“Into The Speed Force” Review of S3 Ep16 of THE FLASH

Wally West has been drawn into the Speed Force by Savitar, who is now free to pursue his evil plans on our Earth…including the future murder of Iris West! Wally was Barry’s best hope for defeating Savitar, so what now? Barry has one hope of making this right…going into the Speed Force again! In this series, any trip to the Speed Force appears to be tied to some serious life’s lesson. This time, Barry needs to learn something important…but what? Want to know how this winds up? Just follow us after the jump!


NOTE: This review is being published prior to THE FLASH airing in the Pacific Time Zone (USA). If you haven’t seen the show yet, STOP NOW and come back after watching. 

Sacrifice is the underlying theme in this episode…from beginning to end. But, before we get to that…

Team Flash comes up with a safety net for Barry’s trip to the Speed Force, with a “tether” device loaded up into Barry’s chest symbol connected to Earth One by “Goldtooth”. Yes, Cisco is back to naming things again, and he’s very proud of himself. Cisco drops Barry off in the Speed Force, where Barry finds…

That the Speed Force is not happy with Barry.

After all, Barry left the Speed Force last time claiming he was through with holding on to the pain of his mother’s death. We know that to be a lie because of the Flashpoint paradox that started season three. The Speed Force speaks to Barry through the look-alikes for Eddie Thawne, Ronnie Raymond, and Len Snart – and they do everything they can to stop Barry from saving Wally.

This is where the idea of sacrifice is hammered in – each of these people sacrificed themselves…either to save Barry or due to being inspired directly by Barry. Barry wants to sacrifice himself now, to trade places with Wally in the belief that only Wally can save Iris. But, the Speed Force is adamant that he not be able to do this. Why?

Back on Earth One, Jesse is willing to take every risk to go after Savitar herself. She is distraught over Wally’s disappearance into the Speed Force, afraid that Barry may not be able to save Wally, and determined to make Savitar pay. She does eventually track Savitar down…and while she can’t defeat Savitar on her own, she does make a critical discovery. More on that in a moment…

Back in the Speed Force, things are looking very back for Barry. He’s about to lose out, when a BIG surprise appears…the Jay Garrick of Earth Three!

This is no trick of the Speed Force – Cisco went to Earth Three to get Jay’s help when the “tether” blinked out (see the show to find out how that happened). Jay helps Barry get to Wally…and then we see yet another sacrifice.

Someone has to trade places with Wally in order to free him from the Speed Force, and Jay stays behind!

This leads us to realize the big lesson of the Speed Force this time around. While saving Wally is very important, Wally is not and cannot be the answer to save Iris from Savitar. Barry himself has to do it. He has to step up and be that hero, and he cannot live afraid that he’s not “good enough”. Barry promises to return to save Jay – then Barry and Wally return to Earth One.

They learn the important fact that Jesse discovered in her fight with Savitar. It turns out that Savitar is NOT a “god”, but rather human! Underneath all that armor, Savitar can be hurt!

All that leads to some serious fallout, however. Here are the results:

  • Jesse heads to Earth Three, to watch out for that world until Jay can be freed.
  • Wally is headed to the sidelines for a while, to recover emotionally from his horrifying experiences in the Speed Force
  • And Barry and Iris talk about their relationship…and it’s not good news, at least for now.

Yes, Barry and Iris are still in love. And, Iris realizes she does want to marry Barry. But, Barry has to admit that he asked her to marry him to “change the future”…and he needs to stop trying to change every detail in order to save Iris. He asks for some space…and moves out of their apartment.

SUMMARY: In this series, any visit to the Speed Force is a powerfully emotional experience. This time, it was powerful for both Barry and Wally…and it will continue to be a sacrificial experience for Jay, who stays behind. There is one hope here…will sending Savitar back to the Speed Force (if indeed that’s how to stop him) bring back Jay? We’ll have to wait to find that out.  The great thing for all fans of the show was the return of some great characters – to see Eddie, Ronnie and Len once again, even if they were manifestations of the Speed Force. This was a great episode, one that represents a real opportunity for growth in the character of Barry Allen. And, this episode sets us on a course for a wild ride toward the end of the season (that is, as soon as we finish the exciting SUPERGIRL/FLASH crossover next week). This is a 10/10 for me – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!


