Six months have passed since Barry went into the Speed Force Prison. Iris leads Team Flash in Barry's absence, but they can barely manage. Eventually events mean they have no choice but to bring Barry back. But will it be the same Barry they remember?
- Bait-and-Switch: When a crazed Barry starts super speeding around S.T.A.R. Labs, he's hit with a cold blast to subdue him. Team Flash (and the audience) think it was Killer Frost...it was Caitlin with Snart's cold gun. She immediately lampshades this.Caitlin: [slightly coy] You were expecting someone else?
- Because Destiny Says So: Not even the Speed Force and his brief mental instability could keep Barry Allen and Iris West apart.Iris: [crying] You came home to me.
Barry: [smiling] Always!
[pulling her into a kiss]
- Beyond the Impossible: The Pipeline has previously been able to hold Thawne and Barry himself. But when he hears that Iris is in danger, Barry just smashes through the door anyway.
- The Bus Came Back:
- Peek-A-Boo, who's not been seen since the botched prison transfer in "Rogue Air". She's promptly captured in the first few minutes. Barely.
- Caitlin has gone back to normal and is now working as a bartender in Central City under the radar.
- Barry himself, thanks to Cisco.
- Cisco said he developed the cold gun to subdue Barry if he ever went rogue. Caitlin makes use of it on a crazed Barry, presumably the version that Cisco took back from Snart when he was arrested the first time.
- During his disjointed rant after being freed from the Speed Force, Barry quotes several of his lines from the Pilot.
- Cisco plays "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga as Barry is waking up, just like he did in the Pilot.
- Also something lifted from the Pilot, Caitlin and urine samples.
- Came Back Strong: Barry. How strong? He's able to escape from the Pipeline without any help. Strangely enough, Cisco comments that Barry is running faster than anyone has before, apparently forgetting that Savitar could Flash Step halfway across the city.
- Caitlin confirms it's not just his speed, but his powers and brain functions have significantly increased than before he went into the Speed Force.
- Chair Reveal: This is DeVoe's grand introduction in The Stinger, with an impressive-looking throne no less.
- Chekhov's Gunman: One of the creeps that frequents the Dive Caitlin bartends mentions Amunet wants to see her. Though Amunet doesn't appear in person, she no doubt will be calling in on Caitlin/Killer Frost very soon.
- Curbstomp Battle: Samuroid delivers two, first towards Cisco and Wally, then towards Wally alone. After that, he is on the receiving end by Barry.
- Deliberately Distressed Damsel: Iris intentionally lets herself get captured by Samuroid, so that Barry would snap out of his condition to save her.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Last season, it was established that a speedster needs to be sealed away in the Speed Force, or else it will cause The End of the World as We Know It. Cisco somehow finds a way to bring Barry back without causing the apocalypse. Now keep in mind that the Speed Force is a Sentient Cosmic Force, and thus essentially a literal god has been tricked by a bunch of brilliant scientists.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: In the six months since he's left Iris has misconstrued her promise to Barry that she "Would run!" as forcing herself to be strong, diving head first in protecting Central City in his stead, and not to go on living her life, finding happiness and enjoying every moment of it for him.
- El Cid Ploy: Wally takes on the samurai alone, pretending to be the Flash by wearing the (old) suit, and vibrating his face. He manages to look vaguely Caucasian with the latter, convincing the samurai until it handily gives Wally a beating.
- Eureka Moment: Cisco finally figures out how to decipher Barry's cryptic wall-writings when Caitlin makes mention of the phrase "Greek to me." Then this ends up being a Red Herring...or maybe future Infallible Babble.
- Fainting: When he leaves the Speed Force, Barry finds an apple truck and tries to stop it before fainting.
- Fan Disservice: Normally a naked Grant Gustin would have the fan girls squeeing, but given Barry's confused and frightened look in his eye and his faint, it's just disheartening.
- From Bad to Worse: Samuroid gives Team Flash 24 hours to produce The Flash, or else he will level Central City. While they seem to take a step forward by rescuing Barry from the speed force, his psychosis renders him moot in the fight, leaving The Team attempting to cure him and failing everytime. Even Wally's plan to trick Samuroid by impersonating Barry leaves him beaten to almost an inch of his life, and the timer continues ticking down till Samuroid makes good on his threat.
- Foreshadowing: Much Of the rambling Barry says are hints at things to come over the course of this season and the next one.
- Graceful Loser: Played with where the Samuroid welcomes the Flash back after getting bested, but it's only through sound-bytes.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Spending six months in the Speed Force has really done a number on Barry's psyche. Caitlin theorizes that since Barry was existing in a dimension outside of space and time, it might have felt much longer for him.
- He's Back:
- Barry is truly back, i.e. he snaps out of his rambling, when Iris is kidnapped.Cisco: [joyously watching as Barry's tracker pursues Iris'] FLASH IS BACK!!!
- On a lighter note, Cisco's back to naming their enemies again.
- Also Caitlin, after 6 months of separation, returns to help her friends at S.T.A.R. Labs.
- Barry is truly back, i.e. he snaps out of his rambling, when Iris is kidnapped.
- Hidden Depths: Wally can speak Japanese. Seriously.Cisco: Tell me he did not just speak Japanese.
Wally: [defensively] I can do things.
- Hope Bringer: Joe to Iris, instilling that she has to believe that Barry will recover, leading her to form a plan to bring the Flash back...Joe: [to Iris] You've got strength, baby girl. You just need to have a little faith.
—>Iris: You want the Flash, take me.
Iris: He Will Come For Me!
Samuroid: And how do you know this?
Iris: Because, I believe.
- Hope Is Scary: The reason Iris does not want to try taking Barry out of the Speed Force is because she fears feeling hope only to be unable to rescue Barry or reveal that he is dead.
