5 Thoughts about Flash: "Dead or Alive"
1.) The focus for the key characters in this episode was around making sure their lives meant something, even if it meant being incredibly stupid to prove it. With Iris' potential death looming, we see her under the impression that she simply cannot die until her "death day" in May, and as such she ends up stupidly risking her life for a story. It's a great move for Iris as far as giving the character more agency, it's just...she used her agency in an unconscionably stupid way. She literally places herself in front of the barrel of a futuristic super-weapon for no other reason than the belief that the criminal would never fire. It was certainly brave...but also dumb, and terrible reporting because she basically made herself the story.
Meanwhile, HR Wells and Cisco get themselves wrapped up in their own attempts to give their lives meaning. Cisco risks his life to help save Wells from a new threat from his own homeworld (more on that later) because he wanted to pay back the other versions of Wells that had always been there for him and helped him in life. And while it's definitely not how that should work, Cisco's desire to finally use his powers for more than just occasionally "vibing" events is definitely understandable. And hopefully moving forward Cisco decides to actually be "Vibe" on a full-time basis. It's been a long-time coming but I'm glad we finally seem to have arrived at that point.
Finally, as it turns out, this novelist version of HR Wells has been beaming back copies of a new novel to everyone on Earth-19, even though just doing so was actively risking his life and breaking the rules of the world he came from. Aware that he was basically a fraud on E19, he wanted to finally mean something--even if it meant there was a good chance he'd be killed. Speaking of..
2.) And finally completing the roster for a potential "Justice League Detroit", Gypsy made her first appearance in the CW-verse! Of course, here she's "evil", kinda. A "Collector" from Earth-19, which has strictly forbidden traveling between Earths, she was assigned to head to Earth-1 and finally kill Wells for not only breaking their planet's sacred rules, but presumably also being stupid enough to tell everyone about it in chapters of a book he sent home every few weeks. It's a bit of a bummer that so many of DC's heroes are being split between different Earths, but it was still pretty cool to see her there.
Jessica Camacho played a really cool, surprisingly intimidating version of the character who held her own against both Flashes. The only other two sticking points I have about her character is that "Collectors" are kind of an irksome concept; it's one thing if they come to your Earth, but if people leave you don't really have any right to chase them. You're basically imposing your will on a different planet, which is pretty aggressive in and of itself. Also, they completely changed her powers! In the comics she's an illusion-caster capable of turning invisible and having mild precognition, in this multiverse she's got the exact same powers as Cisco? That makes her a little less unique, which is sad--but she's so opposite "Vibe" in terms of demeanor, confidence and overall skill that it helps balance things out.
3.) The climax of this week's story was a showdown between Gypsy and Vibe, called a "tribe by combat" and the only way for Team Flash to save Wells from being taken back to his Earth and killed. After volunteering to be the member of the team to BE in the trail, this involved Cisco training to use his powers in a combat sense for the first time. Though he should've gotten himself vibrated into paste, we're going to overlook that part--partially because it was hinted Gypsy took it easy on Cisco because she found him cute, and partially because their fight ended up taking them across the multiverse--into Earth-2 (Zoom's Earth) *and* Earth-19 (Supergirl's Earth). That was a cool usage of the worlds they've set up over the past two years, and the only way it could've been better is if they'd introduced a new world that would play a part in the future--I'm guessing they didn't because we're probably mostly done with the multiverse stuff.
4.) In this week's Unnecessary Drama (sponsored by The CW), we come back to Iris still not having told Joe that Barry saw her being killed by Savitar. I'm sure having all his kids keeping secrets from him when it's information that he absolutely deserves to know is going to have a happy ending. It certainly won't end with him being pissed at them all and distancing himself from Team Flash. Certainly. Why no, this entire paragraph isn't sarcasm--why would anyone think that?
5.) Though there were a couple of things that bugged me about this episode, one of the things that didn't is how they're approaching this whole Savitar thing. Last ep they came up with the actually rather smart plan of simply changing the timeline until they had altered things enough so that Iris ends up either not at risk or its possible to save her. It's kind of cool that they want to change the future (and in some cases they'll certainly have to), but I also felt like changing unrelated events was a bit of a longshot. The most direct solution would seem to be for Barry to get fast enough to outrun Savitar and save Iris, and they addressed that this week by showing that Barry simply isn't fast enough to pull it off, and at the rate he's increasing his speed there's no way for him to be fast enough by then.
Except, the most obvious solution is that Barry isn't the only speedster any longer. The new (and rapidly improving) Kid Flash seems like a very obvious secret weapon that Barry finally decides not to overlook, suggesting to Wally that he'll be the one to save Iris. Of course, even with this the words of HR Wells from last week's episode echo, and I feel like the future's going to be harder to change than this. Still, we've got four months to go...