A few seasons in and The CW’s Flash is still finding ways to push the boundaries of storytelling while still fitting it all firmly within the DC Comics canon. Enter Flashtime, a place where storytelling gets a shakeup and things get kinda blurry.
Spoilers ahead for “Enter Flashtime,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, March 6, 2018!
“I can’t save us this time.” -Barry
Sometimes it takes speeding up — a lot — to figure out you really just need to slow down.
We’ve spent time in the Speed Force before, but this episode follows Barry, Jesse Quick, and Jay Garrick around while they super-speed around Star City trying desperately to stop an exploding nuclear bomb from decimating the city. As far as stakes go, they don’t get much higher. Sure, “Enter Flashtime” is clearly built around a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that works really well. The episode basically kicks off with a bomb not just threatening the city, but literally exploding. The only way to delay the inevitable is to enter super speed, but with the detonation literally happening, there’s no way Barry or the other speedsters can stop running without being vaporized a few milliseconds later.
We get to work the case from the perspective of super speed, which still falls into the typical procedural trappings, but it’s a fresh lens to see the case through. It all ends in a wonderfully silly MacGuffin that stops the bomb just as it explodes (gotta love that Speed Force), but the approach brought some rare freshness to a “Save the City Really Quickly” type of case. Barry even brings in Jesse Quick and Jay Garrick to help in the case, and any episode that gets John Wesley Shipp back in on the action is a good one.
The visual approach here was also refreshing, with the unconventional angles, red shadings, and motion blur to convey the time freeze and usage of speed. For a show that typically uses super speed to solve all its problems, finally taking viewers into the other side of that lightning blur was a welcome change of pace.
Of course, it wasn’t all about the gimmick. By forcing Barry to live several agonizing hours all within a moment, he finally gained some perspective that going fast can’t solve every problem. He’s been pushing himself and the team to find a way to stop Devoe, but sometimes a break is what it takes to find fresh perspective. It was only when Barry took a moment away from his mission to say goodbye to Iris that he finally found the idea to stop the bomb. Sometimes the answer comes when you finally stop looking for it.
*It was relegated to a B-story, but it was great to finally get some motion on the father-daughter relationship between Harry and Jesse. Using the thought reading tech to convey what he couldn’t say was classic Harry in the best way possible. This version of Wells has always been a bit more rough around the edges, and now we know a bit more about why. He lost the love of his life, and he’s never been able to get past it. Hopefully opening up to Jesse can be a first step for Harry to find a little happiness.
*Before all hell breaks loose, we learn a bit more about Devoe’s plan — and it’s been going for a lot longer than anyone thought. Devoe has been teleporting and jumping around for three years, setting things in motion for his master plan. The team suspects he was behind the rogue nuke, though it’s not entirely clear how destroying the city might have fit into his plan.
*Working the problem reveals that pretty much no one’s powers work in Flashtime, which makes sense. The powers work in realtime, and they can’t properly manifest in super speed. We also see Barry shoot down Jesse’s suggest to alter the timeline. Barry has finally learned that screwing with time ain’t worth the trouble, even if it means literally letting the entire city go up in flames.
*Jay Garrick is finally looking to hang up his super suit, and he’s planning to train Jesse to take over as Earth-2’s official new Flash.
*Caitlin is starting to remember some of Killer Frost’s actions. So is that good? Bad? Hard to say just yet.
*The mystery girl from Barry and Iris’ wedding has once again popped up, this time bumping into Harry and Caitlin. Who is she? Best guess is a relative of Barry and Iris from the future, traveling back for… some reason. But that’s simply the prevailing fan theory — she could literally be anyone. Give us your best guess below.
Next week: Iris is the Flash, and her suit is pretty great.