[SPOILERS for those not caught up on The Flash ahead.]
It's not unusual for The Flash to end an episode on a dramatic cliffhanger, but "The Wrath of Savitar" ended with one of the most powerful, devastating scenes in the show's history. Manipulated by Savitar, Wally finds out in the most brutal way that his "heroic" actions have actually freed their enemy. Barry can only watch helplessly as Wally is seemingly torn apart and sucked into the Speed Force--forever.
Any fan of the show knows that Barry isn't going to accept Wally's fate, which Savitar's prophecy had warned was "far worse than death." That means another trip into the Speed Force, and a trailer for the upcoming "Into the Speed Force" episode shows that Barry will be running into a lot of familiar faces, once again reminding him of past mistakes and fatal decisions.
In last year's "The Runaway Dinosaur", Barry's trip into the Speed Force was mostly unsettlingly surreal and emotional, as the temporarily-powerless speedster was forced to confront and accept his mother's death. Now actor Grant Gustin reveals, in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, that The Flash won't be treated as kindly this time by those enigmatic Speed Force entities:
"The Speed Force takes a little bit more of an aggressive approach with Barry, just because of choices that have been made since the end of season 2 leading up to where we’re at now. They use different characters that will get under Barry's skin in a different way, but also they’re just not quite as understanding anymore because of how many decisions Barry has made that have affected time and affected the timeline. So it’s a pretty different Speed Force experience than last year."
Those characters include Firestorm, aka Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell); Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller); and Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). The meeting with Eddie will have an added emotional twist since in life, Joe's former partner on the police force was in love with Iris. Preview photos from the episode also include Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp), but it's not clear yet if he's there in reality to help Barry, or as another part of the virtual reality meant to test him.
Barry's first trip into the Speed Force focused on Barry's fear of loss, and this latest battle with Savitar has shown that Barry has continued to make a lot of choices driven by that same fear. The results have often been tragic, and as Gustin has alluded to, there's going to be a lot of consequences and guilt to deal with over those actions. That's why The Flash is going to be willing to sacrifice himself for Wally, and take his place in the Speed Force prison. Whether there's some loophole that can save them both remains to be seen.
The Flash season 3 continues tonight, March 14, with ‘Into the Speed Force’ at 8 pm on The CW.