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mark hamill trickster
The moment we’ve all been dreading since the season premiere has finally arrived. It’s the mid-season finale. And now that it’s aired, what are we, the fans, supposed to do until the show returns in January? It’s too bad we can’t hibernate like bears to pass the time. Until then, we’ll just have to deal with it. Well, this week’s episode was no crossover, but it was still another solid episode that sets up the second half of the season very nicely. Titled, “Running To Stand Still,” this week’s episode saw the return of one of the show’s best villains and the appearance of a new family member.

Like every week, this is your chance to look away if you don’t want to be spoiled. But then again, if you didn’t want that to happen, why are you here in the first place? Now that you are here, you might as well enjoy the show.

Recap

When we start things off, we see Wells running through the halls of the lab. Based on the look on his face, it’s as if he saw Death himself. While it wasn’t death, it was someone close – Zoom. Obviously, Zoom catches up to Wells and holds him up by his neck. At this point, Wells is willing to die so long as his daughter is let go. However, Zoom has other plans on his mind as he brings Wells close to his face and wishes him a “Merry Christmas.”

Zoom is up to something
At the CCPD, we catch up with some Barry and Patty action. Only to get interrupted by Iris. She breaks up the mood by telling Barry the secret she’s been holding on to the past couple of weeks. She’s reached her breaking point and reaches out to Barry for advice. Together they decide that it’s time to tell Joe about the son he never knew he had.

Back at the lab, Jay and Caitlin continue to work on a way to seal the breaches around Central City. Of course with them working together, so does their flirting. Luckily Cisco is there to let out what may be on everyone’s mind. The highlight of this scene comes when Cisco rhetorically asks if Zoom takes Christmas off. That’s when Garrick asks the question, “What’s Christmas?” Caitlin responds with a historical recount of what the holiday is only to have Jay interject and letting her know that he is familiar with Christmas.

Finally, we get an understanding of what’s going on in this week’s episode. Outside Iron Heights, a winter storm has appeared out of no where. As it turns out, it’s not a storm at all, but Mark Martin a.k.a. Weather Wizard. He takes out the only two guards watching a facility that houses hundreds of criminals. Afterwards, he sets free Captain Cold. But before they head towards the exit, they recruit one more person – the Trickster. They regroup at an abandoned warehouse where the Wizard discusses his plan to take down the Flash. However, it seems that Captain Cold is having second thoughts. Could it be that he still owes Barry for helping his family out? Possibly.

With the news that Weather Wizard, Captain Cold, and the Trickster are working on a way to take down Barry, he and the gang work on a way to counter their plan. That’s when Cisco and Barry come up with the Weather Want, but when they do, Cisco can’t help but feel like they’ve had that conversation before. Barry then tells him and everyone else about that one time he went back in time for a day. Once everyone knows what they’re doing, they go off on their separate ways.

The big moment has arrived where Barry and Iris spill the beans on Joe’s son – Wally West. Short for Wallace, it was the name they were going to give Iris if she was born a boy. Obviously distraught, Joe grabs his coat and goes back to work. Iris and Barry head back home, and when they arrive they find a visitor waiting by the fireplace. It seems Captain Cold also has a key to the West home. However, he’s not there to do any foul. He’s actually there to warn them of the Wizard’s plan. When asked why he was doing this, Cold notched it up to the holidays.

captain cold waiting at home
Later, Det. West meets up with Barry in the lab. There, they talk about the struggles that Joe has been going through ever since Francine left he and Iris. What Joe did, he did for Iris and himself. But now that he knows that he has a son, he realizes that he’s inadvertently punished his son for what Francine did. It takes Barry to remind him that none of this is his fault and that Joe has done everything he can to be the best father to him and Iris.

It was only a matter of time before the Trickster would make his move, and when he did it set everyone off in a frenzy to find him. Thanks to some super sleuthing, a clue could be seen in a reflection in his eye. Stuffed away in an old toy factory, Barry races over only to find that Patty has also made her way there. However, things make a turn for the worse when they find out that they’ve been lured into a trap. Of course, the Flash wouldn’t be the superhero that he is if he couldn’t get them out of there.

