THE FLASH “ENTER FLASHTIME”
BY JUSTIN CARTER
I can’t recall if The Flash has ever done or attempted a bottle episode. Given the nature of the show, and its central characters, stories tend more towards season arcs, grand villains and steep learning curves, all played out over many installments, with several supporting characters. However, a bottle episode is exactly what we get with “Enter Flashtime,” an episode that finds a clever way to use the Scarlet Speedster’s newest power in tandem with his team.
Barry being able to move so fast that everything else is infinitely slower by comparison was an idea first established during his trial earlier this season, and it’s just what he needs to save Central City from being destroyed by a nuke in the process of going off as he and the rest of Team Flash arrive to save the day.
Barry, along with guest stars Jesse Quick and Jay Garrick, can’t move the nuke since that will only speed up its explosion time. Trying to bring in anyone more scientifically inclined, such as Vibe, Frost, or Harry proves fatal for them, since none of them are speedsters and can’t stay in superspeed for long for fear of exhaustion.
Given that the show has three people who can literally manipulate time and space on hand for this hour, there’s actually an impressive stake count going on here. Things feel appropriately dire throughout. Harry’s solution is to bring the nuke to the Speed Force, an idea Jay is against, since that means potentially destroying the Speed Force and killing every Speedster’s power. Pretty soon, even the Speedsters themselves are getting too tired to stay at such continuous speed, and the toll takes both Jay and Jesse out before they’re able to deliver a trio of lightning bolts that could render the nuke a dud. (Just watching them get frozen up is both a touching visual and also sort of creepy.)
Iris’ solution to stop the bomb by tricking the dummy they deployed to fool the Speed Force at the start of the season is pretty clever, and the sequence where Barry runs inside the Speed Force itself while lightning of all colors comes for him is visually arresting. But the problem with an episode like “Enter Flashtime” is its quintessential straightforwardness. Without the other ways the show uses to fill an average episode — subplots involving other characters, goofy action scenes, etc. — there isn’t a lot here to write about. One minor character piece that comes close happens when Jesse and Harry finally catch a moment to talk about the death of Jesse’s mother and her father’s steadfast refusal to really move on from it. It’s short, but it has an ending that works surprisingly well in that Harry uses his tech from last week to let his daughter hear all the thoughts about her mother that he himself can’t really convey. For as much dancing around Jesse’s backstory the show has done, the little insight into her life is effective, especially when she tells her time-frozen dad that she just wishes for him to find happiness.
“Enter Flashtime” is a solid outing that provides a nice breather from the recent Devoe shenanigans the team has been put through. If nothing else, it certainly proves that a show about a man with super speed is capable of the impossible…including a bottle episode.
- Jay is retiring over on Earth-3, but not after he’s training a new female Speedster. There’s no confirmation as to which woman, but there are a few to choose from.
- “That’s what she said. That’s literally what she said.”
- Briefly touched upon is the hint that Devoe has been setting the events of the last three seasons into motion in some way or another, and that is something I am not really willing to buy.
- Oh hey, Maybe Barry and Iris’ daughter is back!
- Central City has the shortest memory ever if Killer Frost can have a drink named after her when she’s only been a “hero” for like, maybe two months.
- Next week: Barry’s powers end up with Iris…somehow.