After last week’s “Legends of Today” — arguably the best mainstream superhero team-up yet presented on TV — I was fully prepared for this week’s episode of The Flash to disappoint, even with showrunner Andrew Kreisberg writing and TV action maestro Kevin Tancharoen. Thankfully, the two do not disappoint, and give us a Flash adventure that brings new meaning to the phrase “dashing through the snow.”
It’s Christmas in Central City, so it’s fitting we get the return of one of the Scarlet Speedster’s more cheerful foes — Mark Hamill’s Trickster. (As if we needed another reason to get excited about seeing the once and future Luke Skywalker in this month’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.) Thanks to the the Weather Wizard, the merry maniac gets out of Iron Heights, along with one Captain Cold. While Trickster and Weather Wizard are out for chaos and revenge, Snart, though he can’t bring himself to admit it, just can’t muster up the energy to hate Barry after Team Flash saved his sister’s life. So he tips our boy off to their plans and exits the episode early, presumably to get ready for next year’s Legends of Tomorrow spinoff.
Hamill is again in fine form, though decades of hearing his Joker has me seeing the Clown Prince of Crime in his role here. But the world-weariness with which the veteran actor infuses his madness helps enormously. Liam McIntyre’s Mark Mardon is perhaps a little too J. Crew for his own good, and looks like he’d be more at home on The Vampire Diaries then in the Flash’s rogues gallery. But he’s good enough to serve as a source of hatred for Patty Spivot, whom we learn blames herself for creating the situation in which Mardon murdered her father. Barry talks her out of killing him, and then admits he’s been harboring similar feelings of hatred towards Wells 2, since Wells 1 (while possessed by Eobard Thawne) murdered his mother.
In addition to the feels of seeing Joe West finally learn about and meet his son Wally, and Caitlin and Jay finally sharing a kiss (under the mistletoe no less), “Running to Stand Still” gives us an amazing effects sequence in which Barry chases after Mardon as he soars through Central City; as well as a new use for Barry’s powers when he jets himself and Patty away from a swarm of decidedly deadly dreidels tricked out by the Trickster. James Jesse also attempts another stunt as he poses as Santa and sends one hundred children home with bombs wrapped as presents. The solution that Wells concocts — to send them through the breach — results in one of the more amusing visuals The Flash has given us: the sight of dozens of Christmas gifts flying out of homes and into the sky, where they explode harmlessly. I’m sure plenty of viewers were left scratching their heads over just how the boxes weren’t stopped by, well, ceilings. (There aren’t many of us that keep our doors and windows open in the middle of a snowstorm.) But the Silver Age innocence/naivete was enough to win me over.
As for Wally… Joe’s acceptance of his son and his conversation with Francine are presented off screen. Which is a little strange, since one would think that conversation would be ripe with drama. And it’s too soon to tell just what kind of personality the kid has, since he only speaks a handful of words here. But if The Flash holds true to form, it won’t be too long before Wally too acquires the Speed Force. Now if Jay could just reacquire it. All I want for Christmas is to never again hear him say, “If only I had my speed…”
— Can’t somebody get Captain Cold some mini marshmallows for his hot chocolate? Supervillains need Christmas cheer too.
— “Every Earth has The Godfather, Vito.”
— This marks the second week in a row that DC Entertainment’s new Flash action figure has appeared on the show. Just in case you were unsure of what to get the fan in your life for Christmas.
— “Your toys. Give them to me.” Wells gets all the best lines in this episode.
— So is it too soon to hope that Wally teams up with Arrow’s Speedy for a little Teen Titans action?
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
IMAGES: The CW