Friday, May 27, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 15: Into The Still Force

This week on The Flash, Iris is lost in time, Barry hunts for her, we get the start of a possible "Dark Deon" storyline and Chillblaine goes all in on Caitlin's insane plan to bring back Frost. Oh, and Barry's future daughter Nora makes an appearance too, for no good reason.

I honestly can't tell if this is another of the show's filler epi, er, I mean "interlude" episodes, or if it's the start of another new story arc. There's a lot going on, but unfortunately none of it amounts to much.

The bulk of this episode concerns the hunt for Iris, who's missing because actress Candace Patton decided she wanted to take some time off— during the middle of the season. Um... correct me if I'm wrong, but don't studios require actors sign contracts for exactly this reason— so they can't just bugger off during filming whenever they feel like it? Apparently not.

I don't know anything about Patton and what she may or may not be going through in her personal life. Maybe she has a good reason for leaving. It just seems disrespectful to the series AND her fellow cast members though to stop showing up for work just because she wanted a break. Her actions literally forced the producers to 
come up with an entirely new storyline in order to explain her absence.

I'm struggling to understand why Nora made a guest appearance this week. She added absolutely nothing to the plot, as she was seemingly there just to give Barry an epic Patented The CW Pep Talk®. You could remove each and every one of her scenes, and it wouldn't affect the plot one bit. So why's she here? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lastly, for some reason this week's episode was directed by current showrunner Eric Wallace. He does a decent job, but I have to wonder why he's directing instead of his regular job of producing and overseeing the series.

This isn't Wallace's first time in the director's chair. He previously helmed an episode of Teen Wolf, as well as several shows on the Food Network that I've never heard of. 


The Plot:

Barry wakes in the loft, and is puzzled when he finds Iris isn't there. He checks his phone and sees a text saying she'll be pulling an all-nighter at CCC Media. He decides to surprise her with breakfast, and zooms to her office with bagels. He's even more worried when she's not there either.

Barry then searches all of Central City at superspeed (!). When he doesn't find Iris, he goes to STAR Labs and tells Team Flash she's missing. They run various scans, which somehow determine she's nowhere on Earth. Barry realizes she's lost in time again.

Cecile suggests contacting Deon (duh!), but Barry says no one's seen him since he vanished. Cecile then suggests contacting Tinya Wazzo in Coast City, as she once made Iris disappear.

Elsewhere, Caitlin tells Chillblaine she intends to restore Frost by cloning her a new body. Chillblaine points out that Caitlin just got through trying to resurrect her late husband Ronnie (with disastrous results!) and now she's going all mad scientist by attempting the same with Frost.

Caitlin's confident her plan will work, as she won't just be recreating Frost's body, she'll use some sort of bullsh*t comic book science to restore how mind and soul as well. 
Unfortunately the hair sample she took from Frost last week is rapidly decaying, so she'll need to obtain a new one. Chillblaine realizes she's talking about grave robbing, says he wants nothing to do with it and storms out.

Barry zooms to the Coast City Jitters, where he just happens to run into Tinya. He tells her Iris has vanished and he needs her help finding her. Tinya flat out says she doesn't care, as Iris stalked her and completely ruined her life (she's not wrong!).

Tinya walks out, and Barry realizes everyone in Jitters is frozen in place. Suddenly a weakened Deon appears. He tells Barry he's been infected by Iris' time sickness, and he needs his help to find her in the Still force. He says they'll need an isotopic sensor to help detect the temporal particle he placed into Iris a few episodes ago, and then promptly vanishes.

Barry returns to STAR, where he finds the sensor and fixes it. Joe wonders why a virtual god like Deon needs a high tech device to locate Iris. Barry makes the excuse that Deon's not at full strength. Joe's still suspicious and suggests Barry take his time before blindly following him into the Still Force. Barry ignores him and says he's going with Deon's plan.

Barry waits in the Speed Lab, and eventually Deon appears. He then pulls Barry into the Still Force with him. Barry's surprised to see it looks just like a green-tinted Central City. Deon says it's a dangerous place, as the past, present and future all exist at the same time. He warns Barry to stick close, because if he gets lost he could be trapped there forever.

Barry's sensor detects Iris' signal, so they head off to find her. They come to a version of CCC Media, where they encounter Allegra arguing with Taylor. Deon says they're seeing future versions of them, and tells Barry to move on.