5 thoughts on ““Into The Speed Force” Review of S3 Ep16 of THE FLASH

  1. Pete Woo

    Once again Jay Garrick is used as a punching bag and disposable plot device. Rather than making him a SUCESSFUL hero as in his printed page version, here in Arrow verse he is captured and imprisoned by Zoom, then shown to NOT even be able to handle his own Trickster, and now dumped into the Speed force to save Wally. Seriously in this incarnation Jay is a joke. I am hopeful that they start treating Jay as the hero possibly even having him take over as fastest man on this series temporarily at the end if the season.

  2. Adam

    i thought it was a great episode very emotional for all characters i cant wait to see the reveal of savitar! the suspense is crazy!

  3. Steve

    Way too many repeated beats and plot points. Barry getting over loss is tiring. I realize that sacrifice is a key component to his character, but if you’re never going to pull the trigger on his death, all we have is the recycled loss of parents and parental figures in what is becoming a very artificial pattern. This Flash is truly defined by loss, and I’d say the character of Barry Allen has been since Flashpoint in the comics. Even if they finally pull the trigger on his death, it won’t really be as powerful, because it seems like every single episode he’s eager to throw his life away for some reason. Gustin gives the character incredible life and sympathy, but the performance is wasted with such repetitiveness.

    Happy for how the writers treated Jesse, sad for the way they treated Jay, and still disappointed by how they continue to treat Wally.

    Also, Savitar is a snooze, regardless of who’s behind the mask. They clearly had no unified concept for his M.O., which is sad, given how much gravitas he had in the comics. Just pick a gimmick, guys…Egyptian speed messiah cult leader? That’s cool. Evil genie-like granter of wishes and aspirations? I mean…I guess. Yet another evil doppelganger? Yeah, fine. Just pick 1 and RUN with it, don’t make him a lazy device for whatever the plot demands. Too many ideas, not enough focus. The show needs a higher class of bad guy, and fast.

    1. Joshua

      Completely agree. I think this was one of the weakest episodes of the series. Such a stark contrast to the compelling villain work on Arrow the last few episodes. I can’t believe this site keeps giving 10/10 reviews to the comics and TV show. Can’t take them seriously.

  4. Steve

    I also realized the biggest reason this episode grated on me…the “lesson” Barry learns from it sends the exact opposite message as the rest of the show.

    For 2 seasons now, we’ve seen Barry create so many of his own problems by trying to do everything on his own. He keeps secrets because he doesn’t trust others to help. He alienates Wally because he doesn’t trust him to be a good hero. He hurts Iris’ feelings because he doesn’t trust her with the truth. For the Speed Force to tell him that his problem is putting too much onto others is laughable.

    As a matter of fact, Barry was well on his way to becoming a great team player. He wasn’t just dumping all his responsibilities onto Wally; he was training him. He was supporting him. He was being a proper mentor for a change. Acknowledging that Wally might be the key to beating Savitar wasn’t being selfish, it showed great humility and a willingness to work with others. He was also making great strides with honesty until the whole engagement fiasco. He opened up about Flashpoint (eventually), Iris’ death (eventually), and Cisco’s brother (eventually).

    If there was a moment in the show when he was putting too much onto others, it was during Flashpoint itself. THAT’S when he should have learned this lesson, because THAT’S when he was actually shirking responsibility. And he learned that lesson. He learned that he couldn’t just leave everything to other people in order to pursue his own happiness. He put the cowl back on and went back to fighting crime and risking his life to save others on a fulltime basis. For him to be told he is afraid of doing the hard things himself is contrary to the evidence provided in every single episode of this series.


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