The Flash: “Running to Stand Still” Season 2 Episode 9 Review

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The mystery of where Mark Hamill is in all the Force Awakens promotions has finally been solved. He’s been in prison in Central City since the Flash put him there last spring. Well, just in time for Christmas (and Star Wars), he’s back for another classic episode of The Flash.

There was a lot going on in “Running to Stand Still,” but it all gelled pretty well around this just blatantly fun classic hero vs. villains, or Rogues in this case, holiday romp. For all the West family drama, Patty’s dark backstory, and Wells’ dealings with Zoom, the most iconic image from this episode has to be Mark Hamill skipping through the street in a Santa outfit doing his best Joker voice again. The Trickster isn’t just the best villain on The Flash, he’s also pretty much just the Clown Prince of Crime. I mean, come on, the C4 dreidels gag was right out of a festive Batman comic/show/movie. But hey, The Flash and Arrow continue to ignore DC’s biggest superheroes, and if this is the closest we’re getting to Joker, that’s fine by me (mostly because he’s played by the most iconic voice of the Joker).

Paired with him, at least initially, are Captain Cold and Weather Wizard. The former sort of comes and goes a little too quickly, choosing to stay out of Barry’s way. As for Weather Wizard, he finally became a much more fun villain to face off against the Flash. Not only was his initial breakout awesome, but the climactic fight with the Flash surrounded by Christmas decorations was a ton of fun. They of course end up pretty easily dispatched, but that’s where Patty comes in.

Having thus far been little more than a cheery hero, we fine out more details about her history. In similar circumstances that put the burden of guilt for Uncle Ben’s death on Peter Parker’s shoulders, Weather Wizard killed her father when she should have been there instead. Now she’s angry and going rogue on her own. Some of this ends up being a little too melodramatic for my tastes, but the scene with her gun pointed at Weather Wizard’s head was undeniably tense. She doesn’t go through with it, thanks to the Flash talking her down, so hopefully this event will allow her to move past her guilt.

Meanwhile, Iris’ guilt about her mother’s revelation that she has a brother Joe does’t know about is weighing on her. The Flash handles West family drama way better than Arrow handles Lance family drama, but even with all the forgiveness being thrown around, it still felt a little too melodramatic. All of this is really just to introduce Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale), who will hopefully live up to his comic book counterpart.

Finally, there was the opening and closing scenes of the episode, which put Wells right in Zoom’s corner. It’s a sticky situation that Wells faces with his daughter, and it makes sense for him to start working with Zoom. The opening scene was a little out of nowhere, to the point where I thought the next scene would start with a “48 hours earlier” title card. It didn’t, but having Wells walking a thin line between good and evil this season is way more compelling than having him fall directly on either side.

All in all, this was a great way wrap up what has been an excellent year for The Flash. The tropes of classic comic books work incredibly well here, and Hamill snarling Christmas carols is just the stuff true holiday cheer is made out of. Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • I love how simple Trickster and Weather Wizard’s plan was. Give a bunch of kids bombs disguised as Christmas presents, call the Flash, force him to either let himself be killed or they’ll blow up the bombs. The Flash has a way of capturing the spirit of classic comic books better than most superhero movies do.
  • Want more holiday cheer with a deliciously evil Mark Hamill? Check out the classic Batman: The Animated Series episode “Christmas With the Joker.”
  • Happy holidays Flash fans! See you in the new year!

By Matt Dougherty

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