Running to Stand Still
Mardon is back for revenge against the Flash so he breaks Snart and the Trickster out of prison. The Trickster is on board for any kind of chaos, but Snart opts out and instead warns Barry that the duo are out to kill him. Meanwhile, Patty is out for some revenge of her own against Mardon for killing her father and Barry has a hard time reaching out to her. To stop Mardon and cancel out his powers, Cisco re-creates the Weather Wand from the deleted timeline. Unfortunately, the Trickster dresses up as Santa at the Central City Mall and hands out hundreds of gift wrapped bombs to random children. To keep the families safe, Barry must allow them to kill him. Harry, Cisco, and Jay come up with a plan to pull all the bombs up into an open breach in the sky, saving the families and allowing Barry to fight back. Patty arrives after Mardon is incapacitated and nearly kills him until the Flash talks her out of it. Everyone goes home happy for a Christmas celebration at the West house. Jay and Caitlin finally kiss, Patty tells Joe that she’s Barry’s girlfriend, and Joe’s long lost son Wally West comes to visit. Harry declines Barry’s invitation and instead has a secret meeting with Zoom, agreeing to help increase Barry’s speed force in order for Zoom to eventually steal it.
Mark Hamill is back! His part is relatively small in an episode of personal conflict and relationship development, but he knows how to steal the show. I honestly have a hard time separating his Trickster voice from his Joker voice in my mind, which doesn’t necessarily detract from the enjoyment of watching him perform. He’s loopy and gleeful and over-the-top comic book hammy, all of which feels right at home on the CW.
And as always its an absolute joy to see Wentworth Miller play Leonard Snart. He’s oddly hammy in a conversely understated way, almost purring as he over enunciates and draws out selected syllables to fantastic effect. I just love forever being surprised and delighted by his unusual and dynamic line readings. Always, always more of Snart.
And then there’s the ever present Zoom and the inevitable deal he makes with Harry. Zoom is purposefully “fattening the Flash like a Christmas goose”, challenging him and ever increasing his speed force so that he has more power to absorb when he defeats Barry. Harry, desperate to save his daughter, makes a deal with Zoom to help him steal the Flash’s speed.
Iris finally reveals to Joe that he has a son. While Joe is overwhelmed by the news, he also blames himself for not knowing and not making the effort to find Francine when she first left. He reaches out to Francine and things are left open for a future meeting with Wally. Wally, however, shows up at the West house during their Christmas party. Everyone is pretty stunned, but after the initial shock wears off Wally is invited into their home.
For those of you who don’t know who Wally West is, he is yet another version of the Flash, just as Jay Garrick is the Golden Age Flash and Barry Allen is the Silver Age Flash. Wally is the Modern Age Flash. In the comics he is the nephew of the married Iris West and Barry Allen and obtains his powers at the age of ten in an identical accident to the one that gave Barry his powers. Here, of course, Wally is Iris’s brother. How he gets the speed force or whether he already has it are questions yet to be answered, but if he’s introduced by name its pretty likely he’ll end up a speedster one way or the other.
Patty is pretty hardcore. She’s a girl with a lot of pain and anger hidden by a luminous smile and it was jarring to see her so close to killing a man in cold blood. What is even more mind blowing, though, is that after all that’s happened – including officially becoming Barry’s girlfriend – she still doesn’t know that he’s the Flash. That’s pretty awkward when she’s the only person in the room who doesn’t know. She doesn’t even know who Jay is. And what would have happened if Harry had shown up and Barry just acted like it was cool? This is just getting ridiculous.