Episode 209 “Running to Stand Still”
[photos: Katie Yu & Cate Cameron/The CW]
“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg….” The youngling was hoping this would be part of Mark Hamill’s repertoire, but sadly we missed an opportunity.
Although we did get plenty of Trickster-induced hijinks anyway!
It’s the holiday season, and whoop-de-doo, and dickory-dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock. Because the Weather Wizard is back, and he’s breaking people out of Iron Heights! Specifically, Captain Cold and James Jesse. Why these two? No idea. Probably because they’re the most popular villains in the current Rogues Gallery on the show…
In a nice bit of continuity connections, Jesse’s got all sorts of Flash artwork on his cell wall, just as he did in the 1990 version of The Flash.
Convening the weekly meeting of the Flash-haters Club, Weather Wizard figures that between his power, Jesse’s chaos, and Snart’s smarts, they have the right combination of forces to take down the Flash once and for all. Only Captain Cold doesn’t want to play on the team. That sense of honor and all that, which prompts him to visit Barry and warn him what’s up.
Now, remember: Detective Patty Spivot’s father was murdered by the Marden brothers, so she’s got the yearn to burn the revenge candle and go after Weather Wizard whether it’s by the rules or not. And it’s got her making reckless decisions that almost get her killed when she figures out where the crew is holed up. The Flash arrives just in time to save her from Trickster’s Exploding Ddreidels™ in the Warehouse That Joker Built.
Seriously, Mark Hamill is straight up delivering every line in his Joker voice, and it’s perfect.
On the other hand, this is the kind of plot that really highlights the fact that Barry’s secret is known to everyone except the one person who needs to know before doing something rash. In this case, Patty. She’s throwing caution to the wind, telling the Flash that she blames herself for her father’s death because she bailed on the family store and he ended up at the bank instead of her that fateful day. It’s why she became a cop — to make up for her mistakes and put metahumans away so they can’t hurt anyone else.
This is the problem the show had last year, with Team Flash keeping Barry’s secret from Iris. Not only was it just stupid from a story logic standpoint, but it also put her in more danger. This year, Patty’s ignorance has already put a bullet into Harrison Wells, and now she’s about to do something that could end her career — all because “we can’t tell her so we can protect her” or something.
Stop it, show.
Although we do get a bit of lampshading on that very subject, from none other than Iris herself, as she commiserates with Barry about the fact that she’s got this secret about her brother, something she doesn’t know how to tell her father. But then, instead of keeping the secret “to protect Joe” and whatnot, they actually do the grown-up, real life thing and tell him about Wally.
(Side note: not sure how long-term DC Comics fans are going to accept Wally being Iris’ brother instead of her nephew, but as Geoff Johns said, this is a multiverse…)
The other secret is the one Wells is keeping: that he’s secretly meeting with Zoom and trying to negotiate a release for his daughter, the soon-t0-be-speedster Jesse Quick. (Come on, you know it’s gonna happen…) In exchange for getting Jesse back, Wells agrees to continue building Barry’s speed, so that when the time comes, Zoom can harvest the Speed Force™ from him, as he did to Jay Garrick.
Garrick himself is among the family and friends who gather at the West home for the holiday, and there’s a nice bit of banter between him and Caitlin throughout the episode as he pretends Earth-2 doesn’t have Christmas or mistletoe.
What’s going to happen when her husband comes back from the dead? Again?
And what’s going to happen in the wake of Wally West showing up at Joe’s door? Joe seems to have adjusted fairly quickly, although he still considers Barry the son he never had. And there’s bound to be some — ahem — friction between the two young men. I just hope they don’t write Wally with a chip on his shoulder because “I never had a father.” The “daddy issues” trope has been well and truly played out a long time ago in a galaxy far, far —
… oh, wait. Where was I?