FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 2×21- “The Runaway Dinosaur”

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The Flash
(2×21) –
“The Runaway Dinosaur”
Written by:         Zack Stentz
Directed by:       Kevin
Smith
So
when you kill your title character to close out the last episode, you pretty
much have to pick up immediately with Team Flash taking in the horror of what
they’ve done only to realize things are even worse when they can’t contact Jesse
and Wally.  Wells and Joe take off to
find them.
They find
them near the elevator and while Wally has just been knocked unconscious, Jesse
was actually in cardiac arrest.  Wells is
able to get her heart started while Joe goes back to find Henry.  Henry is still down in the basement almost
catatonic when Joe returns and he’s only barely able to get Henry moving and
thinking again.
Meanwhile,
Cisco touches the remains of Barry’s suit and he vibes a vision of Barry in
some sort of maelstrom.  Barry’s alive!
(Duh!)
Did I say
maelstrom? Because Barry wakes up in his childhood room in the Allen home.  Which he’s pretty giddy about until he goes
downstairs and finds the aftermath of his mother’s murder with Joe
investigating.  Or maybe I should say “Joe?”
Because Joe is coming off less like Joe and more like the Prophets from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Best of the
spin-off series, if you say TNG or Voyager are better you are objectively and
provably wrong, #SorryNotSorry.)  He
explains that “we” felt Barry would be comfortable talking to someone familiar,
and when people talk about me being more comfortable I’m immediately less
comfortable. 
Turns out
Barry is too and he turns a bit confrontational.  “Joe” explains that Barry is in the Speed
Force and that he is a part of it.  He
explains that the Speed Force is far more alive and complex than Barry ever
expected, that it’s existed since the start of time and will be there at the
end and Barry will have to come to terms with himself before he can leave.  To do that, he’ll have to chase after an
elusive black specter.  Instead of
actually listening and comprehending what “Joe” said Barry heads off after the
specter.
Back in the
real world, Henry is trying to bring Jesse out of her coma when Joe and Cisco
arrive and tell everyone that he’s seen Barry is still alive.  This breaks through Wells’ panic and he
figures out that is in the Speed Force, well Henry has heard all he needs to
hear.  He wants his son out and if he has
to be a maniac to everyone in the room to get it that’s what will happen.
Joe tries to
calm him down but Henry plays the “you have two other kids” and “Barry’s all I
have left” cards.  Joe lets that slide
and the argument is settled.  Later,
while Henry is checking Jesse’s vitals, Cisco and Iris explain to him that this
was very similar to Barry’s coma.  Henry
asks some questions but Cisco explains that all of Wells (Eobard’s) treatment
notes are in storage down in the morgue.
Iris and
Cisco head down to the morgue, and if this were any other show after a strange
sci-fi accident something would break out of the morgue and try to kill Cisco
and Iris… Hey! Girder’s back from the dead and trying to kill Cisco and
Iris!  Classic sci-fi television!
Back in the
Speed Force, Barry’s ran all the way to the park and the speed force figures
that he needs a breather and a talk with “Iris.”  Iris tries to explain to Barry that he needs
to stop reject what the Speed Force has given him he needs to embrace it, but
Barry has left denial and moved on to anger. 
He’s pretty pissed that after literally killing himself to get his
powers back they claim he’s rejected them.
Back to the
real world and Cisco and Iris explain to the others that this week’s problem is
zombie Girder…
(So, listen.
The Zombie Girder stuff is pretty standard stuff at this point so from here I’m
just going to hit the highlights on this plot then dig into the important stuff
which is Barry’s plot: Joe and Iris take command of the team in Barry’s
absence.  Tony’s traveling around town
reliving his final days in life.  He
wrecks Jason Mews’ car and ruins his date. 
Girder attacks the Wests at home after Joe tries to figure out if Wally’s
a speedster now. Cisco tech-techs the tech-tech with some electro-magnets and
Iris makes herself the bait.)
So, back in
the Speed Force Barry has quickly abandoned anger in favor of bargaining.  He knows his friends are in trouble and he
has to get to them so he’ll do whatever it is the Speed Force wants him to do
but he has to go back.  That’s when Cisco
and Wells make their first rescue attempt. 
Wells is basically running electricity through Cisco’s brain to boost
his powers and Cisco’s managed to make partial contact with Barry.
“Iris”
explains that Barry could go with Cisco but if he actually wants his powers he
has to stay and listen to what they’re telling him.  Barry rejects the rescue attempt and goes off
after the specter.  Instead of the
specter, he finds “Henry” and we see that the Speed Force is trying to spell
things out a little more clearly.  He’s
spent his life avoiding his mother’s death and it’s only gotten worse since he
went back in time and didn’t save her life. 
“Henry”
tries to make him see that even the tragedy of his mother’s death had a
positive affect because it made Barry who he but he ignores him in favor of
chasing after the specter again.  This
time it leads him back to the Allen home, to talk with his mother.  “Nora” gets him to finally listen to
them.  He had to unburden himself, the
only thing keeping him in the Speed Force was his guilt over the things he
couldn’t control.
Out in the
real world, the Team have locked themselves in the breach room to hide from
Girder and Cisco realizes that the reason he couldn’t bring Barry back is that
Barry didn’t want to come back.  Cisco
wants to try again and Henry offers to come with him to bring Barry back but
Iris offers instead.  Cisco and Iris make
contact again and Barry comes with them. 
Barry makes pretty quick work of Girder and things are back to almost
normal again.
Later, Wells
and Henry are settling Jesse back into her treatment bed when Barry comes
in.  He thinks he knows how to wake her
up, all it takes is a spark of his power and she wakes up almost
instantly.  While the others are shocked,
Wells realizes what’s happened.  The
Speed Force is in Jesse now too.
Afterwards,
Henry’s giving Barry a physical (probably to reassure himself more than
anything) and the two talk about what happened to Barry.  Barry now has a better understanding not only
of the Speed Force but of himself.  Henry
is pleased with Barry’s realization that his past has made him stronger and
rewards him by promising to stay in Central City.
The next
day, Barry and Iris visit Nora’s grave and talk about everything that’s happened
before having a “First” kiss.  (We’ll be
coming back to this.)
But
wait!  There’s more!  That night at the Police Station, Zoom is
checking on the progress of Caitlin’s Stockholm syndrome.  Meanwhile, he’s gathered up the meta-humans
of Earth-2 and he gives them an evil version of the St. Crispin Day’s Speech
and that’s where we’re ending this week.

