Run Barry, Run. But, sometimes running isn’t the answer. Barry is faced with unpredictable, unstable odds when a nuclear fusion bomb is detonated, and he is forced to find a way to stop it before it blows. With help from Jesse Quick and Jay Garrick, they stretch seconds into minutes, trying to save the city. Will they be fast enough?
THE FLASH: S4 EP15 ‘Enter Flashtime’
Director: Gregory Smith
Writers: Todd Helbing & Sterling Gates
What You Need To Know:
Last week, we managed to get through a rough episode of the Flash. We were forced to say goodbye to the “blonde-brainiac” and watch DeVoe force things into his vision, and capture a new body. We watched Ralph get trampled, watching the “bus meta” known as The Fiddler taken by the Thinker. DeVoe now holds powers from innumerable metas, and he is loving it. Ralph lost his hick friend, and Barry lost the motive she gave him. Where it left him? Desperately grasping for a chance to find a way to capture DeVoe, per the norm.
What You’ll Find Out:
Well, from the first few minutes of this episode, I myself from a critical standpoint, could tell it was going to be a good episode. We start with a snippet of a “flash-forward” showing us a drenched, breathless Barry. We have no idea why he is how he is, or why he tells Iris he just can’t do it; he can’t save them, not this time. Then, we come back to the present, or eight minutes and forty-seven seconds before the flash-forward event. And again, we get Team Flash working hard.
Desperation grips Barry through vigorous training, where he tries to match the transport speed of DeVoe and his/her hover chair. It is a lost cause, as it is seen through Cisco being put to opening breaches, and Barry trying to zap them with lightning before they close, and failing. Barry starts showing some serious mental emotions, getting very fed up with the fact he just CAN’T.
Iris is there for him to lean on though, as usual. But something NOT terrible in this episode is how sweet they are. As I will most likely mention throughout this review, the writing for this specific episode is absolutely stunning. The acting seemed less forced and…bad. Iris and Barry, in even the tiny moment where she says that she will be there with him, through his stress and through the date night she wishes they could have, it is honestly adorable. Iris managed to drop a “we’re the flash” moment in her attempt to get Barry away from all of his troubles, which annoyed me, but less so. After the sweet moment though, Harry calls the two over the loudspeakers for something “important”.
Of course, it was. Though this episode was mostly filler, they managed to not completely forget DeVoe, because of course, he’s all that matters. Harry reveals, thanks to Cisco, they found a trail of energy signatures left by DeVoe from every time he has teleported. This was great news, they had a way to track his movements, a way to know what he was up to. A few small quips and a mention of Ralph Dibney later, who didn’t make it to this episode, we get our first guest star! In all the happy, you’d think Jesse dropping by would add to it; it didn’t. Jesse and her father have had a mixed relationship with the show, and an interesting one. Jesse reveals an apology cube sent by her father. A fight was had, things were said, Harry was kicked off his own earth; hence the need for an apology cube. Though it was empty, Jesse and Harry have a nice little chat and bring up the reason for the fighting. Jesse wanted to know more about deceased mother, whom her father refuses to talk about or forget, and Harry just can’t fund the words to tell her anything. It opens a nice little side-story to the filler story. And then, the dreaded ring of the cell phone.
Joe was in trouble. ARGUS was shipping something, and terrorists wanted it. Outnumbered and out-gunned, Joe calls Team Flash. Jesse turned up right on time, and it looked like a job for ALL of Team Flash; including Vibe, Killer Frost, and Jesse Quick.
The terrorists have Joe cornered, and find what they are looking for. Their leader, a black-suited woman opens the large ARGUS shipment and reveals a bomb. Why the bomb? Uh, well I don’t know. Why she wanted it? Most likely to kill people? Whatever the matter, she got what she wanted, but her plan looked to be put to rest when the sound of gunshots halted. Team Flash is at it again, encircled around her as she exits the large crate. It was over…well, they thought it was, at least. That was until she held up an activation device. One press of a button and Flashtime begins. The bomb was detonated, and Barry stopped everything to find that he couldn’t stop it.
