Flash takes something of a break from the Thinker this week to deal with an entirely different threat in “Enter Flashtime.” It’s a better done story than many of them have been lately and it shows some interesting ideas. It also brings back two guest stars we haven’t seen in a while (and kind of confirms that Wally was right to leave since none of them ever even think of him). It’s an effects-heavy, tense countdown without a clock.
After a very dramatic scene with an exhausted and beaten looking Barry having a tense talk with Iris, we jump back 8 minutes, which isn’t a long time for most, but for a speedster? A lot can happen in 8 minutes, which is a large point of the premise of the episode.
Barry is obsessing on trying a new trick to try and capture DeVoe, and it’s not going well. One amusing touch is a note on their board that is the speed formula Johnny and Jesse Quick use in the comics. Barry’s also dragged Cisco and Iris along for this one, and everyone’s getting tired of it except Barry. Cisco finally demands a break, and that’s when Iris convinces Barry to think about other things and plan a date night. Of course, that gets interrupted by Harry summoning people to the Cortex.
Cisco has managed to map out DeVoe’s comings and goings into his weird pocket dimension, and it’s been going on for longer than any of them thought. Yet another round of Cisco and Harry arguing gets interrupted when Jesse suddenly turns up, and Barry telling her Wally’s not here. But that’s ok because she’s not here to see Wally.
Jesse and Harry go for a talk. They discuss apology cubes (their Earth has a lot of odd customs) and she pokes around his lab. She pushes her father to try and talk about the death of her mother, and he’s not remotely interested. This is about when the team gets the alert that Joe is involved in a heavy firefight. Someone is attacking an ARGUS shipment he was guarding, and they are very heavily armed. Flash, Vibe, Jesse Quick, and Killer Frost go beat the bad guys in record time, so it’s the shortest episode ever, right? Not quite. The leader of the crew triggers a gadget and Barry somehow doesn’t stop her, which is when things go really, really bad.
The bad guy managed to set off a bomb, and Barry and Jesse are staying ahead of the explosion by virtue of their incredible speed. They figure out they can’t just run it out of the city, because it’s too unstable. Barry sends Jesse off to fetch Jay Garrick, who, among other things, occupies the speedster-mentor niche Max Mercury does in the comics. As the show goes on, Max is one of the few DC speedsters who hasn’t shown up or been referenced, but that may be the same kind of legal complication that kept Blue Beetle off of Arrow, and maybe why we have Elongated Man instead of Plastic Man. Continuing the incredibly annoying trend on hero shows and movies, Barry pulls off his mask for no reason. Maybe he believes he can think better without it?
Needing a technical consult, Barry shares his speed with Cisco, bringing him into “Flashtime” as the episode is titled and they are calling the effect when the world seems frozen around them. Cisco confirms that the bomb is even worse than they thought, and that his power can’t help, because it takes time for his breech to form, and they are moving too fast for that to happen. Cisco also figures out that non-speedsters can’t handle the stresses of Flashtime, and Barry lets him go, for some reason putting him back where he was.
Barry zips off to Harry next, who makes a suggestion that the arriving Jay Garrick shoots down in no uncertain terms. Harry also pleads with Barry to save Jesse from the oncoming doom, while Jay is impressed Barry can share speed, something he’s never seen before. In the comics, this was Wally’s trick, not Barry’s. Their next attempt is freezing the bomb and blast, but it’s too powerful for Killer Frost, who makes a strange plea and a snarky observation before going back to normal speed. Next up, using speed lightning to somehow counteract the blast. That doesn’t work and costs them Jay’s help, as the older man can’t keep up anymore.
Jesse and Barry debate the time travel option, but Barry sticks by his hard-learned lesson about not doing that anymore. She rushes off for a one-sided heart to heart with her dad before she, too, can’t handle it anymore and reverts to normal speed. A frantic Barry brainstorms ideas on his own at the board, and comes up with nothing. Resigned and beaten, he plucks Iris out of normal time for a tearful farewell. Instead, she somehow comes up with an idea no one else did, a convoluted solution involving the Speed Force and a few things we’ve seen in previous episodes. It’s a desperate attempt that finally manages to work. Yay, team.
In the wrap up scenes, an exhausted Barry is told to just rest for a few days by exasperated medic to the heroes, Caitlin. Jay goes home with some new plans for his future, that to me sounds like we’re not going to see him again. Jesse and her dad have a unique family chat before she leaves, too. Harry and Caitlin go out for coffee at Jitters and have another run-in with the mystery woman who has been popping up all season, and who I have a theory about. She spills their drinks “accidentally,” babbles at them for a while, and then watches them leave with a smile on her face.
What I liked: It was great seeing Jay and Jesse again. The vast majority of the episode being from the high-speed point of view was an interesting change, and I loved Cisco’s reactions and Raiders of the Lost Ark references. I’m intrigued by Killer Frost’s sudden request at the end there. They are doing a nice job of building/teasing the mystery of the babbling caterer/waitress.
What I didn’t: I know they keep trying to come up with new ways to make her important to the plot, but I just don’t buy Iris out-thinking Barry, Cisco, Harry, and Jay combined. It didn’t play at all for me. All this desperation for ideas and they don’t even acknowledge Wally? They mention just about every other speedster they’ve met. Barry being so obsessed with DeVoe is somewhat understandable, but it’s injecting a much darker note into the show. We get enough of that on Arrow, we don’t need it here. Barry isn’t Oliver, and shouldn’t try to be.
It was a decent episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5, deducting some points for the above mentioned issues.