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The Flash: Season 3, Episode 16 “Into the Speed Force” Review

“Every marathon’s got a finish line.”

Those were the words uttered by one character towards the end of Tuesday’s episode. But is it Wally West who’s finally met his finish line at the hands of Savitar?

Following his recovery from last week’s brutal battle with the self-proclaimed “God of Speed,” Barry is determined to return to the Speed Force — which he previously visited in Season 2’s Kevin Smith-directed installment, “The Runaway Dinosaur” — to rescue Wally from speedster limbo with the aid of Cisco’s “Gold Tooth” (patent pending), which will serve as a kind of tether to pull Barry back out again.

Before departing, however, Barry confronts Iris (sans engagement ring) and asks if he’s lost her. Iris responds by walking away. Ouch. Barry realizes he may have “changed the future one too many times.”

Once inside the Speed Force, Barry is visited by three ghosts of Christmas past: Eddie Thawne, former half of Firestorm Ronnie Raymond, and Leonard “Captain Cold” Snart. Of course it’s not really them but the Speed Force itself using their forms to communicate its displeasure (assuming a cosmic force is capable of being displeased) with Barry having broken his word by creating Flashpoint, and in so doing, triggering Savitar’s escape. The Speed Force also helps Barry realize he alone must repair the damage caused by his selfishness. While inside, Barry also has his first run-in with Black Flash, who also made a recent cameo in an episode of sister show Legends of Tomorrow.

Of course, as we all assumed, Wally’s finish line did not come tonight because the cavalry arrived in the form of Earth-2 Flash, Jay Garrick. Like how Savitar needed a someone to take his place in the prison, so too does Wally, and the aging speedster from Earth-2 chooses to assume Wally’s place until Barry can return Savitar to speedster limbo once more. Barry takes Jay’s helmet and vows to save him later.


Quick on the draw

Meanwhile, Jesse Quick is out for blood, and she isn’t going to wait until — as H.R. so ineloquently put it — “the real Flash gets back.” Immediately realizing that was the wrong thing to say, H.R. apologizes only for Jesse to remind him that, on Earth-2, she IS the real Flash. She also tells him he’s not her father and should stop trying to be. Undeterred, H.R. still tries to talk Jesse out of foolishly going it alone against Savitar after Team Flash figures out how to track the God of Speed using the “shard” of him Barry broke off last week. After punching her father’s doppelganger out, Jesse quips, “That was oddly satisfying.”

When Jesse does find Savitar, he says he knew she would come for him and that he knows everything that will happen because he already lived it. Jesse Quick quickly finds herself in trouble until H.R. helps her remotely by urging her to use this opportunity to find a point of vulnerability in Savitar’s armor. When she does, Savitar speeds away.

“This isn’t goodbye”

After Savitar implied he had plans for Jesse Quick, our favorite girl from Earth-2 decides to leave again, not to Earth-2 but to Earth-3, where she thinks they could also use a speedster hero. Before leaving, she gives a heartfelt thank you to H.R. for being a friend and promises Wally that “this isn’t goodbye.” H.R. waits until she’s left before telling the team about Jesse’s discovery, Savitar feels pain; he isn’t a god, only a man.

But unfortunately, the good news is quickly diminished by some bad news. Just as Iris is prepared to restart the engagement, Barry decides she was right before and he’s going to embrace the future he’s seen where she had no engagement ring, which means Cisco is, once again, getting a roommate.

The Verdict

It was fun seeing the return of characters we’ve lost without the annoyance of them literally being resurrected, as the dead so often annoyingly are on sister show Arrow. It was also nice to take another trip into the Speed Force as long as the writers keep these visits only a once-a-season occurrence. And though I’d have preferred it developed over a longer period of time, the writers did a great job of paying off the relationship between Jesse and alt-dad H.R.

But Savitar was a double-edged sword this week. Finding a potential Achilles heel was progress, but it’s crazy how little we still know about the big bad this late into the season. If this is like previous seasons, Savitar may only have six episodes left, and we know nothing about him. Now that he’s free, what does he really want? If he’s just another “take over the world” or “destroy the world” villain, it will be such a waste.

And finally, the Barry/Iris breakup was a groaner that reminded me of so many WB/CW teen dramas, where the moment the disinterested party in an unrequited romance finally becomes interested, the previously rejected party suddenly has some nonsense, totally contrived reason to become the rejecter. Barry didn’t fall out of love with Iris. And especially given foreknowledge of her potentially impending death, he still has more reason than ever to be at least physically near her. So just don’t be engaged; there’s literally never been a worse time to move out.

Into the Speed Force
Is it good?
It was fun seeing the return of characters we've lost without the annoyance of them literally being resurrected, and it was also nice to take another trip into the Speed Force as long as the writers keep these visits only a once-a-season occurrence. However, it wasn't without flaws.
Jesse and H.R.
Pleasant return of long, lost friends
Return trip to the Speed Force
Next week: The Flash: The Musical!
Joe still doing almost nothing this season
Barry's contrived reason for breaking up with Iris
Savitar remains a mystery by episode 16

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