‘The Flash’ 3×11 recap: Heroic vibes

10:51 pm EDT, January 31, 2017

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The Flash, 3×11, “Dead or Alive,” put H.R. in the crosshairs of a bounty hunter from Earth-19.

Barry took a backseat in “Dead or Alive” in favor of Cisco and Wally — and Iris.

When Gypsy, a collector (bounty hunter) from Earth-19 arrives on Earth-1 in search of H.R. because he committed a capital offense by jumping dimensions, Team Flash steps up to protect him. Or, specifically, Cisco does when he challenges Gypsy to trial by combat. The winner gets H.R. and the loser dies. And Gypsy is the best collector on Earth-19, so things don’t look good for Cisco.

While she and Cisco both use vibing powers, she is significantly more advanced in her abilities, which puts Cisco at a distinct disadvantage. This leads to some humorous training scenes, as Julian makes himself useful as the newest member of the team in coming up with a strategy to take her out.

The big showdown between Vibe and Gypsy includes some humorous jumps between worlds, including Earth-2 and Earth-38 (Supergirl‘s Earth). Cisco eventually takes advantage of a small weakness Julian identified to defeat Gypsy, thus saving H.R.’s life. However, to save face, she has to tell her bosses on Earth-19 that she killed H.R., thus preventing H.R. from ever returning home.

While I question Gypsy being so easily defeated when she is apparently the best of the best, the chemistry between Gypsy and Cisco was great. And her bringing back bagfuls of coffee because Earth-19 had a coffee blight cracked me up. Gypsy wasn’t evil; she was there to uphold the law that H.R. knowingly broke. It was a nice change of pace for the team to go up against an antagonist who wasn’t actually a bad person. I hope she comes back at some point.

I suppose this also means we’ll be keeping H.R. for the foreseeable future. I am not his biggest fan, though as Cisco points out when H.R. asks why he put his life on the line, there may be a time H.R. will save him. I have a hard time believing he’s come to Earth-1 to just be annoying.

I also like that Cisco was able to get a measure of closure with the Harrison Wells he’s been battling against in his mind since we learned that Wells was actually Eobard Thawne in season 1. Wells was his mentor, but then in an alternate timeline killed him. It’s hard for Cisco to look at any of the Wells doppelgangers, but I’m glad to see him moving forward.

It also looks like Cisco is getting closer and closer to being battle-ready. While he will likely never be a big hand-to-hand fighter, the more he learns about his abilities, the more he’ll be able to get out into the field and help Barry and now Wally.

Speaking of Wally, he’s been spending more time out with Barry and is getting quite a bit of attention for his heroics. His happiness at finally being able to do something to help — something he wanted to do for a long time prior to getting his abilities — is infectious. I love that Barry doesn’t seem to feel threatened by Wally’s emergence as a speedster; rather, he’s happy to have someone else helping people alongside him.

Wally is still learning, though. And he slips up when he helps Iris go after an arms dealer in Central City. She convinces him that they should be the brother-sister crime-fighting duo they were in Flashpoint, and Wally goes along with it. But Iris shows she’s not dealing as well with her impending death as she’s letting on when she steps up in front of a mobster with a gun and basically challenges him to shoot her.

She wants to feel like her life mattered, she says. If she is going to die in four months, she wants to make sure she is spending her last months doing important things. While I respect the hell out of Iris for refusing to give into fear and desiring to do something important with her life, I wish she wouldn’t be careless.

She’s going through something similar to James on Supergirl, who is trying to make a difference while not having powers, but James has a super suit and a man-in-the-van while he’s out fighting crime. Having Kid Flash as backup is great, but not when Iris puts herself in danger while he’s out of sight. Joe knows something is going on with her, but the team continues to keep Iris’ impending death a secret from him, and I still expect that to go badly somehow.

Finally, Barry realizes that he isn’t going to get fast enough to save Iris in May. But someone else will be able to: Wally. Props to Barry for the complete lack of ego. Mathematically, Wally is the best hope for saving Iris, who they both love, so he’s going to help Wally become the hero Iris needs.

Watch a promo for the next episode

What did you think of ‘The Flash,’ 3×11, ‘Dead or Alive’?

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