- Hypocritical Humor: Cisco claiming he hates teleporters.
- I Can Still Fight!: An injured Wally tries to stand up to try to stop the Samuroid, but his leg is hurting too much to be able to fight.
- In a Single Bound: Wally jumps from building top to building top while fighting Peek-A-Boo.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Iris is acting meaner than usual, but that does not mean her reservations about bringing Barry back are invalid. She rightfully points the city may be in danger if Barry gets released just like that.
- Jekyll & Hyde: Caitlin is shown in the stinger to still be struggling with keeping her Killer Frost persona contained; since she is a medical doctor, she is literally a J/H character.
- The Lost Lenore: Barry for Iris, much like the future Barry in the timeline where Savitar killed Iris, Iris is completely broken without Barry. However, unlike how Barry cut himself off physically from everyone else, Iris has instead chosen to plunge headfirst into running Team Flash, while cutting herself off emotionally from her friends.
- Mythology Gag:
- The title can be an alternate retelling of The Flash: Rebirth.
- In attempt to deceive the samurai, Wally puts on the red Flash suit. He wore the red suit in the comics when he was the main Flash for a time after Barry disappeared.
- During his initial rant, Barry insists to an imaginary judge that he didn't kill anyone. This is a nod to the comic story "Trial of The Flash", in which The Flash is accused of murdering the Reverse-Flash.
- Cisco says "Great Caesar's Ghost" when he figures out how to crack Barry's code. This is Perry White's Catchphrase.
- Naked on Arrival: Barry upon his return from the Speed Force was fully naked.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Their enemy is a robot samurai with a Jet Pack. Cisco was practically squeeing when the time finally came to name it.
- OOC Is Serious Business: To show that Iris is heartbroken, she does not let Wally make jokes about defeating Peek-A-Boo.
- The Power of Love:
- It takes Iris putting herself in mortal danger to finally snap Barry out of his Resurrection Sickness.
- Her first attempt, however, at one of her famous "Come Home To Me Barry!" speeches fails, pushing her even deeper into her depression.
- Put on a Bus: Julian has moved back to London, Harry has returned to Earth-2 and Tracy has departed as well.
- Red Herring: Cisco makes an extensive effort to decipher the symbols that Barry writes all over the walls. Once he has his Eureka Moment he finally manages to discover that the message is..."This House is Bitchin'". This may be Infallible Babble of some kind.
- Relationship Upgrade: Cecile is shown to be on the cusp of moving into the West household with Joe.
- Resurrection Sickness: Barry is off when he finally leaves the Speed Force. Initially.
- Robotic Reveal: The defeated Samuroid turned out to be a robot.
- Room Full of Crazy: Barry spends quite a bit of time writing odd symbols on the walls anywhere, including the interrogation room the team meets him in, everywhere at S.T.A.R. Labs, and even in his cell in the Pipeline. Whether they have any meaning is not revealed in the episode.
- Serious Business: Joe's Jazz Vinyl Collection. He's going to be buried with them.
- She Will Come for Me: Iris fully expects Barry to rescue if she lets the Samurai kidnap her. She's right.
- Split Personality: Killer Frost isn't gone for good. Whenever someone angers Caitlin, Killer Frost resurfaces, although Caitlin manages to shut her back down, for now.
- Surpassed the Teacher: Averted, Kid Flash still stands in the Flash's shadow, and Team Flash is struggling without Barry.
- Took a Level in Cynic: The kind and fun loving Iris has become much colder and harsh in the time since Barry departed for the Speed Force with her family and friends taking the brunt of it to their concern. Mainly when everyone else attempts to bring Barry back she refuses to believe it is even possible.
- She later admits to the speed-force psychosis Barry, that she is forcing herself to be this, out of the fear that if she let herself believe, and it was for naught, it would be like losing him all over again, something she fears she wouldn't be able to recover from.
- Overtime the entire team, aside from Joe, begins to let their morale fall, after all their attempts at helping Barry seemingly prove fruitless, and Samuroid's deadline draws closer.
- Throwing Off the Disability: After Joe tells Barry that Iris is in mortal danger, he snaps out of his craziness and leaps into action.Joe: Barry! Iris is going to die!!!
[Barry's hands stop mid symbol, and his eyes begin twinkling...]
- True Companions:
- Despite everything she has done, The Team is quick to embrace Caitlin's return to S.T.A.R. Labs.
- After six months of her moodiness and him finally snapping back at her, Iris and Cisco quickly mend fences after Barry's return.Iris: Hey Cisco! [affectionately holding his shoulder] Thanks for believing when I couldn't.
Cisco: [grinning] See you tomorrow, boss.
- Wham Line: Minor, but it showcases a side effect of Barry's extended stay in the Speed Force:Barry: [while looking at Iris] ...Nora shouldn't be here.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- Iris chews Cisco out for his secret project to bring Barry back. He justifies it by explaining that he wanted to make sure he could do it before he told anyone. And again when it didn't seem to work.
- Iris chews out Caitlin for being gone for six months.
- Cisco gets fed up with her behavior, and calls her out on it.
- Joe silences everyone's squabbling, reminding Team Flash they have more pressing matters.
- The Worf Effect:
- The Samuroid serves as this, both ways. He effortlessly defeats Cisco and Wally (the latter twice) only to be effortlessly defeated by Barry after the latter snaps out of his gibbering.
- Barry smashing through the pipeline gives this effect.
- Worst Aid: Caitlin injecting Barry with a syringe, through his shirt. There's a reason actual medical professionals make you roll up your sleeve or otherwise present bare flesh for a shot whenever possible: having the needle push cloth fibers into your body, and perhaps your bloodstream, can cause serious damage.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Or frosty as Killer Frost puts it when one of the scoundrels in the bar (Norvock) attacks her after she quits.