The Flash – The Flash Reborn
By: Stacy Miller
The Season Premiere of The Flash starts approximately six months after Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) makes the ultimate sacrifice for Central City and goes into The Speed Force. The team is coping as best as they can be taking over the mantle by stopping Meta Humans and protecting the city. Iris (Candice Patton) vows to do what Barry told her, which is to “keep running and never stop” meaning keep fighting and don’t give up. To that end, Iris is in Star Labs coordinating Team Flash’s apprehension of Meta Peek-a-Boo (Britne Oldford), who had been previously seen in the Season One episode “Rogues.” Team Flash is able to stop Peek-a-Boo. They congratulate themselves on a job well done, but Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) has a problem with being called Team Flash, he thinks that Team Kid Flash has a better ring to it. His father Joe (Jesse L. Martin) disagrees saying, “Son, I love you, but ain’t nobody gonna be no Team Kid Flash.” Deciding on what to call themselves should be the least of their concerns. Iris tells them they have to do better than they have been as they’ve allowed a few Metahumans to escape in the last six months. She thinks that Wally could use more training and assigns (Yes, Iris is really taking the role of boss seriously) him four additional hours. Iris then leaves to have dinner with her dad and Cecile (Danielle Nicolet), who we learn is moving in with Joe.
Poor Iris is trying to be strong, but it’s obvious that she misses Barry and has been unable to sleep in the bed without him so she has been sleeping on the couch these months while he’s been away. But neither Iris nor the rest of Team Flash have time to focus on their sadness over Barry being gone. There is a huge explosion in Central City and they go outside to investigate. A samurai confronts them demanding that either they deliver The Flash to him within twenty-hour or he’ll destroy the city. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) admits to the team that he’s been trying to bring Barry out of The Speed Force and feels confident that he could make this happen before samurai guy’s deadline. Everyone is surprised by Cisco’s statement. Iris is angry that Cisco has been working on this for the last six months. She thinks they need to figure out a way to stop the samurai before he brings down Central City. Iris doesn’t think Cisco’s idea will work, but even if she does, she’s afraid that it’s already too late to save Barry.
But Cisco doesn’t listen to Iris; he knows that he can bring Barry back but reasons that he can’t do it alone. So, Ramon goes to the bar where Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) has been working. The idea that Dr. Caitlin Snow, brilliant scientist is working at a rundown bar seems as though Cisco has visited one of the alternate Earths. Caitlin tells Cisco that she needed to get away after everything that happened when she was Killer Frost. Speaking of which, Caitlin no longer sports the white locks of the ice queen and is back to her original hair color. Cisco fills his friend in on what’s going on in Central City and asks for her help with the machine he’s been working on to release Barry from The Speed Force. Caitlin tells Cisco that she’ll return to Star Labs and help him and the team. In the exchange between Cisco and Caitlin, it’s obvious that she has missed being a part of Team Flash but worries how she’ll be accepted after all the destruction she caused as Killer Frost. When Cisco and Caitlin come to Star Labs, Iris isn’t happy to see her former friend and asks what Caitlin is doing there. Cisco tells Iris that he brought Caitlin back to help bring Barry out of The Speed Force.
The following day Cisco and Caitlin contact Joe and Wally and have them meet them at the race track from the pilot episode. Caitlin apologizes to Joe for her actions as Killer Frost; she knows that he can’t forgive her but hopes someday he will. Someday comes sooner than Caitlin thinks as Joe envelopes her in a hug. Joe’s forgiveness means a lot to Caitlin and will help her focus better with the task at hand, which is breaking Barry out of The Speed Force. Cisco explains his plan for breaking Barry out of The Speed Force: He and Caitlin have worked on modifications to The Speed Force Bazooka. When they fire it into The Speed Force, they plan to pull Barry out and trick The Speed Force into believing Barry is still there by replacing him with a ball coated in Allen’s DNA. The Speed Force Bazooka is started and fired into The Speed Force and…nothing happens. Cisco and Caitlin are confused as to why it didn’t work. But Iris, who arrived at the race track at that moment, is further angered. It appears she was right not to get her hopes up that Barry would come back to her.
Don’t call failure yet Team Flash – for out on a country road miles away, a naked man appears in front of a car, surprising the driver. It is Barry. Why is he naked? That is not how he entered The Speed Force! The bigger issue at this point isn’t what happened to Barry Allen’s clothes, but more what happened to Barry Allen’s mind? It seems when Joe, Iris and Cisco and Cecile find him at the Central City Police Department the effects of The Speed Force has obviously taken their toll on Barry. He is speaking in sentences that don’t make any sense and drawing strange symbols on the wall. When the gang is unsuccessful in snapping Barry out of his crazy, they decide to the safest place for him is the pipeline until they can’t figure out what is wrong with him and how to help him. Seeing Barry in the state that he is in causes for his friends to reflect on their feelings and how he’s being gone has effected them: Cisco tells Caitlin that he missed Barry and wanted to have him back while Joe talks with Iris about how he’s started going back to church to renew his faith. “Strength means nothing without faith,” Joe tells Iris. “You’ve got strength, baby girl. You just need a little faith.”
The next day when the samurai returns, Wally dons Barry’s costume to trick him into believing that he is The Flash. But the samurai isn’t easily fooled and continues to demand The Flash. Taking Joe’s words to heart, Iris says to the samurai “Take me. He’ll come for me.” It’s a deal, the samurai swoops Iris into his arms and flies off with her.
Joe returns to the pipeline where Barry is still creating his symbol artwork all over the walls. Joe pleads with Barry to snap out of it and save Iris or she is going to die. Joe’s words that “Iris is going to die” finally breaks Barry out of his crazy haze and he uses his super speed to break out of the pipeline. He takes the new Flash suit that Cisco has made for him and races off to rescue the woman that he loves. Barry battles the samurai and wins. However, in an interesting twist, we learn that the samurai is just an android when Barry unmasks it. The samurai android says, “Flash welcome home,” before its system goes offline.
Back at Star Labs, Caitlin gives Barry a checkup and confirms that he is going to be okay. In fact, his time in The Speed Force has increased his powers and he’s now faster than he’s ever been. Barry tells the team that the last thing he remembers before fighting with the samurai is walking into The Speed Force with the Speed Force’s version of Nora Allen. Iris thanks Cisco for not giving up on Barry. Caitlin assures Cisco that she’s fine too, but later that night she goes back to the bar she works to quit her job and for a brief moment becomes Killer Frost again. It looks like Killer Frost hasn’t completely left Caitlin. The question is will she be able to control her this time?
Returning back to their loft, Barry tells Iris that as strange as it sounds his time in The Speed Force has given him clarity. “It sounds funny, but maybe this was a blessing. I can’t tell you how I feel, Iris. It’s like everything that was wrong in my life; the pain of my past, my mistakes…it’s all just washed away, and all I see is you and us and our future together. Iris, it’s going to be great,” Barry says.
As the episode closes, we learn that a villain called The Thinker was the one who sent the samurai. When the woman he works for asks what he is going to do now, he replies “I’m thinking.”