They then run into Tinya's mom Renee, who Iris banished to the Still Force a while back. Barry wants to help her, but Deon pulls him away, saying they need to focus on their mission.

Back in the real world, Kristen calls Chester into CCPD. She tells him a Central City halfway house exploded, and they found a mysterious device in the rubble. She asks him to examine the tech and see if he can identify it. Chester looks it over, saying it's some sort of EMP. He removes a microchip from the device and stares at it in shock. He hurriedly grabs the device and takes it back to STAR, leaving a puzzled Kristen behind.

Back in the Still Force, Barry and Deon track Iris' signal to the CCC Media bullpen. There they find the staff frozen in time. They enter Iris' office, where they find the temporal particle floating in midair— but no sign of Iris.

Before Barry can react, Deon rushes in, grabs the particle and jams it into his chest. He then disappears, leaving Barry without a ride home.

Barry then inexplicably finds himself in a version of the West home. He zooms out, but instantly ends up back inside. He realizes he's stuck in a time loop with no way out.

Cut to 2049, where Nora West-Allen is apparently now a reporter, dictating a story. She hears a voice in her apartment, and Deon appears as a formless mass of green temporal energy. He tells Nora that Barry's trapped in the Still Force, and only she can save him. He then vanishes. Suddenly Nora's enveloped in temporal energy and disappears.

Back in the Still Force, Barry sits moping in the West house. He hears Nora's voice, and suddenly she appears. The two embrace.

Back at STAR, Chester tells Allegra the device that blew up the halfway house was based on his specs. He says she was right, and he should have never shared his tech online. For no good reason, she does a complete 180º turn and says the incident wasn't his fault (?)

Back in the Still Force, Nora says Deon brought her to the Still Force to help. Barry's puzzled, as he says Deon trapped him there (hmmm...). The two wonder what led to Deon's sudden but inevitable betrayal. Nora then decides this is the absolute best time to tell Barry that she's decided not to be a CSI like him, but to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a reporter.

Nora then gives Barry a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling him he has to believe in himself to be a hero or some such hooey. Barry then points out that he and Iris "created" the Still Force, so he must have some of it inside him (?). He reasons that if he can figure out how to access it, they can escape to the real world.

Barry then sits and meditates, attempting to access his inner Still Force. When nothing happens, Nora tells him to focus on Iris' hair brush— which is apparently The Most Important Object In The Entire Universe.

Suddenly they look over and see Joe standing in the living room, and he can see them as well. As Joe watches, the two of them disappear, but the brush stays behind. Well, that was a pointless and nonsensical scene!

Barry's eyes begin glowing green with temporal energy, as he finally accesses the Still Force. He can see all time at once, including Nora and Bart's future families. He says they can only escape by combining their powers, so he takes Nora's hand and transfers temporal energy into her.

The two then manage to speed out of the West home, and zoom to Memorial Park— the only way in or out of the Still Force. Unfortunately they run into a temporal barrier, which knocks them high into the air. They land on the street several blocks away, but are inexplicably fine. They try it a second time with the same results.

Nora says they're still caught in a temporal loop, but Barry says the Still Force is holding them there for some reason. He says they must have already escaped, and the only way out is to focus on the moment they're both out. Sure, why not.

They run at the portal again, and this time break through and find themselves in the Speed Lab.

Sometime later Barry & Nora sit in the Lounge with Joe & Cecile and rehash the plot. Barry apologizes for not listening to Joe's warning. Cecile wonders why Deon trapped him in the Still Force, and Barry says he has no idea. She asks if he can use his new Still Force powers to find Iris and bring her back, but he says those powers are already fading. Somehow he senses she's OK though.

Elsewhere, Chester discovers that wookieelover77, one of his followers, was responsible for the explosion that took out the halfway house. He claims he was just trying to provide the residents with free hot water, but things went wrong— as if that makes it all OK. Chester shuts off his computer and leaves his lab. The second he's gone, a mysterious hacker starts it up remotely and copies all his files.

Chillblaine returns to Caitlin's apartment, where he says Frost helped him become a better man, and he's changed his mind about bringing her back. He makes her Caitlin promise they won't fail, and she says it'll work.

• The episode begins early in the morning, as Barry gets dressed and goes into the kitchen. He calls for Iris, asking what she wants for breakfast, and is puzzled when she doesn't answer.