With the Flash having escaped, the Trickster implemented a new plan. This time he dressed up as a mall Santa. It was there where he gave each kid who visited him a “present.” But boy are those kids in for a surprise because each box they got actually contains a small bomb set to go off that night. Later that night, the Flash meets up with Martin a.k.a. the Weather Wizard and tries to stop him from whatever he’s planning to do. Sadly, he fails to stop him as Martin lets him on the explosive idea that he and the Trickster came up with. Now Barry has a decision to make – find a way to stop them or let hundreds of children die.

Thanks to some quick thinking by the Wells and the rest of the crew, they’re able to come up with a plan to retrieve all of the gifts in one fell swoop. Their plan  – to magnetize one bomb and attract them all into a breach nearby. Once all of the bombs were collected, the word was given to Barry and he quickly apprehended the Trickster and Martin. Things seemed to be going well until Patty showed up. With Martin downed by the speedster, now was Patty’s chance to take him out for good. Thankfully, Barry was there to give a speech of a lifetime and stopped Patty from making a terrible mistake. The speech was so good, it even had the Trickster in tears.

Back at the lab, another important moment occurs when Barry realizes that he needs to move on from the death of his mother, and in order to do that he needs to forgive Wells and he does so right then and there. At the West home, everyone has gathered for their annual Christmas party. And at the last moment an unexpected guest shows up at the door. It’s Wally West!

We end this week’s episode with a big revelation. We find out what Zoom’s plan finally is and why he needs Harrison Wells. It turns out that Zoom has been purposefully “feeding” Barry meta-humans in order to make him stronger and faster. The eventual goal is for Zoom to consume Barry’s speed at it’s peak to make Zoom virtually unstoppable. And because he still has his daughter, Wells agrees to help Zoom.

Review

There’s something about these holiday episodes that somehow always find a way to get you in the feels. This was no exception. But we’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s start with the return of the Trickster (Mark Hamill).

the trickster as santa
Can we give this man an award already? Hamill was great the first time he was on the show, but this time was better than ever. In the hands of another actor, the Trickster seems like he would be another generic villain, but in the hands of Hamill he’s much more. What’s even more impressive is that the character isn’t a meta-human like the other bad guys Barry puts away. The Trickster is just crazy man who plays with toys. He’s almost like another character that Hamill is known to play, but not as sinister. So it’s no wonder that Hamill plays the role so well.

Up to this point, much of the season has been pretty light-hearted. However, this week’s episode was quite emotional. There were a lot of parental issues that were dealt with. In particular, a lot of father issues. Having lost my father several years ago, this one hit close to home. Add to that the holidays and you have the perfect mix for a Winter mess on your face. What really stood out was how the show has dealt with the situation regarding Det. West’s son. Unlike the situation with his wife, this was dealt in a timely manner. Also, in many cases, all the parties involved in something like this would usually just end up being angry with each other. It was refreshing to see these characters not act childish and blame each other for what happened. They just dealt with it. In the end, they gained a new family member and someone we all should recognize, Wally West. If you’re unfamiliar with that name, Wally West is another person who took on the mantle of The Flash. Before that he was the first person to take on the mantle of Kid Flash. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with his character this season. He may or many not take on the form of a speedster.

wally west comes to visit
Keeping in the holiday spirit, there was a lot of forgiving going on in this episode. Okay, not everyone was forgiving, the moments of forgiveness were big enough to cover everyone. First of all, you had Det. West talking about how he ended up forgiving Francine. This way he could move on with his life. And of course, there is the big moment where Barry forgives Wells. Now the question is what kind of opportunities does this open up. Previously, we talked about how something was holding Barry back from opening up and really letting loose when it comes to his speed. Now that he’s forgiven Wells, will this allow him to move on and become faster? Maybe. We’ll have to just wait and see.

Finally, no review is complete with a little complaining. Call me old fashioned, but I just can’t buy into this Jay and Caitlin thing. I mean, Iris doesn’t seem to be over the loss of Eddie. But I guess she doesn’t have someone like Garrick to distract her. Anyone else feel the same way? Although, I guess if you’re going to do something you might as well not beat around the bush.

jay and caitlin
Running To Stand Still” overall grade – A

The Flash returns from winter break on January 19. They even cut a preview for it. Enjoy!

Category: reviews, TV

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