Naturally, Jesse moves faster than time, syncing her and Barry, and allowing them to panic together and figure out what to do. Frantically, Barry suggests the help of Jay Garrick, from Earth-3. Jesse is sent to pick him up, and Barry decides to flashtime his best friend, because who wouldn’t? Barry chose Cisco in a moment of panic and need, which I found kinda bromantic. A breach opened to a different world to send the bomb through? Perfectly legitimate reasoning, and so the Vibe was on the case. But, of course, a breach is a rip in space and time. Moving faster than time wouldn’t allow a breach to be opened at such a speed, which I myself saw coming but it made sense and held back the story like it obviously needed to without stupid or unscientific reasoning.
Barry quickly loves Cisco, due to him NOT being a speedster and he was going Flashtime, his heart was moving faster than it should have been, so Barry says good-bye. With one option down, Barry takes his sweet time and runs his way back to STAR Labs to consult with the smartest man he knew; Harry. Flashtiming Harry, he explains the predicament. I honestly believed we would get some sort of lame excuse for an answer to the problem from Harry, but instead, he showed worry for his daughter first.
Harry was the guy, though brought in desperate to save his daughter, who was more or less emotionally distant. Never showed he cared, and Jesse sensed that. But at the moment he thought she was going to die, he got worried. Barry made sure Harry understood that she was fine, though coming back to help soon enough. Harry spat ideas at Barry, but they were interrupted by none other than Jay Garrick, THE Flash. They got quick to work, due to Barry’s need for speed and unwanting to waste any time, they began going over the possibilities.
And then, one came up. The speed-force, an endless pocket of energy that speedsters drew their power from. Could it contain the bomb? Well, Jay quickly beat the idea to the ground, due to none of them know how it could affect the speed-force; it was too dangerous to risk. So new options were made. Perhaps, freezing the bomb? Well, just when I thought Killer Frost might have been used for an episode, they freeze her in time and pull her out when she is needed.
So back to the bomb, where everyone stood frozen. Killer Frost is brought into Flashtime and starts with quirky, unnecessary slapstick. Nice to know The Killer Frost has been turned into a kiddie pop. But, freezing the atoms being released from the bomb was, again, a smart idea. So, they try it, but apparently, ice is no match for an atomic bomb going off at the absolute slowest time possible. She quickly becomes weakened, like any human would moving that quickly. Though, before completely getting rid of her, we receive a small amount of dialogue that shows us something; Killer Frost cares? She asks Barry to make sure Caity is safe. She was WORRIED about her counterpart, her other half. Why? Maybe because without her, she dies as well? But it kinda comes across in a romantic sense, which again, is odd, but nice to see a touch of sentiment…I guess.
Freezing the exploding bomb was a failure, breaching it wasn’t possible, tossing it into the speed-force wasn’t even an option. Barry begins to show his slow descent into “Savitar-esque” notions. I’ve never seen Barry so serious, taking this moment with extreme caution and grasping at hope though unable to find any. It was really fun to watch him, Jesse, and Jay all in Flashtime, for the socialization they get, and the ultimate suspense. This episode stretches what is apparently eight minutes into a full hour, due to the entire episode taking place following the three speedsters in flashtime. I really love the thought and ideas put into the episode, they took really every chance Barry had, and brought his two fellow speedsters for extra help due to their experience. Well, Jesse was a bit of a long shot, but seen her back was refreshing, especially when she contributed.
Jesse suggests, being a scientist’s daughter and all, that matching the energy being given off by the bomb and overpowering it would contain the blast and neutralize it. Her words were much more scientifically sound, but the main point she was making was basically if they each create a lightning bolt, which generates 1 billion joules of energy, would match the current energy being given off by the bomb. Once again, the option presented itself very soundly and made me actually think it’d work. In most episodes, we’d get a half-brained, simpleton’s answer to the episode’s predicament and it’d all be solved thanks to it.
This episode, we get a problem without solving. Options that are impossible to perform due to the fact, without Flashtime, everything they were working to save would be gone! So every possibility presented seemed like it may or may not work, which in this case, worked!