Wait, what? He didn't notice his wife wasn't in bed with him till he came downstairs? Do they sleep in separate rooms or something?

I suppose it's possible he may have thought she was working late, came in after he fell asleep and then got up before he woke. I suppose that's possible, but it seems a bit sketchy.

To the writers' slight credit, Barry does see a message from Iris saying she's pulling an all-nighter at her office, which apparently explains the situation to his satisfaction. But I can't imagine any loving husband who wouldn't call or text his wife at some point during the night to make sure she's OK.

• This is some really hardcore nitpicking, and probably hitting below the belt, but here goes anyway. Check out this establishing shot of the CCC Media building. Note the two men standing under the awning (indicated by the red arrow).

Now here's another establishing shot of the building from Episode 8. Whaddya know, those same guys were hanging out in the exact same spot back then as well! In fact ALL the people in the shot are the same, along with the vehicles as well. Whoops!

OK, even I don't expect them to go out and shoot new footage of the building every week. I just thought it was kind of funny.

• For a while now, I've noted how Cecile— who's ostensibly a high profile public attorney— seems to spend the vast majority of her time hanging out at STAR Labs.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's noticed this, as this week Chester actually lampshades the situation:

Chester: "Thanks for the company, Cecile."
Ceile: "Any time."
Chester: "You know, I figured you'd be working this time of day."
Cecile: "Oh, I was. Yeah, I'm actually avoiding a new meta-client. So I figured I'd get out of the office, come over, see what Team Flash is up to."

Wow! She's apparently so disinterested in her job that she's actually ditching someone who desperately needs her legal help. Compare this to last week, when she told Iris she'd decided to donate 25% of her time to handling meta cases pro-bono as a way to honor Frost's memory.

Looks like that committment didn't last long!

• Barry alerts Team Flash that Iris is missing, and they spring into action. Wow, a lot to cover here in this brief scene.

First off, Chester says, "Satellites aren't picking Iris up anywhere in the city. I'm gonna expand the physical search radius." A few seconds later he says, "Barry, Iris isn't registering anywhere on the planet!"

Um... so just what kind of signal is Chester trying to detect here? As far as I know Iris isn't wearing any kind of tracking chip, and she's not a meta so they can't track her that way either. Heck, as we saw a few minutes ago she doesn't even have her phone on her! So again, how's he trying to track her?

Then we cut to Cecile, whose eyes are glowing blue white as she says, "I can't sense her either, and I've reached out across a five-state radius. It's like Iris's mind has just vanished."

What the hell? When did she develop this ability? For years now she's just been a lowly telepath, able to sense people's emotions and nothing more. Now suddenly she's turning into freakin' Professor X!

As for her eyes, we've actually seen them glow like this once before— it happened earlier this season in Armageddon, Part 3. Thing is though, in that episode she tethered herself to Rosa Dillon (aka The Top) to boost her powers in order to locate Barry. Apparently the writers forgot that scene took place in an alternate timeline that was erased, and as such it never actually "happened."

I think what's going on is that the producers realize Frost's death left Team Flash seriously depleted, so they're ramping up Cecile's powers to try and fill the gap— and hoping the audience doesn't notice and just goes along with it. It's a major retcon though.

• At Caitlin's apartment, Chillblaine's stunned to find out that she wants to clone Frost.

I talked about this at length last week, pointing out how Caitlin might be able to clone Frost's body, but she wouldn't be able to recreate her mind. I also said it's not possible to clone a person from their hair, as the shafts are made of dead tissue. She'd need to use the roots instead.

Apparently the writers seem to be slightly aware of these problems, as they've come up with some of the most ridiculous comic book science imaginable to handwave them away:

Caitlin: "I'm gonna repurpose Eva McCulloch's R-CEM chip to replicate Frost's cryo-gene so I can create a new body for her."
Chillblaine: "Caitlin, I know you're hurting, and so am I, but listen to yourself."
Caitlin: "It worked before. It will work again."
Chillblaine: "And what about the thing that makes Frost, Frost?"
Caitlin: "I have already identified her latent empathic genes on my DNA."
Chillblaine: "I'm talking about a soul and you give me brainwaves?"
Caitlin: "I'm also going to extract her active imprints from her own DNA. Look, I've already got the sample. Unfortunately, the keratin in the cells is decaying a little too quickly, so... I'm gonna need a better sample."

Wow. Where do I even start?

