him and Barry into the Speed Force. After some reassurance, Cisco goes back.

The mist-like nothingness of the Speed Force resolves into Barry’s lab at the Central City Police, where Barry notionally works but is almost never there. The Speed Force likes taking the shapes of people Barry has lost, and this time it’s Eddie Thawne, Iris’ former fiancé, dead since the end of season one. His death is actually still causing complications over on Legends of Tomorrow.

“Eddie” asks Barry why he’s there, and doesn’t seem convinced that it’s so the speedster can rescue Wally. Eddie tells him that Wally isn’t precisely here, he’s in the prison his future self creates. Wally, Eddie explains, is a Flash, too, and so he has to live with the consequences of his choices. Just like Barry does.

At STAR, Jesse brings the blade Barry broke off Savitar to Cisco to see if he can analyze or track it. Why Jesse has it, I’m not really sure. Cisco, justifiably, is worried that Jesse is going to try and go after Savitar herself. HR manages to hear all this. In the time vault, Iris stares at the paper from the future we haven’t seen in a while. Joe comes in and they talk about her future.

Eddie talks about the life and death of the original Eddie, and how it was supposed to be different. He sort of reenacts Eddie’s death, as shades of Iris and Joe look on. Eddie asks if saving Wally is the only reason Barry came back, and is very insistent on getting an answer. Finally, he summons an elevator to the CCPD lobby, and tells Barry he can go if he can get through. After a superspeed game of tag with a Time Wraith, Barry gets away. The Ghosts of Barry’s Past continue as he now finds himself at a version of STAR, with Caitlin creepily singing to a baby and Ronnie Raymond there in his original Firestorm version.

Julian and Cisco get nowhere with Savitar’s blade. It’s just as resistant to scanning as the box they kept the Philosopher’s Stone in. There’s a really amusing digression as HR babbles more about differences from his world, in this case Schroder of Peanuts fame vs Schrodinger, the man with the Cat. Jesse, seemingly the source of most good ideas this episode, wonders if the blade is trying to reconnect with Savitar. HR makes some really ill-thought out comments about leaving things for the real Flash, which doesn’t sit well with Jesse, who storms out. HR catches up with her (nice trick with her being a speedster), and she yells at him to stop trying to be her father.

Ronnie tells Barry this is a life that could have been. Barry says they are showing him people that sacrificed themselves for the greater good, and Ronnie corrects that to sacrificing themselves for him. Barry says he’s there to take Wally’s place, and Ronnie says he can’t allow that. Barry refuses to leave, pulling his mask up. Ronnie says Barry was warned, and the Black Flash appears to fight Barry. As they chase each other around and exchange superspeed blows, Ronnie lectures Barry that he speaks of sacrifice, but allows others to take his burdens on their shoulders. Barry, pinned to the floor, rips off his chest symbol with Cisco’s gadgetry in it, and stabs Black Flash with it, who disappears. STAR Labs registers the telemetry signal from Barry disappearing, and Cisco worries they might not be able to get him back. Barry moves on to what looks like a hospital corridor. He tries to get to Wally when he sees him in a room, but gets prevented by the next ghost, Captain Cold Leonard Snart.

HR finds Jesse in costume. She has the blade, and is about to go off and fight Savitar. HR tries to talk her out of it, which doesn’t go really well. After some argument, Jesse finds a way to shut up HR that most in STAR would probably approve of at least a little. She comments that it was oddly satisfying just before she races off.

Snart says that Wally is trapped in a temporal loop, reliving the worst moment of his life over and over. This is the same thing future Barry did to Savitar. Barry says Wally doesn’t deserve to relive his mother’s death over and over. Snart, in that wonderful sardonic delivery of his, says, “Let me guess; you do?” After some guilt tripping, Barry says he’s all done fighting. Snart says that’s the problem, but as he levels his cold gun at Barry, Jay Garrick, Flash of Earth 3, shows up.

Jessie lets the blade go and it takes off, streaking off to Savitar. She speeds after it, ending up in a vacant lot. Savitar shows up to gloat, saying he’d know she’d come for him. He claims to have lived through all this before. I am beginning to form a theory about Savitar, but I will withhold it for now. HR is on coms, and finally points out that if Savitar can’t be hurt, there’d be no reason for him to wear armor. Jesse stabs him with the blade she’s been carrying/chasing, and he bellows in pain and runs off. Score one for the good guys.

Jay knew to show up because Cisco went to find him when they lost track of Barry. Cold tries to blast the two, and Barry scoops up Jay’s helmet and uses it to deflect the blast, a move that’s right out of the comics. After some combat and another inspirational talk from Jay, they manage to save Wally… at a price. Someone has to take his place. Jay does so, and Barry reluctantly accepts, promising to return and free Jay. Wally and Barry make it home and there is much rejoicing.

Jay’s helmet gets put on a display rack, where it was before when the impostor Jay was with them. Barry says that the Speed Force was telling him it is his job and no one else’s to save Iris. I agree that’s what they said, I don’t understand at all why. Barry says that Wally is going to be haunted by what he saw, so Kid Flash is out of action for a while. Just to make Wally feel even better, Jesse leaves after all, going to Earth 3 to take Jay’s place as that world’s Flash. Jesse gets a good bye gathering from everyone, and she makes up with HR. HR shares the news with everyone that, since Savitar was hurt, he’s not a god under the armor. I’m not sure that logic follows, but then logic isn’t HR’s strong point.

In a final scene, Barry goes home to the loft. He and Iris have a very emotional talk, and essentially switch sides. Iris realizes she wants to marry Barry, no matter why he asked her in the first place. Barry, in what I won’t even dignify with calling reasoning, suddenly decides they need a break in their relationship. So, the new rule seems to be no happy speedster couples.

What I liked: It was nice seeing Eddie, Ronnie, and Snart again. I’ve really missed Captain Cold since he died in Legends of Tomorrow. Also, it was good to see Jay. Barry’s being willing to sacrifice himself for Wally was probably a bit guilt-driven, but it was still in character for him and arguably heroic. I completely understand Jesse’s reasons for going after Savitar on her own, and for dealing with HR the way she did. I’ve wanted to do that myself.

What I didn’t: Barry’s breakup with Iris made no sense at all. There was no reason for it, and came out of nowhere. That was cheap drama-flakes. HR’s leap that Savitar isn’t a god seemed to come out of nowhere. And, while I get everyone was upset about Wally, Jay seems to know a lot more about what’s going on. Maybe he would have been a more useful ally to defeat Savitar? Cold-blooded of me, maybe, but I think it makes sense. Jesse’s timing, leaving when Wally’s so shaken, seems a bit harsh at best.

I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. It would have been higher but for the double break ups, especially Barry’s.

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