In "Enter Flashtime," tonight's episode of The Flash, Barry is going to need a little help from his speedster friends when a nuclear bomb detonates in Central City. Together with Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick, Barry will enter Flashtime, a new power that enables him to move so fast that it looks like everyone else is standing still. However, the three speedsters can't stay in Flashtime forever, since maintaining Flashtime is dependent on each speedster's stamina -- but, if they stop, it's game over for the city and everyone in it.
Speaking to CBR, Jay Garrick actor John Wesley Shipp explained the intricacies of Flashtime. He shared why he's back for the first time this season, his initial reaction to the script, what it's like to film in Flashtime and how this experience was different from past episodes. He also teased Jay's first real interaction with Jesse Quick, his reaction to Barry's nuclear dilemma, whether or not he will return for another episode down the line and more.
CBR: How does it feel to be back?
Shipp: Oh, it feels great! You know, it feels great to be back. I mean, this is my first episode of the season, and I understood they needed after we spun it out so far in episode three was, what, 24 overlapping timelines and Earths and speedsters popping in and out that they needed to do and they did and it was smart to pare it back to the core cast. Now, what that's resulted in is a lot of fan excitement and anticipation of what is really the first big speedster episode of the season. So it's fun to be a part of that. It's a kick! It's a blast! Nothing I ever expected 28 years ago when I started with this madness. [laughs]
What was your gut reaction when you read the script for the first time?
I thought, "It's brilliant." I thought, "It's really smart." I thought, "What a concept." And my second one was "How are they going to execute it?" With us entering Flashtime and us having to basically perform most of the episode in Flashtime in order to prevent this event from occurring, because -- if we stop -- it's over. And we can't keep running forever. We have different staminas. Speedsters can't run for unlimited periods of time. So there's a very, very limited period of time in which everyone else appears to be frozen because, within the seconds, we're moving so fast to try to solve this problem. I thought, "Man, that's smart, smart writing."
What was it like to film in Flashtime?
It was very interesting! They went all-out. They hired mimes! Because it's a huge event that's happening, involves a huge police force, another underground security force... There's things happening where part of us is moving in regular time, which is really sped up time, and the rest of the world is progressing so slowly that it's almost imperceptible because we're moving so fast. Going in and out of that and how they manage to -- I'll be very interested to see how it all comes together. But doing it, it was wild! It felt like, on a set -- because we were in an airport hangar. We were inside a massive hangar, which is a set and there's lightning, and it felt like we were moving in an alternate reality or in an alternate time.
Can you tease what brings Jay back into the fold?
I think it's already been said that the speedsters get together because it's a situation that's so big and has such a time restraint that they need all hands on deck. So everybody has to work together to try to figure out a way to prevent this event from happening within a matter of seconds.
What is Jay's initial reaction to Barry's nuclear dilemma?
One thing that I like is that Jay started with a great deal of skepticism when Barry showed up changing the timeline and we see that in the diner. Over the process of Jay taking Wally's place in the Speed Force and giving Barry his helmet so that he can find his way out, they've come together more as partners. Jay brings his scientific knowledge. Each individual speedster brings their individual strength. You know, I think Sterling Gates is such a wonderful addition to the staff, because he's straight out of DC Comics. He knows the legacy of these characters and, if ever there was a superhero world in which legacy is important, it's the Flash.
You're not the only speedster who's coming to Barry's aide. What can you tell us about Jay's interactions with Jesse Quick?
I think Jay sees Jesse for the first time. There's a wonderful moment -- we'll see if it makes it into the edit -- where Jay is very impressed with something that Jesse comes up with. I mean, you really see three speedsters -- Jay was a scientist, you see that. You really see the legacy of the Jay Garrick character, because in the comics he was a scientist, so he brings that knowledge. Barry is furiously trying to figure something out; he obviously has the most stamina. Jesse Quick has her ideas. We're pulling other people in to try to come up with other ideas to keep this thing from happening. So, as far as Jesse Quick specifically, I think he gets to see and appreciate her and bypass the skepticism that he had toward Barry when he first found out that there was a new speedster on the block. It goes straight to, "No, we're all working together as partners."
Were there any other characters you were excited to work with in the episode?
Yeah! Yeah, there are other characters. I mean, it was the most ensemble -- you know, I'm not going to say who or what or how, since we're moving in Flashtime and not everyone is a speedster, but it's ingenious the way it unfolds. That's all I'm going to say, because I'm very enthusiastic about it and if I talk too much I'll get myself in trouble! [laughs]