With Savitar free again as of our last episode, the villain trapped Wally in the Speed Force. Can The Flash save Kid Flash from a fate worse than death? Or does the Speed Force require something more sinister from our hero? Meet me after the extra-dimensional jump for my thoughts on “Into the Speed Force.”
The Speed Force
In the comics, the Speed Force is more or less an energy created by the movement of time and space, which can be accessed by speedsters to grant them their powers. It has been said to be a corridor through time, and an afterlife for speedsters as they become one with it when they die.
On television, the Speed Force is quite possibly all that, but also more. As seen in “The Runaway Dinosaur,” it appears to be sentient, and a realm that revolved around the Flash. Presenting itself as people from Barry’s life, the Speed Force helped him regain his powers when he had lost them. It would seem to be a friend then, that may not be the case anymore.
While it was good to see Rick Cosnett return as Eddie Thawne, it’s only as a construct of the Speed Force. Once Barry dives in he arrives at police headquarters, on a stormy night just like the one when he got his powers, and is confronted by Eddie. Things have changed, the Speed Force is not happy that Barry meddled with time in creating Flashpoint – it’s no longer his friend.
Eddie isn’t his friend either. The Speed Force is using Eddie to get at Barry and hurt him. The faux Eddie hammers Barry with how things could have been, should have been. Instead of marrying Iris, Eddie wound up dead. So angry is the Speed Force/Eddie, it sends a Time Wraith after him.
Continuing the theme of dead friends and should have beens, next Barry finds himself at S.T.A.R. Labs with Robbie Amell’s original Firestorm with Caitlin… who’s cradling a baby. The guilt in the air is heavy, and the attitude of the Speed Force has the same tone with Ronnie as with Eddie, props to both actors for that.
Sacrifice is what Eddie and Ronnie have in common – and that’s what Barry wants to do – sacrifice himself for Wally. Just as Eddie sent a Time Wraith, Ronnie sends Zoom after him. Barry is able defeat the Speed Force creation, but only by severing the tether connecting him to the real world.
The next stop on the Speed Force tour is a hospital room, guarded by another dead frenemy, Captain Cold. Like Cosnett and Amell, the speech patterns of Wentworth Miller III are perfect for the Speed Force’s mission, all attitude and punishment. And that last bit is where Wally is, reliving his mother’s death over and over again.
We get a cool (pardon the pun) moment with this Cold representation, where he tells Barry that he inspired Snart to die a hero, to be better. I liked this quite a bit as this Cold doppelgänger is more like Captain Cold than the real thing on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow lately. Cold proves too stubborn a foe, but luckily, someone comes to Barry’s rescue.
The Golden Age (he’s even slyly referenced that way by Cold) Flash arrives and helps Barry fight Captain Cold. It’s brief, but I loved this and wish we’d had more. As I have loved seeing Flash and Kid Flash together, I want more of Jay and Barry together, fighting baddies and running side by side. Yeah, I squeeed.
Unfortunately, this is an episode about sacrifice, and a speedster has to take Wally’s place in the Speed Force. Jay is that speedster. Just when I was loving the character and digging John Wesley Shipp in that costume, we lose him. Hopefully Barry will keep his promise to save him.
Meanwhile Team Flash examines the shard of Savitar’s armor broken off last episode to try to track him. The lab rats drag their feet so Jesse Quick won’t go after the villain and get hurt, but H.R.’s careless comment about ‘waiting for the real Flash to return’ makes her determined to find him.
Jesse steals the shard to track Savitar herself, but finding him, he’s more than she can handle. In the fight H.R. makes up for his faux pas by giving Jesse the means to hurt Savitar. It’s just common sense. Why does he wear armor? He’s just a man, not a god.
Even after we lose Jay, we seem to running out of speedsters. Wally needs a break from being Kid Flash after his Speed Force experience, and just when he needs her most, Jesse suddenly decides to leave for Earth-Three to take Jay’s place. Responsible yes, but also illogical. I’m sure I’m not the only one scratching my head on that one.
And then we have Barry and Iris. In an episode about character, introspection, and sacrifice, it turns out Barry’s proposal was in fact one big Barry-ism, and he takes it back. Barry thinks they need some space, and moves out. Comics Barry has the greatest love of all, and TV Barry is a frigging idiot – that’s all there is to it.