Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Enter Flashtime:" An Objective Lesson On Valuing Your Spouse's Opinion

The Good: Decent performances, Good direction, Interesting science
The Bad: Not particularly character-driven
The Basics: The Flash creates an engaging problem for the Speedsters to try to solve in "Enter Flashtime."

Every now and then, less for quite some time now, there comes an hour of television that actually keeps me guessing in a way that I end up sufficiently entertained by it. The Flash has gone a long time without having that kind of episode. But with "Enter Flashtime," I actually found myself guessing for almost the entire episode. Indeed, as the protagonists run out of options for a solution to their scientific problem, I kept waiting for the episode - which is entirely incongruent with the rest of the fourth season's plots - to integrate and I bet, fairly early on, that the solution to the "exploding bomb" problem was to let the bomb explode and let a new metahuman solve the problem.

I was wrong, though. Instead, "Enter Flashtime" is all about the value of listening to your spouse.

"Enter Flashtime" follows "Subject 9" (reviewed here!), but does not actually relate to that episode in a significant way. Harry Wells's subplot in "Subject 9" becomes the point for the family drama between Jesse and Harrison Wells in "Enter Flashtime."

Opening with Barry Allen accelerating Iris to his speed to tell his wife that he cannot save everyone this time, the episode flashes back to just under nine minutes prior, where The Flash is training rigorously to run fast enough to enter a breach. Failing to get to a breach Ramon created, Harrison Wells summons Iris and Barry to a meeting where he shows the team that DeVoe had been planning the bus debacle for three years prior to its execution. Jesse Wells arrives from Earth-2, where she and Harry have it out about his inability to talk about her dead mother. The conversation ends abruptly when Detective West is in a shootout at Wade Airfield when he calls for help from the S.T.A.R. Labs team.

The Flash and Jesse Quick find themselves in accelerated time as a prototype nuclear device is detonated. While Jesse goes to Earth-3 to recover Jay Garrick, Barry brings Cisco Ramon and Harrison Wells into "Flashtime" where they recognize the properties of the weapon and how to stop it from destroying Central City. As the three speedsters make various attempts to stop the bomb, Barry debates with his peers creating a breach that will place the explosion in the Speed Force, risking the Speed Force for speedsters throughout the multiverse and all time!

"Enter Flashtime" is well-performed, but heavy on the jargon and it is a surprisingly engaging episode where people work to focus on solving a technical problem. As a result, the bulk of the episode is not character-driven and does not allow the performers to do any powerful acting. Sure, Grant Gustin does a great job of looking concerned, confused, and like he is frustrated, but that is pretty much Barry Allen solving any problem.

Until the episode's climax, where Tom Cavanaugh and Violett Beane rock out a heartfelt, character-driven scene between Harry and Jesse, "Enter Flashtime" is better-directed than it is notably performed or interesting on any character level. "Enter Flashtime" is an episode of The Flash that does not seem to add to the season's overall storyline through its plot, though it is a surprisingly engaging bottle episode.

If nothing else, "Enter Flashtime" reinforces that if you're married, it helps to consult your spouse first for important decisions and it is entertaining. But, it's a pretty basic super hero problem solving episode.


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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