Sunday, June 23, 2024

The Battle For HR Wells Begins in The Flash

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After a brief introduction last week during the end tag, Gypsy makes herself known in The Flash as she embarks the quest of bringing HR Wells back to Earth-19 and paying for his crimes.

We start off with Flash and Kid Flash going after some generic villains who are packing a new and more violent type of weapon. One minute later and the threat has been defeated while Kid Flash ends up getting his own fanbase of cheerleaders. It’s all very cute and showcases how great our speedsters can be when they work together.

Iris is back to her journalistic roots and wants to go after the gun dealer because (I guess) this would be considered a great story by Central City standards. However, it starts the trend of having her male family members spouting their protective paternalism on her. It’s like they don’t know anything about journalists or ever watched a movie featuring one: when you tell a person of the press that they can’t pursue a story, they will most likely do it anyway. Duh.

At Flashcave Star Labs, making use of nice and well scaled LEGO diorama, the team reaches the conclusion that in order to save Iris out of sheer velocity, Barry will most likely not be able to get faster by the season finale.

Gypsy invades Central City’s only coffee shop, Jitters, to vibe HR from the one coin he used as a tip. Some cops show up but she puts them to sleep so effortlessly she even has the time to quip and one line about it.

Later on, she plainly creates a breach into Star Labs and shoots HR with something that merely made him fall down. Turns out she is Earth-19’s best Collector aka she goes after anyone from that particular Earth who dares to travel through the multiverse as it is a capital crime punishable by death.

Cisco is clearly smitten by Gypsy: it’s crush at first sight. Gypsy is, apart from stunning, the better viber so she disables Cisco and Kid Flash very easily. She is also very kind as she allows HR one hour to solve his affairs and turn himself in.

Team Flash initially notices that, yes, if they do end up turning HR in, this would be a change to the vision of the future Barry had and they consider it, but our hero’s morals are better than this, thankfully.

“I don’t die till May” – Iris West, with a straight face.

Iris manages to persuade Wally into helping her to go after the gun dealer story with the promises of being the crime fighting duo Barry saw in Flashpoint.

They also find a loophole in the whole Gypsy-HR situation: trial by combat. I swear, my jaw hit the floor just as fast as my palm hit my forehead. Now, yes, I know that trial by combat was used in history, but Earth-19 is said to be a much more evolved place than Earth-1, so excuse me if I think this was a shoehorned reference to Game of Thrones. There’s also a reference to Westworld later on in the episode, so I do believe the episode’s writer is a big HBO fan.

Iris takes Wally to CCPD so that he can use his speedster powers to take pictures of the gun dealer’s file while she distracts him.

Given Cisco is not doing super well at his Vibing Boot Camp, HR and Barry decide to take matters into their own hands and conceive a sneak attack on Gypsy. Thankfully, our earth-nineteener is a bit savvier than this and is able to handcuff The Flash. She wants to take HR there and then, though caves in when Barry says that her combat with Cisco should still keep on. She honors that request, but takes HR as collateral anyway.

Cisco gets a bit mad with Barry, but they make peace in a second…best friends, huh? Julian comes up with a strategy that can lead to a possible win by Cisco and if it doesn’t, then Cisco’s dead.

Iris and Wally go the warehouse where the gun dealer stores his weapons. She sends Wally on a run to check the perimeter and walks in alone. The dealer points his gun at her and she confidently defies him. It almost feels like she has a death wish. Like the knowledge of when exactly she might die suddenly gives her invincibility. Obviously, Joe is not very happy about it. Also, now that Joe is the only one at Star Labs that doesn’t know about the future, he is being kept off most scenes located there. Nevertheless, Iris tells Barry that if she dies in May, she wants to make a mark, leave something behind, be remembered not only as a daughter, sister, and girlfriend, but as a journalist as well.

It’s combat time: Cisco, fully geared up, joins Gypsy on a fight to death for HR’s life. They end up traveling through the multiverse—shout outs to Earth-2, Earth-3 (nice CatCo and Mrs. Tessmacher cameos), and some planet with lava. Cisco also keeps calling her “girl”. It’s love, guys. True love. And apparently, it’s mutual. Cisco eventually manages to use Julian’s strategy and overpowers Gypsy, but refuses to kill her.

At Star Labs, Gypsy tells the gang that she will go back to Earth-19 and tell everyone that she killed Wells, so he can never go back. Cisco and her almost kiss, but in the last second, she pulls out and goes through a breach. Remember when breaches were this “big impossible thing to achieve”? Simpler times.

Iris publishes her article and Barry is super proud. He also realizes that based on how much he needs to improve in terms of speed until May, he won’t be the one to have to save Iris: it’ll have to be Wally.

As is usual, sometimes episodes are just fillers, but that doesn’t mean they are bad episodes. “Dead or Alive” was thoroughly enjoyable. Gypsy had a great presence, her powers and abilities as a collector were never contested, posing a big threat.

She left Cisco with the message that it is his inner doubt and lack of confidence that ultimately shield him from achieving his potential and that’s something that will probably be worked through in these next few episodes.

It also featured a side of Iris that been mostly overlooked from some time and that I actually really find entertaining: her career as a journalist. She has the inner wish to help people and be great just as Barry does, but she doesn’t have powers, which leaves her with her with what she can do greatly. 10/10 for including this side plot and her aspiration to not be left behind. That’s the Iris that we love and can connect to. It helps make up the Iris that is kind, loving, intelligent, and that people desperately don’t want to see die.

Images courtesy of the CW

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