Speed Force

“Enter Flashtime” – Review of S4 Ep15 of THE FLASH

In this episode, we start with Barry literally sweating out his most difficult situation…telling Iris “I can’t save us this time.” What’s happening here, and why? And, how does Flashtime fit into all of this? It’s a most unusual episode of THE FLASH, one that takes some interesting artistic choices while featuring not one, but THREE great speedsters (at least…).  Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!


During the “Previously On The Flash” segment, we catch a glimpse of the Quark Sphere. This is the sphere containing Barry’s genetic marker, sent into the Speed Force to fool it into thinking Barry was still trapped there (this was part of the resolution of last season’s cliffhanger, something that allowed Barry to return at the beginning of this season. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to that. For now, let’s go back in time 8 minutes and 47 seconds…

Barry has been working out with Cisco, practicing the timing to eventually jump into one of DeVoe’s breaches and to follow him to that mysterious pocket dimension where he hides out.  The workout isn’t, uh, working out. Cisco is keeping each breach open for only 3 picoseconds, which is the window of time they have to get into DeVoe’s breaches.  And, Barry hasn’t been able to get the speed to handle the operation, at least not yet. Where they do make some headway is in tracking the locations of all the breaches, and they learn something shocking…

DeVoe has been breaching into and out of Central City for three years! THREE years!

Jesse arrives to talk to her dad…and she and Harry are still REALLY awkward. She wants Harry to deal with his wife’s death, and he simply can’t talk about it.  We’ll come back to that late in the episode. But…

…just then, we cut to a terrorist attack at Waid Field. Joe West and other members of the CCPD have been escorting ARGUS and a special payload there, and the terror group manages to open up that container.  It contains a fission engine, one that could be made to blow up and take the entire city with it. Team Flash arrives and takes out almost everyone…but the leader of the group hits the remote detonator before Barry can stop her.

It is at that moment that Barry enters Flashtime!

Barry finds that he and Jesse are the only ones moving, with everyone else frozen in the moment. They immediately begin trying to figure out ways to either stop or get rid of the bomb.  No ideas yet, other than getting more help. Barry sends Jesse to Earth 3 to retrieve Jay Garrick, in hopes that three speedsters can make the difference

This starts a series of moves where Barry brings the various members of Team Flash into Flashtime…one at a time…in a lineup of failed attempts to stop the bomb. The problem is that the powers of folks like Vibe and Killer Frost don’t have the opportunity to work well in Flashtime, as their powers literally require some amount of time to work.  Add to that, non-speedsters can only handle the rigors of moving in Flashtime for brief periods, limiting their ability to help.

Harry suggests opening a portal to the Speed Force itself and taking the bomb there…but Jay Garrick fears that would risk cutting off the Speed Force from every speedster across all of space and time…and possibly have other far-reaching effects that could affect the entire multiverse.  What then to do?

Over the next few minutes, Jay and then Jesse both tire and fall back, first sweating from the effort to keep their speed up and then freezing in the moment.  That leaves Barry alone…and brings us back to that moment where he essentially says goodbye to Iris.

Of course, that isn’t goodbye, or else we wouldn’t have an episode next week.

Iris sends Barry into the Speed Force, grabbing the Quark Sphere and bringing it back to his world.  Throwing it into the fission engine attracts the lightning bolts of the famous Speed Storm we saw at the end of last season, counteracting the potential explosion and saving everyone. (Question – did the Speed Storm then reclaim the Quark Sphere? If not, does that mean the Speed Force now recognizes that Barry isn’t there? If so, what happens next….or not…dunno on that one).

Afterward, we find that an eco-terrorist named Veronica Dale, representing a group called Eden Corp, had planned to use the devastation of Central City to make some sort of point about the dangers of nuclear power.  Crisis averted for now, with Barry resting up from all the effort of being in Flashtime for so long.

We find resolution along several fronts here:

One last note – the mysterious young woman we all suspect is Barry and Iris’ daughter shows up again at Jitters, as awkward as ever. But, her nervousness this time was due to finally getting to meet more of Team Flash, in this case Harry and Caitlin.  More to come on that…but for now, let’s go to the…

SUMMARY: This episode took a lot of chances. It’s not just the concept of Flashtime, but in the way they pulled it off.  Having most of the cast frozen in time for the majority of the episode meant placing a much bigger burden on each one-on-one conversation between Barry and the members of Team Flash. In effect, we were getting character studies throughout the show, and for this episode it worked very well. It was great seeing Jay Garrick again (actually, any time seeing Jay is great), but the real emotional highlights came from two performances –  Violett Beane as Jesse Quick, dealing with her relationship with her father, and especially lead actor Grant Gustin as Barry.   Great job all around – I’ll give this one a 9/10…but that’s my opinion.  What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!