So, the three-run; naturally. Producing lightning bolts, one from Barry, one from Jesse, and one from-…Jay? Jay started showing signs of fatigue earlier on, but this constant running around was taking its toll, and he was unable to produce the third bolt needed. Another option, gone! The man Barry needed, or believed he did, dropped out of Flashtime, leaving the stakes on Jesse and Barry.
Pretty quickly after, we see Jesse begins to grow weaker and more tired. Barry starts to realize, he was asking too much of her to stay with him. Her energy was failing and she needed to drop out as well. Barry told her to run, and she did. Not back home, though. Not back to her earth. She ran to where she knew she wanted to be; to her father. She tries her best to bring him into Flashtime, but even she couldn’t hold the speed, so it wasn’t possible. She knew it all rested on Barry, and that if this was the last time she’d get to talk to her father, she wanted to take the chance. She told him what lied in her heart, what she felt. She knew her mother meant so much to her father, but forcing him to talk about it wasn’t the answer. She drove him away and she was sorry.
The whole Jesse/Harry side-plot was probably one of the best-handled things to happen in a long time, side-story wise anyways. You really felt that string that had been slowly breaking between the two since she was rescued, was finally being mended, even without Harry being able to converse back to his daughter. It’s a very touching moment, and Jesse leaves us off with her, dropping out of Flashtime.
Barry’s emotional state has been the pivotal point in this season. After the Savitar incident, Barry knows he just can’t become what he saw he might. But in this episode, you really start to see how focused and dedicated Barry has become, how much lies on his shoulders and how it takes effect. This episode showed Barry’s breaking point, his inability to save everyone because he just couldn’t, there wasn’t a way he knew of. He was working his tail off, and working a sweat up to the point he was drenched. So, he stops. He stops and goes to the only person he has ever had true tranquility with; Iris. And it wasn’t cringe-worthy!
He brings his wife into Flashtime, millions of questions probably swarming her head, but all she could do was stare at Barry and how broken he was. He was red in the face and sobbing for help because the only people he thought could help him…couldn’t. So he turned to his only option, the one who always seemed to magically make things better. This episode is packed full of emotions, from daddy/daughter to mental unstableness to pure love, the moment we receive between Iris and Barry seems genuine, so unlike many of their other scenes throughout the series. Barry was troubled and tired, and he needed Iris, but he never thought she’d actually be able to help him like that. Iris, I will say, is not much. She’s not a scientist, she’s not of any importance when it comes to things that have to do with science/technology. YET, she always seems to find an answer, without having the knowledge.
This time wasn’t like that. Team Flash, as we all saw at the beginning of this season, found a way to get Barry out of the Speed-force. They replaced him with a Quark Sphere, something to match his energy signature and allow Barry to come home. Iris was there to comfort her husband, making the moment in which Barry was completely distraught, into a happy one. Sometimes slowing down was the answer, and she knew that. Personal time was what she wanted, and she gave it in these nanoseconds. But of course, she figured out the answer to the problem too, because she’s the only one who remembered.
The Quark Sphere; the object that attracted the speed-force, inside of the speed force. Barry had informed her of what he needed to do, and how he couldn’t, but she knew how. The speed-force energy was what powered their abilities, so bringing the energy from the source, which was shown to be an incredible amount, was the way to match the bomb’s current energy signatures and counter the explosion. And, like I’ve said, the idea wasn’t completely terrible! It didn’t make her out to be someone who magically knows science or anything, she just remembered what got her husband back to her, and how it could help them again! It was a brilliant idea.
“Come back to me…”
“As fast as I can.”
Those words could have been the last Iris and Barry said to each other, and of course, they were adorable.
So of course, Barry runs. Into the speed-force, and out with the Quark Sphere. A trail of blue and white lightning followed closely behind him, as he ran for the bomb. The effects and animation in this moment were stunning! Watching the slow motion effect and the electricity crackle behind him, and the background music, it was unlike any other episode ever produced on the Flash. I almost couldn’t believe it was CW’s doing! With a toss of the Sphere and a much-deserved fall to the ground, the bomb’s energy was released but met by the speed-force, and they each obliterated each other.
