Although that raises a question or two. If Hartley and Chester P. Runk both end up hanging around STAR Labs next year, wouldn’t that mean someone has to go? Much of this season seems to be about getting Caitlin/Frost to reconcile into one “whole” person, and once that’s complete, is there much left to explore with that character? And then there’s the matter of Cisco always seeming to be on the verge of departing for one reason or another. This is some idle speculation, and I’m not looking for an excuse to say goodbye to any core members of the team, but things could get crowded here in the future. I’m not gonna spend any more time thinking about this until/unless I have to, but it sure did feel like they put a lot of work in to make Hartley feel like someone who could feel at home in STAR Labs, didn’t it?
Of course, in order to get back to where Hartley needed redemption in the first place, there had to be some continuity shenanigans worthy of the comics. In this case, Crisis on Infinite Earths meant that the outcome of Barry’s big season 1 battle with Pied Piper ended differently, which meant that the pair never exactly warmed to each other. It’s…convenient, although I feel like we could have told a similar story with these characters without having to go through the weirdness of everyone remembering things the way they used to be. I guess it makes sense for Barry to still remember the “old ways” since he was at the battle at the dawn of time during Crisis, but letting everyone else spit exposition at each other doesn’t really feel sit right. If nothing else, shouldn’t Barry ALSO have memories of the post-Crisis version of events by now? This is no way to go through life, Barry! That being said, it was kind of a neat way to revisit a season one episode and it was cool seeing Barry’s old threads (still, the current costume is the absolute best).
Godspeed is basically the villain of the week/engine that makes these events happen, and once again, he’s something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, he is perhaps the single most striking visual in the history of this show. It’s impossible to take your eyes off Godspeed any time he’s on screen, and that chase battle between him and Flash was an almost season finale worthy work of special effects art and staging (of particular note was Barry running out of speed halfway up the building). On the other hand, I still have absolutely no idea what’s going on with this version of the character. We’re talking about perhaps the greatest new Flash villain of recent years in the comics, and he’s been saddled with mysterious “cybernetic drones” who sound like “a broken modem” and spouting dialogue like “death will rain down on your city unless you give me what I want” is kind of beneath a character this cool.
It’s almost like Godspeed has wandered in from a future season of the show. The thing is, we were teased with him last season, he popped up again in the season premiere (well…his drones did), and now he’s back for reasons unknown to tease…future adventures (?) with lines like “the one who sent me desires infinite velocity.” I’m all for more Godspeed, but the version of the character in the comics (created by Joshua Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico) had a lot more going on, and I’d like to see something more than “mysterious evil speedster in a full face mask” which we’ve already done twice. Also…why were the other Godspeeds still wearing their costumes in prison?