“This Guy’s Just Insane.”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
It was back to business this week on The Flash as the holidays hit Central City once again. It is a little jarring to get back into the ongoing Zoom plotline after the high-flying thrills of last week’s crossover, but “Running to Stand Still” managed to end the year on a high note as not one, not two, but three villains arrived on the scene to make trouble for Barry—all the while we got even more with the Earth-2 castaways Jay Garrick and “Harry.”
In a classic comic book set up, “Running” begins with a returned Weather Wizard breaking into Iron Heights prison and freeing Captain Cold and The Trickster (once again played by The Joker himself, Mark Hamill!). With three villains aiming for his head and Zoom lurking in the shadows, Barry’s going to need to step it up if he wants to make it through the holidays alive. While the episode does stumble a bit in handling three villains, the manic energy of seeing Weather Wizard and Trickster team up keeps things fun and moving along nicely, and the episode is able to get quite a bit of mileage out of its B-story dealing with the introduction of fan favorite character Wally West. Joe West has long been an emotional center for the show, and “Running” manages to get quite a bit of mileage out of showing his reaction to learning he has a son.
While Jay Garrick and “Harry” aren’t quite as engaging, they still serve to inject some nice, humorous moments that allow the busy episode to take a breather. As great as it is to see Trickster back in action, it was slightly disappointing that the episode still didn’t reveal much about Zoom, whom is still relegated to bookend scenes as a reminder of the threat looming in the distance. Of course, it’s hard not to mention that Mark Hamill is doing fantastic work as Trickster, bringing the character about as close to a live-action version of Hamill’s Joker that we’ll ever see. Wentworth Miller continues to chew scenery as Captain Cold, but at this point he’s got the theatricality of the role down to a science, and Miller is thankfully able to sell that theatricality as endearing instead of cheesy.
“Running to Stand Still” had a lot of heavy lifting to do, and while it sometimes didn’t quite balance it all, the quick pace and fun, breezy tone helped to smooth it over nicely. Any episode that employs the talents of Mark Hamill is worth watching, and “Running” helped to up the ante by involving both Cold and Weather Wizard in the proceedings. While the Zoom plot continues to move at a sluggish pace, a fun main plot and some intriguing Joe West material helped Flash go into the holidays strong.
How was it seeing Mark Hamill again? Are you excited for Wally West? Tweet me @MaxMielecki. And be sure to follow us @YouNerded.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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