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Run, Barry. Run.” Did anyone else yell the same thing at their television last night while watching The Flash? Don’t worry because you weren’t alone. It’s hard to believe that last week’s episode may have been the best episode of the season, but this week’s episode, “The Runaway Dinosaur,” easily takes the cake. Without a doubt. This episode was full of emotion, action, and all beautifully directed by Kevin Smith. And it’s not until the end that you realize that only someone like him could have directed this episode so well.

If you haven’t seen this week’s episode, then what are you doing here? This is where you’re warned that the following article will contain spoilers regarding last night’s episode. So if you don’t want to know what happened and/or haven’t seen last night’s episode, then look away. This will be your only warning. To also help avert your eyes and prevent them from seeing something by accident, then enjoy this random photo of a cute dog.

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RECAP

This week’s episode picks up right where last week’s left off. The particle accelerator explosion has left everyone speechless, the lab has been damaged, and Barry has disappeared. But Cisco won’t accept it and begins searching. He walks up to the remnants of Barry’s suit and has a vision of him. He’s alive, but Cisco has no idea where he is.

flash 2x21 Cisco vibes Barry
Barry wakes up in his bed at his original home. Downstairs he finds Joe, by himself, going over his mother’s crime scene. But that’s not Joe. It turns out that Barry is talking to the Speed Force. Not only is it intellegent, but it’s been around for a long time. Barry has questions, but all he wants to do is go home. The Speed Force says he can go, as long as he can catch this dark figure racing around the city.

Back at the lab, Henry is still upset over the loss of his son, but Joe calms him down in order to help with Jesse who had been knocked out during the explosion. Her situation is similar to Barry’s when he first was involved with the accelerator explosion. Cisco recalled that the original Wells kept medical records and, with Iris’ help, heads to the lab’s morgue to get them. There they encounter Tony “Girder” Woodward (season one) who had the ability to turn his skin into metal. It seems that the recent explosion basically brought him back to life.

flash 2x21 Girder back from the dead
In the Speed Force, Barry continues to run after the dark figure when he comes across Iris. Realizing its actually the Speed Force, the two begin to talk about what is upsetting Barry. The Speed Force accuses Barry of rejecting a gift he was given, but Barry replies that he gave up his powers to save another person’s life. Confused, Barry asks the Speed Force why they chose to give him powers, and they replied, “You’re The Flash, Barry.”

Cisco and Iris make their way back to the rest of the crew who are sitting by Jesse’s side. Joe rounds up the troops and reminds them of their tasks. Meanwhile, Girder is causing problems around the city. At the lab, Cisco and Wells work on a plan to get Barry back. Cisco reaches into the Speed Force and sees Barry. The Speed Force tells Barry that he can leave, but if he does, it’s without his powers. Barry looks at Cisco and runs away in search of the dark figure. Iris and Joe return from their canvassing and Iris yells at Wells to turn the machine off. Cisco tells them that he saw Barry, but couldn’t get him to come back.

flash 2x21 Cisco reaches out
Iris, Joe and Henry gather back upstairs and tackle the problem of Girder. Henry recalls a person he knew while in prison and realizes that Girder may be a creature of habit and that he’s after Iris. Joe and Iris come up with a plan and set it in motion to capture their loose zombie. Inside the Speed Force, Barry encounters a man who looks like his father. Completely frustrated, Barry yells at the Speed Force and asks if it’s recognized all of Barry’s accomplishments and sacrifices. The Speed Force reminds Barry that of all the things he’s done, he has never been to his mother’s grave.

Joe and Iris continue to peek outside their window in anticipation of Girder. Wally brings them some coffee. Joe begins to ask Wally if he notices his body changing (in regards to the particle accelerator explosion). A confused Wally tells Joe that he’s gone past the stages of puberty. Iris, who’s heard the entire conversation, can only shake her head. Girder eventually shows up. Joe sends Wally to his room while Iris leads Girder back to STAR Labs.

Barry breaks down and cries at his mother’s grave. He brings up the fact that he had the chance to save his mother but chose not to. In which the Speed Force asks him if he’s at peace with his decision. Barry replies, “How can someone ever be at peace with letting his mother die? With deciding that his life was more valuable than hers?” The Speed Force replies, “Do you really think your mother would have wanted you to die for her? And all the people that the Flash saved as a result of that decision, what about them? Do their lives have value, too?”

flash 2x21 Father son moment 2
After a bit of running, the Wests manage to get Girder back to STAR Labs, but they’re plan of capturing fails. They roll Jesse’s bed into the room where the explosion happened, and everyone else gathers inside the room. The only things between them and Girder is a steel door which he is quickly breaking down. Meanwhile, Barry returns to his original home where the dark figure continues to run around. Inside, though, Barry finds his mother. Barry admits that he hasn’t found a way to be at peace with letting his mother die, again. The Speed Force tells him that he needs to find a way. By accepting that he can’t avoid the tragedies that the universe throws at him will Barry be able to run free.

