TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Episode 16 "Into The Speed Force"

EPISODE 16: "Into The Speed Force"

SYNOPSIS: Desperate to stop Savitar and save his friends, Barry turns to the speed force for answers. H.R. gives Jesse some advice.

The Flash, TV Review, The CW, DC Comics, Grant Gustin, Superhero, Comic Book

REVIEW: Ah, the Speed Force. Why is it that the mystical explanations for everything in comic book universes can sometimes come across as so hokey and ridiculous? We accept the bizarre world of Asgard without batting an eye. Hell, we look at DOCTOR STRANGE and the mystical arts they use to defend our world and nod in acceptance. So, why is it so hard for the Speed Force on The Flash to not be given the same suspension of disbelief? Maybe it is because the writers on this show tend to treat the ethereal realm that ties together all Speedsters from the corners of the multiverse with scripts that feel like lackluster retellings of A Christmas Carol. Returning to the same setting as last year's Kevin Smith-directed episode The Runaway Dinosaur, tonight's hour had a lot of potential but just didn't quite pull it all together.

With Wally sucked into the Speed Force last week and Savitar free to roam our Earth, the team is left scrambling for what to do next. Within minutes, the bumbling H.R. makes the suggestion for Cisco to develop something to allow Barry to travel into the Speed Force which reminds everyone of how they saved Barry last year. So, into the Speed Force they go with the goal beiing to pull Wally free. Should be easy, right? Well, Barry is not exactly in the most chipper of moods since he spotted Iris without her engagement ring last week. Travelling away from her fills everyone with a tension that lingers long after Barry departs. Jesse, quick to want to help save Wally, is forced to stay behind to defend Earth while Barry is gone. Upon arriving in the Speedster dimension, Barry is confronted by visions of deceased allies from the past including Eddie Thawne, Ronnie Raymond and Leonard Snart.

Like any guest stars, seeing fan favorite characters return is always a nice treat. Even if these three actors are actually playing the Speed Force pretending to be their former roles, it still is nice to see characters gone too soon. Their warning for Barry echoes what we have been hearing since Season Three began: by creating Flashpoint, Barry violated the promise he made last time he was in the Speed Force. Barry insists he has come only to save Wally and endures some trials that really do not amount to much of a threat. First, he is chased by a Time Wraith whom he beats by...entering an elevator. Then, he faces Zoom in his emaciated form last seen on Legends of Tomorrow. It was cool having Barry face Hunter Zolomon one more time, but this also felt like a waste of a battle. In the end, Barry finds Wally in his own personal hell, tormented by the death of his mother over and over again. Attacked by Captain Cold, Barry is saved by Jay Garrick who arrived in the Speed Force when Cisco lost contact with Barry, Barry says he must take Wally's place in the Hell of the Speed Force but it is ultimately Jay who decides to stay in his stead.

While all of this is going on, the team is investigating the piece of metal that broke off of Savitar last week. Jesse is adamant that she wants to face off against Savitar and slugs H.R. when he tries to warn her away. Learning that the metal vibrates at the same frequency as Savitar and wants to reconnect with him (cue the perfectly placed IRON GIANT reference), Jesse finds Savitar. The villain proclaims that he has plans for Jesse in the future and wants the piece of his armor back and the pair of speedsters begin to fight. Clearly outmatched, Jesse and H.R. realize that the metal may be the only thing that can harm Savitar and she uses it to stab the villain which wounds him as he runs off. It is a great revelation that Savitar is just a man, but it feels a bit anticlimactic, especially after so much of this season with no true reveals about who this bad guy actually is.

The Flash, TV Review, The CW, DC Comics, Grant Gustin, Superhero, Comic Book

The episode also spent a good amount of time focusing on Iris weighing whether she should marry Barry or not. In the end, she tells him that she does love him and wants to marry him despite his proposal being for the wrong reasons. Barry is relieved but has come to his poown realization that as much as he wants to marry Iris, the only way he can save her is if they take a break from their relationship so that he can focus on saving her life from Savitar. Yeah, after everything, Barry decides to halt his relationship with Iris. How this makes any sense, I have no idea, but clearly the writers wanted to inject some drama back into the mix. The episode also sees Jesse depart for Earth-3 to defend that world while Jay Garrick remains trapped in the Speed Force while Wally is out of commission dealing with the brutal torture of what he faced when imprisoned. That means the show is back to a single Speedster in the home stretch of the season.

There was a lot of potential for this hour of The Flash. Last year's emotionally charged episode in the Speed Force was relatively light on the action scenes but drove home the idea of this mystical energy that ties together all of the Flashes from the Multiverse. Tonight's episode started strong but didn't quite work for me in the end. Jay Garrick, a great mentor figure for Barry, has barely been used this season and then was unceremoniously written out after a few minutes of screen time. Wally's torment didn't quite feel as rough as the other characters are making it out to be but I guess there is a reason why they are putting the brakes on Kid Flash. Even Iris and Barry's break up felt rushed and a little anticlimactic in the grand scheme of things. The biggest failure here is the complete misuse of Savitar. It feels like we have barely scratched the surface of why we should even care about his evil plan or why he even wants to defeat Barry. With a half dozen episodes left in the season, we should be at a point where the master plan is coming together and we as an audience should understand why the stakes matter.


NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Duet" airs March 21st - Barry and team are surprised when Mon-El and Hank Henshaw arrive on their Earth carrying a comatose Supergirl who was whammied by the Music Meister. Unable to wake her up, they turn to Team Flash to save her. However, the Music Meister surprises The Flash and puts him in a similar coma, one that Team Flash can’t cure. Kara and Barry wake up without their powers in an alternate reality where life is like a musical and the only way to escape is by following the script, complete with singing and dancing, to the end.

Source: JoBlo.com



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