The Flash: 3.16 Into the Speed Force
This week Barry Allen journeyed into the wormhole to speak to the Prophets. Sorry, wrong show. But the Speed Force entities are pretty much the twenty first century version of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's spiritual aliens; creatures that wear the faces of people Barry knew to lead him on his journey through the speed force itself. Yes, having Barry walk through the dimly lit police station or hospital set might seem a little cheap but the episode still worked despite these budget saving techniques as he went in search of Wally after Kid Flash was tricked into taking Savitar's place last week.
Plus the show shelved up some money to get some old characters back; Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne, Robbie Amell as Ronnie Raymond (including a glimpse of the child he might have had with Caitlin) and Captain Ham himself, Wentworth Miller's Leonard Snart / Captain Cold.
It was great to see these faces back on The Flash all heroes in their own right who had sacrificed themselves for the greater good (though fans might be confused if they haven't seen season one of Legends of Tomorrow). These appearances made up for what was a rather simple story, Barry coming to terms with his own quest as he navigated the speed force to break Wally free. John Wesley Shipp also made a welcome return as Jay Garrick, looking decidedly older as he helped Barry fight off the Speed force entity wearing the guise of Captain Cold.
I was hoping Jay would be back at some point but equally disappointed that he ended up trapped in Wally's place; with a speedster needed to replace him it seems Savitar will have to be defeated and imprisoned rather than killed. And talking of Savitar we got another snippet of who he might be as Jessie went after the 'God of Speed' in another foolish battle (just like Barry and Wally before her - it seems a prerequisite of becoming a speedster). Stabbing Savitar with his own blade revealed that he was just a person underneath and I am really looking forward to the reveal of who this baddie might be. I suspect we already know the person so I hope the payoff is good. As for Jessie, when confronted with Savitar's plans for her she did the only sane thing and fled Earth 1, though I wasn't so convinced by her decision to replace Jay on Earth 3 as its defender; what about her own Earth 2? Doesn't her home need protecting too?
I also wanted to see Wally, Jessie, Jay and Barry all go up against Savitar together but Jessie is gone for now, Jay for the long term and Wally suffering from the trauma of watching his mother die over and over again in the speed force. This puts Barry back in place as the main hero and there was something quite satisfying about his decision to stop trying to change events before May and just admit it will happen and fight Savitar at the right time to save Iris.
As for his relationship, there was the usual amount of soapy awkwardness as she questioned his decisions before admitting yes, she wanted to marry Barry. He's still an idiot though, deciding to 'take a break'; so he could focus on saving her. I get that he needs to focus on the mission but this is the woman he's loved for years and finally got together with. What's more she could be dead in a couple of months so is distancing himself from her really the right decision? It felt like a contrived plot point than natural character progression - except of course Barry is known for making some really bad decisions.
Still, there was some great moments, not least Barry's confrontation with the zombified Zoom aka Black Flash and the pursuit of the time wraith. The was some good use of keeping Black Flash's face out of shot as he held Barry down and sucked the life force from him, using a full reveal sparingly, which meant it wasn't too full on horror for the younger audience, my kids included. And there was more lovely character stuff with HR inspiring Cisco to action and providing a mentor and friend figure to Jessie in the absence of her actual father.
Into the Speed Force was a good episode with some welcome old faces but the concept is something we've seen on TV many times before. But it's still much better than season two which became tired as it neared the end. The race to save Iris has given the show a real momentum this year. Plus we have the musical cross over with Supergirl next week and I cannot wait!