In this episode of The Flash season 2, “The Runaway Dinosaur,” Barry fights to return to his life while his friends face an old enemy without him. When Girder returns, Team Flash tries to take him down without Barry’s help, but things do not go as planned.

Meanwhile, Barry goes through quite the journey during his time away from the real world, and Jesse is not doing well after being knocked unconscious during the particle accelerator explosion. This trippy, emotional episode was directed by Kevin Smith.

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Team Flash Meets the Walking Dead

As the episode begins, Team Flash is still reacting to Barry’s “death”/disappearance. Iris and Joe are in total shock, but Cisco points out that Barry might not be dead. He thinks the blast may have knocked Barry somewhere else. While Cisco looks into that, Harry tries to contact Jesse, but she and Wally are not responding. Harry, Joe and Iris find Wally and Jesse passed out after being hit by the blast. Wally comes to fairly easily, but Jesse’s heart has stopped.

They manage to get her heart restarted and Henry checks on her (mostly because Caitlin’s not around but also because Henry is a doctor). Cisco, meanwhile, has a Vibe of Barry, so he knows Barry is alive. Cisco describes seeing Barry in some kind of vortex and Harry realizes that Barry must be stuck in the speed-force. Joe tells Henry to keep watch over Jesse while he helps Harry figure out how to save Barry.

Henry is concerned about Jesse because even though her vitals are fine, she is not waking up. Iris explains that the same thing happened with Barry after the first particle accelerator explosion. Cisco says that Eobard-Wells took care of Barry after the accident, and Henry thinks that if they had Barry’s original file, they might be able to find a way to help Jesse. Alas, the file is in their storage room, also known as the morgue.

Cisco takes Iris to the morgue where they have been keeping the dead meta-humans. Iris is not impressed, especially when she realizes they have done more than just store the metas there. When Cisco says Eobard-Wells did some dissections, Iris points out that this behavior maybe should’ve clued them in to fake-Wells’ evilness. (Have I mentioned how much I love having Iris so involved with Team Flash now? I also adore how much screen time she’s had with Cisco as of late.)

Cisco and Iris hear some rattling sounds and accuse each other of knocking things over. Only, neither one of them caused the sounds. That would be zombie-Girder. He makes his presence known by busting through one of the morgue doors. Cisco seems both thrilled and terrified that they now have to deal with a zombie meta-human. Luckily, zombie-Girder — aka Tony, Barry’s childhood bully — leaves Iris and Cisco alone to venture out into Central City.

Cisco and Iris inform the others of the consequences of the second accelerator explosion, and Joe decides to divide up the many tasks the team has to deal with. Henry will continue to look after Jesse, while Joe and Iris deal with Tony. This leaves Cisco and Harry to figure out a way to bring Barry back.

Where is Barry?

While his friends work on a way to bring him back, Barry wakes up in what looks like his childhood bedroom. He goes downstairs and finds Joe waiting for him. Only, it’s not really Joe. Barry soon realizes that he is having a chat with the speed-force itself. Barry tells not-Joe that he needs to get back home because his friends are in danger. Not-Joe/the speed-force tells Barry that he can only go home once he catches this blurry thing he keeps seeing.

Barry spends quite a while chasing after this thing before he ends up in the park where he and Iris kissed for the first time (until Barry went back in time and erased that whole day from happening). The speed-force takes Iris’ form this time and basically accuses Barry of rejecting the powers it gave him. Barry insists that he only gave up his powers to save someone’s life and he almost got himself killed trying to get his speed back. Barry questions it as to why it gave him his powers, and not-Iris tells him that it’s because “you’re The Flash, Barry.” So that’s nice and cryptic.

While Barry continues his chat with not-Iris, Harry and Cisco work on a way of reaching Barry in the speed-force. Cisco uses his Vibe powers to create a feedback loop and open a breach inside the vortex that he should be able to pull Barry through. Unfortunately, not-Iris tells Barry that if he goes back now, he will have to do so without his powers. Barry has to choose between returning with Cisco and staying in the speed-force until he gets his powers back. Barry chooses to stay behind.

What Does the Speed-Force Want with Barry?

The speed-force next leads Barry to the cemetery where it takes the form of his father. Not-Henry leads Barry to some place he has never been — his mother’s grave. Not-Henry tells Barry that his mother’s death is what made him the person he is, yet Barry has never truly accepted losing her. Barry disagrees. He knows his mother’s death is as real as it gets. He also knows that he once had the chance to save her and he didn’t take it. Not-Henry points out that by making that decision, he saved so many lives. Barry is not ready to talk about this yet, so he goes back to chasing the mysterious blur.

