The Flash Review: “Running to Stand Still”

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Jim’s Thoughts           

Well, the midseason finale had some fireworks for us and it managed to entertain me throughout. That’s about all I can ask of an episode of the show, but I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed at this being the midseason finale.

The big villain teamup ended up being something of a secondary focus, and team Flash disarming the bombs made for a simple solution befitting a messy buildup. Mark Hamill as The Trickster was the DC small screen universe’s Diet Joker as always. Hamill is terrific on screen, but the character is barely distinguishable from Joker as it is. Captain Cold continued to be over the top and difficult to take, and may have even distracted from Hamill to some degree.

Patty’s story played out interestingly enough, but it was far too sudden a reveal to the audience for there to be a real payoff, though there was a nice bit of tension in Barry talking her down in the end. On that note, I really expected Barry to let her in on his identity, and much like it was with Iris, the longer he waits to do it, the stranger it’s going to feel.

Given that we were already told about Francine having a son, the big Wally West reveal in the end (I don’t see how that qualifies as a spoiler, but I’m sorry if you disagree), wasn’t the big cliffhanger I think the show wanted it to be.

The first half of the season is in the books now. The show continues to grow, and it’s been baseline good, but it’s still showing some cracks in the façade that I really expected to be gone by now.

Kyle’s Take

Yeah, none of the cliffhangers in “Running to Stand Still” worked as cliffhangers. I assumed Harrison Wells had been trading Zoom favors for a while, in an effort to keep his daughter safe, and the midseason finale only confirmed those suspicions. We also learned why Zoom didn’t kill Barry when he had the chance, but that’s a small thing and yet not as small as the villain team-up Jim mentioned earlier.

Weather Wizard was only a plot device to break Captain Cold out of prison (Cold has to be free prior to Legends of Tomorrow), while The Trickster cashed in on a Mark Hamill guest appearance a week and half before Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ release. I see what you did there, Flash. Sure, Hamill was The Trickster in the nineties Flash TV show, but the voice he uses in the current Flash is the one he used for the Joker in Batman: the Animated Series, so this comes off as The Flash wanting to cash in on two other popular franchises, because I didn’t hear chants in the streets of we need more Trickster. It’s as if the CW doesn’t believe in the Flash so it has to resort to cheap tricks. News flash: they don’t.

Captain Cold didn’t bother me as much as he bothered Jim from the sound of it. Maybe I’ve developed a touch of frostbite toward his overacting and I’m numb. The Patty story was okay. I liked Barry talking her down at the end of the episode, but her big reveal wasn’t just sudden, it was an expositional dialogue vomit and that’s not effective storytelling. No one spews that much backstory unless they’re on a couch and someone else is getting paid to listen. I also question the wisdom of Barry keeping his identity secret from Patty but for a different reason: Linda Park. Barry knew Iris his entire life, so he had to tell her, but why did he tell Linda Park his identity earlier this year? (I think he was duped into doing so.) Regardless, if Barry’s ex-girlfriend Linda knows, then his current girlfriend Patty should know.

I know it sounds like I hated The Flash this week, but it was a fun episode: lots of action. I just think “Running to Stand Still” was too apt a name for the midseason finale. The Flash has been running to stand still for most of this young season. I hope the second half gets off the blocks.

Want more Flash? Check out our Flash secrets page. Thanks for reading.

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