FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 3x11 - "Dead or Alive"

The Flash (3x11) - "Dead or Alive"
Written by:         Zack Stentz
Story by:              Benjamin Raab & Deric A Hughes
Directed by:       Harry Jierjian

Digging right in this week. After a pretty meaningless dream sequence from HR Wells we open with Barry and Wally chasing down some gun runners.  It looks like the speedsters are working well together and Barry even lets Wally take a bow (and a selfie) with the high school cheerleaders they save before he leaves behind a flaming lightning bolt.  Bad call Barry, the flaming logo is a DareDevil thing that’s gimmick infringement and he’s a lawyer.

Back at STAR Labs, new teammate Julian has been watching and he’s not all that impressed and once Iris finds out she too is less than impressed but she sets it aside for her story.  She was hoping Barry’s gun runners were connected to an arms merchant she’s been tracking down for a story.  Barry doesn’t have answers for her so she heads off.

This just reminds him that Iris is on the clock and he needs to figure out a way to re-write the future.  Cisco and Caitlin have been playing with legos reconstructing the scene and have determined that Barry has to be fast enough to cover the distance between him and Savitar in less than a quarter of a second and Julian has some bad news on that since it would not only faster than he’s ever been but it would also blow his improvement curve out of the water to get there.  Barry’s not only not fast enough now, he’s not going to be fast enough in the future.

I kinda get the feeling they’re overlooking something…

Meanwhile at Jitters after closing (Did you notice how Jitters is never open anymore?) and a breach opens up and spits out… Someone evil no doubt, oh it’s the woman from last week!  She tears up the place and finds a coin that HR left behind before the cops shop and she beats their asses before leaving through a breach.

Joe and Barry check out the scene in the morning and take the time to worry about Iris.  Between Joe’s worrying about Iris chasing down an arms dealer and Barry (secret) worry about Iris dying they have a lot of worrying to do.

Back at STAR Labs, Cisco, Caitlin and HR are trying to research our interdimensional traveling lady when she shows up and reveals that she’s a bounty hunter…  (Hang on, I have to take time out to address my allergic reaction to any time a bounty hunter is in a story.)

(Leave me alone! It’s a medical condition!) called Gypsy and she’s after HR.  Cisco is smitten and it causes her to get the jump on him.  Wally tries to make the save Gypsy has a plan for that too.  She explains that she’s after HR for jumping dimensions illegal and he has an hour to pack up his things and come with her to face the headsman’s axe.

The rest of the team debates what they can do and what they should do considering the last time Barry saw the future HR was there and Barry decides to go see Iris to clear his head.  That doesn’t help since Barry wants Iris to stop chasing down her story.  Seriously, Barry? You thought that was ever going to work?  You need to go talk to Clark.

Not that one!

Not him either!

There we go.

Iris immediately heads to STAR Labs and enlists Wally’s help.  Meanwhile, Barry, Cisco and HR have what could be their last discussion.  Cisco asks the question everyone’s been asking themselves.  Why would risk death to come to Earth One?  Well, much like anyone that was profoundly unhappy with their life, he came to reinvent himself.  We’ll come back to this later.

Anyway, the hour is up and it’s time for HR to meet his maker but Cisco isn’t having it and challenges Gypsy to trial by combat.  Which, as if you couldn’t guess, is to the death.  Not a good plan, Cisco.  So, now they have twenty-four hours to prepare for Cisco to meet the Lord fight Gypsy.  It’s time for some classic Team-Flash powers training with montages and cool eighties music and motivation revealing pep-talks…

At the Police Station, Iris has convinced Wally to help her investigation by stealing evidence from Joe… Boy the things Big Sisters do to haze their baby brothers, huh?  I can relate because my little sister used to make our baby brother eat playdough. This is basically the same.

Back at STAR Labs, the training isn’t going well so HR enlists Barry to go with him to stop Gypsy themselves.  That works as well as any plan does late in Act Two and Gypsy takes HR as a hostage to make sure Cisco comes to die.  So Cisco and Barry have a heart to heart but instead of a Dr. House moment we have a Julian moment.  Julian has a helpful tip, see Gypsy has to leave her feet to do her power move which gives Cisco an opening.

Across town, Iris and Wally breaking into the arms dealer’s hideout and Iris shows that she has something of a death wish.  She’s decided since she knows she’s going to make it at least to May that she’s going to take advantage of her plot armor and get leave behind a legacy.  She and Wally save the day but it’ll be fine; Joe’s totally understanding and is Wally’s biggest cheerleader.  Except he’s pretty much not and they not only wrecked a major police investigation but worse could have gotten themselves a bad case of dead.

When Wally reveals that Iris was basically trying to get herself shot Barry recognizes what’s going on and tries to talk Iris out of suicide by proxy because Iris already has a legacy to the people that love her including him.  There you go, B-plot resolved time for Vibe vs Gypsy.  They have a really cool flirt/fight scene across the multi-verse (featuring a micro-crossover with Supergirl) before she pulls her power move and Cisco gets to take her down.

So, what happens now?  Well, Gypsy goes home and tells her bosses that HR is dead, which means HR can never go back.  Cisco and Gypsy have one last flirty moment before she goes home and Barry goes back to the apartment to read Iris’ big story.

It’s also time for the Dr. House moment of the week since Barry finally realized what was missing from the night Iris dies.  Wally is Barry’s ace in the hole.

Solid episode, the plot didn’t move but the characters did.  Iris is teetering on some sort of destructive spiral, Julian’s trying to find his place on the team and Barry’s frustrated with his seeming helplessness.  More importantly, this gave us a good look at HR which was welcome.  Tom Cavanagh continues to impress with his ability to recreate Harrison Wells for the third time (Eobard Wells, E1-Harrison Wells, E2-Harry Wells and now HR) and make each of them charming and enjoyable. 

Still, he risked death to come to Earth One because he was unhappy with his life?  I wouldn’t be so sure about that.  I still think there’s a bigger reason HR came to Earth One and I still think it’s linked to helping Barry to defeat Savitar.  If for no other reason that this show has shown two defining characteristics about any Harrison Wells: hiding some big secret and has a link to that season’s villain.

As for Gypsy, the only other thing I have to say about her beyond “pretty good for a one-shot antagonist” is “We all know the punchline, right?”  Gypsy is going to end up being the gender-bent Cisco from Earth-19.

This week was good for what it was for, to let the characters catch their breath.  I’ll be interested to see what happens next time with “Untouchable.”

Things We Learned This Week:

1)      Interdimensional travel is forbidden on Earth-19.
2)      Wally looks to be overtaking Barry with his speed.
3)      HR is forbidden to return to Earth-19.

Three Questions:

1)      Will there be any importance to the humans that tried to conquer Earth-19?
2)      How’s Joe going to react when (we all know it’s when) he learns what’s going to happen to Iris?
3)      Can Wally get enough speed to outrun Savitar and if so, what would that mean?

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