Flash Season III – Ep. 16 -“Into the Speed Force”: A Review

Posted: 03/16/2017 in Uncategorized

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Ok. Into the Speed Force – out of the speed force now back in….Oy. This was for the most part a very solid episode, but one not without missteps. While I continue to enjoy this series, Season 3 seems mired in fits and starts as once you break time and start mucking around with reality… pretty much anything goes…and yet other aspects seem locked in a perpetual loop. My explanation follows in my review.

Last week, I lamented that the West family were burdensome. This week my opinion is essentially unchanged except regarding family patriarch Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). Barry (Grant Gustin) takes full responsibility for everything that has gone wrong, understandably- with Flashpoint. He takes the initiative of going into the speed force to fetch Wally/Kid Flash (Kieynan Lonsdale). His team supports him. Joe tells him earnestly he does not want to lose another son and the slight rift between the two seems healed.

Then there’s Iris (Candice Patton). Last week, all progress her character made was swept away and this week saw no improvement. She is cold with him even though he risks his life to save her brother whose fate was brought about by his own poor decision. She all but walks away from him. When he asks her if he has ‘lost her’ and she doesn’t reply… I think my contempt-ometer spiked heavily. By comments on various message boards I have viewed, I am not alone in this opinion. Joe acts as a mediator, trying to help her work through her conflicting emotions but honestly, with this ‘will they or won’t they?’ BS, investment in her is getting pretty sparse. She can’t bid Barry a proper farewell but she can weep about her feelings for him and admit her harsh treatment of him to her father afterward. Her meeting with Savitar is starting to feel like not the worst thing that could happen. This sentiment is in itself terrible as the one thing the Flash/Barry Allen has been striving for since day one of the series is her. Her behavior borders on baffling. The show runners might have a master plan for this character but they had best provide a terrific pay off. This statement could expand to the season as well. If the season ender and big bad identity reveal fail, this season will rank with the “Al Sahim” or “Damian Darhk- let your hopeful attitude defeat your enemy” conclusions that crippled both Seasons 3 & 4 of Arrow, as botched endings for otherwise solid seasons. While Arrow has rediscovered its path, the Flash seems stuck, particularly as regards the Barry/Iris dynamic.

The good – the foray into the Speed Force was superior. This was easily the best (pardon the pun) run so far involving this aspect of the show. The presentation of this entity/reality as adversarial played exceedingly well.  During his last trip, the SF was informative and supportive. This time it is punitive and justly so. Presenting itself as two dead friends and one frenemy, the source of the Flash’s power takes him to task for his lie, namely the promise that he would move forward and accept his life as it was. His action of creating the anomalous Flashpoint to save and spend time with his mother is seen as a betrayal by the SF. The reactions and challenges presented via two friends who present the lives they might have lived had deep emotional resonance. Rick Cosnett’s  Eddie Thawne illustrates that he could have been Iris’ husband with Joe as his father in law in lieu of the sacrifice he chose. Ronnie Raymond (Rob Amell) like a ghost of Christmas past features Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) in a far different role had he not sacrificed himself to help Barry. These aren’t mere empty taunts. The consequences of his actions come to bear via his meeting a time revenant and more importantly the acknowledgement of the identity of the same “Black Flash” who pursues Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher). Every moment within the force was stellar. Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) while fully engaging the Flash pushes forth both the notion that the hero’s actions of late aren’t heroic and that he is still lying to Speed Force.

The intercession of a friend and fellow speedster via Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) actions, when the team loses track of Barry, leads to more guilt heaped upon Flash’s shoulders. The notion that there is a prison here that must be occupied assures that whoever takes Savitar’s place is doomed to suffer. Wally’s time in the Force haunts him, pushing him to relive his worst moment. The promise of addressing the present wrong at the moment rings hollow. No one comes away from this run unscathed and while a generally dark episode was presented, from both a dramatic standpoint and action wise, Ep. 16 unquestionably delivered.

Jessie Quick’s (Violet Beane) interactions with HR (Tom Cavanaugh) were pretty gd fantastic including her finally silencing his prattle. More hints are given as to his potential as a real villain but nothing is certain. With a being such as Savitar who moves so incredibly fast, so many things are possible. Jessie’s ballsy engagement of this season’s big bad provided some cool moments as well as a key to his claims of “godhood” being false. Jessie’s rankling at HR’s comments about Barry being the “real Flash” provided cool moments including her openly declaring she is “the Flash” of her earth and has fought many ‘monsters’ there. While her end sequence action is honorable, it is a little short sighted considering her earlier pronouncement, but ah well. I am a greater fan of her presence as speedster and ally than I have been of KF’s fame hungry, glory hound.

The end sequence in which Barry both charges himself with saving Iris single-handed-ly and essentially expedites her potential demise is again… baffling and adds to the unevenness of this season. While the episode had some superb moments, I cannot call it outstanding. Flash however thus far is still well worth your time.

 

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