The Flash: 4.15 Enter Flashtime
Now that’s how you do an episode of The Flash! Enter Flashtime takes another break from the DeVoe plotline and fills it in with some of the best writing there’s been all season, incredibly powerful, emotional and character driven. With any superhero show or movie, it’s never easy to convince the audience that your protagonist is in danger; this episode did exactly that. Ok, perhaps it was obvious Barry and the team would survive, but there was a point that I genuinely questioned the outcome.
The episode begins with Jesse arriving from Earth 2 to see her dad Harry. I loved how her character was reintroduced all of a sudden, but handled very nonchalantly, as if she never left. She came back to have a heart-to-heart and make her dad face the death of, her mother. This brought some excellent character development to Harry; normally he is Cisco’s counterpart, minus the movie references and comedy. It’s seen here that he has a softer side, holding back his emotions, unable to speak of his late wife. Towards the end he uses science to help his daughter understand, which was extremely emotional.
The villain this week was an insane eco-terrorist called Veronica Dale who hijacks an ARGUS shipment of a nuclear weapon, and presses the red button. These actions cause possibly the greatest threat Team Flash has ever faced, DeVoe included. It also provided a good reason to bring back Jesse and Jay Garrick, to help Flash solve this seemingly unsolvable problem of stopping the explosion. Bringing back characters can be dangerous, especially if their arrival affects the tone or doesn’t meld into the overall story well. This is not a problem whatsoever here as each character, new and old, is given due attention and is well written.
The majority of this episode takes place in the newly named “Flashtime”, which is basically time viewed from a Speedster’s perspective when they run. This provides more time before the bomb explodes. Knowing that they can’t solve the problem themselves, Barry sends Jesse to Earth 3 to enlist Jay Garrick’s help. Since coming out of the Speed Force, Barry, by simply touching someone, can bring them into Flashtime. From the moment the bomb was detonated, Barry began slowly asking each of his friends for help. The only trouble is, he has limited time with them as their bodies cannot withstand the pressures of moving as quickly as him.
Perhaps the most appealing element to this already entertaining episode was its plotting. While running in Flashtime, all three Speedsters (Barry, Jesse and Jay) think of every possibility, logically deciphering their next move, each option having a reasonable explanation as to why it won’t work. Cisco cant vibe the device away, Cailtlin (Killer Frost) cannot freeze it and Harry can’t think of anything scientifically that would work. In their last effort the Speedsters attempt to each throw a lightning bolt at the device. The only problem is as Jay is getting old he can’t run for prolonged periods and has to stop running, the same soon after happens to Jesse, and rather than run home to Earth 2, she spends what could be her last moments with her dad.
Helpless to save his beloved city, a highly emotional Barry goes to Iris to explain the situation and how he has tried everything. She comes up with the idea of using the sphere that the team used to get Barry out of the Speed Force in the first place, to summon enough energy to strike the device which destroys it. The following scene of slow-mo running and lightning is nothing new, but the overall message really hits home. It’s about a hero’s willingness to do anything to save everyone. I mean it would be easy to select a handful of friends and family and get them to safety, but for Barry and crew it’s all or nothing, which I found very moving and powerful.
What would an episode of the The Flash be without a little mystery / cliff-hanger to keep the audience going for a week? Before Jay returns to his own Earth, he expresses his desire to “slow down”; explaining that he has been training a new Flash and the team will meet her very soon. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about another potential Speedster but I look forward to discovering who she is at least. Secondly, we get another short interaction with the mystery girl seen in episode 11. She has an interesting chat with Caitlin and Harry this time, but her character and intention is still a mystery.
Enter Flashtime was simply superb. In an episode that has nothing to do with the Thinker or bus Metas, it has a villain that’s completely throw away, and certain characters like Joe and Ralph being virtually left out; it kept my attention and left me wanting more. This particular episode developed characters and lore well, showed deep emotion and was highly entertaining. It may have been expendable filler but it brought back a spark I’ve certainly not seen in a while, and for that, I tip my hat.