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THE FLASH Recap: Barry Journeys “Into the Speed Force”

THE FLASH Recap: Barry Journeys “Into the Speed Force”

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of The Flash! Proceed with caution, speedsters. For reals, if you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Into the Speed Force,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Let’s go.

Yeah, Barry is just the worst. And in case we needed yet another example as to why, we have “Into the Speed Force.”

I mean, I understand why the guy does the things he does. He’s motivated by the same things that affect all of us–guilt over the past, fear of the future, etc. But there was once a time when the DC heroes were known for being inspirational figures, idealized versions of humanity that spoke to our better natures. On a certain level, however, Barry’s consistently poor decision-making is even worse than the wanton acts of violence and destruction committed by Superman and Batman in Zack Snyder’s DC movies. Unlike in the case of these films, The Flash is produced by people who genuinely appreciate its character’s source material, and who’ve proven that they’re more than capable of honoring it while appealing to the CW’s young audience.

“Into the Speed Force” finds Barry again looking to right his wrongs, those for which his friends have suffered, by taking on his titular mission in order to replace Wally in the speedster netherworld, where the lad has been trapped since he inadvertently released Savitar from it last week. The episode also serves to bring back a host of the show’s past stars and guest stars, each of whom plays a version of the Speed Force communicating through their former characters’ physical forms. F

irst, there’s Rick Cosnett’s Eddie, who sacrificed himself in order to stop Reverse-Flash in the finale of season one. Robbie Amell’s Ronnie Raymond is also there to help pour the guilt onto Barry, showing him a vision of the child he and Caitlin could have had, had he not also perished in the season one finale. There there’s Wentworth Miller’s Leonard Snart, probably the most appealing character to have appeared on this show (with the exception of Tom Cavanagh’s sublime H.R. Wells). Here, he’s just a vessel who reminds Barry, and us, that he’s not only capable of inspiring heroism in others, but of converting those who are diametrically opposed to the very idea of heroism. Like Eddie and Ronnie, Snart’s just a vessel for the Speed Force, but Miller’s so damn good he can’t help but remind us what this show’s been missing since he left it for Legends of Tomorrow.

The Flash 1

Our heartstrings are supposed to be torn when Jay Garrick appears and winds up taking Wally’s place in the Speed Force. But we haven’t spent all that much time with Jay (this version of Jay, that is), and Barry’s been so unlikable lately that instead of appearing noble Jay comes off as a bit of a chump for investing so much in the kid. Of course, Barry doesn’t do much to change our minds when the first decision he makes upon returning home is to tell Iris he thinks they need to spend some time apart. As someone who’s been in a stable relationship for 17 years, one that’s suffered its share of problems, I can verify that this is pretty much the exact opposite of the way intelligent couples behave.

I’m sure The Flash‘s producers are viewing this season as a kind of crucible in which Barry’s faith in his ability to be a partner to his wife is tested. (Unless they really are planning on killing Iris off.) But he’s been through so many similar tests in the past two years–and, as we’ve seen these last few weeks, wound up wanting–that it’s getting harder and harder for us to believe he’ll learn all that much from this one.

Next week, we and Barry will get a break from all the hand-wringing with a two-part musical crossover episode with Supergirl. But when the Savitar storyline resumes in the following episode, I’m praying for the love of all that is holy, in and out of the Speed Force, that this show finds a way to instill the hope to which it so often pays mere lip service.

The Flash 2

Accelerated Particles:

— On the upside, “Into the Speed Force” is far and away the best Jesse Quick episode the show’s given us. Overcoming her frustrations to work with H.R. and successfully take on Savitar all by herself, she makes both Barry and Wally look like amateurs. Oh how I wish we could go with her to Earth-3 and leave Team Flash to its misery.

— “It’s not The Peanuts. It’s just Peanuts.”

— Cisco treats us to Toy Story and The Iron Giant references this week. I want to Cisco be my best friend. And I want him to come with me to Earth-3 to hang out with Jesse, where we’ll have movie marathons and eat lots of popcorn.

— “Getting a little slow there in your golden age, Garrick.” Sure, it’s pandering. But this old comics fan still loved it.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).

Images: The CW

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