Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Flash 8x15 Review: "Into the Still Force" (Perhaps Too Still) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“Into the Still Force”
Original Airdate: May 18, 2022

This week on The Flash: the show tries to push us into the actual time sickness arc that’s been a stalled plotline since the start of the season. Since virtually nothing is accomplished during this episode’s trip into the Still Force besides making me slightly nauseous with swooping camera movements and too much green lighting, I can’t exactly call the endeavor a success. I’m also realizing that the other storylines in this episode didn’t really move things along, either. When The Flash focuses on the Still Force, they sure do like to keep things still.


Barry figures out Iris is missing when he goes to her office and sees she’d barely gotten a sentence into typing up her latest article. From my perspective as a writer, half a sentence in eight hours is totally normal — but Barry senses danger. A speed-search of the city yields no Iris, and neither does a satellite scan from the S.T.A.R. Labs computers. Barry also recruits Cecile to help by scanning with her empath powers and Chester widens the computer search to the entire world, but neither detect Iris anywhere. Team Flash’s computers can scan the entire world for a single person in seconds? I know this is off-topic but yowza, that is creepy. That is a bad thing, Team Flash.

Cecile mentions going to the last person to help Iris disappear, Tinya in Coast City. Barry zips there to find Tinya in a coffee shop, stealing sandwiches. He tries to get her to help him find Iris but it goes nowhere because she’s a bratty teenager caricature and boy, I always forget how much I hate these kinds of characters. 

Tinya leaves and Barry looks around to find the whole coffee shop paused. Deon makes a well-timed reappearance to tell Barry he’s been infected by the time sickness and needs an isotopic sensor to track down Iris via that glowy green tracking particle he planted in her like, three episodes ago. The isotopic sensor’s broken, so Deon tells Barry to get it fixed and he’ll find him. Then Deon explodes into green glitter.

Meanwhile, Mark Blaine has to deal with Caitlin’s plans to Frankenstein herself up a new frosty sister and I know I’ve dunked on this character every time he’s shown up, but I find his bewilderment in this scene pretty great. Especially when Caitlin blithely mentions she needs to rob Frost’s grave for more hair because the sample she stole from her sister’s corpse during the funeral is decaying too quickly. He also brings up the “tried to resurrect her dead husband” disaster Caitlin literally just went through, which was a sticking point for me when this topic was raised last week. It’s Mark Blaine: Unlikely Voice of Reason! 

Mark peaces out, on account of all the crazy, but this means nothing because he just comes back to help her at the end of the episode. Being the Unlikely Voice of Reason was short-lived, huh, Mark? You’re officially the Totally Likely Voice of Bad Ideas once again.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, the team is dubious about this whole “Barry going where only gods can go” plan, but Barry says he trusts Deon to not get him killed in a metaphysical other-space. Joe, Very Likely Voice of Reason, keeps bringing up potential snags in the plan, like Deon not being able to track a particle he created himself and whether the other Forces agree that Barry and Deon’s idea is the best one. When Barry says he hasn’t been able to contact any of the others, he theorizes they may have also gotten time sickness. Joe thinks everyone should slow their roll before launching Barry into another plane of existence. They ignore him.

The group separates, but Joe catches up with Barry and he’s got his concerned father voice on, so you know Barry’s destined to learn some kind of lesson before this episode is over. (Spoiler: the lesson is “Listen to Joe.”) Barry thinks Deon getting time sickness is his fault because he delayed too long on finding a cure, so now he owes it to everyone to go with Deon’s plan. Joe looks disappointed.

After Chester fixes the sensor and hands it off to Barry, Deon shows up to pull him into the Still Force and warns Barry that “things are about to get real weird.” A primary criticism I have of this episode is things didn’t get weird enough. Mostly, things just got tinted green. Yeah, there are also little jumps and warps between the past, present, and future, but Deon and Barry’s little excursion into the Still Force is largely just them walking through empty pre-existing sets that have been lit with a lot of green lighting.

The sensor picks up Iris’s signature and Barry and Deon travel to find a loop of Allegra fighting with Central City Citizen’s office mean girl, Taylor. After that, Barry and Deon run into Tinya’s mom, who has been stuck in the Still Force for weeks. Barry wants to help find her but Deon insists they get to Iris first because she’s the key to everything.

Deon and Barry find the tracking particle floating in Iris’s CCC office, sans Iris. Deon steals the particle and the isotope sensor, then shoves Barry into a Still Force version of the West household. It looks like a betrayal, but then Deon arrives (as a green glitter cloud) to steal Nora from 2049 so that she can help Barry where he can’t. I genuinely don’t know what this episode wants me to think about Deon, which is my other major gripe about it. If Deon’s trying to help, I don’t get why he was so hostile to Barry when taking the sensor. If he’s not trying to help, I don’t get what stealing Nora would do to hinder Barry’s progress. His actions are confusing, meaningless, and critical to the episode all at once and that’s not a good way to tell a story.

After a father/daughter reunion hug and a brief pep talk from Nora to Barry about believing in instincts or love or whatever the pep talk theme is this week, the two get to work figuring out a way to escape. Nora gives Barry the idea to use Iris’s hairbrush (which somehow still exists in the future even though it disappeared into the Still Force many episodes ago; I’ve given up trying to understand this show’s concept of time) as a focus for connecting with the Still Force. Meditating sends green-tinted apparitions of Barry and Nora into the real world, where a confused Joe tries to get them to explain before they disappear, leaving behind the totally physical hairbrush. Joe looks frustrated by his life. I don’t blame him.

Barry connects to the Still Force and uses that connection to connect Nora. Trying to speed out only ends with them bouncing off a temporal barrier. It turns out that the trick to trick to successfully getting through the barrier and returning home is focusing on the future moment where they successfully get through the barrier and return home. No, I’m not going to try to understand how that’s not a paradox. You can’t trick me into thinking logically about your nonsense, The Flash!

Nora goes back to 2049. Iris is still stuck in some unknown location in the Still Force. Deon maybe needs rescuing, or fighting. The episode ends, and progress on the time sickness plot has not been made.

Other Things:

  • Other plotline: Chester’s open-source tech could have been (but wasn’t) used by evil. However, his entire harddrive gets copied by someone. I’m amazed by the download speeds on S.T.A.R. Labs’ internet, because this nefarious individual got those files fast.
  • Note: every time Deon appears in the real world, it’s preceded by an extended scream but we never actually see him screaming. I know it’s not supposed to be hilarious, but it is.
  • Okay, so if past, present, and future all exist in the Still Force simultaneously, how is the constant warping not standard behavior? Unless it’s meant to just be like, layered on top of each other, which would be a way cooler concept.


Post a Comment