On the winter finale of The Flash, we learned that Patty gets relationships, Harry possibly has nefarious plans for the group and Mark Hamill is perfection. Let’s take a closer look at Running To Stand Still, shall we?
The Weather Wizard is back and he has a plan. Mark Mardon uses his meta-human powers to break Leonard Snart AKA Captain Cold and James Jesse AKA The Trickster out of Iron Heights so that they can team up and kill the Flash. While Mardon and James come up with a plan, Snart uses his time to warn Barry about the scheme before skipping town. But not before Barry tells him that there’s good in him and all of that… you know, the final piece of Legends Of Tomorrow set up. Barry and Cisco come up with a plan to find Mardon, that’s remarkably like the one that they came up with last season before Barry was forced to go back in time to save Central City from the massive tidal wave that Mardon set in motion. When Barry confesses his time travel bit, Harry insists that he refrain from messing with the timeline. But then, Barry already knows that nothing good usually comes from it anyway.
In the meantime, Barry tracks the villains to an abandoned toy factory where he runs into Patty. She’s also searching for Mardon, but her reasoning is a little more personal. Mardon is the one who killed her father in a bank robbery and she’s looking for a little revenge. The two soon discover that it’s a trap, when they’re attacked by explosive dreidels set on them by The Trickster. Patty leaves, not wanting to hear the Flash’s reasoning on why revenge doesn’t work. The team soon realizes that the villains of the week will want to cause havoc on a grand scale and head to the tree lighting ceremony in the city. Mardon and Jesse tell the Flash that they’ve given packages containing bombs to a hundred unsuspecting, random children and if he doesn’t surrender, they’ll detonate them. Of course, the Flash surrenders as his team races to find a solution. With the help of Jay Garrick, they use a drone and magnetic force to draw the explosives into one of the breaches, saving the day. Barry then uses his powers to subdue the two of them. Patty shows up, intent on killing Mardon for murdering her father. The Flash eventually manages to talk her out of it with the whole ‘revenge is not the answer’ speech and she instead takes him into custody.
Meanwhile, in the touchy feely feelings department, Iris confides to Barry that she has a brother, Wally. Barry convinces her that she needs to tell her dad and that he’ll be there to support her. She finally tells Joe, who is of course, devastated that he never knew. Off screen, Joe goes to see Francine to discuss this revelation and to tie up any loose ends. Patty also does a little confessing, letting the Flash in on her feelings where Mardon and her dad are concerned. Barry is worried that she’s keeping things from him, but can’t say anything because she confided in The Flash and he has yet to tell her his secret. (Kind of funny and hypocritical, huh?) In the end, at the Christmas party at the West’s house, Patty tells Barry that she wants to talk to him about stuff that’s going on with her, meaning their relationship is going to be okay. At least until she finds out what he’s been keeping from her, especially considering that almost everyone else in the city knows. A final knock on the door reveals Wally West has come to town to visit his new family.
In the most intriguing part of the hour, we see Zoom confront Harry and offer him a deal. Wells spends the entire episode busy in the lab and it isn’t until the end where we understand why. Zoom has tasked him with helping to increase Barry’s speed so that when the time is right, Zoom can harvest it for his own. The more speed-force Barry has, the more Zoom will be able to capture from him. Wells insists on seeing his daughter and Zoom complies, before whisking her away again. Wells then agrees to help Zoom with his nefarious plan in order to keep Jessie safe.
So, first off, can we all talk about how amazing Mark Hamill was? His Trickster was just enough bat-crap crazy to keep you glued to the screen whenever he was on. He was definitely a bright spot in a so-so episode.
While I definitely like the fact that the Legends Of Tomorrow exposition is done (with the exception of the springing of Snart from prison) and the stories can now get back to the season arc, this episode fell kind of flat. It seemed a bit shoe-horned in and didn’t know if it wanted to be a Christmas episode or just another villain of the week showcase. It was rushed and definitely not the calibre of the episodes leading up to it. I think they would have been better off leaving the winter finale as the fantastic crossover from last week.
I did like the bits that moved the season arc along, however. We finally got our first, albeit brief look at Wally West. You’ve got to think that his inclusion is more than just a nod to the character from the comic books. There’s no way you go through all of this and not have him become The Flash, or at least a version on him, at some point. At this rate, however, they seem to have more Speedsters than they know what to do with. I still say that Teddy Sears is being wasted as Jay Garrick, although it was good to see him and Caitlin finally moving forward with their relationship. And I am so in love with Cisco’s color commentary! I’m still holding out hope that the Velocity 6 serum from last week will play a part in him getting the speed-force back.
And what can you say about Tom Cavanaugh other than he’s brilliant? This alternate version of Harrison Wells, while not inherently evil like the Eobard Thawne version, is just as detrimental to the cause. I love the fact that he’s doing what he has to in order to save his daughter, even if that means joining the bad guy in his quest for world domination. Excellent stuff there, that’s for sure.
Overall, this was an okay episode, but definitely not on the same level as the rest of the episodes so far this season. I get that not every episode is going to leave you in suspense, it’s just that this one didn’t even come close to being intriguing. With the exception of Mark Hamill, it was sort of a let-down. Here’s hoping the show fires on all cylinders when it returns on January 19th.
The Flash airs on Tuesday night on The CW.
Make sure to check back for updates—right here on Geek Nation.
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