Barry Allen will forever be the heart of the DCTV universe as far as I’m concerned. His presence on Arrow always helps bring levity and humor (and hugs) to Oliver Queen’s dark and dramatic life. Barry and Oliver have a way of relating to each other that is special.
He acted as a bit of a mentor for Kara Danvers a.k.a. Supergirl during that recent crossover. In the process, Barry was able to guide her and show herÂ how to do the hero thing right. He taught her to not let anger and revenge trip her up so badly she can’t do her job properly. Rushing into danger without a solid plan isn’t cool. People will get hurt that way. She could get hurt that way. I think he helped boost her confidence in herself.
On his own show, Grant Gustin has done a great job delivering the emotional beats on a weekly basis. Recently, however, I haven’t been feeling those beats. While The Flash has remained enjoyable, the emotion has been M.I.A. for me.
The Jay Garrick is Zoom reveal fell a little flat. So did Barry sacrificing his powers to save Wally, Cisco’s reconnecting with his brother, the latest reunion between Henry and Barry, and even Iris putting herself out there with Barry. I was frustrated because the Iris/Barry situation is something I’ve been wanting for a long time. It felt like a breakthrough that should have excited me.Â It did, but not as much as I expected.
“The Runaway Dinosaur” changed all of that. It worked for me on so many levels. Barry meeting the Speed Force restored his hero-ness and that is a beautiful thing. Getting his powers back wasn’t easy and it shouldn’t have been. Taking him to a place where the Speed Force could have a sit down with him in order to get his head on straight especially with his mom’s death, was a smart move. Having it materialize as the people who mean the most to Barry was a nice touch as well. The message meant more that way, even though it was a little jarring to see our favorite Flash characters act so out of character.
Barry had to find himself. He had to realize once and for all that things happen for a reason. He had to deal with his mom’s death. He had to go to her grave for the first time ever. He also had to have that moment with her in this other place. It’s a heartbreaking moment where Nora started reading Barry’s favorite children’s book to him. And then Barry took over and recited The Runaway Dinosaur from memory. I felt his pain and his joy. The knowledge that this was the Speed Force kept escaping him. He tried to remind himself but it was so easy to lose himself in this present.
Barry: “But if you were a T-Rex, said his mother. How would you hug me with your tiny little arms? I wish I were an apatosaurus, said the little dinosaur. So with my long neck I could see high above the treetops. But if you were an apatosaurus, said his mother. How would you hear me in the treetops when I told you I love you? What makes you so special, little maiasaura, said its mother is that your ferocious teeth, or long neck or pointy beak…what makes you special is out of all the different dinosaurs in the big wide world, you have the mother who is just right for you and who will always love you.”
Speed Force deemed Barry ready. He was able to catch the shadow that had been so elusive. It turned out to be the other costumed part of him. He was whole again, ready to go as The Flash. Gustin’s Runaway Dinosaur scene did a lot for me, too. It helped reestablish my emotional connection to the show. Something else had a hand in it, too.
As much of a non-factor a zombie-fied Girder really was, at least it required Iris to be a part of the action. She’s a character I’ve rooted for since the beginning of the series. But they’ve never quite known what to do with her. This is the closest they’ve gotten to figuring things out.
Iris and Cisco spent quality time tryingÂ to combat their old foe. She had a real presence. Presence and being present is sort of a theme here. They were also the ones who brought Barry back. “I got lost,” said Barry. “It’s okay. We found you,” replied Iris.
A touching moment, but It was a different line of dialogue that triggered a deeper reaction. After Barry returned to his world and his people, he finally went to his mom’s grave. Iris was there with him. He told her how he and his mom used to read The Runaway Dinosaur when he was little. Iris responded in an interesting but extremely in character kind of way. She revealed how much she never liked that book. “Because it was about a mother who was always there for her child, no matter what. That wasn’t my mom. Or yours. We never had anyone who was just right for us,” she said. Barry begged to differ. “Didn’t we,” he asked.
Barry’s time with the Speed Force provided him with a clarity he’s never completely had. It’s going to make him a faster Flash. It’s going to make him a better Flash. And it’s turned him into a man that’s not afraid to reach out for what — or who — he wants. Last week, we finally heard things from Iris’ perspective. But Barry held back. This week, he stepped up. He said he’s tired of wasting time and he admitted even though he doesn’t know where this is going, she’s everything to him.
Barry: “And the sound of your voice will always bring me home.”
This show has never had to go above and beyond to sell me on Iris and Barry. But I will admit over the last two seasons, as each experienced their own loves and flirtations, I didn’t always feel their connection. I haven’t been as invested in them as I was in the very beginning of the series. Now I am. It doesn’t need to happen today or tomorrow but someday will be nice. And on this Earth. Not another.
And just like that my emotional connection to this show is restored. All it took was a second particle accelerator explosion, a visit with the Speed Force, Cisco and Iris bringing Barry home, a book about dinosaurs and Barry coming to terms with his mother’s death and his destiny.
Oh and back to Barry being the heart of DCTV. I’m wondering if he might need to lend his presence to DC’s Legends of Tomorrow at some point soon. Just saying.
Only two episodes left in Season 2. The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on the CW.
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