Catching Up: The Flash Episode 209, "Running to Stand Still"

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Flash CW Running Stand Still Trickster Mark Hamill Weather Wizard

Merry Christmas, Flash-fanatics! As a special treat for all of you (or maybe just for me), the CW has brought back the Rogues -- Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and my personal favorite looney-tunes, The Trickster (Mark Hamill)!

The episode opens with a confrontation between Zoom and Doctor Harrison Wells of Earth-2 (Tom Cavanagh of Earth-Prime). Zoom wants something from Wells, which is why he's been keeping Wells' daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane) hostage. Wells talks the demonic dervish into getting more time to make his decision, and then for the bulk of the episode seems pre-occupied.

The rest of Team Flash does their part to get ready for the season. Iris (Candice Patton) has shopped for a Flash action figure, and she's beginning to feel the pressure of not telling her dad, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) about his unknown son, Wally. Feeling guilty, she enlists help from Barry (Grant Gustin) to be there to support her when she confesses this secret to him later. Over at STAR Labs, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Jay (Teddy Sears) are getting friendlier, as he jokingly asks her what Christmas is (like they didn't have it on Earth-2). Her explanation completely sucks, and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) tells her so.

Meanwhile, it's begun to snow. That would seem to be a good thing for Christmas, but the only sentimentality behind this weather event is malevolence. Because at Iron Heights prison, the Weather Wizard is staging a breakout -- releasing first Leonard Snart, aka Captain Cold, and then The Trickster. He owes Snart a favor for letting him go free earlier, and he wants The Trickster because he wants to see Flash dead as much as Mardon does. Mardon assumes Snart wants the same, but Snart -- who knows Barry's secret identity -- isn't motivated by such things.

With Mardon back in town, Barry's new girlfriend, Patty Spivot (Shantel VanSanten) goes dark. Mardon killed her father at one of his previous bank robberies, and she's been itching for a chance to get revenge on him. Joe knows this, and tells Barry that Patty may not be thinking too clearly over the next several days. Barry tries to talk with her about this, but Patty won't hear it. "I don't have time to bring you up to speed," she tells him, getting a whispered "That's ironic" from our hero.

Cisco has a plan to locate Mardon. It's the same plan he had in a previous timeline, to build a wand device to detect electrical bursts matching Mardon's signature. Barry explains how he time-travelled to prevent the tidal wave, and we learn that every Earth has a Godfather film. (Don't ask.)

Barry and Iris meet up to deliver the news about Wally's existence to Joe, and he takes it as one would expect. The feels are real in this scene. Afterward, Barry and Iris go back to the West residence, where they're greeted by a waiting Captain Cold. He warns Barry about Mardon's plan for revenge on him, but won't tell them where the two rogues are hiding. Barry accuses Snart of having honor, but Snart insists he's no hero.

Breaking into television broadcasts, The Trickster calls out The Flash. His location is determined by a reflection in his eye of a toy that is manufactured in a warehouse downtown. (Gotta love worlds that have hi-def cameras everywhere.) Patty also spots the reflection and figures out the location, and gets there ahead of The Flash -- which takes some doing! Together, they look for Trickster and Weather Wizard, only to be attacked by a swarm of deadly dreidels, which Trickster made out of C4. With nowhere to run without setting them off, Flash grabs Patty and makes cyclones with his arms that lift him up and out, through the roof. When they hit the ground, Patty tells Flash her real reason for wanting Mardon dead -- she blames herself for her father's death, because she was the one who was supposed to be at the bank the day Mardon hit it and killed her dad.

As Team Flash works on the location device, we get a chilling scene of Santa giving out wrapped presents to a line of kids. The Santa is Trickster, and each present is deadly. "Don't open it until tomorrow -- it's a surprise!" he says with glee. When the team tracks Mardon to the Central City Square, Flash heads there to confront him. Weather Wizard uses his powers to fly off, surprising Barry. Cisco tries to come up with an explanation for what Weather Wizard is really doing, when Harry interjects, "No, he can fly." This Harry cuts to the chase. The pursuit leads Flash to Trickster, and they explain that there are 100 bombs all over the city in presents, and they're all going to go off unless Flash stands there, does nothing, and lets the two of them kill him. Given no choice, Flash takes a beating while Team Flash comes up with a genius method of using one of the breaches to get rid of all the bombs at once. I don't know that I follow the science behind that, but it sure was fun to watch.

With the threat removed, Barry dispatches the two villains with ease, just in time for Patty to show up and neutralize Flash! She needs him out of the way so she can do what she needs to do -- kill Mardon. Fortunately, Flash manages to talk her out of it, so she just kicks him really hard and arrests him.

As things wrap up, we get tons of feels as Joe calls Barry his son, and Barry finds it in his heart to confess forgiveness to a non-listening Harrison Wells for the hate he's been feeling for him. Barry even invites Harry to the Christmas party, but Harry can't celebrate anything without his daughter.

At the West house, everyone is there for the Christmas celebration. Caitlin and Jay finally get that kiss, Patty arrives in a better mood, and there's one more knock at the door. Welcome to the world of The Flash, Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale, INSURGENT)!

Alone in an alley, Wells meets up again with Zoom. He's figured out what Zoom is really doing by sending all the villains from Earth-2 over here to fight The Flash. He wants Barry to get faster, stronger and more powerful -- more full of Speed Force. "You're fattening him up like a Christmas goose." After having a moment with Jesse as proof of life, he tells Zoom he's decided. "I'll do it. I will help you steal The Flash's speed."

See you all again on January 19, 2016!

4.5 / 5.0