Tonight's winter finale of "The Flash" -- "Running to Stand Still" -- brought multiple storylines to some very interesting conclusions. Joe West finally discovered the truth about Francine's son, Weather Wizard and The Trickster hijacked Christmas to get revenge on The Flash and Dr. Harry made an awful deal with Zoom to save his daughter. There were some intense emotional moments, especially between Joe and Iris, and Barry came very close to telling Patty the truth about being The Flash. This episode made everyone cry -- even the Trickster -- which easily made it one of the best episodes of the season.
First, let's talk about Mark Hamill. Mark Hamill is known for his role as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars" - a warm-hearted Jedi hoping to bring peace to the galaxy. Hamill is also known for voicing The Joker, in "Batman: The Animated Series" and several subsequent projects. As The Joker, Hamill is cunning, devious and hilarious, and he channeled a lot of his Joker into tonight's performance as James Jesse, a.k.a. The Trickster. Hamill previously portrayed James in season one, but something about his performance tonight felt a thousand times more over the top than any portrayal of The Trickster so far. Maybe it was all the Christmas puns.
As the opening of this episode started, Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre) is seen breaking into Iron Heights prison and busting out two imates: Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller,) and James Jesse/The Trickster. Mardon breaks Captain Cold out of prison because he owes him one. Mardon frees The Trickster from jail because Mardon wants him to create chaos in Central City. While Captain Cold has no hard feelings towards The Flash, he declines to partake in the murderous plans, but Mardon and Jesse both want The Flash dead. Cold even takes the opportunity to warn Barry (Grant Gustin,) but he doesn't give Barry any details, which forces Team Flash to find The Trickster and Weather Wizard the old fashioned way.
When Barry does find their hiding place, he is met by Patty (Shantel VanSanten,) who is there to kill Mardon for killing her dad. The Trickster sends hundreds of dreidels laced with C4 after them, and The Flash flies Patty out of the warehouse before they are both killed. In this moment, Patty realizes that it was all a trap and that she still doesn't have a chance to get her revenge on Mardon. She does decide to tell The Flash about it, which, as it turns out, isn't just about killing Mardon -- it's about getting rid of the incredible guilt she is carrying for thinking her father's death was her fault. This confession from Patty inspires Barry to confront the real Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), or at least the memory of him as Eobard Thawne. For Barry, he can identify with Patty's hatred so well, because he hates Thawne too. But Barry doesn't want that to consume him, so he chooses to let go of the hate.
Another person who got to forgive someone tonight was Joe West (Jesse L. Martin.) For years Joe held onto his hatred and disappointment in Francine (Vanessa Williams) for being an unfit mother. He pretended that she was dead because in his mind, she really was. But when Iris (Candice Patton) told her dad about Wally tonight, he had the opportunity to let go of his hate and forgive Francine for everything that had happened between them. Now they have a son together, and she's dying: there really was no reason for Joe to hold onto that pain anymore.
When Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) showed up the West house during the Christmas celebration at the end of the episode, Joe and Iris were completely shocked. They were also relieved and proud. Joe never thought he would have a son, and now his dream has come true -- the look on Joe's face when he saw Wally was priceless. This addition of Wally West doesn't mean Barry is any less of Joe's son, though. Even after Joe knew about Wally, he still chose to give Barry the watch he had always wanted to give his son.
This does put Wally in a rough situation, because he's only finding out about his dad and sister because his mom is close to dying. He is going to need his father, he is going to needs his sister - he is going to need a community like Team Flash. Also, now that Wally West is on "The Flash," does that mean he'll be turning into Kid Flash anytime soon? There's no reason to assume Wally has speed powers right now, but could he in the near future? Is there an Earth-2 Wally West who does have the Speed Force? Or is he still a normal guy, with no powers as of yet? All will be revealed in upcoming episodes.
This episode concludes with an epic takedown of Weather Wizard and The Trickster, an almost outside-the-law murder by Patty Spivot, some under the mistletoe kissing between Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker,) and some ugly Christmas sweater and hot chocolate bonding between Barry and Patty. The only person who doesn't enjoy the Christmas spirit is Harry, who decides to make a deal with Zoom in exchange for his daughter Jesse's (Violett Beane) life. This is when Zoom finally reveals his plan for The Flash. Zoom doesn't want to kill Barry, he doesn't even want to make him weaker -- he wants Barry stronger. The stronger Barry gets the faster he gets, and when Barry is fast enough, Zoom will be able to take Barry's speed. It may be a good thing Wally doesn't have speed yet, otherwise he would be another target for Zoom.
"The Flash" returns from hiatus Tuesday, Jan. 19 on The CW.