OK, Caitlin mentions using one of Eva McCulloch's R-Cem mirror chips to synthesize a new body for Frost. If you'll recall, that's exactly how she got her own body back in Season 7's Central City Strong. It doesn't make any sense, but since it's already been established on the show I'm willing to give 'em this one.

Caitlin's line about identifying Frost's latent empathic genes on her own DNA is also complete and utter nonsense, and I'm not even sure what it's supposed to mean. Plus she's got it backwards here— from what I understand, genes are MADE of DNA, not the other way around!

To his credit, Chillblaine echoes my statement that the mind and soul can't be cloned. Caitlin disagrees, saying she's going to use Frost's DNA to extract her "active imprints," whatever those are. Apparently Caitlin believes that a subject's personality stamps itself on the DNA in each individual cell, which registers about an eleven on the Bullsh*t Richter Scale.

• When Caitlin says she needs a better genetic sample of Frost's DNA, Chillblaine accuses her of grave robbing. She replies, "It's called an exhumation, and I am a doctor as well as the next of kin, so getting approval won't be a problem, we just... we need to do it quickly."

I'll say! The human brain can only survive a couple of minutes without oxygen. And the rest of Frost's body has no doubt started to decay already as well.

As for the exhumation— Caitlin's correct that she's a doctor, but the process doesn't just happen. There'd be a ton of official paperwork to fill out, and next of kin or not, she's still gonna need a valid reason for digging up her sister's corpse.

I know, I know, it's a comic book world. But it still needs to make a slight amount of sense.

• I loved it when Chillblaine pointed out, "Caitlin, have you forgotten that you literally just tried to resurrect your dead husband, and it was a complete disaster?"

He's right, you know. Caitlin seems to have a big problem accepting the deaths of people she loves— to the point where she actively keeps trying to bring them back from the dead. She definitely has some deep-seated abandonment issues.

How the hell did Chilblaine of all characters become the show's wise voice of reason?

• One last thing about Caitlin's plan: She tries to convince Chillblaine to help her by saying, "Frost was supposed to live a full and complete life." What a stupid thing to say. Isn't everyone until they're unexpectedly cut down?

• Barry zooms to Coast City to find Tinya Wazzo, hoping she can help rescue Iris from the Still Force. Quite rightly, Tinya says she doesn't care, as Iris completely ruined her life.

And how! Tinya wasn't exactly flourishing on her own, but she managed to get by. Then Iris came along, literally started stalking her, illegally opened her adoption records, located her birth mother and then disintegrated her.

After all that, is it any wonder Tinya's glad Iris is missing?

I'm still puzzled as to why the show's spent so much time setting up this character. I have to assume she's going to end up playing a part in recovering Iris, or that they're gonna make her a member of Team Flash. Maybe even both! There's no other reason for her existence.

• Deon appears and pulls Barry into the Still Force, where they try to find Iris.

Holy crap, check out those lens flares! If I didn't know better I'd think JJ Abrams directed this episode!

• So apparently the Still Force contains an entire population of people going about their daily business. And at one point a car even drives past in the background! Does that seem right? I don't remember ever seeing anything like that whenever Barry entered the Speed Force.

• Deon tells Barry that the past, present and future exist simultaneously inside the Still Force. To prove it, Barry picks up a discarded newspaper that glitches and changes from 2013 to 2024.

By the way, boodos (the opposite of kudos) to whoever cobbled together the trailer for this week's episode. It prominently displayed the shot of the "Zoom And Godspeed Destroy Central City" headline, which strongly implied we'd see the two villains this week. Of course that didn't happen, as it was a blatant bait & switch. Feh!

• Barry's sensor picks up Iris' signal, prompting Deon to say, "All right. Let's ease on down the road, man."

Was... was that a reference to The Wiz?

• Barry & Deon find their way to Still Force CCC Media. There they encounter a version of Allegra, who's screaming at Taylor and saying she had no right to out her as a member of Team Flash.

Clearly this is a moment in time that hasn't happened yet, but I'm betting it will soon, as it was foreshadowed in the previous episode. Like I said last week, that's what Allegra gets for fighting crime in her street clothes with no mask on!

• Back in Reckless, Iris tracked down Tinya's birth mom Renee Wazzo. Before there could be any happy reunion though, Iris inadvertently disintegrated Renee with her time sickness.

At the time I said Iris didn't actually kill Renee, as she was probably just displaced in time.

