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The Flash season 3 episode 16 recap: Into the Speed Force

It’s another weird one


Team Flash gets weird with another journey into the Speed Force this week, and who knows what we're supposed to do with it?

You may remember Kevin Smith's directorial contribution to The Flash in the heart-wrecking episode "The Runaway Dinosaur," where Barry wound up stuck in the Speed Force looking for redemption. Well, tonight we send him back to the Speed Force for a hypno-artistic journey into the mind, the past, the dead and regret. But why?

Wally got sucked into the Speed Force last week, allowing Savitar to be released. Now Barry is going looking for him. The team built a device to help tether him to Earth so he doesn't disappear forever, but that doesn't mean he won't be tortured. Barry winds up in a conversation with Eddie, Ronnie and everyone else who has gone the sacrifice route in Barry's life. But the Speed Force isn't that interested in Barry right now.

See, Barry got let go on the condition he make peace with his mom's death. Then he didn't. Him messing up made Flashpoint, which the Speed Force isn't keen on. So Barry gets his butt kicked by a zombie Zoom while everyone hopes for the best.

H.R. meanwhile tries to bond with Ms. Quick, and while looking like her dad, doesn't do the best job. He tries to stand in the way of her search for Savitar and sucks at it. She winds up defeating him in combat (maybe?) and then disappears to Earth 3. You know, how people do!

Then Lenoard Snart shows up for Barry's nightmare despite Barry trying to trade places for Wally's Hell but then his Dad appears. OK, never mind, this is just a disaster of feelings and flashbacks that culminates in Jay taking Wally's place in Speed Hell.

Christ, what is happening?

Somehow, the show triples down on the stakes of defeating Savitar, all without ever joining those responsibilities in any meaningful way. It's everything I hate about the universe's cross-over episodes happening within a single episode, and it's not the worst, but my God it's just all over the place?

I guess when you're unsure about your emotional stakes, just fire on every cylinder.

Barry saves Wally. Ms. Quick leaves. But then there is some discussion about what it means for Barry and Iris to get married that really hinges on Barry being a Nice Guy that's trying to change time for all the wrong reasons. Finally, Barry fixes that. He walks back the proposal and admits mistakes and after a hallucinogenic episode, Barry proposing space for a real relationship is the most human, adult choice he's ever made and I cannot believe the show let him grow that fraction of an amount.

Then we're done. No teaser, no threat. Just living in the moment within our leads. This is better than so many things in this show, but also, just give us the musical episode. C'mon. Now. Please. Because this week characters from the show basically recited lyrics from Footloose and you can't keep stabbing at this without letting us bleed.