This article contains spoilers for The Flash season four episode ‘Enter Flashtime’.
For what might have been considered a gimmick episode, ‘Enter Flashtime’ was one of the best episodes of the season. The premise was very simple: eco-terrorist Veronica Dale (Bernadette Saquibal) and her group Eden Core track down an ARGUS transport with a nuclear bomb in it and set it off. This gives Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) about 10 seconds to come up with something to stop the explosion already in progress. At super speed, that works out to be a little under an hour — as long as Barry doesn’t stop moving.
He has some help with him, though. Jesse Quick (Violett Beane) is visiting, trying to resolve things with Harry (Tom Cavanagh). The problem is that she wants him to talk about her mother’s death so he can get past it, and he can’t. Jesse goes with Barry, Cisco (Carlos Valdes), and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) when Eden Core attacks. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is already on the scene with other cops.
Once the bomb goes off, it’s all about the speedsters or anyone that Barry pulls into Flashtime with his new ability that we saw in ‘Trial of the Flash’. Not sure what to do, he sends Jesse to get Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) in hopes that he might know. He then speeds up Cisco, who tries to port it to another Earth — but he can’t do that at super speed. The strain of moving so fast becomes too much, and Barry has to release him. Wells suggests putting it into the Speed Force might work, but Jay is against that. They try freezing it, but it’s too hot for Killer Frost’s power. Before Barry releases her, Frost tells Barry to save ‘Caity’. They also try to throw lightning, but Jay is too exhausted to do it and has to slip out of super speed. Barry tells Jesse to get to safety as he is out of ideas. She goes to Wells and tries to do the Flashtime thing with him, but she can’t. She slows down standing next to him.
Barry tries to figure out the calculations to put it in the Speed Force, but can’t. He goes to Iris (Candice Patton) to say goodbye. He tells her everything he tried and references a lightning rod. This trips her memory about the Quark Sphere they used to trick the Speed Force into thinking he was still in side. Barry realizes what she’s getting at and he races off into the Speed Force, grabs the sphere, and backs out with all of the lightning from there following — remember the lightning storm that almost destroyed the city at the end of last season? He then hurls the sphere into the explosion and the energy from the lightning reverses the explosion (hey, I don’t know science… just go with it). and the city is saved.
The episode wraps up with Barry getting checked out from all his exertion. Jay announces that it’s time for him to train a replacement speedster on Earth-3 so he can retire. Wells uses the device he made to block DeVoe to open his mind to Jesse so she could see why he has such a hard time speaking about her mother, how much he loved her. Caitlin admits to Wells that normally she doesn’t remember anything that Frost does, but this time she remembers, and Frost was worried about Caitlin. And there is still the question of just how Dale knew about the ARGUS shipment. Oh… and the nervous girl (just going to call her that from now on until we get a name) played by Jessica Parker Kennedy pops up… but more on that below.
The gimmick worked incredibly well here. They didn’t spend a lot of time on him running around frozen people, etc., because to him that is normal. Instead they went for the intensity of keeping at super speed, the fact that everyone could die, and sweat… there was a lot of sweat. This was a great episode carried by Gustin and a good return for both Beane and Shipp. The thing that surprised me was the episode offered the best illustration of Iris’s role on the team. Just about everyone on the team is a genius and has a specialty. But what Iris did was filter through all of that, looking at the big picture. It was a nice moment in a very good episode.
Next week we get to see Iris become a speedster as she and Barry have their DNA swapped by a meta. This could be a fun one-off episode, but I have a feeling it’s more than that — especially with the return of Nervous Girl and the look she had on her face after Caitlin and Harry left Jitters. Every other time it appeared like she was excited to meet Barry, Ralph (Hartley Sawyer), and Cisco, but this time it seemed a bit more ‘part of the plan’. If she is Dawn Allen or Jenni Ognats, she has yet to meet Iris. But then again, we’re just assuming that she’s related to them because she was introduced during the wedding.