The Flash: Season 3 Episode 16 – Into the Speed Force
This review contains spoilers.
Sometimes, this shows goes a little too out there in its approach, to the point where it slightly baffles (though nowhere near as much as certain others shows) and feels a little too contrived. This was one of those episodes.
We’ve seen the speed force communicate with Barry before, which worked well the first time, but this week felt a little too misplaced from the whole and therefore a little too self-indulgent.
Again we suffered a the notion that the team could throw together a few quickly-made gadgets that would precisely aid in the job at hand. Once Barry gets inside the speed force, the speed force (welcome back Rick Cosnett, Robbie Amell and yes, even Wentworth Miller) berates Barry for Flashpoint and states that he lied to them.
John Welsey Shipp returns too, as the real Jay Garrick (not a representation of the speed force), who seems present only to serve as a speedster who could take Wally’s place. It’s disappointing to see Wally released so soon, simply because I was hoping they would do the early Rebirth arc, with Wally being trapped inside the speed force and trying to find ways to reach those on the outside, who have begun to forget who he is.
Another trait for the show is young speedsters zooming off into trouble on purpose, despite what their peers tell them. This happened once again, but this time with Jesse, who for some reason thinks herself a match for Savitar.
Jesse’s desire to save Wally is understandable and to be fair to her she did wait for a while, to see if the team could find a way do it first, but in general Jesse is a character who should be smart enough to know better than to think that she can beat Savitar alone.
We got confirmation this week that Savitar is a man of flesh and blood under the suit. We saw him as a man once in a very brief flashback in a prior episode. This was seeing his large, muscular back from behind. Since then, I’ve assumed – like the team – that Savitar is currently fully metallic (or at least, not flesh).
The design of the suits makes it seem like there is no possible way that a man could be held inside. Apparently, there is one, however, so it will be interesting to see how his suit dismantles when he does finally take it off in front of the team (which, no doubt, he will).
We were promised the return of Black Flash and this week we got that. The result was a little underwhelming, however. Especially when you hear the way in which comic book fanboys decry the use of him in the show so far.
According to them, he is supposed to be so much more than simply a screeching post-Zoom speed force-dweller. It would be nice to see him used in a smarter way than he was here, which was, effectively, just like another of those speed force ghouls.
Wally’s prison – being trapped in the most painful moment of his life – was an interesting choice from the writers, because it is many other TV shows’ visions of Hell itself.
In both Supernatural and Lucifer this is their literal representation of Hell, when characters cross over. However, in The Flash, the speed force is usually spoken of as being a prison, not as being any version or vision of Hell.
So it was a strange choice to go with, but I guess in a show that can’t utilise religious mythology, such locations as the speed force would be the wrtiers’ go to when they want to represent the worst location in the universe.
This also implies that Savitar might have been stuck in his own personal Hellish moment, when he was trapped inside the speed force. Or perhaps, due to his strength, he was able to avoid that, while still being unable to escape from the speed force on the whole.
Barry’s selfishness is a theme of this season and this week hammered that home even further, with his decision to renege on his proposal to Iris, asking instead for some space. “I don’t know how we can move forward like this,” was his line, but is anything really worth breaking Iris’ heart like that? Especially given that he likely only has a finite about of time left with her before she’s gone forever.
Savitar has already called Barry out on this selfishness and often refers to Barry as a villain, so perhaps all of these little self-centred moments are designed to work towards a season closer that will see Barry represented as a villain, in some fashion.
Image credits: The CW