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Recap / The Flash (2014) S2E21 "The Runaway Dinosaur"

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Welcome to the Speed Force
Following his apparent death, Barry wakes up to find himself somewhere seemingly familiar, but strange, to finally answer the burning question since the beginning: Why did the Lightning choose him? Meanwhile, the team works to bring him back with Cisco's Vibe powers, while dealing with he return of "The Man of Steel".


  • Adult Fear: Harry, Joe and Henry go through it this episode, as all of their children are put in danger.
  • An Aesop: You can't let tragedy define you, you have to accept it and move on.
    Nora: What you've become is wonderful- a miracle even, but it won't make bad things happen stop happening to you. Even "The Flash" can't outrun the tragedies the universe is going to throw at you. You have to accept that, and then you can truly run free.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Speed Force manifests as people close to Barry and locations Barry knows.
  • Arc Words: All the various avatars of the Speed Force say "Sit, Barry. Sit" while they're trying to get through to him. When he's finally realized what they've been trying to make him understand, the one looking like Nora encourages him to return with "Run, Barry. Run."
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  • Balcony Speech: Zoom gives one to the army of evil metas in the end, rousing them to taker over Earth-1.
  • Brick Joke: When Girder first comes back, Cisco wonders if he'll try to eat their brains. Later, when getting Barry up to speed on the situation, he closes with "And he might try to eat our brains, jury's still out."
  • The Bus Came Back: While Barry is somewhere over the rainbow, Girder returns as a zombie and is terrorizing STAR Labs.
  • Call-Back: Joe again throws a mug with emotional value to test if someone is a speedster.
  • Came Back Strong: Barry returns from the Speed Force more powerful than ever.
  • Came Back Wrong: Girder comes back as a zombie.
    Cisco: A zombie? For real?
  • The Cameo: Jason Mewes, the Jay to episode director Kevin Smith's Silent Bob, plays the guy whose mom's truck is smashed by Girder and an unknown masked metahuman.
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  • Celebrity Paradox: Cisco calls Girder "iZombie". Girder's actor played The Hero's Love Interest during that show's second season. Additionally, one of its main cast members, David Anders, was a Villain of the Week during Arrow Season 1.
  • The Chooser of The One: The Speed Force.
  • The Chosen One: Barry was chosen by the Speed Force. Oliver Queen was right about that.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Barry would be able to stop Girder, but he is trapped in the Speed Force trying to recover his speed.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Zoom tells Caitlin, in the most casual and polite tone possible, that he's going to kill all of her friends the next time they meet, and her as well if she sides with them. It's rather unnerving.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Barry is more than miffed that the Speed Force is trapping him even though he needs to stop Zoom, something they acknowledge.
  • Epiphanic Prison: Barry is only able to leave the Speed Force, with his powers restored, once he accepts the lesson it's trying to teach him.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Barry went through the entire process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance when the Speed Force prevents him from returning to Earth too soon.
  • Foreshadowing: Barry's ability to charge a generator like a dynamo will play a key role in his race against Zoom.
  • Funny Background Event: While Joe is having his That Came Out Wrong moment with Wally, Iris Facepalms when she realizes what it sounds like.
  • It's a Long Story:
    • Iris and Cisco trying to explain the Thawne/Wells situation from Season 1.
    • The team trying to explain the Girder situation to a freshly returned Barry.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Cisco's "Is iZombie still behind us?" line is a meta-joke on a couple of levels: First, the character being referred to is played by an iZombie cast member. Secondly, iZombie typically airs after (i.e. "behind") The Flash, but it wasn't doing so during this particular episode, as its Season Finale had already aired (so no, it wasn't still behind them).
  • Magic Pants: Near literally. Despite having all his clothes burned off in the experiment, the Speed Force is nice enough to let Barry leave with a new suit to replace the old one.
  • Meaningful Echo: An episode previous Iris assured Barry she would always be the person for him to come home to. When rescuing Barry from the speed force...
    Iris: (reaching out in the speed force) Barry! Come home to me!
    • Later when admiting his feelings to her, Barry returns the sentiment.
    Barry: (to Iris): All I know is you're everything to me, and you always have been. And the sound of your voice will always bring me home.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • After he comes out of the Speed Force, Barry has a new costume. During his stint as the Flash, Wally West could generate a costume out of the Speed Force.
    • Iris helping Barry return home mirrors the comic idea of a speedster needing an emotional "lightning rod" to leave the Speed Force. A famous scene from Justice League may also come to mind a few times.
  • Obviously Evil: In hindsight, Iris notes that the fact that Thawne was dissecting dead metahumans probably should have tipped Team Flash off.
  • Out of Focus: Caitlin and Zoom only appear in The Stinger.
  • Official Couple: As of this episodes ending Barry and Iris have become this.
  • Running Gag:
    • Once again Joe drops somebody's favorite mug to test their speed reflexes.
    • Jitters gets trashed again.
  • Secret Test of Character: The whole point of the Speed Force trapping Barry.
  • Seen It All: Cisco's reaction to Girder becoming a zombie is not of shock, but of mild irritation of how ill-timed his "resurrection" is.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The Speed Force itself chose Barry to be the Flash. Barry gives a Lampshade Hanging for how ridiculous this sounds when he is having a conversation with its avatar of Joe West.
    Barry: I'm talking to the Speed Force? Isn't that like saying I'm having a conversation with gravity, or light, or...
  • Shout-Out: Cisco calls Girder "iZombie." Also an Actor Allusion, as Greg Finley (Girder) played the main character's love interest in the second season. Before that, he called him a literal "Walking Dead".
  • So Proud of You: The Speed Force gives one of these to Barry on behalf of his mother.
  • Spirit Advisor: The Speed Force in the guises of the most important people in Barry's life, (Joe, Iris, Henry and Nora), guides him into acceptance that he must learn to rise above hardships.
  • Take My Hand: Cisco attempts to do so with Barry but fails. Later Iris does so in Cisco's place and succeeds.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Joe asks if Wally if body is changing, wondering if he is becoming a meta human. Wally answers that he is a little late for The Talk.
  • The Team: The first part of the show highlights how the assorted characters of Team Flash truly become one when the chips are down, smoothly distributing their tasks with Henry taking care of Jessie as Harry and Cisco work on a way to get Barry back and Joe and Iris deal with Zombie Girder.
  • Time for Plan B: It goes up to Plan H.
  • Title Drop: Barry's childhood book is the title of this episode, shown in the dream sequence thing Barry wakes up in after Cisco vibes that he's alive.
  • Trapped in Another World: As it turns out, Barry got stuck inside the Speed Force.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Barry and Iris cement their Official Couple status under an umbrella in front of Nora Allen's grave.
  • The Unreveal: We still don't know if Jesse or Wally were given powers in the previous episode.
  • Warrior Therapist: The Speed Force is apparently one. Barry spends the entirety of his time in the Speed Force resolving his issues.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • The Speed Force chides Barry for "rejecting" his gift. Barry totally rejects this saying he sacrificed it to save Wally.
    • Iris chides Harry and puts a stop to his experiment with Cisco when she walks in the midst of it and sees it is killing Cisco.
    • Joe delivers one to Harry as well, telling him to snap out of his now fatalist approach after the catastrophe and help Cisco in retrieving Barry.
  • Wham Shot: Zoom's entire army of metahumans assembled in the CCPD ready to attack Central City.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Accept that despite your gift you're not immune to tragedy.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: The tone of Cisco's reaction to Zombie!Girder.
  • Zombie Gait: A lesser example, as Girder has normal walking speed, but doesn't seem to be able to run.


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