It was a little jarring to settle back into the world of "The Flash" sans the cast of "Arrow" after the mega-crossover event, but this superhero show managed to pull off a classic holiday episode that, although a little over-stuffed, was full of reasons to celebrate.
Plus, we learned that Zoom loves Christmas...
Here were the nine biggest moments from "Running to Stand Still."
Time for another all-star villain team up.The CW
Merry Christmas! Let's celebrate with some of our favorite "The Flash" villains joining forces to make the holidays miserable for everyone else. When Weather Wizard breaks Captain Cold (who loves a good prison break ?) and Trickster out of prison, it is not the merriest of holidays for the residents of Central City — especially Patty Spivot, who is still seeking justice for her father's untimely death at the hands of Weather Wizard.
TBH, this episode felt a little jam-packed with plotlines to throw in the return of some of this show's classic villains, but I will never turn down an opportunity to see Mark Hamill's Trickster chew up some scenery. Though Trickster is perfect for any season, there is something about his unique brand of joyful (albeit sociopathic) theatricality that fits in disturbingly well with the Christmas season.
Snart might not be a very good villain, but he's not a very good hero, either.
Captain Cold doesn't stick around for long, opting out of Weather Wizard and Trickster's plan to kill The Flash. Instead, Snart warns Barry, most likely out of some sense of obligation for that time Team Flash saved Snart's sister. (#BestFrenemiesForever)
But don't go charting out Snart's redemption arc just yet. Barry gives Snart the chance to help Team Flash take down Weather Wizard and Trickster, but Snart refuses. (Probably because he has to go psych himself up for "Legends of Tomorrow," where he might actually get a proper redemption arc.) "I'm not interested in being a hero," Snart tells Barry. Barry's perfect response? "You're doing a lousy job of being a villain." Burn. (Or should we say freeze?)
It's a Christmas miracle none of those kids opened their presents early.The CW
I actually find it highly unlikely that not one of these Central City kids managed to cajole (read: whine) their parents into letting them open Santa Trickster's present early. However, I also like my episodes of "The Flash" to, you know, not ruin the holidays for me, so I am willing to overlook this lapse in logic.
Barry didn't have as much time to ponder these things. When Weather Wizard and Trickster tell him that, unless he lets them hurt him, they will blow up 100 Central City families, Barry has no choice but to go with it.
Luckily, Barry is never working on his own. Cisco, Jay, and Harry work together to create some kind of drone-driven magnet that carries the bombs through the breach. Um, hope that portal doesn't come out anywhere especially populated on Earth-2... Or in Grodd's gorilla sanctuary.
My name is Patty Spivot. You killed my father. Prepare to die.The CW
In a parallel to the angst Barry was dealing with in season 1, Patty is determined to avenge her father's death. She uses a handy contraption to fix The Flash where he stands, then pulls her gun on an immobilized Weather Wizard, planning to shoot him in cold blood.
This episode wasn't as feels-oriented as I expected it to be given that it saw the introduction of Wally West and, you know, is an episode of "The Flash," but I had some major feels in watching The Flash beg Patty not to give up her life (metaphorically) in order to kill Weather Wizard. To Patty, he may be speaking as The Flash, but to us fans, he is obviously speaking as Barry. As someone who has been in her place before, and as someone who doesn't want to lose another person that he cares about.
Patty eventually arrests Mardon instead of killing him, to Barry's obvious relief. Later, Patty tells Barry that she's ready to tell him about all of the drama that has been going down in her life lately. If only Barry adopted the same honesty policy. (Judging you, Barry.)
Iris tells her family about Wally.
Candice Patton is a force to be reckoned with. When this show gives her something to do, she always nails it. This week, her Something To Do was Iris finally telling Joe about the baby Francine had after she left all those years ago: Wally.
Watching Iris break down to Barry over the secret she has been keeping from her father for these past few weeks — weeks, it's felt like months! — was heartbreaking, and one of the few real #WestAllen interactions we've had in a while. Then, we got the big reveal, which understandably took Joe by surprise. But if there's any family unit who can survive emotional upheaval, it's this one.
Joe gives Barry his father's watch.
I'm not crying. You're crying. Struggling over what to give Barry as the perfect gift for Christmas, he settles on the watch his own father gave him. Joe to Barry: "I always said I would give this to my son. And now I have." Me to the TV screen: ?.
Joe may have just found out he has a biological son — one he is so excited to meet and love — but that doesn't change how he feels about Barry. (Now, if only Iris could have gotten the same love-affirming moment. I wouldn't have loved to see these two talk it out after how upset Iris was about telling her father the truth about Wally.)
Wally crashes the West family Christmas party.
Kind of awkward. Totally heart-wrenching. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Wally's appearance may have been brief, but he is obviously going to play a mega-important role in "The Flash" moving forward. Sure, presumably he will eventually become Kid Flash, but — in the mean time — he is going to bring some serious emotional drama to this show. Which, let's be honest, is the absolute best part of "The Flash." Game on, show.
Snowjay share a kiss under the mistletoe.
This two are adorable, and Cisco is not afraid to comment on it. Repeatedly. OK, so it comes off more like exasperated affection, but you know Cisco is so happy for his bestie Caitlin on the inside. Point is: #Snowjay is totally a thing.
Caitlin and Jay basically spend the entire episode gazing after one another, as Jay pretends not to have even a basic knowledge of Christmas and Caitlin works her mistletoe game. I'm still disappointed that Jay hasn't had more to do thus far this season, but given the final game-changing twist of this episode, I'm thinking (read: hoping) that's about to change...
Harry joins Team Zoom.
I'm not gonna lie. This storyline lacked suspense for me. Did anyone really think that Harry wasn't going to choose to help his daughter, even at the cost of betraying Team Flash? That being said, I would probably find watching Tom Cavanagh read the phone book (do we still have phone books? Maybe on Earth-2) compelling, so this subplot wasn't without its fascination.
Furthermore, Harry's apparent decision to help Zoom steal Barry's speed is a game-changer heading into the second half of the season. Let's just hope it isn't just a retread of season 1. Guess we'll find out in the new year, "Flash" friends!