‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 3, Episode 16: ‘Into the Speedforce’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show recappers Dylan Todd and Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week, Barry journeys to the center of the Speedforce, Jesse Quick does some local hero-ing, and some surprise cameos make a visit! "Into The Speedforce" was written by Brooke Roberts & Judalina Neira and directed by Gregory Smith.
Ziah: Well, Dylan, this sure was another Flash in the Speedforce episode. There were some highs, there were some lows, and I definitely noticed more of one than the other, but let’s get into that in a bit. Overall, how’d you like the episode?
Dylan: It was certainly one of those episodes that sort of fills up time before the boss battle in the finale. I forgot the last Speedforce episode, so the whole, “Basically just have Barry walk around talking to different people,” was the whole deal for these. Which doesn’t make for the most exciting hour of television.
Ziah: I kind of enjoy how quickly bump up against the Lynch Wall for mainstream television dream sequences. Basically, that we’re not going to get a Red Room again on mainstream television again, so showrunners brush up against some creepy (or boring) rendition of “Rock A-Bye-Baby” and then run full tilt the other way before somebody gets spooked. But hey! At least we didn’t get the disappointment of watching an episode called “The Runaway Dinosaur” that featured no dinosaurs!
Dylan: Oh man, why did you remind me of that? But yeah, it was a largely unremarkable episode but at least there’s no bait-and-switch-asauruses.
Ziah: So, Jesse Quick got some time in the spotlight this episode! I… didn’t really like her whole deal. Barry doesn’t even seem to try to mean it anymore when he asks people to stay behind to protect the city, and her choice to immediately go after Savitar just seems kind of obvious. The way everyone constantly underestimates Jesse and Wally because they aren’t the “real” Flash kind of rankles after watching multiple seasons (and an entire episode!) about how Barry is such a goof-em-up. They can’t beat Savitar because… of… Speed reasons?
Dylan: This is the problem with yet another Speedster villain --- Barry’s only real solution is “Well I guess I gotta learn to run faster now!”
Ziah: It would honestly redeem most of my complaints of this entire show if the finale is Cisco setting up Hot Wheels speed boosters throughout the city.
Dylan: As far as Jesse goes, I enjoyed that she’s the only one that will acknowledge that Barry is not a great superhero and that somebody needs to do something about Stupid-tar. (Sick burn!) Also, she stabbed him with his own stabber! That’s hardcore!
Ziah: I was most excited by the offhand line that she’s been beating up supervillains on her own earth the whole time off-screen, which would be a pretty cool episode to focus on instead of this one, but anyway.
Dylan: Yeah, and having her take off by the end of the episode was really anticlimactic, though if this episode shows us anything, it’s that there’s too many Speedsters running around Central City. Place is crawling with them.
Ziah: Can we talk about Jesse Quick going to Earth-3 to take Jay’s place? Was Jay so instrumental to that world that they can’t go a day without a speedster showing up? All they had was Mark Hamill’s Trickster, I kind of feel like the Keystone Cops can handle that one.
Dylan: After the insanity she’s had to endure in her very brief time on Earth-1, I can see her needing something a little less cuckoo than a Power Rangers-villain-looking God of Speed who pretends to be your boyfriend’s mom’s ghost and traps him in a Speedforce Prison.
Ziah: Huh, when you say it all like that, this show is weird sometimes. Well, let’s get into the Speedforce stuff. On the plus side, Wentworth Miller! And whoever plays Eddie Thawne finally figured out how to do a passable American accent! On the other, just about everything. Every single speech that the Speedforce gave Barry was about taking responsibility for your goof-em-ups, and (it seemed to me) to stop letting people sacrifice themselves for him. Then the end is just to let Jay sacrifice himself and keep on trucking? Maybe there’s a swerve coming, but it felt like I got something way different from the episode than what I was supposed to get.
Dylan: I did like that the Speedforce was like, “Well we’re a little mad at you because you lied to us and goofed with time.” Because those are definitely two things he likes to do. I gotta be honest: of all the characters they could’ve brought back, Eddie Thawne is at the bottom of my list. And Ronnie Raymond is like barely right above him. But I am also a huge stick in the mud, so what do I know? Also, Barry having to take the elevator from floor to floor was… weird? Like, I get that it’s there to create drama, but also it’s very silly to have the Fastest Man Alive have to wait on an elevator door to open while being pursued by a time-displaced evil version of himself (?).
But hey, we got to see Dementor Flash! I wonder how that guy’s been doing? Also, sometimes he has legs and sometimes not? That’s cool I guess.
Ziah: He was so boring that I started imagining a The CW version of the Black Racer. Wouldn’t that be fun? All Kirby-ed out and on skis?
Dylan: I ship it. If only because the CW version of that would be so goofy and cut-rate. Black Racer would have abs tho.
Ziah: Dylan, do you know how much core strength you need to ski the cosmos? He already has abs.
Dylan: Crisis on Infinite Abs.
