Airing Tuesdays at 8pm on Sky 1
Writers: Todd Helbing & Sterling Gates
Director: Gregory Smith
Essential Plot Points:
- Barry, exhausted and weeping, staggers into the lab. He brings Iris into the Speed Force and, gasping, tells her he can’t save them this time. They look in horror at something on the screen and…
- We’re 8 minutes into the past with Cisco, Iris and Barry. Barry’s trying to get fast enough to go through Cisco’s breach portals, given they close the exact same way and speed DeVoe’s do. They’re getting nowhere.
- Iris talks him down, persuades him to take a little them time and does that thing where she’s awesome.
- Wells calls them to the Cortex where Cisco has tracked every one of DeVoe’s breaches. DeVoe has been doing this for THREE. YEARS.
- Jesse appears and has a massively awkward conversation with her dad. She nails the fact that Harry has never faced up to his wife’s death. She’s relentless and kind and Harry is in agony and screws it up because that’s all he can do.
- Then the alarm comes in. Joe, the police and a team of Argus agents are in a pitched gun battle with a group of criminals at a nearby hangar. Barry and the others roll out as the criminals break into a container…
- Team Flash roll up. Barry confronts the leader of the group and she shows him the active detonator in her hand.
- The container was transporting a bomb. It’s exploding. Barry is too late.
- They don’t have time to run people out of the city. They can’t run the bomb out in time. Barry sends Jesse to Earth 3 to get Jay Garrick in the hopes he can help and brings Cisco up to speed. Literally.
- Cisco identifies the bomb, walks Barry through how much trouble they’re in and tries to breach the bomb away. But Cisco’s Breaches are a folding of space and time and they don’t have time. Unable to deal with being in Flash time for long, Cisco collapses and tells Barry to go get Wells.
- Harry suggests putting the bomb into the Speed Force before collapsing. Jay and Jesse arrive and Jay instantly shoots the plan down. The explosion could destroy the Speed Force.
Which Barry is just fine with if it means saving the city. Barry blows up at the older Flash and the three of them get back on the same page.
- Jay suggests cooling the bomb down and they bring Killer Frost in. But, like Cisco, her powers can’t deal with it. Barry puts her back in real time.
- Jesse suggests they each throw a lightning bolt to try and offset the energy from the bomb and effectively re-set the explosive reaction. It’s a great idea but Jay can’t deal with going so fast for so long and collapses.
- Jesse suggests throwing the bomb back in time and Barry, brilliantly, is NOT okay with it.
- It’s the Speed Force or nothing.
- And then, the bomb’s explosion changes colour. They’re slowing down. So everything else is speeding up.
- Jesse begins to burn out too and Barry sends her back to Earth 2. Panting, exhausted, the Flash looks at his friends, his family.
- He reaches out to Joe to say goodbye but stops himself. He whispers ‘I’m sorry.’
- At the lab, Jesse is too weak to bring Harry into the Speed Force. She tells her dad that she knows how sad he is, how desperately she wants him to be happy. With seconds left for the city to live, Jesse sits next to her father, drops to normal speed and waits to die.
- Barry is back at the lab frantically doing math to try and work out how to throw the bomb into the Speed Force, Coming up blank and barely able to stand, he staggers to the Cortex to say goodbye to his wife.
- Barry breaks down. Barry calls her his lightning rod. Explains that they tried to throw lightning bolts at the bomb to fuse the atoms back together.
- And Iris, because Iris is amazing these days, looks her guy in the eyes, puts him back together and…solves…the…case.
- The Flash isn’t powerful enough to do that alone.
- The Speed Force is.
- She explains about the Quark Sphere and how it was designed to fool the Speed Force into thinking Barry was still in there. If he gets it, the Force’s lightning bolts will follow him back into the real world. And they’re powerful enough to fuse the bomb.
- Barry goes in, grabs the Sphere and with the last seconds he has, hurls it into the bomb. The Speed Force sweeps over it and…
- Time starts again.
- Everyone lives.
- In the lab, Wells hugs and Jesse hug.
- In the Cortex, Iris frantically calls Barry.
- At the hangar, Joe rushes over to his son to see if he’s okay. Barry wakes up.
- Later at the lab, Barry is taking some desperately needed rest as Joe fills them in. It turns out the bomb was being stolen by EdenCore, an ecological terrorist group tipped off by DeVoe.
- Jay steps in to see them and explains that he’s going to retire and train his replacement. He shakes Barry’s hand, fist bumps Cisco and leaves.
