5 Point Discussions: The Flash S4.15: “Enter Flashtime”

by Sage Ashford

A nuclear bomb is about to explode in Central City. Will Barry, Jessie, and Jay be able to figure out how to stop it? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.

1. The beginning of Enter Flashtime sees Barry trying to become fast enough to enter DeVoe’s spacetime rifts as soon as he opens (or closes) them. He’s practicing by seeing if he can rush into one of Cisco’s breach portals just before they close. By the start of the episode, he’s been at it for hours, which makes sense given the gravity of the situation. But after spending the last few hours badgering Cisco, he’s finally forced to take a small break by Iris. Which brings me to my only problem with an otherwise superb episode.

I love Candice Patton. She’s a great actress and she’s given so much to Flash as a series, and when she kicked things off, running the whole team at the start of the season I felt like it was the place her character needed to go. But man, I’m tired of how she acts in relation to Barry. “We’re the Flash” is the worst line of dialogue this series has ever done. And whenever Barry’s panicked about how to stop world-threatening villains, her answer is always “go take a break”. That’s advice for someone who’s been studying for finals too long, not someone who’s fighting to save the world from being conquered.

2. In the recap for “Subject 9”, I said:

[Harry’s] drama concerning not being on speaking terms with his daughter is more believable, because the Flash is usually at its best when its dealing with some aspect of family–being a father, being a son, being a daughter–these are the most compelling moments the show offers. Still, it’s possible they come back to this later.

I knew they would so I guess “possible” was a misphrase, but I didn’t know they’d follow up so quickly. This episode, Jessie shows up to talk with her father, and we finally learn the reason she distanced herself from him: he’s been unable to deal with losing Jessie’s mother.  Unable to confront his emotional pain has left him distant, constantly lashing out at people.  As expected, this winds up being some of the most convincing work Tom Cavanagh’s done all season.

Attempting to resolve the issue which tore him and his daughter apart, they both find themselves at an impasse: he’s unwilling to talk about what happened, and she seems unwilling to stick around unless he does. She nearly goes back to Earth-2, but the plot of the episode forces her to stay a bit longer, and as a result they each get a reminder of how much they care about each other. Harry’s willing to sacrifice his own life in order to keep Jessie safe, and the only reason Jessie doesn’t escape back to Earth-2 is an attempt to bring him with her.

It’s equally understandable motivations leading to one of the most touching moment in the season: before Jessie leaves, Harry displays another use for the neural inhibitor. After tweaking it, the device is able to share thoughts, letting him to share how he truly felt about her mother, giving them an opportunity to bond…and hopefully, to heal.

3. Can we talk about how fast Barry’s gotten as a result of the time he spent in the Speed Force? In Season One he could barely break the sound barrier, and his growth in the seasons with speedsters was always pretty slow. But he’s exponentially better each episode this season, from taking apart an entire car in seconds, to being capable of moving in time periods that can be measured in picoseconds. As expected, getting rid of the speed villains have allowed the writers to take the limiters off. No one needs to be faster than him, so it’s no longer about the growth of his powers but his growth as a hero. Even the other Flashes around him have all grown several times over. This episode’s conflict requires the Flashes to be moving so fast that even an explosion is too slow to keep up with them.

They’ve inserted a ton of Flash’s more obscure powers from the Mark Waid run too, like him being able to “lend” speed to non-speedsters for brief periods of time.  All of this just reminds you how far we’ve come since the early days of the series, when things had to be more down to Earth and realistic because the audience wasn’t yet capable of suspending their disbelief on the same level as they are now. I’m hoping a few more concepts come into play by next season–Barry creating a costume out of pure speed force energy has always been my favorite power of his.

4. The A plot of “Enter Flashtime” originates with an eco-terrorist named Veronica Dale. With the help of her group, she locates an ARGUS drop-off point that happens to have a nuclear fission weapon. She immediately activates it, and Barry’s only choice is to speed up fast enough to have time to stop the blast.

The rest of “Enter Flashtime” works like a brilliant superhero twist on a bottle episode, where the Flashes are the only ones capable of moving fast enough to actually do anything. Barry’s briefly able to bring in the other big brains like Cisco, Caitlin, and Harry–but none of them can handle moving that fast for very long, so they eventually have to go. Worse, Jay and Jessie can’t keep up with Barry for that long, so even they wind up slowing down, eventually leaving Barry completely isolated. An episode like this, where all the characters are forced to deal with their mortality in a very real way, is good occasionally because it allows us to see the characters at their most honest, their most vulnerable.

Even the eventual solution of the episode is pretty brilliant, as Iris (back to being awesome again) gives Barry the idea of using the speed force storm to cancel out the energy of the fission bomb. One of the best episodes all season, hats off to all involved in front and behind the camera–former Supergirl ongoing writer Sterling Gates included.

Also a thank you to whoever decided not to just dump the bomb into the Speed Force. They tease it as an idea and it just sounds like the worst thing ever, given the Speed Force in the CW Universe is so much more volatile and subject to striking back at whoever misuses it.  But by the end they instead take advantage of something they set up a season ago and the episode feels much better for it.

5. Speed Force Girl (played by Jessica Parker Kennedy) showed up again! While Caitlin and Harry are discussing Killer Frost and her changing personality, she spills her drink on the two of them. She’s still charmingly awkward in the way Felicity was in the first season of Arrow, and she has fairly good chemistry with the rest of the cast.

…And we still have no clue who she is. You’d think that can only last for so much longer given we’re in the second half of the allotted episodes for the season, so I’m guessing within two more weeks we’ll know who she is once and for all.