Catching Up: The Flash Episode 311, "Dead or Alive"

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Vibe vs. Gypsy in Flash 311, "Dead or Alive"

We all know that H.R. Wells (TOM CAVANAGH) came from Earth-19 because he's an author looking for inspiration. Here's three things we didn't know. One, he's been writing down all of Team Flash's adventures, casting himself as the hero. Two, he's been beaming these chapters back to his Earth, one at a time.

And three, dimensional travel on Earth-19 is a crime punishable by death.

"Dead or Alive" finds The Flash (GRANT GUSTIN) and Kid Flash (KEIYNAN LONSDALE) chasing "The Electric Gang" at high speed. Their teamwork results in them saving a busload of cheerleaders. (If they save the cheerleaders, do they save the worlds?) Wally is basking in the admiration, and Barry is happy to let him have the attention.

Returning to S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco Ramon (CARLOS VALDES) and Caitlin Snow (DANIELLE PANABAKER) tell Barry they've found a way to "map the future" to help prepare him for the vision of four months from now, when Savitar is destined to kill Iris (CANDICE PATTON). They've done this by building a diorama. Out of LEGO. (I know what I'm doing tonight with my kid!) They're determining the rate of speed Flash will have to attain in order to stop Savitar, given the distance he has to go. Unfortunately, new Team Flash member, Julian (TOM FELTON) says it's impossible. The math just isn't on their side, given the rate of increase in Barry's powers and the time left they have to build them.

While the team figures out how to get around that bit of bad news, Jitters, the local coffee hub, is broken into by the mysterious inter-dimensional traveller we met at the end of last episode. Her name is Gypsy (JESSICA CAMACHO, SLEEPY HOLLOW), and she's a "collector." And what she's come to collect is H.R. Wells. She tracks Wells to S.T.A.R. Labs where we get a better look at her powers, which are basically identical to Cisco's "Vibe" powers. In fact, she may well be his doppelganger from Earth-19 (but that's just this writer's baseless hypothesis at this juncture).

Gypsy loves that Cisco can Vibe, and the two of them engage in serious flirting while facing off against each other. She's also very powerful, able to use her vibrational abilities to open doorways and dimension hop, as well as stop Kid Flash dead in his tracks, holding him in stasis when he rushes in. Gypsy is no mere mercenary, though. She's actually law enforcement on her Earth, and she gives H.R. an hour to collect his things and get them in order, so she can take him back, where he will be executed. (Turns out Earth-19 got invaded by another Earth in the past, forcing Earth-19 to enact laws against such travel. I wonder if the invading Earth might not have been a mirror-universe Earth like Earth-3 in the comics, where the Crime Syndicate rules? Is there a Johnny Quick in our future? An evil Barry?)

Barry is certain HR does not go back to Earth-19, because he saw him in the future. Which prompts Adrian to suggest that perhaps they let him go, as that would change the future again, perhaps for the better. Barry discusses the situation with Iris, and in doing so tries to talk her out of the story she's pursuing about some arms dealers. They have enough life-or-death problems at the moment, they don't really need to invite any more. Surprisingly, Iris agrees.

Except Iris lied. She goes to Wally and asks for his assistance. She figures she doesn't die for four more months, and suggests that she and her brother go on to become the crime-fighting team Barry says they were in the Flashpoint timeline.

Cisco asks H.R. why he risked his life to come to this Earth, and during the conversation learns that H.R. has an out -- trial by combat. When Gypsy arrives, Barry stops her, preparing to challenge her on H.R.'s behalf. But Cisco beats her to it. She reminds Cisco that trial by combat is to the death, but he doesn't back down -- until she leaves. "She's going to kill me, isn't she?" he asks, and everyone is fairly certain that's the case.

The rest of the episode divides its time between Iris and Wally stalking the bad guys, with Iris taking insanely dangerous chances because she doesn't believe this is her time to die, and Cisco preparing to do battle with Gypsy.

When the time for battle does come, "Vibe" actually does a great job holding his own, having had help from Julian in identifying Gypsy's fighting weaknesses. But during the fight, we get to go on an inter-dimensional tour of the multiverse, with the two of them landing on Earth-2, the Earth-38 National City offices of CATCO (from SUPERGIRL) complete with an appearance by Eve Teschmacher (ANDREA BROOKS) and -- could that be Apokolips?!?

Gypsy takes Vibe off guard by throwing a movie quote at him, which just attracts him to her all the more (and she to him), but ultimately he makes his move when he identifies her at a weak spot, and conquers her. She admits defeat and offers up her life, but that's now how Vibe rolls.

Gypsy returns to her world (taking with her a ludicrous amount of contraband coffee, because it is just so great on our world), vibing out just as her lips are about to brush Cisco's in a kiss, which excites Cisco greatly. "What an exit!"

Flash, meanwhile, gets an idea when Iris reminds him that Kid Flash has already helped them to change the future once before. Going to S.T.A.R. Labs where he watches Wally run, Barry tells Wally his idea. He's done the math. He can't save Iris from Savitar.

But he says that Wally will.

"Dead or Alive" has all the elements that make THE FLASH fun to watch, and was also a more light-hearted (than usual) break from all the hopeless "How can I save Iris?" angst. It's good to see Vibe getting to use his powers more as well, as this keeps the possibility for more multiversal action at the fore. Overall, this one was a very satisfying and entertaining episode.

4.5 / 5.0