Flashtime ends with a small boom, and the breaths of relief by everyone around. Iris remembers her husband first, and contacts him, asking if he’s alright. f course, he lied on the ground, exhausted, and relieved. He was alright, and so was everyone else, because for once he slowed down with Iris. It was a long eight minutes, but worth every second of viewing!
With everyone back at STAR Labs, we finally find out who detonated the bomb and why…They have naturalists turned terrorists, trying to resurrect the Garden of Eden, and Star City what they could do. A video recording meant to be released after the bomb’s explosion was now in the hands of Joe, who kept it as evidence. Yes, you heard right, this whole episode was filler content! Barry lied tired but happy, and everyone around him thankful. Wondering is DeVoe was behind it almost sat in the back of their minds because it didn’t matter anymore. Barry found a way because of Iris, and that’s all that mattered.
Of course, we have to say goodbye to the one person who helped make this episode a great one; Jesse reveals she has to make her way back to her earth, but not without a proper goodbye. Harry knows she has to leave and hears her out. She explains she understood what he was going through, and she was sorry for trying to force him into something he wasn’t ready for. Harry understood as well, which is why he believed it was time; time for Jesse to understand it all. Using the neural inhibitor, built specially for Cecile to block her telepathy, he created a mind-reading device. One for him, one for Jesse, and it went from there.
Jesse got to hear her mother’s voice; it seemed so happy, so lovely. She heard her speaking to Harry, and to her. She read the thoughts Harry had, the ones that made it so hard to talk about Jesse’s mother, and Jesse truly got to understand that. Harry revealed how much he loved his wife, and how hard it was to lose that love. This moment was beautifully made, showing the care Harry held for his daughter and his wife, who had passed. It wasn’t hard for him to endure these moments because instead of being alone, he had Jesse with him. Two thumbs WAY way up for the writers, and of course to the actors who portrayed their parts absolutely gorgeously. The timing of the events the two had together was perfect and relayed amazing emotion, something most CW shows lack. But this took the cake.
And then, there she was. Caitlin and Harry at Jitters, having a one on one about Killer Frost…when out of the blue, SHE pops in. Spilling coffee all over their table, the frantic young girl apologizes saying she’s late for a meeting. Caitlin and Harry say goodbye pretty quickly, dismissing the clumsy, young girl…but Caitlin doesn’t leave without a proper good luck with her meeting, wishing for it to go well. The mysterious young girl answers, to herself, “Oh, it did.” The waitress from the wedding! The girl who bought Barry and Cisco coffee! WHO IS SHE?! The writers are planning something big for her, perhaps she’ll be the speedster who Jay Garrick is training, whom he mentioned before the end of the episode. Perhaps she is more than that?
What Just Happened?:
What just happened, you may ask? Well, we got a filler episode that actually didn’t have any connection to the true plot, which is DeVoe and trying to prevent him from capturing any more of his test subjects. We got an episode filled to the brim with beautiful acting, amazing story, and stunning sequences of animation and effects. We got an episode that focused on Barry’s descent into his mental instability, something he is so scared of happening, that fear is exactly what is pushing him toward becoming “Savitar”. We got an episode that brought back Jesse AND Jay Garrick for reasons more than just having them there to look at. They contributed, they hit us with some punches, they helped make us feel for this episode.
What just happened? I’ll tell you what, we got a filler episode like they should all be done; with dedication and story-telling at it’s finest. What happened in the episode? Oh, well Barry and Iris get closer through Barry’s hard-working, almost maddening, behavior. Nothing much came out of this episode, other than a lesson; speeding up can get things done, but slowing down is when things matter most. Also… don’t give your dad a hard time about your deceased mom; it’s not a light subject.
This episode deserved more than a 10/10, it deserves more than I can even say. The emotion was perfectly timed and placed, the acting was phenomenal, due to such a different method of scripting and writing for the episode. The story, while so simple, captured the very essence of what Flash should always be. Speedster or not, things don’t come simple and should be more than cringe-worthy humor or sappy romances. This episode, I can safely say, has been the best so far. And that’s saying something because this season has been full of astonishing moments and episodes. This one, though it may have been filler, mattered.
The Flash airs on the CW Network on Tuesday nights. Check your local listings for times.
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