Ziah: Abdentity Crisis.
Dylan: Bl-Ab-ckest Night. And speaking of people back from the dead, we got the kinda-return of Captain Cold!
Ziah: I’ve missed Wentworth Miller so much, Dylan. So much.
Dylan: He’s still the best thing that ever happened to these CWverse shows. I still think them not developing a Rogues' Gallery with villains as memorable as Miller’s Captain Cold or Dominic Purcell’s Heat Wave is one of the biggest failings of this show.
Ziah: Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell have honestly done more to convince me that Flash Rogues are a cool concept than decades of comics and cartoons, TBH.
Dylan: I did like seeing Jay Garrick. I like him as much as I dislike Henry Allen, though it could just be the goofy hat that I like. And those big ol’ fake teeth.
Ziah: I didn’t hear a “Slugger!” So that’s good.
Dylan: Jay Garrick is beyond such dad-isms, thankfully, or I’d have thrown my TV remote across the room.
Ziah: I thought Thrells had a good episode! I laughed out loud when he called Julien “James” since Julien can’t be lengthened out to anything else. But then, I always think that Thrells has a good episode. I really enjoy that he’s just the guy in your group project who comes up with the idea to do a Powerpoint and then doesn’t do any more work and takes all the credit. Very true to life.
Also, his caffeine addiction reminded me of how I used to get through working multiple jobs and going to school by drinking what I called a “Caffeine Depth Charge.” It was six shots of espresso in a large cup of black coffee, and for six hours after I finished the drink, I couldn’t see the color purple.
Dylan: One time I accidentally snorted a Kool Aid packet and was pronounced clinically dead. I guess when they brought me back I was speaking gibberish that turned out to be Aramaic. A priest was flown out from the Vatican and he took the transcript of my words and locked it up in a vault somewhere.
Ziah: Was the treasure that he found inside our friendship?
Dylan: I have no idea. I have no recollection of the event. But yeah, as far as Thrells goes, I didn’t want to punch him this episode as much as I did in previous episodes, so maybe that’s progress. Him and Jesse were pretty good together.
Ziah: Was it because Jesse punched him for you? You got to cathart after the spicy meatballs that is watching Thrells drum around?
Dylan: I’m not saying that I saved that clip so I can watch it over and over and over and over. The way his head rocks to the side is *kisses fingers like a chef*.
Ziah: I definitely saved a picture of Tom Felton looking like a Zordon/Krang cosplayer, so no judgement.
Dylan: So Jay takes Wally’s place in the Speedforce, which is noble AF* (*as frick) and truly heroic. He’s a real class act, that one. Lemme ask you something, Z: remember the second Grodd episode when She-Cisco was talking to that speedster with the scarf? Who the heck do you think that dude was? Are we getting an Impulse?
Ziah: Wait, I do not remember this at all. I sure hope so! Especially since Impulse is a way better name for Wally than Kid Flash, and the sooner there’s a reasonable reason for them not to call him that besides “well, the comics” will be a good time.
Dylan: Yeah it was this weird thing they put that guy in there, so you know it’s gonna pop up again later, and his face was covered so, I don’t know. Dude’s up to something.
Also, uh, is Future Wally really Savitar? Savitar saying he “had plans” for Jesse makes me wonder. But that also could refer to Thrells, as they got kinda chummy this episode. Like I say every season, there is probably no way to really tell at this point --- and then I still speculate because I am a broken human being. These mysteries are usually pretty obvious and we (meaning me/I) wind up twisting ourselves in knots based on the smallest handful of “clues.”
Ziah: Wally’s still my top pick, even though I hope not. The Speedforce getting mad at Barry for training Wally to beat Savitar sure seemed to hint that Wally can’t beat him (because he is him). Either that or it was boring writing used to convince us that Barry’s not an Olympic Athlete-level screw-up. It’s like that game where your dad used to hide a quarter in one hand and make you guess. Sometimes there’s just no good choice.
Dylan: Also I feel like we need to talk about that ending. So, Barry and Iris are taking a break because… Barry wants to save her without a cheat code? Is this really happening? Cuz even for this show, it seems really dumb and contrived, right?
Ziah: It’s so that next week’s musical episode can have some sexual tension between him and Melissa Benoist without ruining either show’s romantic futures. Which will be great! Rachel Bloom contributed a song, Dylan! I’m really excited for it.
Dylan: I’m not gonna lie: Rachel Bloom is the only thing that might make me not tear my face off during next week’s episode. I hate musicals so much. The only thing I hate more than musicals proper is musical episodes of TV shows. There has never ever been a good one in the history of television.
Ziah: Wow, that’s a really strong sentiment. Maybe say it one more time? Once more, with some feeling?
Dylan: I am frowning right now. You can’t see it, but I’m frowning.
Ziah: And we'll see you next week for some laughs, some songs, and some smoldering sexual tension (probably) in the musical crossover with Supergirl!