In Review: The Flash, Episode 44 “The Runaway Dinosaur”

The Speed Force was great, but the zombie story was slow.

The Flash, Episode 44 “The Runaway Dinosaur” Broadcast on May 10, 2016

Written by Zach Stentz

Directed by Kevin Smith

“Previously on The Flash,” Barry sees the Speed Force which contains his past, present, and future; Tony comes onto Iris at Jitters; the bully reveals he has the ability to turn into living metal, but still dies; Iris confesses to Barry that she thinks they were made to be together; Barry loses his powers; Harrison Wells creates a particle accelerator to get Barry’s abilities back; the machine explodes, throwing an energy wave at Wally and Jesse; and Barry disintegrates.

Everyone is shocked at Barry’s death. Harrison calls his daughter back into the room for assistance, but she doesn’t respond. He calls for Wally, but he doesn’t respond either. Joe, Iris, and Harrison run down the hall to find the pair unconscious. Wally wakes quickly, but Jesse’s heart has stopped. She eventually takes a deep breath, but does not awaken. Joe rushes back to the room to get Henry Allen to help, while Iris takes Wally home, telling him that Barry is gone. Henry reluctantly gets up to help Harrison’s daughter. Cisco touches Barry’s tattered uniform before the men leave, triggering a vibe that allows him to see Barry. “I saw him,” he says to the shocked men. “I saw Barry. He’s alive.” Cue opening title card.

Barry wakes in his childhood bed and goes downstairs to find Joe there in a police uniform. Joe says he isn’t Joe — he’s the Speed Force. Not-the-Joe gives a bit of his/its/their muddled past and future before telling Barry he can’t leave until he catches the blur racing by outside. Barry runs out after the shape. At S.T.A.R. Labs, Henry is looking over comatose Jesse. Iris and Cisco tell him that it’s the same state Barry was in when he was struck by lighting and that Eobard Thawne treated him. Henry tells the two to locate the records the madman kept on Barry because they might help Jesse. The pair go down into the building’s record morgue and locate the drive. Lurching through a door is undead Tony, reawakened by the energy wave from Barry’s death. Cisco says, “A zombie? For real?” Cue first commercial break.

The Speed Force scenes of this episode are good. Yes, this type of story has been told before, but it’s effective nonetheless. Grant Gustin gets to really show off his acting chops and as the story progresses he does a great job. I admit that scene with the final person in the Speed Force is a killer. However, the scenes outdoors with John Wesley Shipp are also great stuff, with Shipp doing a great job. Jesse L. Martin has a really fun, quick scene with Keiynan Lonsdale, trying to get Wally to display some, perhaps, new abilities. The quick reaction shot to Candice Patton in this scene is doubly funny. Patton’s final act of the episode was the best she’s gotten for Iris in a long time. Tom Cavanagh has to play Harrison has wracked in grief and frustration, so he doesn’t get to do much as he’s trapped by how his character would react in this situation. Cisco gets a good scene as a human lifeline, though, sadly, his lines are the least funny they’ve been. The scenes within the Speed Force are shot well by Smith, with a filter being a cheap and smart way to create the alternate dimension. The introduction of the running shape outside was very cool. The script goes through all of its predictable paces in the final act; this has been done several times over in a million stories and will be done several times again; the spark is the only high point of the conclusion. The tease for next week’s penultimate episode introduces a very big cast.

The good: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, John Wesley Shipp, the Speed Force location and its personification, the telling of The Runaway Dinosaur story, and the individual that inhabits the Speed Force with Barry for the last time.

Fun lines: “I feel awful,” “Yes and no,” “We pretty much invented trippy here,” “Define ‘safe’,” “You have all the time in the universe, literally,” “I’m gonna have to do this the old fashioned way,” “Oh, let’s get out of here,” “Come home to me!”, “Run, Barry. Run,” “Are you, like, magic now?”, and “Are you with me or are you against me?”

The bad: Cavanagh and Martin not getting enough meaty scenes, Carlos Valdes getting some clunky jokes, Tony Woodward moving like a cliche zombie, and barely any Danielle Panabaker and Teddy Sears.

The final line: The Speed Force was great, but the zombie story was slow. This was just a means to get Barry back. Overall grade: B-

For more information on The Flash television show, go to http://cwtv.com

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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