Jay Garrick: An explosion of that size would destroy it completely. If that were to happen, every speedster across space and time would lose access to their speed instantly.
Beware: Spoilers may follow
A filler episode in any series doesn’t often get the best reception. In any case, it deviates from the season’s main storyline whether it deviate from an engaging one or deviate from one not engaging but one that the viewer just wants to get it over with. Enter Flashtime is a filler episode that deviates from the Devoe storyline but it proves to be an effective one by challenging the Flash in an unusual manner.
The story is that an eco-terrorist named Veronica Dale (Bernadette Saquibal) detonates a nuclear bomb in downtown Central City. With the explosion already gone off, Barry (Grant Gustin) uses his newly acquired Flashtime powers (involving him moving so fast to the point everything else is completely frozen) with the help of the Flash of Earth 2 Jesse Quick (Violet Beane) and the Flash of Earth 3 Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) to contain the explosion.
The stakes are established perfectly right off the bat and perfectly prevents the easy way out. Neither Cisco (Carlos Valdes) nor Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) can use their powers to stop the explosion since their powers cannot fully launch at Barry’s speed. Throwing the bomb into the speed force could potentially result in every speedster across space and time losing their powers. Barry has been able to virtually freeze time but neither him nor anyone else can stay in Flashtime forever. The bomb is already in the process of going off and Flashtime is only delaying the explosion.
Gustin’s performance as always is incredible. His expressions and the way he speaks really help convey the desperation, willpower, and toll being in Flashtime almost alone is taking on him. Nobody, not even Jay and Jesse, is able to stay in Flashtime as long as Barry is which furthers the sense of loneliness and distress Barry is going through in getting rid of this bomb. Seeing Barry come up with failed solution after failed solution keeps the episode engaging.
Seeing all three Flashes together was also nice. And the elder-younger hero dynamic between Jay, Barry, and Jesse is a fun one. Sadly though at the end of it all, Jay decides that he is too old and worn out to keep being a superhero and ultimately decides to head into retirement and train a successor. While his reasoning certainly is valid and John Wesley Shipp now is playing Barry Allen of Earth 90, it is devastating to see an engaging Flash leave.
Jesse’s conflict with her reclusive father reaches an emotional conclusion in this episode. With the nuclear bomb on the verge of blowing we see just how much Harry and Jesse care for each other as despite two differing in their stances (Harry wants Jesse to get of Earth 1 while Jesse decides to stay with her father). The scene where Harry uses the reverse thought inhibitor to allow his daughter hear his memories of her mother, is a surprisingly emotionally powerful scene not only through the memory but also through the way Harry tries to describe the loss of his wife. It also contains a nice homage to what Tess Morgan said to the original Harrison Wells on the beach back in season 1.
Enter Flashtime has a simple episode-long concept that proves to be engaging in the interactions between Barry and everyone around him. It doesn’t connect to anything else the story has to offer but it proves to be a strong return to the Flash’s roots.