Sure enough, in this episode Barry encounters Renee, who's wandering around the offices of CCC Media inside the Still Force. Told you she wasn't dead!

• Barry and Deon enter the CCC Media bullpen, where for some reason the various reporters are all frozen in time. One of them was inexplicably tossing a book to another when time stopped, causing it to hover in midair. The book's titled Time And Motion In The New Millennium, by Francois Archambault.

I looked it up, and there's a Francois Archambault who's a playwright, and another who's a cinematographer, but as near as I can tell there's no such book. Which I guess means it's a joke about time freezing? I think?

• Inside Iris' office, Deon locates the temporal tracking particle he placed into her a couple episodes back— but she's nowhere to be found. He grabs the particle, shoves it into his chest, tells Barry he's sorry and then vanishes.

No idea what's going on here, other than maybe they're doing a Dark Deon storyline?

• After Deon vanishes, Barry inexplicably finds himself in the Still Force version of the West home. For some reason, the house comes complete with two glowing green neon tubes in the foyer (?).

I have to assume this was to help give the house its trademark green Still Force glow, but... surely to Thor there was a better place to set these tubes. Like BEHIND the camera maybe?

• For no good reason, we then cut to Barry's future daughter Nora in 2049. She's apparently decided to become a journalist like her mother, and is dictating a story electronically.

Nora dictates: "Shark Stadium erupted in cheers after XS' heroic save. Even without Impulse, her partner in crime-fighting, who was too busy partying to answer his alerts." 

We then hear Bart let loose with a mighty belch offscreen, as Nora says, "Ugh. You are so disgusting!" A couple things here:

First of all, the dictating app transcribes everything Nora says up to the line, "who was too busy..." For some reason it doesn't record her full sentence or her next line about Bart being "so disgusting." So how does the software know when to listen and when to ignore her?

Secondly, the guest star budget must have run dry this week, because even though Nora speaks to Bart, actor Jordan Fisher never actually appears onscreen.

• Nora hears a voice in her apartment, and "Deon" suddenly appears as a mass of glowing temporal energy, telling her that Barry's trapped and he can't help him. She's then pulled into the Still Force as well.

I have a crazy theory as to what's going on, that's probably way off the mark. I suspect the energy blob we see here is actually the REAL Deon. He's likely been weakened by Iris' time sickness, and can no longer form a body for himself. The Dark Deon we saw earlier, who trapped Barry in the Still Force, is most likely an imposter.

What if Iris herself is actually Dark Deon in disguise? Maybe she needed to secretly take his form for reasons, and was forced to trap Barry as part of some convoluted escape plan. 

Do I really think this is where the writers are going? Probably not. But Iris would definitely be the least likely suspect, and it'd make for an interesting twist.

All I know is Dark Deon better not turn out to be Thawne!

• Holy crap, we got a Baby Jenna sighting this week! Well, sort of. As Nora's pulled into the West home inside the Still Force, she sees a family photo of Joe, Cecile and the ever-illusive Baby Jenna— who's now Toddler Jenna!

This is the first time she's actually appeared onscreen in any form since Season 6's A Girl Named Sue. I was beginning to think she'd become an Unseen Character— one who's constantly talked about and who affects the plot, but never actually appears (like Norm's wife Vera on Cheers).

By the way, Jenna was born in the Season 4 finale We Are The Flash, which first aired May 22, 2018. Since The Flash airs more or less in real time, she just turned four!

Not A Nitpick, But An Observation: For some reason Iris' hairbrush has become the Most Important Object In The Entire Universe, and seems to be the key to all the time shenanigans going on.

The brush was first seen at the end of Armageddon, Part 5, where Iris used it and set it on a chair before Barry whisked Team Flash off to Paris for dinner. Seconds later the brush vanished in a puff of temporal energy.

This week we see it's inside the version of the West home in the Still Force, where Barry uses it to focus his powers and try to get himself and Nora back to the real world. It shows up in Joe's actual house too before disappearing again.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this, as I get that the producers needed an easily-recognizable object they could use to represent Iris. It's just funny to me that a hairbrush of all things holds the key to the entire timeline.

• A few weeks ago in Resurrection, Allegra noticed that Chester was posting specs for his various high-tech gadgets online. She then tore him a new one, claiming an evil meta could use his info to create weapons of mass destruction. He realized she had a point, and reluctantly stopped sharing his tech.

