The Flash – Dead or Alive
By: Stacy Miller
The episode opens with a The Flash/Kid Flash superhero team up and the criminals are caught. H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) is the true hero as he has a vortex cannon. Of course, H.R. is the hero of the story because it’s his story. The adventure is a fictional one that H.R. is writing.
Meanwhile, an attractive brunette wearing leather arrives with only one purpose: to collect H.R. She is Gypsy (Jess Camacho), a bounty hunter a/k/a collector from H.R.’s home world Earth 19. She’s determine to bring Wells back to justice. His crime? Inter dimensional travel. Gypsy is able to track H.R. to Jitters due to the coin from Earth 19 he placed in the tip jar.
Soon she shows up at STAR Labs to bring H.R. in. A fight ensues between Gypsy and Cisco (Carlos Valdes). Gypsy is intrigued that Cisco can vibe. There is obvious sexual tension between Cisco and Gypsy, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). She gives H.R. twenty-four hours to get his affairs in order and then it’s back to Earth 19 to face punishment for his crime. And what is the punishment for interdimensional travel? Execution. And how did Gypsy know that H.R. was on this Earth? Because he’s been broadcasting the story he’s writing. Cisco reads H.R.’s story, which basically paints Wells as the hero in all of Team Flash’s adventures. H.R. explains that although he knew that he’d be killed if he used interdimensional travel to leave Earth 19, he took the chance. After looking in the mirror, H.R. knew that with all his fame and wealth, he wasn’t who he wanted to be so he had to rewrite his story in order to make a difference.
Iris (Candice Patton) also wants to make a difference. Ever since she learned that Savitar kills her in the future, Ms. West needs to feel like her time on Earth was important. To that end, Iris has decided to locate a dangerous arms dealer and write a story. “I want my life to mean something, more than just as a daughter or as a sister or as a girlfriend, but as a reporter. This story can do that. It can say, ‘I, Iris West, mattered,’” she tells Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale). She also asks him to get their father’s information on the case.
Meanwhile, Gypsy returns to take H.R. back to Earth 19, but Cisco challenges her to a trial by combat for possession of H.R. If Cisco wins, H.R. gets to stay on their Earth, but if he loses, H.R. goes back home to die. Trial by combat is a fight to the death so basically two lives (H.R. and Cisco) are at stake. Barry (Grant Gustin) thinks the trial by combat challenge is a bad idea. Cisco is not an experienced vibe fighter like Gypsy. Unfortunately, he and H.R. try to trick Gypsy. She considers this a forfeit and starts to take H.R. away. Barry reminds that he and H.R. were the ones who broke the rules, not Cisco. Gypsy decides to give Cisco the chance to fight her, but takes H.R. as insurance.
Cisco is angry that H.R. and Barry didn’t think he could win. So, it’s time to train. Julian (Tom Felton) tells Barry that he has calculated mathematically that even with The Flash’s speed, Barry will be unable to reach Savitar in time to save Iris from her deadly fate in the park. Julian also uncovers information about Gypsy’s fighting style that should be useful to Cisco.
In an amusing scene, Iris distracts Joe (Jesse L. Martin) while Wally steals his information on the arms dealer case. She tells her dad that because of the new turn in her relationship with Barry, she’s considering expanding their family. Joe wrongly believes that Iris is talking about having a baby with Barry, but she tells him she was thinking of getting Barry a puppy. With the stolen information, Iris and Wally track the arms dealer to a warehouse. But she gets caught by the criminal, who points his gun at her and threatens to kill her. Iris tells him that everyone has to die someday, but she’s sure that today is not her time. The arms dealer can’t believe it when Iris calmly walks towards him and then holds his gun to her own chest. Kid Flash speeds up and disarms the arms dealer. He can’t believe Iris took a dangerous chance with her life – a sentiment both Joe and Barry echo when they learn what Iris and Wally did. “This story is going to change lives. Why do you think you’re the only one allowed to do good?” Iris asks Barry.
Cisco is clad in leather and wearing shades for the trial by fire battle with Gypsy. He looks like a total bad ass and holds his own in the fight. Cisco and Gypsy vibe fight and jump in and out of various breaches and worlds, including National City home of Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). Gypsy is a skilled fighter, but her signature move (which Julian clued Cisco on) is her downfall. Cisco is able to vibe blast Gypsy off her feet as she exits a breach. Cisco wins the trial by combat and tells Gypsy he’s not going to kill her. Because she isn’t bringing H.R. back to Earth 19, Gypsy tells Team Flash that she will make those on Earth 19 believe she killed him. That means H.R. can never return to Earth 19.
Gypsy shares an almost kiss with Cisco before returning home. H.R. thanks Cisco for being willing to die to save his life. “The first Wells told me that my time would come to be a hero. That it was my job to show up, to be ready for when it did,” says Cisco. “You know why I love working here? We’re all making investments in each other.”