The Flash – Season 3 Episode 11

Feb 1, 2017 | Posted by in TV
The Flash

“Dead or Alive”

The Flash takes a more light hearted approach when a Bounty Hunter shows up from Earth-19 to bring back H.R. so that he can answer for the crime of interdimensional travel.

I’m so glad that this episode was fun. The Flash just hasn’t been much fun lately because everything has been so doom and gloom. Keeping everything so dark and hyper serious made last season a chore to watch at time and the Flashpoint blunder suggested that the same was going to happen in this season. This may well be a blip and we’ll return to the melancholy very soon but for now it’s refreshing to see an episode that reminds me why I loved this show so much in its first season.


Wally soaks up the attention

H.R. leaving his native universe is something that hasn’t been properly addressed as yet. There are lots of mentions of his partner but we haven’t seen him -outside of holographic camouflage- and hints here and there of his life on Earth-19 but nothing definitive. This episode doesn’t completely give any insight but there is definitely a story there and I imagine we haven’t seen the last of it.

This would have actually been the perfect opportunity to give some important insight into H.R’s backstory so it’s puzzling that the episode doesn’t do that. I was intrigued by mentions of him having nothing to go back to even though he’s famous and respected. Apparently novelists are the top tier of celebrity on Earth-19. There is definitely an opportunity to explore H.R. as a celebrity who doesn’t feel close to anyone because his fame keeps him so distanced from others. Maybe I’m reading too much into the situation but the potential definitely exists.

Gypsy (Jessica Camacho ) is a really memorable character. Technically she takes on the villain role in that she opposes Team Flash for the purposes of this episode but she isn’t a villain in the strictest sense. She is simply someone who has a job to do and doesn’t let anything stand in the way of that. Her intention isn’t to hurt anyone but she also won’t let anyone stop her. Jessica Camacho has a great presence as well as a fun back and forth with the members of Team Flash.

She interacts with Cisco more which makes sense since they have the same powers. She is a more positive version of his Earth-2 doppelgänger Reverb in some ways as her power level and skills are something that Cisco is really impressed with. He has seen what he could become given more practice and I think this marks a movement towards Vibe being a more active part of the team.


The future is a little more Lego than we expected

She also reminded me of Golden Glider because Cisco’s attracted to her and her morality seems to be in question. The similarities end there though and Gypsy does feel fully formed from when she arrives. She is clearly confident in her abilities and convinced that she’s doing the right thing by bringing H.R. back to face his lethal judgement.

Carlos Valdes and Jessica Camacho have great chemistry and the running gag of him trying to ask her out while she threatened the team was really funny. I would have liked to see more of this but it’s certainly possible that she will return. She certainly seems impressed with Cisco’s charming personality so it would be good to see him given a recurring love interest, especially if she can help him develop his abilities.

The whole trial by combat scenario was a good one for Cisco to get his head around as he wants to stop H.R. from being killed but it also seems that this is a battle that he can’t win. H.R. doubts Cisco’s chances and Barry does as well which creates a mercifully small rift between them. Barry and H.R. try to surprise Gypsy and take her down but she’s far too smart for that which causes Cisco to further doubt his ability to win. Barry does repair the rift by apologising and giving Cisco the confidence boost he needs which felt appropriate for this episode. Barry was trying to help but made a mistake and at least he was able to own up to that fact. He also gave Cisco important advice about facing danger by using others around him to give the necessary support.

I loved the fight between Gypsy and Cisco. It reminded me of a more low budget version of the climax of Thor: The Dark World with the location hopping and it was a good showcase for the abilities on display. The brief journey to Earth-38, better known as the Earth Supergirl inhabits was a fun touch. It’s a really creative action sequence and it felt refreshing to have a satisfying battle that didn’t involve speed. Changing it up now and again is definitely a good thing and it gives Cisco the chance to develop. He wins the fight his own way using his intellect and showing Gypsy mercy allowed her to modify her own mission to let H.R. win as long as he stays on Earth-1.


