‘The Flash’ season 3 episode 16 recap: “Into the Speed Force”
The Flash episode “Into the Speed Force” aired 14 March 2017.
When I saw the trailer for this week’s episode, I correctly figured this would be “The Runaway Dinosaur” 2.0. I still don’t completely understand what happened in that lauded episode, but it was rather dreary in terms of tone. “Into the Speed Force” was even darker. Coming off last week’s everything-falls-to-shit episode, the happiness scale on The Flash really dropped past zero.
Jesse Strikes Back
Barry delivers a monologue while Team Flash does the mannequin challenge. Then he announces he is going into the speed force to find Wally, but does not reveal his entire plan yet. Jesse wants to go with him, but he insists as per usual that she needs to stay behind in case anything happens in Central City.
The team figure out that the shard is trying to make its way back to Savitar, but they strongly discourage Jesse from going after him. HR (who is very very sensible this week, bless him) points out that her agitation is what did Wally in. He also refers to Barry as the “real Flash”, which hurts Jesse, and she asks him to stop trying to be her father.
Jesse eventually punches HR to get past him. “Okay stupid piece of metal,” she orders the shard, “take me to your leader.” Sure enough, it leads her to an awaiting Savitar who claims to “know everything that happens” because he “already lived it”. Future Flash, anyone? Jesse gets zapped with lightning badly. Luckily, HR has regained consciousness and surmises that a supposedly omnipotent force like Savitar wouldn’t need armour unless he is vulnerable! So when Savitar grabs Jesse, she STABS HIM WITH THE SHARD. Alright, girl! If Savitar can get hurt, it mean he is just a man, baby!
Ghosts of Speed Force Past
Meanwhile, Barry has entered the speed force with some tether device – idea (c) HR – that will monitor his vitals and alert Cisco if Barry has to be vibed out in an emergency. As Cisco puts it – “He’ll play astronaut, we play Houston.” (incidentally, Legends had an astronaut-themed episode this week).
Barry winds up at the police station. There he meets Speed Force Manifestation (SFM) Eddie, who sends a time wraith after him. The Speed Force is pissed because last time, Barry said he had gotten over his mother’s death, yet later created Flashpoint. Barry runs away into Star Labs, where he sees Caitlin singing to a baby. He is confronted by SFM Ronnie, to whom Barry reveals his intention to take Wally’s place in the speed force prison. Ronnie sics Black Flash on Barry. In getting rid of the adversary, Barry destroys his tether device, cutting him off from the real world.
He wakes up in the hospital and finds Wally, trapped in time loop, eternally reliving his mother’s death. Manifested Captain Cold tells Barry his future self made that prison. He spells out Barry’s lesson from the Speed Force: saving Iris is The Flash’s responsibility and his alone. Eddie and Ronnie sacrificed themselves for Barry’s causes and Len Snart had been inspired by Barry to do good (ultimately sacrificing himself too). But Barry cannot keep asking people to fight his battles for him. Barry still insists on getting Wally out, so SFM Cold shoots him with the cold gun…until Jay Garrick shows up.
Jay is real – Cisco contacted him once Star Labs lost contact with Barry. SFM Cold shoots the senior speedster and remarks about his age, but Barry uses Jay’s helmet to deflect a cold blast and take out the rogue. Then, they free Wally from his prison…and Jay volunteers to replace him. He says he has reached the end of his marathon as a speedster, and suddenly, SFM Snart’s “Golden Age” comment hits a lot closer to home.
And they still don’t live happily ever after
Barry and Wally return to Star Labs with Jay’s helmet (so they can find him again in the future). The team takes a moment to mourn their ally.
Jesse tells an already very sad Wally that she is going to Earth 3 since now they are missing a speedster (Earth 2 remains forgotten and ignored). They have a tender kiss. Jesse also makes up with HR and calls him a good friend before she leaves.
With Jesse gone and Wally out of commission due to emotional trauma, Barry is left the only active speedster. Back at their apartment, Iris tells Barry she still wants to marry him. But Barry says he is going to save her “not by changing the future but by embracing it.” Somehow that means they should take a break. How does that logic even work?
At least he will move in with Cisco and let Iris have the apartment.
After two depressing episodes, we get a respite with next week’s SuperFlash musical. I’m not sure how the crossover fits in with the rest of the season, both plot-wise and tone-wise, but I will not complain about Grant Gustin singing on my screen again. Also, as one fan pointed out, The Flash has defeated the Music Meister before:
- I love the little tidbits of what life is like on other Earths, but no one drops them the way HR does. On Earth 19, Charlie Brown plays the piano while Schroeder is the physicist who came out with the “Schroeder’s cat” theory.
- Sometime during the episode, Cisco mentioned Footloose. Musical reference? Nice.
- Caitlin snatching HR’s drumstick was really funny.
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(featured image: the CW)