No one would accuse the CW-verse of producing stylistically unique episodes all that often, so “Enter Flashtime” was a nice change of pace for The Flash, taking a bottle episode and giving it enough danger and gravitas to feel important and tense. Let’s dig in.
1. A fun, unusual episode
For a show, ostensibly, about time and the manipulation of it, the show really hasn’t done too many ‘clock is ticking’ episodes, have they? This one was especially effective because it took that concept to its furthest possible conclusion, and had the majority of the episode take place within what was about 2 seconds. It’s the extreme version of The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker, for any of my literary peeps out there.
“Enter Flashtime” did something else really rare for this show: it used (almost) all the tools at its disposal. Aside from a conspicuous absence I’ll get to in a minute and not getting Wally (which was never even discussed), the show finally decided to use the multiverse, the Speed Force, science, speedsters, Vibe, and Killer Frost all in one episode.
The one exception? Why didn’t they use Ralph? Remember how he’s indestructible? And how he took a bomb blast no problem in the past? Yeah, I remember that. Of course, it would have made total sense for them to remember this, and then think it was too dangerous. It just seemed like an obvious way to go, and they whiffed on it.
But, with that said, the show usually leaves even more on the table. The fact that every episode, Barry isn’t getting a speedster from another Earth to help seems a little silly, doesn’t it? I mean, they’ve got inter-Earths travel down to a science (pardon the pun), so why aren’t they always borrowing each other for help? I mean, the obvious answer is budgeting and casting issues, but there are a lot of ways to solve that.
2. Welcome back, Jesse and Jay
This isn’t just because I have a secret crush on Violett Beane, but Jesse is one of the best characters on the show, and I really wish they would use her more often. She brings a lot of things to the show: romance for Wally, family for Harry, a sidekick element to Barry, a kick-ass confidence, and another strong female hero for the good of literally everyone. She doesn’t suffer from the usual CW acting tics either, or maybe I just see them less because I first saw her on The Leftovers.
I want to talk about her aforementioned confidence for a second. There’s something so self-assured about her version of the Flash that never crosses the line into being cocky or obnoxious. She seems totally comfortable in her own skin, and uses her speed in less showy ways than her Earth-One counterparts, but somehow appears even more heroic. I really wish I could put my finger on it, but I just know that she makes every episode better.
As does Jay Garrick. Again, this isn’t just because I have a secret crush on John Wesley Shipp! His wised older speedster may seem like a bit of overkill, considering how many mentors/partners Barry has, but Shipp is all heart, and really changes the tone of the show. As Jesse brings youth and confidence, Jay brings wisdom and love. You get the sense that he would truly do anything for anyone, and is, perhaps, the truest hero on a show full of them.
Next season, I would love to get a full on speedsters arc. Let the new Earth 3 Flash, Jay, Wally, Jesse, Barry, and a few other multiversal speedsters just do amazing speed shit for a few episodes. I’m so, so, so down with that idea.
3. Hey! Iris did something!
While I don’t think that Iris would necessarily be the one to figure out the dilemma they were in, it was nice to see the show give her something to do. This is a constant refrain of mine. She’s no longer a journalist, so she just hangs around S.T.A.R. Labs and looks at computer screens. The show needs to find more for her to do that can be consistent, so next week’s ‘Iris is a speedster’ episode clearly doesn’t count.Continued below
And by ‘do something,’ I even mean just spend more time as Barry’s wife. Not every character on the show needs to be the star, but she’s too far in the background most weeks. She is the most important person in Barry’s life, and the least important on the show. Cecile has had 10x more to do this season than she has. That has to change.
4. DeVoe – 3 years?
The revelation that DeVoe has been floating around for 3 years, meticulously putting the people he wanted on that bus in the proper place seems a little much, doesn’t it? I get the feeling that the show doesn’t have confidence in DeVoe, and so it keeps adding new wrinkles to the story to try to make him feel more important. As I’ve said in the past, I’m glad its not another speedster, but the show needs to be better than this when it comes to villains.
5. Mysterious ladies of Central City
I want to spend just a few sentences on two characters that popped up this week. The first is Veronica Dale, the domestic terrorist who intercepted the bomb, who is also a minor, mid-90s Green Arrow villain. I feel like there was no reason to give this character a DC correct name, though I guess why not? It’s not like Arrow really digs into the comics for villains on the reg, and especially not to that era.
The other is the mysterious CC Jitters employee who appears to be a time traveler, who we’ve seen before. Her motives are being left nice and vague for now, which is a nice change of pace for the show, where they tend to telegraph everything. Any guesses on who she is? If so, sound off in the comments!
My guess? She’s the Earth 3 speedster Jay is training.