This episode of The Flash revisited the ghosts of Barry Allen’s past while the drama between he and Iris West continued to unfold. Most of the episode took place in the Speed Force with Barry trying to save Wally from his own special kind of hell. Jesse Quick, who for some reason is still being treated like a child by Team Flash, sets out to find the person responsible for Wally’s imprisonment in the Speed Force; Savitar. And Jay Garrick, resident speedster oldhead, makes an unexpected appearance. Anyway, here’s what happened on “Into the Speed Force.”
Major Spoilers! Major Spoilers!
The episode opens with Barry making the decision to enter the Speed Force to rescue Wally. Upset by all the decisions he’s made that have resulted in the present situation, Barry informs the team of his decision. Joe West is concerned he might lose both of his “sons,” while Iris remains relatively mute on the subject. H.R. and Cisco put together a sort of Speed Force tether that prevents Barry from getting lost in the Speed Force. Jesse Quick wants to go with Barry to find her boyfriend, but Barry argues that it’s something he must do alone, which is kind of annoying. Just imagine if someone told Barry he needed to stay behind while they rescued Iris because it was something they had to do (smh).
Anyway, Barry says his goodbyes, tells Iris he loves her, and she gives him a tentative, “I love you too” back. She doesn’t voice her concerns about Wally. She doesn’t ask how she can help and spends much of the interaction with a pinched and sad face like she’s trying to hold it together. The communication between the two is horrid, which makes one wonder if they are mature enough to marry let alone make level headed decisions together. Gah! Barry and Iris need a therapist, stat!
But for real, though, this Iris West and Barry Allen crap has got to stop. These characters, who are supposed to have an epic love story in the comic books, just aren’t hitting on much but irritation this season. Both actors, Grant Gustin and Candice Patton, are great at their jobs, and so the fault doesn’t lie with them. If the writers want conflict, then work through it and allow Iris to be vocal and filled with agency. Have Barry frustrated, but willing to suggest ways to improve his and Iris’ relationship. Have some tension that isn’t like two angry pre-teens arguing over their respective social media accounts. And if tension isn’t what The Flash writers are really aiming for, then put some spice into the narrative, because Iris and Barry have the sex life of a couple in their nineties — it’s so, so, so PG. Besides that fact, there hasn’t really been a relationship outside of a few chaste kisses and getting an apartment. Where are the fights? The adventure? The partnership?
Anyway, back to the recap. After saying goodbye to his team, Barry gets dropped off in the Speed Force by Cisco and is tethered to Star Labs where is vitals can be monitored. While in the whacky world of Speed Hell, Barry encounters several avatars from his past; Eddie (Iris’ former fiancé who died saving Earth One), Ronnie (Caitlin’s now deceased fiancé), and Snart (former villain turned hero from Legends of Tomorrow). These avatars insist that Barry is the reason that they met their demise. They inform him that Wally must stay in the Speed Force, and when Barry offers to stay in his place, the Speed Force declines the offer. When Barry refuses to leave, the Speed Force sends the Black Flash after him, but Barry is able to escape him. However, it’s the Avatar Snart that almost kills Barry when Barry tries to free Wally from the prison that is watching his mother die repeatedly. Fortunately for them, the real Jay Garrick shows up and saves them both, even taking Wally’s place so that Barry and Wally can return safely to Earth One.
Once Barry and Wally returns, Iris and Barry have that long-needed talk about their engagement. Iris, who took off her engagement ring last episode, tells Barry that while he was saving her brother, she had time to think about things. She tells a solemn looking Barry (ugh, Barry logic initiated!), that she loves him and want to be his wife. Barry gives Iris his best “it’s my turn to hurt you now” face and basically tells Iris that she was right. He did ask her to marry him for the wrong reasons, and that he thinks they need to take a break while he figures out how to be a hero again. Iris bursts into tears and Barry leaves her in their huge apartment alone. He’s going to go back to living and cramping Cisco’s style.
Barry and Iris aren’t the only ones taking a break from their relationship. Now that Wally is back, Jesse decides to go and protect Jay Garrick’s world as he is in Speed Force Hell. While Wally was trapped there, Jesse, without the help of the team, tracks down Savitar, finds out he has “plans” for her, stabs him with his own armor (you go girl!) and comes away from the encounter with a few scratches and bruises. The whole experience has her spooked, as she doesn’t want Savitar to sink his clutches into her like he did Wally, and so her exit to a different earth seems like a prudent decision. So, as you can see, both Wests are left emotionally traumatized and alone.
On again and off again — are you tired of this Iris West/Barry Allen storyline? And what’s with everyone treating Jesse and Wally like infants? And why did the writers of The Flash feel the need to follow this “break up” episode with Barry singing with a dolled up Supergirl? Is he going to be singing and dancing and making starry eyes at Kara next episode? No offense to Supergirl, but grrr!
Catch The Flash on The CW on Tuesdays.
Jahkotta Lewis is a professional archaeologist, an amateur astronomer, and an aspiring writer. When she is not documenting Pacific Island archaeology, she spends her days hiking through native forests, spelunking within the depths of an active volcano, and watching/reading all things fantasy and science fiction. Follow her on Twitter @jahkotta
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