Things have been complicated for Team Flash since the Crisis ended, and that continues in this episode. There’s a new threat to deal with, the return of an old enemy, and two friends come back as well. Things are about as ugly as they sound in “Death of the Speed Force.” They even manage to tie up what seemed like a contradiction from another show.
The show opens with an annoying Russian rich lady going from irksome to endangered as her chopper starts to crash. Kamilla and Caitlin watch on the monitors and assure themselves it’s fine since Barry is on it… just as Barry walks in with a cup of coffee, looking confused. Since we know it’s not him, and there aren’t a lot of speedsters left, even if you haven’t seen the previews, it’s fairly obvious it’s time for the return of Kid-Flash. He pulls off a high-speed rescue with some new tricks.
After various welcome back bits, Wally demonstrates some other new skills he’s picked up. Between that and the Zen he keeps mentioning, it really feels like this should have been the time to introduce Max Mercury, the “Zen master of speed” in the comics who has mentored various other speedsters. The welcome home party is observed by Iris and Eva, still trapped in the Mirror Realm. They talk about being trapped and isolated, and it has some kind of effect on fake Iris. There’s even more reason to celebrate when Cisco returns from wandering the Earth, sporting a new look and accidentally crashing the party. The party breaks up, and there’s a vague explanation about why Nash is in the same building as Ralph (who takes this episode off again) and the Citizen. After the others leave, the speedsters do a brisk cleanup and Barry’s powers hiccup. Wally is concerned and shares some other problems he’s been having.
The rich idiot Wally saved at the start of the episode becomes the red shirt/show how the villain works character, and it’s not pretty. Naturally, Joe takes the case (his promotion to Captain doesn’t seem to have changed anything), and he, Barry and Wally (no idea how they justify him being there) examine the body. Cisco is there, too, and takes some energy readings and briefs the others on the villain, dubbed Turtle II. Not one of his better efforts. We also learn that the new Turtle shares some history with the CCPD. Later, Nash goes to Cisco and asks about survivors from other Earths. Cisco explains why this isn’t possible, neatly explaining the whole Alice/Beth weirdness over on Batwoman. Caitlin comes in to see the end of this argument.
Visiting with “Iris,” Wally hears about some of Barry’s history with the Speed Force. Fake or not, “Iris” gives some good advice. Kamilla comes in at the end of it and gets a picture, which provokes an odd reaction from faux-Iris. Wally then goes to see Barry at work, and presses for details on what happened with Barry and the Speed Force. Not really in the mood for excuses, Wally takes Barry to the Speed Force (wow, consent, dude), and they get some bad news when they find the personification of the magical force. Barry and Wally go back to the real world and argue a lot (not quite Zen there, Wally). Wally brings up visions of the future that have changed now. Nash, meanwhile, is working on another vague tech project and gets a surprising and unpleasant visit.
Without Wally’s mystical guidance, Barry falls back on science to get back to the Speed Force, and finds out more about what’s going on. It’s not good news, and it ties back to Crisis (what doesn’t at this point?), and it turns out is arguably is Barry’s fault after all. It’s a sad scene without a happy ending. Upset, Wally goes to see Joe, who once again proves to be the source of wisdom and good advice. Joe also has some work of his own to do that ties in to the current villain’s agenda. Cisco also gets some advice, this time from Caitlin, about his trip, the aftermath, and dealing with Nash. Wally tracks down Barry and they patch things up. After a parable from the Buddha, Wally and Barry agree on what to do next and then get an alert from Caitlin- the bad guy is at CCPD.
This would be a good time for one of Cisco’s techno-miracles, but this is the time he’s taken to go talk to Nash and apologize for their earlier disagreement. Unfortunately, Nash isn’t quite himself, and the visit doesn’t go at all as planned. Cecile steps in at the end of things to lend a helping hand. Caitlin, meanwhile, has perfected Cisco’s newest toy, and Wally and Barry scheme out how to use it. Apparently, with the changes in the Speed Force, they only have a limited amount of power, and when that tank runs dry, it’s over. The speedsters get to CCPD, do a lot of dodging around and, I’d think, burn up a lot of their power. Eventually, teamwork prevails and Team Flash wins.
Shaken, Barry finally shares what’s happened with “Iris” and she gives him some unexpected advice. Their conversation gets interrupted when Cisco calls Barry down to the Pipeline to see the newest complication in their lives. There’s a lot of posturing and threats, as if Barry and the team needed more issues to deal with now. One of the things that comes out of this scene is Cisco learning about the new developments with the Speed Force. At the West home, Wally has a quiet goodbye with Joe, reconciling himself to his apparently unavoidable upcoming loss of power. It’s a nice scene, and Wally hints at something that no one else has noticed so far.
At STAR, the original team of Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco talk about what they’ve learned. Barry comes up with a new idea that I’m not sure is the best approach, and Cisco and Caitlin look surprised. It’s an interesting spin on the show’s mythos, and I’ll be intrigued to see how it plays out. The show ends with “Iris” cleaning up some loose ends to keep her secret.
What I liked: It was good to see Wally again. As always, I’m impressed with Joe’s advice and warmth, and Jesse Martin does a great job in the role. I liked Wally’s new tricks. The villain had some interesting powers. I was also happy to see Cisco return.
What I didn’t: This really should have been Max Mercury, not Kid-Flash, in this role. Wally’s grip on Zen seems tenuous. Again, where the heck is Ralph? He’s the least seen “series regular” I think I can recall on any show. I’m not wild about the villain return or the looming power crisis. Iris has never been my favorite character on the show, I’m really not sure we need two of her.
I’ll give this a 3 out of 5. I liked some of it, but I didn’t love any of it.