Cisco decides to try to reach out to Barry one more time, this time with the aid of Iris. Inside the Speed Force, Barry has come to terms with his mother’s death and catches the dark figure who is actually him in the Flash suit. With his powers, he reaches out to Iris and together they return from the Speed Force where then Barry subdues Girder.

flash 2x21 Flash vs Girder
REVIEW

After having called out the Speed Force and what it’s capable of, there’s a particular writer who is riding a special high right now. And what do you know, this week’s episode revolved around the mysterious powers of the Speed Force. A quick Google search, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of information regarding the Speed Force that exists out there. So credit really needs to be handed out to the writers who were able to nail what the Speed Force is without making it too complicated nor confusing the viewer into oblivion.

Kudos to Kevin Smith this week for taking on a hefty task. But if you really paid attention, then you’d know that this was the perfect episode for him to direct. The episode really immersed itself in this concept that the Speed Force is this higher being. Is it God? No. But it does seem to know a lot and have some crazy powers. Notch it up to being another one of those faiths that exists. So how does Smith fit into the picture? His experience directing a film like Dogma makes him a perfect candidate to direct this episode. The film took all those things that Catholics don’t really want to talk about and took it apart, explored it, and poked fun at it. And in a way, Smith did the same thing with the Speed Force without having to make fun of it.

flash 2x21 Speed Force can be anyone
Watching the Speed Force take the form of all these extremely important individuals in Barry’s life and question him the entire time he was in there was fascinating. It seems that no matter how many times you ask Barry Allen if he’s okay, he’s always going to answer yes. But deep down inside, he’s carrying the weight of multiple Earths on his shoulders. He doesn’t have to, but he still does because that’s who he is. Now the Speed Force intervenes and is like, “Look, if you want your powers back, then you have to settle a few things.” First, Barry has to accept that bad things are going to happen, and he can’t be there for all of it. Second, the Speed Force chose to give Barry his powers because he is The Flash. Don’t give them up, even if it means saving someone’s life (there’s a good chance if he does it again, they’re not giving them back). And, lastly, being The Flash and being a speedster requires his full attention. That means the last bit of personal stuff (i.e. his mom) needs to be resolved.

flash 2x21 Barry comes home
All this leads up to one of the best scenes in the episode. In an interview held online before the show, Smith talked about this particular scene. He said he didn’t have to give much direction for it. He just let Grant Gustin and Candice Patton do their thing. This was a great moment, in particular, for the development of the Iris West character. Up to now, she didn’t really have a point besides being the love interest for Barry (who didn’t initially return the love). But now she’s become a grounding totem for Barry – a reason to come home. And she really proved it in tonight’s episode. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the future.

This episode had so much going on that it could have done without a villain. But if you had to have one during this time a zombie version of Girder was probably the best choice. Keep it real simple. You want to provide just enough trouble to keep the team on their toes and busy while the problem continues to be worked out. Not much else needs to be said here.

flash 2x21 Flash and Jesse
On a final note, what about that moment Barry had with Jesse? How did he know what to do? And why did it take a jolt from Barry to wake her up? As far as the audience can tell, Wally wasn’t effected by the explosion, but was Jesse? Could it be that she’s become a speedster and Barry can sense it? Can he sense other speedsters now? From one scene, so many questions emerge. The likelihood is that Jesse may become a speedster just like in the comics. All signs seem to be pointing in that direction.

So where do you go from here? Last week, was a “hands down” moment. It was the best episode of the season (maybe the show) until this episode came along and took over. There are two episodes left in the season. Next week’s episode is titled, “Invincible” which may allude to Zoom who, at this point, seems completely unstoppable when he unleashes an army of Earth-2 meta humans. All this is leading up to the season finale which is titled, “The Race For His Life.” These just may be the titles, but they’re enough to induce stress.  Make sure to check back next week to see how the show progresses from here.

The Runaway Dinosaur” overall grade – A+

The Flash airs every Tuesday on The CW at 8 PM EST. Check out a preview for next week’s all-new episode titled, “Invincible.”

Category: reviews, TV

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