Gypsy knows how to make an entrance

Iris’ involvement in an episode isn’t something I’ll often praise but she was definitely used well here. It was almost a meta commentary on how poorly this character has been handled up until this point. She reminds the audience that she’s still a journalist which references the fact that it hasn’t come up in any meaningful way in quite a while and her main concern is that she’ll die without leaving behind anything worthwhile. She likens it to her mother dying without any tangible legacy and she wants to be known as more than simply Kid Flash’ sister, The Flash’ girlfriend or Joe’s daughter.. Barry reminds Iris that she and Wally are her mother’s legacy but the point is well made. The writers are essentially admitting they’ve done nothing with her and should probably try to fix that.

The subplot around her investigating black market weapons deals within Central City was a good start and allows the show to explore Iris’ mindset regarding the fact that she might die in 4 months. Her current thinking is that she is essentially invincible because her time of death is a known event. Of course she isn’t factoring in that knowledge of the future could change the future but it’s an interesting line of thought. She also knows that she has two Speedsters looking out for her so she has a better than average chance of survival when staring down the barrel of an advanced weapon. If we have more stories like this with Iris then that will only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

There were some really good scenes within this subplot but the best was her talking to Joe about growing her family with Barry as a distraction. Joe’s reaction when he thought she meant having a child was nothing short of hilarious. Jesse L. Martin always has great comic timing and this scene was a great example of that. The fact that he actually started to sweat during the conversation really made me laugh.

Julian starts working with Team Flash at S.T.A.R. Labs and always has a dose of cynicism to keep things from become too optimistic. The running gag about working on his interpersonal skills and not knowing how to deliver a compliment works really well. I was surprised how much this dynamic worked as I have never been a fan of Julian as a character but in this role he feels well suited. He also proves himself as necessary when he is able to help Cisco with the strategy that lets him defeat Gypsy so it’s not a case of him sitting on chairs and reading information on a screen. Team Flash is shaping up to be a well oiled machine for the first time in a while and it’s really good to see.


Cisco suits up as Vibe

Wally’s completely on Cloud 9 at this point. The citizens of Central City love Kid Flash, he’s getting faster all the time and everything really seems to be going his way. Barry’s shift to being more encouraging as a mentor gives him more confidence in his actions so it’s generally a good time to be Wally. Barry’s idea to change the future by having Wally save Iris from Savitar was a nice surprise as it seemed like the show was going down another tired “I need to get faster” arc. Barry realises that it’s unlikely that he’ll be fast enough when the time comes because his own calculations as well as those done by Julian tell him that so he realises that ego has to be put aside in order to solve this problem.

Obviously this won’t be that simple. I am positive that there is a significant fall to come for Wally in the coming episodes. TV Drama being what it is means that building him up in this way will never be allowed to continue without everything going spectacularly wrong in some way. My guess is that he will make a catastrophic mistake that shatters his confidence completely or he’ll suffer a betrayal of some sort. I still think that Wally is the most likely candidate for Savitar’s true identity so we shall see how this plays out.

The episode does have a major problem. It still doesn’t make sense to me that the team are keeping Iris’ future death a secret. Joe knows that something is up but isn’t pursuing it yet. I’m not sure how things would be any worse if he did know and it’s definitely possible that he could help. I think that Joe will be involved when the next trip to the future is inevitably taken.


A fun episode that reminded me why I enjoyed the show so much back in season 1. Gypsy was a really good character and Jessica Camacho had great chemistry with Carlos Valdes. The running gag of him asking her out constantly was really funny and the fight sequence between them was really creative. An opportunity to develop H.R. more was missed but this plot was really watchable.

Iris was used well in the episode with an apparent admission by the writers that her character has significant problems that need to be ironed out. This takes the form of her wanting to make sure she has a legacy to leave behind should she die and actually using her journalistic skills to inform the plot in a meaningful way. Julian being on Team Flash is working surprisingly well as he shows his worth by helping Cisco devise a strategy to defeat Gypsy. All the positivity surrounding Wally helps with the more fun and optimistic tone as well as setting up the inevitable fall that it sure to come. It may still not make sense that Joe is still being kept in the dark but the show takes some really compelling steps forward in this episode.


I know that Earth

  • 8/10
    Dead or Alive - 8/10


Kneel Before…

  • Cisco and Gypsy’s natural chemistry
  • the creative Vibe/Gypsy fight sequence
  • Iris being used well
  • a fun and light hearted tone

Rise Against…

  • not taking the opportunity to develop H.R. in any meaningful way
  • Joe still being kept in the dark
User Review
9.2/10 (5 votes)