The Flash, S3 Ep11 – Dead or Alive

Last week’s episode of The Flash concluded with a new player making their way to Earth-1 in search of HR Wells. In “Dead or Alive” we find out that this woman is known as Gypsy, a bounty hunter, or “collector” as HR puts it, set out to capture and return HR to Earth-19. Like Cisco, Gypsy has the ability to create portals leading to alternate Earths and sense where people are through objects they have touched. While the main plot of “Dead or Alive” focuses on Team Flash attempting to find a way to prevent HR from being retrieved and ultimately being killed on Earth-19 due to him breaking the law of traveling between worlds, the remainder of the episode focuses on Iris West as she handles the knowledge that she may die soon and continues to pursue a risky news story.

Wally is no match for Gypsy

For the most part Gypsy serves as a glimpse into Cisco’s potential as Vibe. In addition to the abilities stated before, she also has the ability to stop speedsters dead in their tracks, which is something Cisco hasn’t even contemplated doing. So, while the episode seems to revolve primarily around HR and his place on the team, by the end it serves as a story that pushes Cisco into new territory.

Cisco eventually persuades Gypsy into a trial by combat. Whoever wins gets to keep HR on their respective Earth. Though some brief meddling from HR and Barry nearly disrupts this planned battle, Cisco goes through with it taking on Gypsy in a life or death match. Considering the abilities of these two meta-humans, the final fight between the two could have been a lot better. As the both of them have the ability to jump to other dimensions at will, during their battle they travel to Earth-2, Earth-38 which is the home of Supergirl, and an unknown Earth engulfed in storms and molten lava. Traveling to Earth-38 was a fun nod to Supergirl and Kara’s place of work (CatCo Worldwide Media), and the lava world was interesting, but this could have been a time to fit in a lot more clever DC Comics nods if the characters were to travel quickly to more alternate Earths.

While the battle did havd those fun elements, it was a bit anti-climatic by the end. Cisco takes full advantage of his abilities and is able to take down Gypsy, which is a great progression for the character, but what was stopping Gypsy from shaking off that final blow and continuing to fight Cisco to the death? Throughout the episode she seems fully dedicated to her job as a Collector and is willing to do whatever it takes to retrieve HR so he can face his death sentence on Earth-19, but once Cisco gets one good hit she admits defeat and returns to her world. Based on what we found out about the Gypsy beforehand this seems a bit out of character. That being said, the episode isn’t about Gypsy. It’s about Cisco progressing as a superhero, and in that regard “Dead or Alive” works. Also, ending off the battle the way the writers did allows the audience to sympathize a bit with Gypsy as we see she’s not a villain, but just a bounty hunter who failed at this one job. It opens the door for Team Flash to maybe have Gypsy be an ally in future episodes.

On the other side of “Dead or Alive” Iris has a pretty compelling arc as she deals with the knowledge of her possible death by Savitar. Knowing what the future may hold leads Iris into becoming reckless when pursuing a story involving criminals and stolen super weapons. Despite many objections from Barry, Joe, and even Wally, Iris continues to take risks almost feeling as if she can’t die because she knows she is to be killed by Savitar and not these thugs with guns. For the most part, Iris behaves correctly and refuses to be held back by the men in her life and continues to pursue her story, though she goes a bit overboard when confronting an armed criminal.

Cisco in full-on Vibe mode

While Iris is definitely worried about what may happen to her in the future, what makes her story more interesting is the fact that not only is she afraid of dying, but is afraid of dying and not having left a mark in the world.  It’s a very real fear that many audience members can relate to. This drives Iris to be to so dedicated to her current career at the Central City Picture News.

Throughout the episode Wally is touched on here and there, as we see him successfully stop a heist with Barry and help his sister in her own endeavors. By the episode’s end we not only see that he is continuing to come into his own as Kid Flash, but is progressing at a faster rate than Barry ever did. This makes for a very compelling revelation at the very end of the episode when Barry realizes how much Wally has progressed, and comes to the conclusion that Wally has to be the one to save Iris from Savitar and not Barry. This a great moment for Wally’s character, but it begs the question if this is an event that will lead to what occurs in the future, if it will alter the future. We won’t know until that time comes.

“Dead or Alive” was a very satisfying episode overall. While the final battle between Vibe and Gypsy was a bit anti-climatic, both Cisco and Iris were given some well deserved character development. As usual, The Flash isn’t without its humor and “Dead or Alive” did provide a few laughs as well, whether it was from Cisco’s flirtatious attitude towards Gypsy or Julian’s lack of people skills while working with Team Flash.

In next week’s episode we’ll see Wally continue his training as Kid Flash, and face off against a new meta-human (Matthew Kevin Anderson) with the ability to cause people to decompose at an accelerated rate. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Untouchable” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Dead or Alive” in the comments.