THE FLASH “The Runaway Dinosaur” Recap
By Justin Carter
On some levels, “The Runaway Dinosaur” is another episode that feels like it’s killing time until the final pair that’ll make up the finale, and one that gives closure to an arc that probably didn’t need one. But, whatever faults there are, this episode works mostly by just letting the cast members bounce off each other and share some humor after some fairly dark episodes.
Last week, Barry got atomized while trying to regain his powers. Of course, he isn’t dead, which the team thankfully catches on to pretty quickly. Instead, he’s trapped in…well, basically the Speed Force, which has been around since the universe was created and will be there until the universe dies. The Speed Force, feeling that Barry’s been unappreciative of his powers, decides to keep him there until he learns what he needs to, turning into his loved ones to convince him to stay and learn his lesson. Meanwhile, the others are doing what they can to get him back to the real world and also trying to avoid getting killed by the newly reanimated corpse of Girder, that bad guy from way back in season one who died. (Which, in all honestly, I totally forgot about. It feels like a lifetime ago at this point.)
Girder’s return basically makes him a zombie (one who can deadlift a Humvee, but a zombie nonetheless), and it’s continually fun to watch Cisco freak out at this shambling wreck going around and breaking things. This show wouldn’t be what it is without the comedic timing of Carlos Valdes,. He’s able to make pretty much anything funny, even if those things are simply trying to distinguish just where our villain of the week is on the “zombie” scale of zombie. His return also gives Iris a more active role in the plot this week as she comes up with a plan to catch Girder by using herself as bait, in reference to him having a somewhat unhealthy obsession with her. Iris and Cisco actually make a pretty good team with great hair, it’s just sort of disappointing that all their planning basically boils down to “let’s get everyone and hide behind this door.”
The big lesson here, or at least I think it was, is for Barry to learn that he has to accept his mother is gone and that he needs to stay a hero. I’m not going to deny the emotional impact of seeing an adult Barry read an old children’s book with his mother Nora (or rather, the Speed Force essentially “playing” his mom), but this arc also comes out of left field. It’s not like this has been brought up before in recent episodes, and up until this week, I thought that he actually had gone and visited his mother’s grave a few times. For some people, it’ll feel like the only reason that he doesn’t return to the real world when Cisco finds him about halfway through the episode is because we haven’t seen Barry interact with the Speed Force versions of his real family. Like I said, the scene where they read “The Runaway Dinosaur” is an emotional gut punch, and ditto when the Speed Force says that they (as in, Nora Allen and the Speed Force) are proud of him.
All heroes go through an existential crisis at some point, so it’s good that The Flash has finally decided to give its titular lead one. Now that everyone’s reunited and Zoom’s brought some of his Earth-2 friends over to ruin things, the final two episodes are going to be a doozy.
Cisco: “Get behind me.” Iris: “No, you get behind ME.”
Wally apparently doesn’t have any side effects from being blasted with speedster energy, and Joe had to find that out the hard way by shattering the coffee mug Iris bought for him.
Henry says that he’s in Central City to stay, which almost definitely means he’s going to die either next week or the week after.
Next week: Zoom! Villains! And Katie Cassidy?