The blur leads Barry back to his childhood home, where the speed-force takes on the appearance of his mother. Barry’s “mother” gets him to sit down for a moment and Barry eventually admits that he hasn’t accepted her death. He’s not sure if he ever will. The speed-force/Barry’s mom tells him that he has to find a way to do just that because as amazing as his powers are, they will not stop him from experiencing tragedy. There are some things even The Flash cannot outrun. Barry tearfully admits how much he misses his mom and the speed-force/Barry’s mom says she is proud of the man he’s become. (Did anyone else need a few tissues for these scenes? That always seems to happen whenever we get an appearance from Barry’s mom.)

Barry and his mom then read a book Nora read to him when he was a kid. (This is where the title of the episode comes from.) The book is all about a mother’s love, and after they finish reading it, Barry’s mom says he is ready. Barry then reaches out and catches the mysterious blur. The blur turns out to be his powered-self, and once he grabs it Barry gets his speed back.

Grant Gustin does such a wonderful job with Barry’s emotional journey in this episode. He absolutely breaks your heart in the scene at the cemetery, but it’s his performance in the scenes with his mother that delivers the biggest emotional punch. I hope the show continues to find ways to bring Barry’s mom back for these little appearances because those scenes are always incredible.

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Iris Acts as Bait

Back in the real world, Joe and Iris try to figure out what Tony is after in order to catch him. Thanks to help from Henry, they realize that Tony is looking for Iris. (Apparently, even death can’t stop his stalker tendencies.) Iris decides that she will act as bait to lure Tony back to S.T.A.R. Labs so Harry and Cisco can kill him. Again.)

Iris’ plan works, and Tony follows her all the way back to S.T.A.R. Labs. Unfortunately, Cisco’s first plan to “kill” zombie-Girder doesn’t work. The team gathers together to stay safe, but they know that the only way to defeat the un-dead meta is to get Barry back. Cisco then realizes that maybe they failed in getting him out of the speed-force the first time because he didn’t want to come back. Henry asks if someone else can reach through the speed-force to talk to Barry, and Harry says it’s possible as long as that person is in physical contact with Cisco. It is no surprise to anyone that Iris is the one needed to bring Barry home.

With Cisco’s help, Iris enters the speed-force and Barry instantly hears her voice. The speed-force/Barry’s mom encourages him to go home and that’s exactly what he does. Thanks to their connection, Iris is able to pull Barry back through to the real world. Alas, they do not have time to properly celebrate Barry’s return since zombie-Girder is about to break the door down and kill them all.

The un-dead meta gets through the door and is still focused on Iris, so Barry grabs her up and they lure him away. Barry then uses his speed to charge the magnets in Cisco’s workshop until they have enough power to kill zombie-Girder.

Barry Saves Jesse

Once the meta has been dealt with, Barry goes to see a still-unconscious Jesse. He touches her hand and manages to wake her up using the speed-force. Henry then checks Barry out to make sure he is okay. This gives them the chance to share a nice heart-to-heart and Barry tells his father that he now believes that everything happens for a reason. Henry tells Barry that he plans to stick around Central City this time and actually be a part of his son’s life. (As happy as I am about that, I cannot help wondering what Henry has been up to all this time. Did he really just leave so Barry could be The Flash or was something else going on?)

The next day, Barry and Iris head to the cemetery so Barry can visit his mother’s grave for real. Barry talks to Iris about the dinosaur book and Iris says she never cared for that book since it was about a mother who was always there for their child. Neither Iris nor Barry got to have that. But Barry’s time in the speed-force has made him see things differently. Maybe he didn’t get to have his mother in his life as he was growing up, but he did get a wonderful family. Barry may not know exactly what this connection is that he shares with Iris, but he tells her, “You’re everything to me and you always have been.” He also says that the sound of Iris’ voice will always lead him home. (Yes, this is a very good episode for Barry/Iris fans.)

What Will Caitlin Do?

In the episode’s closing scene, we pick up with Caitlin as she is still being held hostage by Zoom. Zoom tells Caitlin that she has a choice to make. She can stay with him or she can return to her friends. But if she returns to her friends, Zoom makes it clear that he will show her no mercy. As Caitlin listens in, Zoom gives a big speech to his followers. As they chant that this world is now “our world,” we see that Zoom has gathered together an entire army of meta-humans.

What did you think of this episode of The Flash? Will Caitlin choose to return to Team Flash or will she stay with Zoom to bring him down from the inside? What did you think of Barry’s conversations during his time in the speed-force? Are you glad it gave Barry the chance to finally accept his mother’s death?

Is Joe right to worry about Wally developing powers thanks to the explosion? Will Jesse become a speedster now? Were you excited to see Girder’s return and what did you think of all those zombie references? It seemed obvious that Iris would be the one to bring Barry back, but where do you think their relationship will go from here? And how will Team Flash deal with Zoom and his army of metas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on The CW.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV