‘The Flash’ 2×16 Review: ‘Trajectory’

After three weeks of torture and having the lovable Barry Allen withheld from us, The Flash returned this week and we weren’t prepared for the emotions it provoked within us.

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For all of the science and superhero of it all at its core The Flash is a show deeply rooted in the characters and how they react to the things around them. So while “Trajectory” focused on the debut of a female speedster and revealed a disturbing revelation for our Team Flash, when all was said and done it was the theme of morality that shone through.

The Flash has experienced a bit of a sophomore slump this season, but it’s since picked up after the Earth-2 episodes and finally found its footing as we head toward the end of the line. There’s a nice mix of action, intrigue, and heart that reminds me of what made me fall in love with this show in the first place.


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Let’s take a look at what went down in “Trajectory”:

Barry Pushes His Moral Line

As Barry continues to prepare for his battle with Zoom – by trying to get faster – he began to question to what extent this training is paying off. No matter how hard he trains or how tirelessly he does so it doesn’t appear to be working. Basically he’s psyching himself out especially with the recent death of Jay Garrick, another death that he places upon his shoulders.

There was a defining moment in this episode when Barry considered taking the Velocity-9 as a means to level the playing field. He pushed the moral line as he questioned why it was okay for everyone else to cheat except him. Here there were people like Zoom and Trajectory cheating their way to being the fastest people alive and Barry was working tirelessly the old-fashioned way.

But Barry soon realized – with some help from Wells – that taking the Velocity-9 was not the answer. Not the long-term answer anyway especially considering the side effects of the drug. Taking a short cut would only serve to hamper his hero’s journey and everything that he stands for. Even if he took it and was able to defeat Zoom, Zoom would still win. Zoom would’ve destroyed The Flash like he set out to do.

But with Barry choosing to maintain that moral character that makes him the hero we know and love it really shone a light on the difference between heroes and villains. Villains don’t know when they’ve gone too far, but heroes are able to stop themselves before they cross that line.

Trajectory Shows That Faster Isn’t Always Best

Man do I love it when the villain of the week ties into Barry’s personal struggle. This week’s episode featured the introduction of Trajectory, the show’s first female speedster. Only she wasn’t that nice or cool. And she looked too much like Thea Queen for my taste. Seriously, I was waiting for some big twist in the end that Trajectory was actually Thea Queen from Earth-2. I kid, I kid. Kinda.

Anyway, turns out Trajectory is a scientist over at Mercury Labs named Eliza Harmon, who used to work with Caitlin during her short stint there during the hiatus between seasons one and two. And while Caitlin surely meant well, she kind of shared a couple of components from her Velocity-9, the deadly substance that permits superspeed but with dire consequences.

Eliza decided to originally take this stuff earlier in the episode – because she was falling behind – and she was hooked after that. More than that it turned her into the worst version of herself. In the lab she was a sweet, bright young woman, but that was lost when she injected herself with the Velocity-9 and proceeded to rob everyone blind.

Throughout the episode Trajectory harped on one thing: she was the fastest person alive (though Zoom might have something to say about that). So she made it a point to run as fast as she could and best The Flash. Only that superspeed proved to be her downfall.

After Barry tried to reason with her to save her from the monster the Velocity-9 had made her, Eliza decided to take the last Velocity-9 anyway and taunted Barry about him never being as fast as her as she raced away with blue lightning trailing behind her. But Trajectory ran so fast that she basically evaporated into nothing, which happened to be one of the side effects of the drug.

The lesson learned? Faster isn’t always better. And karma is a bitch.

Harrison Wells and the Question of Morality

At its core, The Flash is a family drama that just happens to consist of superheroes and alternate universes. But it’s a family drama nonetheless. This week we really got to delve into the relationship between Harrison Wells and his daughter Jesse as they began to settle down in this new world.

We’ve seen what Wells was willing to do and willing to risk in order to protect his daughter, so why should we be surprised that he’d practically suffocate his daughter once he had her back? Wells smothered his daughter because he continued to fear for her safety even in a world without Zoom. And eventually it became too much to bear.

What’s more than that was that Jesse got a glimpse of what her father had done or was willing to do to protect her when she was in Zoom’s clutches: kill. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing and didn’t understand how he was willing to throw away his values, who he was just to protect her.

But the thing here is that Wells is doing what any parent would do in a heartbeat: protect their child. That’s something Jesse doesn’t understand now but might in the future should she become a mother. When Wells was pushed to his darkest – with his daughter’s life dangling before him – he was willing to throw everything away including his own life to ensure her safety.

So was what Harrison Wells did – or nearly did – morally bad? Yes, but it’s justifiable to a degree because of the personal motivation. It wasn’t out of malicious intent – he did it because he was provoked by Zoom. But most importantly, Wells put a stop to what he had planned to do in betraying Barry. That right there shows that he knows the difference between what’s morally right and wrong.

A New Office Flirtation

While we’ve seen it both in the future and on Earth-2, The Flash is all but declaring Barry and Iris endgame at this point. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be smooth sailing. In fact, it appears as if both will have different romantic partners along the way.

This season Barry found almost-love with Patty Spivot, who left Central City to pursue her dreams after Barry couldn’t be honest with her, and last season Iris had Eddie Thawne, who met a tragic end. And the thing is I’ve enjoyed Barry and Iris with these other people. The relationships were adult and heartfelt, which was nice to see that they weren’t used as merely plot devices in this Barry/Iris endgame. But these relationships will only serve to strength Barry and Iris’ relationship because we’re witnessing them growing into the people they’re meant to be. So it’ll be okay if we have to wait a little bit longer for WestAllen to come to fruition.

But with that said, the writers need to make a move with this Barry and Iris romance because it’s kind of stuck in neutral right now. We’ve seen Barry acknowledge Iris as someone he loves in a romantic way. Now it’s time we see the same from Iris.

And it appears as if Iris’ latest romantic interest comes in the form of her new Editor-In-Chief at the Central City Picture News, who was the one who actually took the initial liking to her and then caught her eye.

This new boss actually wanted Iris to write an anti-Flash piece, which immediately goes to show how this guy does not understand Iris. Iris, being the determined, lovable cupcake she is, tries her hardest to convince her boss that The Flash is a hero – that he’s not this person robbing the city. So she asks him to coffee, which he misconstrues as Iris flirting with him. But she shuts him down because that’s not what this was. So he leaves dejected and suddenly Iris is thinking about the possibility. All it takes is some thought and you can see Iris is thinking about possibly exploring this flirtation with her boss, which we know can only end in heartbreak.

Barry Betrayed By Another Mentor

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night came at the end of the episode when Cisco did his Vibe thing and confirmed what Harrison Wells had suggested to the team just before: Jay Garrick is Zoom. The entire team was shocked, of course, but the attention immediately shifts to Barry and his reaction. And it’s not good.

For Barry this is about more than just learning that Jay is Zoom; that someone the team had worked closely with and tried to help wasn’t who they said they were. This was about betrayal. Once again Barry found himself being betrayed by his mentor – someone that he considered a friend. And we saw all of that in that moment when he raced to that waterfall and let it all out.

This is something that Barry has struggled all season with. He’s feared letting people get close to him for fear of them getting hurt because of their association with him. It’s what held him in his dark hole for that season premiere when all hope seemed lost. But in a split instant that fear came rushing back to Barry as fate once again proved that he can’t trust his instinct and that he can’t trust anyone.

But we know that the Jay Garrick that our Team Flash came to care for and worked with isn’t the evil Zoom. But they don’t know that. So that does nothing to ease Barry’s pain and anger for once again being made the fool as someone else close to him played him. It doesn’t change the fact that the doubt that weighed him down earlier in the season is back. Only this time Barry is going to need to rise above it rather than suppress it.


The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.


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