The Flash: How Does The Speedforce Actually Work?

The Flash — “Into the Speed Force” — FLA316b_0102b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

This week was, for the most part, centered around Barry’s second venture into the Speedforce, this time to save Wally West. It went…poorly. Besides Cameo-palooza, the Speedforce was mainly just a mechanism for making Barry feel like crap. And since we don’t know very much about the Speedforce, I have a couple of questions that this week’s episode brought up.

And to be clear: I’m talking about the Speedforce location as opposed to the Speedforce…force. I know that they same thing, but the location is the weirdest part for me and it’s the focus of this week’s episode.

How easy is it to travel to the Speedforce?

It seemed like a huge deal last time Barry traveled to the Speedforce. So big of a deal that Barry disintegrated into nothing and only the love of the team was able to get Barry back in one piece. It was quite an afternoon.

This time, Cisco opened a portal and there Barry went. Once it was all done, Barry signaled to Cisco and Barry and Wally walked right out of the portal. That’s it. “Y’all come back now, ya hear?” It’s just that easy.

What is stopping our heroes from traveling back to the Speedforce in the future? It seems like Cisco might take the award for Most Useful Power That Is Criminally Underused. Not only can Cisco vibe anywhere on the planet, and to other dimensions, aaaaaaand to the future. Cisco can also vibe to magical places that only exist for speedsters. That would probably come in handy more than once a year, you would think.

Does Jay have to watch Wally’s mom die forever?

Wally is being tortured in the Speedforce with what we eventually learn is being forced to relive his mother’s death. And it wasn’t like Wally was just standing in the middle of a room crying and we were told he was seeing his mother. She was in the room with him. He was standing at her hospital bed, which is conveniently in the metaphysical basement of the CCPD. And when Jay took the burden off of Wally’s shoulders, he walked right over to that hospital bed, bowed his head, and stood there.

Sooooooo…is the Speedforce going to change Jays torture to something more personal? If so, why not show us? We don’t know very much about Jay but he’s a character everyone seems to like. This would have been a fun opportunity to show us what makes Jay tick. Why does he fight? Who has he lost?

And if it isn’t going to change the torture from Mrs. West’s death, is Jay just going to have to pretend it matters to him in an attempt to fool the Speedforce? Or does he have so much honor than any loss of human life is tragic for Jay? My god. What a hero.

Who was watching the Speedforce from Episode 6 to Episode 9?

The biggest Speedforce revelation was the idea that someone always needs to be tortured in the Speedforce. It powers the Speedforce or keeps it in check or whatever. Who knows? When Wally disappeared into the breach, Savitar was clear that Wally would take his place in Speedforce hell and that allowed Savitar to be free. And we are supposed to assume up until that episode, Savitar has been pulling Speedforce hell duty.

But who was next to the proverbial Hospital bed while Savitar was running around Central City? All of the major speedsters were accounted for. Barry, Wally, Savitar, and Jay were on Earth-1. Jesse was on Earth-2. Thawne is running around in the past and Black Flash is following him. Trajectory exploded. The Accelerated Man is on Earth-19.  That’s everyone I can think of which means one of two things. Either there is a new speedster we don’t know about that Savitar has captive or the writers didn’t think this far ahead. I’m going with the latter. The latter is a good answer to a lot of questions this season.

What does the Speedforce want?

Plain and simple. What does it want? Does it want Barry to live? If it does, why did it try to kill Barry? Does it not care if Barry lives? If not, why go through all this trouble? Did it know Jay was going to save him? Did it know he could beat Black Flash? Did it plan to have Jay tag out for Wally? Did it want Wally at all? If Barry tried to tag out for Wally, would it have stopped him? Why does it want to stop Savitar? Isn’t Savitar using the Speedforce? Could they not cut him off? Why did it want to make Barry feel guilty? Last time, it wanted to make Barry feel better. He clearly learned his lesson with Flashpoint.

If you ask me, the Speedforce looks less like a sentient force of the universe and more like a bunch of writers with inconsistent ideas of what the Speedforce is and does. But then again, who cares? Next week is the musical crossover. And then Abra Kadabra.

Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.