This week on The Flash, Barry braved the Speed Force to save Wally (and in doing so take his place trapped in a personal hell), but in the end it was someone else who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Into the Speed Force” is an interesting episode. The stylish return to the Speed Force leads to the return of some familiar faces, which gives everything some poignancy. and the episode also presents an interesting critique of why Barry’s recent actions have been so messed up. But the hour never quite comes together because of how frustrating the season has been so far and because of a problematic ending.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 16 Spoilers
Feeling responsible for Wally’s imprisonment in the Speed Force, Barry decides to run in after him. Odds are this sacrifice is probably slightly easier given the current state of his relationship with Iris, who really isn’t keen on speaking to him after what happened in last week’s episode. Before his trip into the breach, he asks her if his actions broke them, but she refuses to answer and just walks off. However, she does say, “I love you, too,” right before Cisco vibes him into the Speed Force.
Barry remained steadfast in his mission to not just extract but replace Wally (who has been damned to watch his mother die over and over) as the imprisoned speedster, but he was informed that it’s not so simple. The lesson here is that Barry and only Barry can save Iris, that his decision to task Wally with the future rescue played a part in Iris’ brother’s grim fate.
When Barry struggled to accept this lesson, Snart went in for the kill, but Jay Garrick stepped in to intervene. Barry used Jay’s helmet to reflect Snart’s cold ray back at him, after which Jay revealed that he will stay behind, to take Wally’s place in the Speed Force prison. Barry objects, especially since Jay already has lived as a prisoner, but Jay explained that “every marathon has a finish line,” and he is ready to cross this one. Using Jay’s helmet as a “tether” of sorts, Barry is able to exit the Speed Force, with a shook Wally in tow.
At episode’s end, Barry and Iris rehashed their recently complicated dis-engagement situation, with Iris affirming her wish to be Barry’s wife. Bar, though, acknowledged that he did propose “because I thought it would save you. But I was wrong. I alone have to save you, not by changing [the future] but embracing it.” And somehow that means needing “space” for now, staying with Cisco, as he moves forward with his grand plan. As a gobsmacked Iris streams all of the tears.