The Flash, S2 Ep09 – Running To Stand Still

As The Flash‘s holiday-themed mid-season finale premieres there is still plenty of mystery surrounding the season’s main antagonist, Zoom. While this week’s episode does provide some new insights into that story, for the most part “Running To Stand Still” takes a break from all of that, delivering a plot that sees the return of Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre) and The Trickster (Mark Hamill), and provides some character development for Patty Spivot. Additionally, we are given more insight about Iris’ brother, Detective West’s son, Wally.

Super villain team-up

Super-villain team-up

As Barry grows more and more powerful it becomes increasingly difficult for his villains to take him on one on one. Rather than having to fight Barry with only their brawn, a lot of brain is needed as well. In “Running To Stand Still”, Weather Wizard serves as the brawn and The Trickster serves as the brains. While McIntyre’s return as Weather Wizard is definitely welcome, the villain that truly steals the show is Mark Hamill as The Trickster. There are plenty of times when we hear Hamill’s iconic Joker voice come out, and it’s obvious the writers want to keep this homage alive when we find out The Trickster’s base of operations is in an abandoned toy factory much like Joker in Batman: The Animated Series.

The Trickster lives up to his name by first luring Barry to that very toy factory and surrounding him with explosive dreidels he can’t just easily run from. When that fails, the two villains set forth their next sinister plan involving handing out gifts containing explosives to hundreds of children in Central City. While their plan was easily foiled due to some scientific mumbo jumbo from Team Flash, the plot did provide 3 moments of importance. For one, hearing Earth-2 Dr. Wells demand that a child give him his gifts was just hilarious. Secondly, we saw that Barry was willing to sacrifice himself to save all of those families who had bombs underneath their Christmas trees. Lastly, the plot provided a solid character arc for Patty Spivot.

While I did enjoy seeing Patty enter the spotlight a bit more, her story-arc has been done plenty of times before. She wanted revenge against Weather Wizard for her father’s death and was willing to kill to get it. There was even that typical scene where the hero, in this case Barry, has to talk down the person willing to kill for revenge. All that being said, I’m glad only a little bit of time was spent on this mediocre revenge subplot.

Captain Cold had a few scenes in this episode, but seems to be done with his villainous lifestyle. After being broken out of prison by Weather Wizard he turns down an alliance with him and The Trickster, and actually warns Barry of their plans. This is mostly due to Cold feeling he owes Barry for saving his sister’s life a few episodes ago, but Cold would never admit to it. This seems like it will be the last time we’ll see Cold as a true villain in any way, shape, or form, as the next time we’ll see him will be on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow fighting alongside a team of heroes.

Surprise! It's your son

Surprise! It’s your son

This episode’s main plot provided plenty of thrilling action scenes, but most of the emotion of this week’s episode rested in the subplot involving Detective West learning the truth about his son, Wally. As usual Jesse L. Martin delivers a great performance as his character realizes he is a father to a son he’s never met and regrets not being in his life. I was glad to see that Iris didn’t let this secret fester for any longer and told her father the truth. If Arrow and The Flash have taught us one thing it’s to never lie to your loved ones.

The episode concluded with West coming to terms with what was going on and reminding himself that he has been an amazing father to both Iris and Barry. Concluding the episode we got a glimpse of Wally as he crashes Team Flash’s Christmas party. While the episode didn’t go into his character at all, I look forward to seeing Keiynan Lonsdale’s take on the character next year.

For a mid-season finale this week’s episode didn’t provide as big of a twist as last season’s mid-season finale. All we found out in “Running to Stand Still” was the fact that Earth-2 Wells is working for Zoom in the hopes of getting his daughter back. Much like Reverse-Flash’s motives last season, Zoom wants Barry to grow more powerful, but in this case it’s because he wants to suck as much speed force as he can from him. Now we get why Zoom has been throwing villain after villain at Barry and hasn’t actually tried to kill him himself.

Overall, “Running To Stand Still” was still a great episode. Mark Hamill stole the show as The Trickster, and the events concerning Detective West were appropriately heart-wrenching. I still feel the villains were foiled a bit too easily, but they still provided a fun match-up against The Flash. As the first half of this season comes to a close we are still left wondering who Zoom truly is. Unfortunately, not one clue has been given to support any theories, but I’m still hoping it’s the doppelganger of Barry’s father, Henry Allen. That would make for a very compelling final showdown.

New episodes of The Flash premiere January 19, 2016. Until then check out The CW’s official promo for the next episode “Potential Energy” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Running To Stand Still” in the comments.