CHECK : The Flash – Season 7 Episode 2 Speed of Thought

Why does it always seem that some of us have to lose to win?

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After last week’s episode, I was wondering why I keep watching The Flash. Speed of Thought reminded me. These deals and acquisitions have been going on for a few seasons now, and while it’s frustrating, the good stuff is worth it, at least to me. There are still some weaknesses, but they are relatively minor and worth reading in light of the character work and fun super fights.

Barry discovers that the artificial speed power has given him a new superpower, but it may have cost him something much more valuable. Team Flash is dealing with the loss of Harrison Wells. Eva tries to score PR points as she continues to clean up the black hole. Iris is contacting Kamila and Singh. Daniel Panabaker and Carlos Valdes return, forcing viewers of the series to thank the gods who are responsible.

The quick thinking starts with what I can only assume is the show’s way of trying to make up for the fact that last week’s many versions of Harrison Wells felt terrible. Cisco is back and Joe is in the room, so this scene has more weight than his death scene by default, but it’s still a reminder of how bad his departure was. These episodes were filmed well after production of The Flash had ended, meaning that everything may have been changed to bring the main characters back to Wells’ death; this makes sense in that the producers knew it was wrong, but did it anyway. It’s also a big mistake that Caitlin isn’t there; Danielle Panabaker appears later as Frost, which makes for a great entrance into the series, but I’d gladly sacrifice something less cool for Caitlin’s presence at a critical time. Anyway, I’m glad they at least acknowledge the connection between Cisco and Wells and Joe’s role as Barry’s father.

But this scene isn’t just important for a belated goodbye, as Cisco’s lament about the cost of fighting and Joe’s declaration that his love and humanity are his greatest strengths introduce the theme of the episode, one of the series’ most famous. Barry’s love for Iris and her friends has been manipulated by Eve all along, and now they’re in dire straits, unable to fight her or save Iris and the others from Mirrorflight. Barry’s tendency to blame himself when things go wrong naturally leads him to doubt that it is because of his humanity that they fail, that they lose the ones they love. As luck would have it – perhaps – Barry thinks nothing of it until he develops a new superpower that seems to ensure their victory.


Speed of thought gives Barry a super fast form of thinking where his mind works at lightning speed and he can think of solutions to problems before others can even formulate them.  And I’m not talking about the places where you can find missing car keys; Barry fills entire whiteboards with complex scientific theories, the kind you see in movies on the blackboards of college physics classes. Even Sisko, who usually runs these science classes, takes a few minutes to follow Barry’s thoughts. Barry soon breaks into Eva’s computer, knows exactly where the ball of kinetic energy moving through the room is going, and most importantly, finds a way to get into the mirror. A full team, the seemingly insurmountable problems Barry faces are about to be solved.

But then the speed of thought gets really interesting. I assumed this plot would lead to something bad, like Sisko feeling like an outsider in the group and having to prove himself against Barry’s new powers. Instead, the problem is that Barry has lost his humanity, the great strength that Joe glorified in the beginning, and Barry now sees him as a burden. He starts small and leaves Frost injured in the fight to get information on Eve. It soon gets to the point where Eve is making a fool of herself on live television, endangering innocent people to compromise them, and Barry ultimately has to choose between saving Iris or Camila and Singh from being reflected in the mirror. Barry’s reasoning each time is cold and calculated, a mathematical equation telling him which solution will yield the highest net return. The question of deontological ethics versus utilitarianism, the immediate good versus the greater good, emerges. Barry generally refuses to choose between his friends and uses his heart as a compass. Now he doesn’t have that variable, and his super-fast mind makes him a slave to practice.

A more interesting shift in philosophy is the idea that there is still something of Barry’s humanity left, and that his new methodology is at least partly a conscious choice. At the beginning of Speed of Thought, Barry tells Joe that he is beginning to believe that his humanity is a weakness. While the artificial speed force is certainly the main reason for his conversion, Barry may have forced himself to give in to their desire for analysis. When he has to choose who he’ll save from the mirror, Barry tells himself and his friends that it’s more convenient to save Iris, because she knows how to beat Eve better than Kamila or Singh, but it’s very convenient that the love of his life turns out to be priceless. And it wasn’t just Iris, he allowed Caitlin to get hurt, but he knew full well that he could save her life after that, and Eva’s pain might have come with a hint of revenge for all the pain she had caused him. Could it have been a smoke screen all along, at least partially? Has Barry’s heart always played a part in his actions?

