The Flash S3E11, Review – Dead or Alive

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Focusing on character development and relationship development is my jam. With the impending future hanging over Team Flash’ head, focusing on issues other than Iris’ death is difficult to move away from, until it’s H.R’s death that becomes the focus.

Inter-dimensional travel is banned in H.R.’s world, punishable by death if he’s captured. Knowing this, surely he has been working hard to hide his location from anyone who might be hunting him down. It’s H.R.– we know the answer is no. In fact, he has been broadcasting his adventures between worlds, which makes tracking him down much easier!

Gypsy is a Collector, here to bring H.R. back to their world so he can answer for his crimes. I thought Team Flash would be all too happy to get rid of him. H.R. didn’t work very hard to block his location, so why help him? To everyone’s surprise, Cisco steps forward to fight for his right to stay on their earth by challenging Gypsy to a fight to the death. Why Cisco– wouldn’t Barry be a better fit? Maybe it’s the shared attraction between Cisco and Gypsy that made him step up, or Cisco does care about H.R. Whatever the reason, no one is too confident Cisco can win this, not when it’s a fight to the death.

Cisco can be powerful, but on this Earth; he’s still learning, and twenty-four hours is just not enough time. There are a lot of factors that drive him: Barry can’t be the only hero out there, with Kid Flash helping there is a difference being made, why can’t Cisco be there too? Despite the joking around, we know Cisco likes H.R. He admits as much when he reveals previous Wells have always been there to save him, it’s now his time to return the favor.

As noble as these factors are, the team is not confident in his abilities. Julian is the most vocal of them all– being new on the team doesn’t stop him from speaking his mind. Caitlin is the best one to wrangle him in, but doesn’t disagree. Cisco just doesn’t seem capable. Thankfully he isn’t doing this alone, the best minds are on this team, and they’ll help him develop a way to defeat Gypsy.

Barry and H.R. take matters into their own hands: surely they can defeat Gypsy on their own. It goes horribly wrong almost immediately, leaving H.R. in her hands and Barry having to face Cisco and admit their massive mistake. Betrayal hurts, but forces the two to have a realistic conversation of where they stand. Barry has been physically fighting on his own for years, but without the support of Team Flash, he’d be nowhere. It’s time for Cisco to take his place as a superhero and Barry to step back as support.

The current situation allows Iris’ quiet meltdown to slip by most of the team as she takes on a daunting task. It’s one that’ll make her career as a
journalist notable, but the way she’s digging around is too dangerous to make it worth it. There’s an arms dealer in town, distributing guns that can harm people like Barry and Wally, as well as everyday citizens. Joe is leading CCPD to capture those responsible, but it has to be done with tact. The mysterious dealers are smart and if they are tipped off could easily escape.

Iris is deliberately leading her attack, even with Joe and Barry begging her to let go of it. On the outside it’s admirable; protect Central City’s population! The truth is, she’s terrified of the future and her possible death. She can’t leave this world a nobody like her mother; she wants her legacy to mean something. It’s upsetting to hear her say those words; deep down she must see her death as inevitable.

No wonder she wrangles Wally into her plans to help her bring down the arms dealer, she begs him not to tell Barry or Joe, and he agrees to help her. The investigation is easy– approaching the hideout on their own, not so much. The scene is painful to watch as Iris is cornered alone by one of the dealers, practically begging him to shoot. Even the guy feels bad about it; his hesitation allows Wally to run in and disarm him, more afraid of his sister’s death wish rather than the shooter.

Understandably Joe is pissed and suspects Iris’ suicide mission has to do with important information being kept from him. His dad instincts are on point, but Barry steps in to talk to Iris alone. Their relationships are strong enough that Iris can let her raw feelings be shown; Barry doesn’t downplay them, he only tries to show her she doesn’t have to suffer alone. Gone is their awkward relationship development. This is how they are supposed to be.

Before it goes any further, Cisco comes onto the scene with the news of Gypsy’s location. It’s time to fight her for H.R. Despite his lackluster performance in training, Cisco holds his own against Gypsy. At first, I thought she might be teasing him, her attraction to him is obvious but not enough to get in the way of doing her job. Cisco is powerful, just not as refined in battle. It’s Julian’s discovery that helps Cisco defeat Gypsy; pointing out her weakness brings her down in defeat!

It’s not a solid victory; while the team lets her live, it means H.R. must stay in their world. Not that anyone minds. While letting Gypsy live is for the best in the long run, no one on the team would truly be capable of killing her.

Barry learned a lot from his friends, including he can’t save the world on his own. I think this was covered in the four show crossover but has to be remembered. ┬áThe writing’s on the wall, at the rate Barry’s speed is developing, he won’t be fast enough to save Iris from Zavitar. But there is someone who will be: Wally!

Watching Barry team up with Wally to kick ass is my favorite part of each episode. I can only hope the fight leading up to Zavitar’s defeat will include more of this with Cisco and Caitlin included.

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