- The others leave Iris and Barry alone. He tells her he’s figured out he’s more than fast enough to catch DeVoe. And that she was right and he needed a breather. They cuddle, and laugh about date night being a night in the lab.
- Jesse and her dad chat. Wells puts the cerebral dampener on his daughter’s head,explaining that he’s reversed it so she can hear his thoughts. And Harry Wells, brilliant and completely inarticulate, uses his brilliance to solve the one problem he could never solve before. The pair sit, connected by their shared memories and finally on the same page.
- Later, Harry and Caitlin go out for coffee to catch up. Caitlin is in the middle of explaining that, for the first time, she can remember what Killer Frost said when someone spills coffee on her. It’s the mysterious girl who catered Barry and Iris’ wedding, and who is observing Team Flash. She says she’s nervous about meeting people for the first time and Caitlin says she hopes it goes well. As they leave, the mysterious woman watches them and says ‘It did…’
This is a textbook example of how to do superhero fiction. The episode works on three levels:
- Progresses Barry and Iris, Harry and Jesse and surprisingly Caitlin and Killer Frost’s emotional plots.
- Continues and evolves this season’s motif of Barry being pushed to the edge and never quite being fast enough.
- Tells a self contained story with no apparent way out, that finishes with a solution that’s earned, makes sense and is a pre-established part of the show’s DNA.
That’s just massively impressive however you cut it. From the opening teaser to the closing scene, this is an hour of TV that brims with urgency, confidence and emotion. Grant Gustin turns in some of his best work to date here as Barry is pushed physically and mentally way past his norms. We all know he’ll save the day and so just as Barry carries the weight of the problem on his shoulder’s, Gustin carries the episode on his. We feel every step, we sense every moment of desperation and horror. It’s phenomenal work and everyone else brings their A game too. That leads to numerous little moments that a show can only do this far into its life. Barry not wanting to worry his dad but still reaching out for him. Killer Frost’s ‘Don’t let Caity die.’, the entire closing scene between Harry and Jesse. This is a show in its prime, using its long established background to make itself better. That’s not just great TV, it’s positively inspiring.
Fun, well thought out and completely sincere, this is The Flash at it’s absolute best. If you put together a Top 5 of the show’s episodes so far, this would be in it for sure. Next week has a hard act to follow but we can’t wait to see what happens next.
- AMAZING opening scene! That’s how you do a teaser!
- Tom Cavanagh is fantastic this week. The panic on Wells’ face when he almost talks about his feelings is heartbreaking.
- Likewise Grant Gustin and Candice Patton. Barry and Iris have undergone massive, and years overdue, changes this year and each one of them has been for the better. The relationship between them is the cornerstone of the comics and has become much the same in the TV show. Outstanding work, everyone especially Violett Beane. Much more Jesse on the show please.
- The way we hear, rather than see the criminals get taken down is great.
- The Flashtime premise is pretty much the best weird science thing this show has ever done.
- Cisco trusting Harry to work out what he can’t is very sweet.
- Jay’s Captain America-esque theme is kind of lovely.
- Jay, Barry and Jesse thinking their way out of the problem is a fantastic reminder that the Flashes are, fundamentally, all nerds.
- Barry being completely against time travel after…well…EVERYTHING that happened because of what he did.
- The not entirely tidy wrap up. This is a season all about difficult answers and it’s great to see them sticking to that.
- No Ralph.
- Very little Joe, which is becoming a worryingly common feature this season.
And the Random:
- Gregory Smith is best known as an actor for his roles in Small Soldiers, Everwood and Rookie Blue. It was that last show where he cut his teeth as a director and has become a frequent flier behind the camera, especially for the DC TV shows. He’s directed Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash.
- Todd Helbing has written for The Flash since season 1. In addition he’s written for Spartacus: War of the Damned and Halo: Forward Unto Dawn.
- Sterling Gates has written for The Flash, specifically focusing on Cisco, since the start of the show. He’s also written for the Spider-Man cartoon and Supergirl.
- ‘ALLEN! WEST-ALLEN! CORTEX! NOW!’
- ‘Don’t be modest, it’s unbecoming.’
- ‘I see all these frozen people around me, Flash and this time it’s not my fault.’
- ‘Barry? Don’t let Caity die.’-OUR FEELINGS, KILLER FROST. ALL OF THEM.
- ‘Come back to me.’
‘Fast as I can.’-OUR FEELINGS, GUYS, ALL OF THEM.
- ‘Sorry about date night.’
‘Don’t be. Power bars and sweatpants. It’s all I really need.’
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