Wow!  Big Kev I almost forgot you had this in
you.  This was a fantastic episode, not
just in the great storytelling but the world-building.  The meta-physical side of the Speed Force has
always been my favorite part of the lore and they kicked that door wide open
for future episodes to play in.  I give
Smith a lot of credit, but just as much credit has to go to writer Zack Stentz,
it came as no surprise to me that the writer of both my favorite X-men movie
(First Class) and favorite MCU movie (Thor) delivered such a great episode and
I really can’t wait to see what he and Smith combine forces to do next season.
I brought up
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine earlier in the review and there’s good reason for
that comparison.  Much of the journey of
that show’s main character, Ben Sisko could be compared to Barry’s time in the
Speed Force.  Both characters had to be
reminded that the past is what makes them who they are and not something to be
lived in.  Both men had to finally face a
loss (Barry’s mother and Sisko’s wife) and both men had to finally learn to
live with that loss in order to grow.  I
love that and I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how this moment changes
Barry.
Then we get
to Jesse and Wally, and the question of if they’ve been chosen to “ride the
lightning” in the future.  While it looks
like Jesse’s joined the speedster club for sure much like Joe I’m not ruling
out Wally just yet.
Lastly, we
have to talk about Barry and Iris.  Now,
I’ve been pretty hard on this storyline but that’s coming from a place of love.  I am not a West-Allen shipper, but that’s
because I’ve always known and loved them as the Allens.  I’m not saying the show hasn’t done this
romance justice because quite often they’ve hit the mark but there has been a
problem or as I have decided to call it: “The Destiny Conundrum.”
The Destiny
Conundrum is this: They have placed so much weight on the force of destiny
between Barry and Iris coming together and falling in love that I no longer
think it’s possible for them to be happy together.  If Barry and Iris fall in love and get
married is it because they fell in love or because they needed to fall in love?
It’s a tough
question to ask and a whole ton of external pressure to put on people’s emotions.  I think that’s why I really liked Iris and
Eddie’s vow to “screw the future” in season one.  I am a believer in free will (even in
fiction) and this is starting to feel the opposite of that.
Now I don’t
know what the producers and writers are planning with this storyline.  If they plan a feint of some sort or if they’re
full speed ahead but I genuinely think they’ll have to address the weight of
all this “Destiny” stuff before too long or their romance will just start to
look ridiculous.
But I
digress, the Destiny Conundrum will keep a while longer.  For now let’s just celebrate not only the
return of Barry Allen, but a damn great episode.

Three Things We
Learned This Week:
1)     
The Speed Force has a serious meta-physical
component.
2)     
Barry has finally accepted the loss of his
mother.
3)     
Jesse has been touched by the Speed Force.
Three Questions:
1)     
Has Wally?
2)     
What did Caitlin Choose?
3)     
Was that the Speed Force, or was that God?

Just another guy on the internet.