In a remarkable episode, The Flash has to stop a nuclear explosion that’s already started.
One of the best parts of The Flash is seeing all the creative ways the writers use his powers and find different obstacles that could challenge a speedster. Their success rate is a mixed-bag. But you can firmly put “Enter Flashtime” in the win column.
When Team Flash gets a call about a shootout with the CCPD and a paramilitary group, our heroes (plus a visiting Jesse Quick) rush over to stop them. But the leader manages to activate an A.R.G.U.S. nuclear detonation. Barry tries to stop her, finding himself moving so fast that time is frozen, just like in the court house. But he’s too late, the bomb has been set off. Now, he needs to find a way to save everyone before the nuclear reaction ignites and vaporizes Central City.
This is one of the most intense and clever scenarios The Flash has ever written. For once, I have no idea how he’ll get out of this one. And the story does an excellent job of trying to explore every possible angle. Jesse, who’s with Barry at superspeed, suggests transporting the bomb to the badlands. But Barry says that moving that quick will speed up the reaction, causing the detonation before they get clear of the city. Cisco can’t breach the bomb anywhere, as creating a breach warps space and time. At Flash speed, time is still, messing up the physics to create a wormhole. The speedsters try to see if Killer Frost can cool down the reaction enough to defuse the explosion, but it’s already too far along.
Harry thinks about throwing the bomb into the Speed Force, but Jay, who’s grabbed from Earth 3 by Jesse, kiboshes that idea. Throwing a nuke into the Speed Force would likely destroy it, removing every speedster’s abilities instantly, and removing an element of the multiverse. Who knows what that could do to the fabric of reality?
The three speedsters try throwing three bolts of speed lightning at the bomb, to generate enough energy to create a counter-reaction. But Jay’s been going too fast for too long and his speed gives out before they can throw the lightning.
For once, Barry seems truly out of options. Exhausted and almost out-of-time, he brings Iris into Flashtime, hoping to spend his last moments with her. But when he calls her his lightning rod, she remembers the quarksphere the team used to get Barry out of the Speed Force at the start of the season. Barry runs into the Speed Force, grabs it and uses it to trick the Speed Force into using its lighting to get it back. The sequence where Barry enters the Speed Force and runs from its lightning is one of the most visually stunning moments in this show’s history. The lightning provides enough power to negate the nuclear reaction, saving the day.
It’s an absolutely incredible ending to one of the most tense and clever episodes of The Flash out there. It truly feels like a scenario out of a one-shot comic book. The only downside is keeping up this level of work with Barry’s newfound super-speed. If he can basically stop time whenever he runs, it would make short work of any non-speedster villain, even DeVoe. It could cause plot issues down the line if not addressed. But that’s something for future eps to take on. For now, enjoy “Enter Flashtime” as a fun and fantastic hour of television.
- The reason Jesse stops by Earth 1 is to take it out with Harry. Talk what out? The death of Harry’s wife and Jesse’s mother, the cause of all the tension between them. Harry being Harry though, can’t allow himself to process his grief. In the end of the episode though, they heal together as Harry creates a device that lets Jesse hear his thoughts. In a moving sequence, they sit together as Jesse hears her father’s memories of her mother.
- As Jay says his goodbyes to the team, he reveals that he may be hanging up his helmet for good. It’s time for Jay Garrick to retire and train a new, female speedster hero for his world. Hopefully this doesn’t mean the end of John Wesley Shipp’s time as a special guest on the show. But I’m excited to find out who this mysterious new speedster will be.
- To close the episode, Caitlin talks to Harry at Jitters about how she remembers Killer Frost when she was in Flash Time, the first time she’s retained memories. But as they discuss Frost’s worry for Caitlin’s safety, they’re interrupted by that same strange woman, who spills her coffee on them. She hyperactively chats with them for a minute, but once they leave, she appears to drop the bubbly persona. Hmmm…..