This week Chester finds out that Allegra was right, as someone actually used his tech to make a device that leveled a Central City halfway house! 

When Chester tells Allegra what happened, she sticks her finger in his face and screeches, "I TOLD YOU SO!" Nah, I'm just kidding. Instead she inexplicably shrugs and says, "Eh, whatever." In fact she even goes so far as to tell him he's overreacting about the whole situation!

What. The. Hell?

How did Allegra go from literally spending ten minutes of screen time ragging on Chester for being irresponsible with his tech to not giving a flying f*ck? This isn't just a case of her being polite or supportive here, she's acting like her earlier diatribe never happened at all. 

Jaysis, do the writers even watch their own show? At this point her character motivation is nonexistent, as it clearly fluctuates depending on the needs of the script.

• Just a reminder that Jessica Parker Kennedy, who plays Nora/XS, is currently 37 years old (!). Which means she's FIVE years older than Grant Gustin, who's 32! Jesus Christ! She's older than her TV dad!

So let's see if I've got this straight— she's 37, playing a 25 year old who acts like she's 16. Got it!

• After Nora gives Barry an absolutely epic Patented The CW Pep Talk®, we see an exterior shot of the West home— complete with a sabertooth tiger slinking around outside! Wait, what?

I assume this prehistoric feline is here to illustrate Deon's claim that the past, present and future all exist simultaneously in the Still Force. The problem though is this is the ONLY time we see anything remotely like this in the entire episode, which makes it all the more jarring. 

Would it have killed them to throw in the occasional background Viking, Model T or flying saucer? Apparently there was only enough money in the budget for one temporal anomaly.

• As Barry concentrates on accessing the Still Force so they can escape, Nora suits up in her XS costume. Um... where the hell did she get THAT? Does she store it in a little ring like Barry does with his? Or does this temporal realm allow her to conjure up a new costume at will?

And there's that hairbrush again, still acting as The Most Important Object In The Entire Universe. Nora even suggests Barry focus on it to help free them from the Still Force.

• Barry focuses on the Still Force and narrates what he sees:

Barry: "Nora, the temporal stream... I can feel the pure Still Force energy moving through me. I can see the past, present, and future all at once. I can see Jesse and Harry. Cisco and Frost too. I can see Bart's children... your wife. Nora, you're all so happy. I see... Max?"

Lots to unpack here. The Jesse and Harry he mentions would be Jesse Quick and her father Harry Wells of Earth-2. Are they still from Earth-2 after the Crisis? I honestly don't know anymore.

Apparently Bart will start a family of his own at some point, and Nora will marry a woman. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but... has there ever been ANY indication up to now that this version of Nora's gay? No. No there has not. I'm calling this a major retcon.

And the Max that Barry mentions is most likely Max Mercury— a speedster who first appeared in National Comics #5, published in 1940 by Quality Comics. The character was sold to DC Comics sometime in the 1950s. I could write another 50,000 words on his complicated origin and backstory, so I'll attempt to be brief.

Max was a US Calvary scout in 1830, when he was given speedster powers by a dying Native American shaman. Over the years he tried accessing the Speed Force on numerous occasions, but each attempt caused him to jump forward in time.

In the 1890s he adopted a new identity as Whip Whirlwind. Sometime later he jumped to the 1930s, where he called himself Quicksilver. He then became a mentor to the Golden Age Flash and Johnny Quick. Eventually he jumped to the present day, where he became a mentor again, this time to both Kid Flash and Impulse.

There's a LOT more to his backstory, but that'll do for now.

So does Barry's shoutout mean we'll be seeing Max on the show soon? By all accounts Season 9's gonna be the last, so if they plan on brining him in, they'd better hurry!

• Once he accesses the Still Force, Barry fills Nora with temporal energy as well. They then attempt to speed their way out of the Still Force. Unfortunately they hit some sort of barrier that knocks them back into last Wednesday.

So Barry and Nora are both dead now, right? Jesus Christ, they both just fell from five hundred feet and landed on a pile of trash and a dumpster! Being speedsters doesn't mean they're invulnerable! They should have both died on impact.

