THE FLASH: “Running to Stand Still”

This year’s mid-season finale is interesting for several reasons.

First, and most obviously: the Rogues Gallery starts to really take shape, as Weather Wizard breaks the Trickster and Captain Cold out of prison to unite their talents in an effort to finally kill the Flash. Of course, this being potentially Wentworth Miller’s last appearance as a supporting player on The Flash before he moves to¬†Legends of Tomorrow, he declines, making sure to break into Barry’s house and seductively drink coffee before leaving, maybe for good this time. Not to short shift either performer, who do great work (Mark Hamill in particular), but these two act as a secondary concern for most of the rest of the episode, a recurring theme that Arrow and Flash have been both been struggling with as their main villains spend more time in the spotlight.

Secondly, for what this episode does with Joe, who finally learns about the existence of his son, Wally. Iris tells Barry, who then decides to tell Joe. He, in one of his textbook breakdown scenes, regrets that he never *knew* in his heart that he had a son, and wonders who taught him to be a man (fatherhood being the biggest theme of this show thus far, of course). Eventually, Joe reports that he spoke to Francine (Wally and Iris’s off screen mother) and that he’s ready to be a father. Which, as Barry reminds him, he’s already been.

Thirdly, this episode does well by Patty Spivot, deepening her backstory a bit and delving into why she blames herself for her father’s death (continuing the night’s theme of blaming yourself for the hurt you cause your family around Christmas). When the Flash saves her from the Trickster’s delightful holiday-themed trap, she lets him know that her intentions are to kill Mardon (Weather Wizard). After Harry, Cisco and Jay send all of Trickster’s booby-trapped Christmas presents through a breach and Barry is free to defeat the Rogues, Patty arrives, traps the Flash, and prepares to exact her revenge, only to be talked out of it by her boyfriend (who of course, she doesn’t know is her boyfriend, for some reason).

Anyway, the 2015 portion of Season 2 of The Flash ends with another holiday party at the West household, with everyone in attendance. Wally West arrives, sort of awkwardly, and begins to build something with his new family. Everyone is happy!

Everyone except Harrison Wells, that is. After an episode full of visits from Zoom, Wells finally agrees to the sinister speedster’s proposal: he helps the Flash get as fast as he possibly can before Zoom steals it in exchange for his daughter, whom he gets to see for a few scant seconds before she is brutally ripped away again. It’s an understandable predicament, but then again, so was the original Harrison Wells’s, and Barry just now forgave him for it.

Episode Grade: B+

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