[Review] The Flash (2014) Episode 3×16: “Into the Speed Force”

Speed Force Representative sounds like something speedsters should put on their résumés on this week’s recap of CW’s The Flash.

We start this episode with Barry deciding that he’s got to go back into the Speed Force to get Wally.

That was fast.

Spoilers under the cut.

After filling Julian in on the latest developments, Team Flash brainstorms together and comes up with ideas for a tether and vitals tracker. While Iris and Barry talk for a second (she needs a little time because she feels deceived), Cisco and Caitlin get to explain and name some of the stuff we’ve seen them use already, i.e. the halo. Everything is set, and Cisco sends Barry into the Speed Force, which this time looks like the CCPD. Barry finds the Speed Force’s…representative? Avatar? Whatever you want to call it, it’s the conscious projection of the Speed Force, which last time took the form of his mother and is now dicking with him by appearing as Eddie Thawne.

The Speed Force Representative (look, I can’t really call it “Eddie” because it’s not, so I’m calling it the SFR for now) says that things have changed because Barry lied to it about getting over his mother’s death, then created the Flashpoint. Wally is trapped in the prison his future self created, and will not be set free because he’s also a Flash and made his choice.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Jesse brings Cisco the armor fragment they pulled out of Barry and asks if he could use it to find Savitar. Cisco says probably, but he won’t because Jesse plans to go after him and that’s pretty much suicide. Iris is in the time vault starring at the future newspaper. Joe finds her, and they talk a little about her decision and how she feels so lost right now.

Meanwhile…is “meanwhile” even a thing when you’re in a dimension that has no space or time? Anyway, the SFR recaps Eddie’s death, then asks Barry if all he really wants is to find Wally. Barry says yes, then is told all he needs to do is get into the elevator. Oh, and escape a Time Wraith. Barry makes it to the elevator, but it takes him to S.T.A.R. Labs. Not the real S.T.A.R. Labs, though, because Caitlin is there with her and Ronnie’s baby, in a time that could have been.

The Science Division is analyzing Savitar’s armor fragment and quickly realize that it’s trying to reconnect with Savitar. They try to talk Jesse down, with H.R. being H.R. and calling her a fake Flash, and someone finally stops putting up with his bullshit. Thank you, Jesse Quick!

The SFR, this time as Ronnie, tells Barry that it won’t allow him to sacrifice his freedom for Wally’s and sends the Black Flash (Hunter Zolomon, formerly Zoom) after him. It catches Barry and begins to drain him. The SFR tells Barry he can’t free Wally unless he frees himself first, so Barry uses his tether to take Zoom away…somehow. Look this wasn’t explained very well, because the point of the tether was to bring Barry and Wally out of the Speed Force. So if the tether is attached to the Black Flash, wouldn’t it have been pulled out into S.T.A.R. Labs?

Anyway, after Team Flash realizes they’re no longer connected to Barry and won’t be able to bring him and Wally home, Barry wakes up in a hospital. Barry finds Wally, who is forever reliving his mother’s death, and goes to free him. But the SFR shows up in full Captain Cold cosplay and freezes the doorknob…which should make it more brittle and easier to break. Good job, Speed Force.

Jesse takes the armor fragment, hellbent on using it to locate Savitar. H.R. tries to stop her and…and…

Oh man, I need a cigarette after seeing that.

Moving on, the SFR explains that Wally is doomed to forever see the most painful moment of his life, just like Savitar was. Barry tries to bargain his life for Wally’s, but the Speed Force will allow no such thing. It knows Barry’s giving up, and it’s trying to get him to keep fighting. Still in the form of Leonard Snart, it tells Barry how to beat Savitar: by inspiring the people around him to be better, just like he did for Snart in the end. After it shoots Barry with the cold gun, it gets body-checked by Jay Garrick.

Outside the Speed Force and somewhere in Central City, Jesse uses the fragment to find Savitar. He gets the better of her, until H.R. actually does something useful and posits that Savitar needs a suit of armor because he’s vulnerable underneath it. Jesse stabs Savitar in the neck, and he runs off. Funny how he somehow didn’t see that coming.

Back in the Speed Force, Jay tells Barry that as soon as the team lost contact, Cisco came to get him. Then Jay gets shot from behind and the SFR says that Jay’s getting a little slow in his “Golden Age”.

Take a moment to groan. It’s okay.

Barry uses Jay’s helmet to reflect the cold blast. He knocks the gun from the Speed Force, then goes in to get Wally. Jay is staying behind, though, because a speedster needs to stay in the prison for some unexplained reason. Cisco is trying to breach them out, yelling that the Speed Force feels like it’s about to–!

And then Barry and Wally are expelled back into S.T.A.R. Labs. I have to admit, I’m morbidly curious as to how that sentence was going to end. Anyway, hugs all around.

Later, Barry tells the team about what happened, and that he learned his lesson: stopping Savitar is his responsibility. He also tells them that after what happened, Wally is benched until he can get his head right. Speaking of, Jesse tells Wally that since Savitar has “big plans” for her and Jay is stuck in the Speed Force, she’s going to Earth-3 for a while to cover Jay’s beat. She says her goodbyes, and then H.R. tells the team that Savitar is mortal.

At the West-Allen apartment, Barry tells Iris she was right, that he proposed out of fear and responsibility rather than out of love. He says they need some space, and she leaves for Joe’s.

“Into the Speed Force” had a whale of an episode preceding it, and while it definitely wasn’t as strong, it’s still pretty good. Especially this part:

But it has some serious logical flaws in it, so be prepared to be a little confused. Next time, we get an episode of Glee.

George Hatch can be found on Twitter @Raeseti. Also, he wants you to see this one more time.

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