• Each time Barry & Nora try to escape, they're violently repelled by the energy barrier. Nora says it's hopeless, but Barry figures out what's going on:

Barry: "This isn't a time loop. It's the Still Force pulling us back into the past every time we're about to escape."
Nora: "Why would it do that?"
Barry: "Deon said the past, present, and future all coexist here, so if we've already escaped, the only way to stop us... "
Nora: "Is to keep us stuck in the past."
Barry: "Nora, use the spark I gave you to focus on the moment that's already on the other side of that barrier. The moment you and I get back home. Focus on the moment you and I get back home."

So the answer was they already escaped, and to focus on that. In essence, they got out of the Still Force by fast-forwarding to the end of the episode. Sure, why not. It's no less nonsensical than anything else in this episode.

Writing Time Travel Stories Is Hard! After their escape from the Still Force, Barry & Nora chat with Joe & Cecile. Nora then says, "I'd better get back to 2049, make sure Mom's still there and that she's okay."

With one simple little statement, Nora just completely negated everything that happened in this episode. As well as the whole Time Sickness Saga. If Iris is alive and well in Nora's future, then everything must come out OK, right?

By that same logic, when Barry was filled with Still Force energy a few minutes earlier, he said he could see EVERYTHING— the past, present and future all at once. Which means he should know exactly when, where and how to rescue Iris and bring her back home!

Whether it was intentional or not, the writers just opened up a HUGE and ill-advised can of worms. Since Barry's seen the future, then from this point on he should know when and where every meta villain's going to strike, as well as when every natural disaster and major Arrowverse crisis will occur. 

They literally just torpedoed their own show, as there's no excuse for anything to take Barry by surprise ever again.

• Chester ultimately discovers his tech wasn't used by a meta criminal, but by his online fan "wookieelover77." Apparently he worked at the halfway house, and was trying to use Chester's device to provide free unlimited hot water to the residents.

Amazingly, that's the end of the matter as far as Chester's concerned! Once again, a major crime goes unpunished in the Arrowverse because the perpetrator had good intentions or felt bad about it later. 

Keep in mind that even though it was an accident, wookieelover77 still destroyed an entire building, causing millions in property damage and nearly killing the residents.

In reality he'd be guilty of willful destruction of property, reckless endangerment, attempted murder (or involuntary manslaughter at the very least) and probably more charges I can't think of right now. The owners of the building would likely sue him for millions in damages as well. The fact that it was an accident doesn't matter— in the eyes of the law he's still guilty!

• As Chester exits his lab, he claps twice and the lights go out. Wow, I haven't seen a Clapper™ in decades!

• Of course the second Chester leaves, someone hacks into his computer and downloads all his files. Is it wookieelover77 again? Or someone more insidious? Once again, given how much the writers love him, it's probably Thawne.

Whoever it is, it's probably no one good. Allegra was right all along, even though she's apparently forgotten she ever chastised Chester for his naïveté.

• In the tag scene, we see Caitlin in her dark & gloomy apartment, furiously trying to come up with a way to clone Frost.

Remember last week when I pointed out that actress Danielle Panabaker was pregnant again, and the producers were doing their best to hide that fact by shooting her from the chest up or having her hold boxes and such in front of her stomach? 

Welp, it happens again this week, as she spends the entire episode sitting at a table behind her laptop screen, so we can't see her rapidly expanding baby bump.

• Chillblaine returns to Caitlin's apartment and knocks on her door. She tells him to get lost, so he freezes her lock and busts in.

Um... did the producers forget that Chillblaine doesn't have any inherent powers, and gets his icy abilities from his high-tech gauntlets? I think they did, because unless the gauntlets are invisible or too small to be seen, he's not wearing them here!

• Chillblaine then says he's had a change of heart and wants to help Caitlin bring back Frost.

As I mentioned last week, Danielle Panabaker said she only agreed to the whole Frost's Death storyline if her demise stuck. So I don't think they're gonna succeed in actually bringing her back. I think Team Flash will figure out what Caitlin's doing and Pep Talk her out of it— which will end up pushing Chillblaine over the edge and become a villain again.

More Predictions! If you'll recall, at the end of Armageddon, Part 5, Damien Darhk ended up being erased from Thawne's twisted timeline. Before he disappeared though, he gave his Time Stone to Joe. When he asked why, Damien said, "It's a gift. Father to father. And I think you're gonna need that some day."

What if that day's rapidly approaching? I'm calling it right now— either in the season finale or in next year's premiere, Joe will remember he has the Time Stone and use it to bring Iris home and cure her of her time sickness. 

You read it here first!

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