It’s also possible that the Artificial Speed Force underestimated Barry’s humanity. Sisco’s comment that Barry doesn’t count the hearts of his friends as variables in his thinking speed equations turns out to be true. The others don’t stand by and watch him save Iris, they curse Kamila and Singh, and Iris fights so hard that she may have killed herself in the extraction. But maybe Barry’s remaining humanity was also overlooked when he got the speed of thought. He was always there to guide Barry’s decisions, even when Barry ended up doing things he wouldn’t normally do. The potential death of Iris is what takes him completely out of the freeze and sees the destruction of the Artificial Speed Force (if he were to make it to the end). I hope it’s never fully resolved. I’d rather wonder what exactly happened to Barry. But I love that Iris is the one who brings him back and is the constant he draws strength from.

The other great thing about Speed of Thought is that it shows what Barry would be like as a villain, and even more effectively as a Barry obsessed with bad blood. When Sisko, Frost and Allegra decide to track down Barry and get his heart back, they discover how strong he is and how helpless they are against him. At one point it looks like they finally beat him, and I was prepared for a trite explanation, but it’s a ruse; Barry has it all figured out and will neutralize them in no time. So his chill is actually more terrifying than when he turned into Reverse Splash or something. Grant Gustin is great in this episode, and he does a better job playing Barry Allen’s robot than trying to imitate Council Wells. He sounds like Dr. Manhattan, only spouting cold, hard facts instead of emotion, and his exhortation to his friends to stop him sounds like I’m disappointed in you, Adrian.

Speed of Thought is a very focused episode, so there’s not much to say beyond the main point. Nonetheless, it’s a huge value-add that confirms the importance of Daniel Panabaker and Carlos Valdes to the series. Valdes especially shines, and Cisco’s presence is a huge relief after being stuck with Allegra and Chester last week. I don’t know why the Arrowverse feels the need to add new characters that are just lame versions of existing ones, but Chester is nothing more than an inferior Cisco, either in time or in character Valdes. Cisco is really funny, even when he says obvious things like you’re a freak, and it’s all in the introduction. I wish Caitlin was here and not with Frost, but either way I’m glad Panabaker is back. Part of me wishes Joe had been in the main trio instead of Allegra (who is still annoying as a board), but I’m sure they would have taken Cecile instead. Speaking of which, they needed Cecile to talk about social justice, right? These shows have been swinging their politics like a hammer; fortunately, this week it was only one line. And the spike at the end is delicious; although it devalues last week’s big death, this episode sucks, so I don’t care. Nothing, not even trans-dimensional death, can keep Harrison Wells away from the Flash, and that’s fine by me.

Speed of Thought is an exceptional episode of The Flash that brings back Cisco and Caitlin/Frost – and reaffirms their importance – revisits old themes in new and compelling ways, and puts Grant Gustin’s muscles to the test. Next week is the season 6 finale, and if it can capitalize on this week’s momentum, maybe this bumpy plot can be saved.

Location – 9
Action – 8
Progression – 8
Production planning – 6
Topics – 9



Speed of Thought is an exceptional episode of The Flash that brings back Cisco and Caitlin/Frost – and reaffirms their importance – revisits old themes in new and compelling ways, and puts Grant Gustin’s muscles to the test. Next week is the season 6 finale, and if it can capitalize on this week’s momentum, maybe this bumpy plot can be saved.

frequently asked questions

Will Godspeed return in season 7?

Godspeed will return as a villain in Season 7 The Flash Season 6 began with Team Flash revealing another clone of the real Godspeed, who first appeared in Season 5.

How did Barry screw up his speed?

During the Anti-Monitor crisis, Spectre used his cosmic energy to give Barry a push to get to the Speed Force. But his energy polluted the balance of the Velocity Force, causing his condition to deteriorate.

Why did the lightning bolt lose speed?

Thawne became obsessed with The Flash, and that obsession drove him to find a way to get super speed. … When he went back in time and killed Nora Allen, he changed the timeline so Barry never became the Flash.

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