- For the titular book, see The Runaway Dinosaur (Earth-1).
- "I don't understand. If I'm the Flash then why are you doing this to me? Why do I have to catch this 'thing' before you let me go back?"
- —Barry Allen questioning the Speed Force (as Iris West) about the purpose of his speed.
"The Runaway Dinosaur" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of , and the forty-fourth episode overall. It aired on May 10, 2016.
|With Barry gone, the team must figure out a way to handle the return of an old enemy – Girder. Realizing Girder is retracing his steps from his last attack, Iris volunteers to act as bait to trap him in S.T.A.R. Labs. Meanwhile, Barry fights to return to his old life.|
- Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash
- Candice Patton as Iris West and the Speed Force
- Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon/Vibe
- Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West
- Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harry Wells
- Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West and the Speed Force
- Teddy Sears as Hunter Zolomon/Zoom
- Violett Beane as Jesse Wells
- Greg Finley as Tony Woodward/Girder
- Michelle Harrison as "Nora Allen"
- Jason Mewes as a Big Belly Burger patron and meta-human
- John Wesley Shipp as Henry Allen and the Speed Force
Everyone at S.T.A.R. Labs thinks that Barry is gone. As Wells attempts to contact Jesse and Wally, they aren't answering. Wells and Joe go to and find them at the entrance. Wally wakes up; Jesse is alive, but unresponsive. Joe goes to get Harry to help Jesse and Iris takes Wally home. Cisco vibes on remnants of Barry's suit, and learns he is still alive.
Barry awakes in what seems to be his home. He encounters Joe, who tells him that he's not Joe, but the Speed Force itself, having taken Joe's form. Barry says, he needs to go, but "Joe" tells him that he can't. Not until he catches a speeding black blur. Barry runs after it.
Wells is sitting next to Jesse until Cisco reveals that he saw Barry alive in some kind of vortex. Wells realizes that Barry is inside the Speed Force. Joe tells him that he needs to figure out how to get Barry back, while Henry looks after Jesse. Henry learns that Jesse's vitals seem okay, but she just doesn't respond. Iris realizes that Barry was the same, and Henry asks for the records, while he was being treated by Eobard Thawne. Cisco takes Iris to the "morgue", where they sealed dead meta-humans. They find the drive about Barry, but then suddenly, Tony Woodward, aka Girder, breaks out, having been reanimated by the new particle accelerator explosion. He flees and Joe starts to figure out what to do with him.
Barry has been chasing the black blur, until he seemingly encounters Iris, although it's not real Iris. Barry doesn't understand, why he has to catch the blur, if he is the Flash. "Iris" asks him, why he keeps rejecting the gift they gave him. The question makes Barry angry. At the same time, Wells and Cisco prepare to enter Cisco into the Speed Force in order to get Barry back. Cisco is sent to the Speed Force and Barry sees a vortex. "Iris" tells him that his friends are calling for him. He needs to choose whether to return without his powers, or stay and regain his powers. Barry acknowledges Cisco but refuses to return and chases after the blur.
Girder causes some ruckus in the city and as Joe, Iris and Cisco look at the pattern, Iris realizes that he's retracing his steps, and that he's trying to find Iris. Iris comes up with a plan to lure him to the S.T.A.R. Labs where Wells and Cisco can deal with him.
In the Speed Force, Barry encounters another Speed Force avatar, this time in the form of Henry. "Henry" shows Barry his mother's grave, where he has never visited before. He asks from Barry, has he truly accepted Nora's death. Barry counters it by asking, how can anyone truly accept a loss like that. "Henry" then asks, what about all the other people he has saved, does their lives mean anything. Barry chases the blur again.
Iris and Joe are waiting at their house for Girder to arrive. Joe asks from Wally, if he is alright, and tests if he is a meta-human by dropping his coffee mug intentionally. Wally doesn't do anything, which leads Joe to believe he's normal. Girder arrives and Iris begins to lure him to the S.T.A.R. Labs.
Barry arrives to the next place: his childhood home, and encounters one more avatar, in the form of his mother Nora. Barry admits that he has never accepted her death, and realizes that is the thing that is holding him back. "Nora" tells him, that despite that, she is proud of the man he has become,and assures her that those words are the Speed Force and Nora.
Iris has lured Girder into the Labs and Cisco plans to use powerful electromagnets to stop him. As Girder arrives, Cisco activates them, but they shut down after a few seconds, and Girder doesn't stop. Everyone run to the isolation chamber, but the door won't hold for long. Cisco realizes that Barry didn't come back because he didn't want to yet, and says they will need to go back to the Speed Force again to get Barry.
"Nora" reads Barry's favorite children's book to him, "The Runaway Dinosaur." Barry still remembers it and finally understands that despite his mother dying, he still had the mother he always deserved. "Nora" says he's ready, and Barry stands up, and catches the black blur, who is revealed to be himself. Cisco and Wells prepare to go back to the Speed Force, and Wells says, that as long as Cisco vibes, another can go with him, as long as they maintain physical contact. Henry volunteers to go, but Iris insists on going instead. As they vibe, Barry sees the vortex and hears Iris calling to him. "Nora" says: "Run, Barry, run", and Barry enters the vortex, and grabs Iris' hand. All three return and everyone are overjoyed to have Barry back. The subject quickly returns to Girder, and Barry is able to lure him back to the electromagnets, and manages to use his newly acquired speed to power up the magnets, and stop Girder for good.
Henry examines Barry and he's okay. Henry also says he's coming back to Central City. Barry goes to see Jesse and touches her: electrical crackle follows and Jesse awakes. Barry says he kinda knew it would awake her, and Wells says it's the Speed Force.
Barry and Iris go to his mother's grave for the first time and he admits that every time Joe tried to bring him here, he always found an excuse not to come. He leaves a bouquet of flowers, and the book, "The Runaway Dinosaur". Barry then tells Iris that even though he doesn't know, what it is that is going between them, she has always been the reason for him to come home, and they hug.
In the C.C.P.D., Zoom asks Caitlin if he is with him or against him. He tells her not to answer, rather he makes it a game: he will go to address his friends, and if Caitlin is not there, when he comes back, then she is against him: if she is there, then she is with him. He goes to address his army of meta-humans, and tells them that this world will be theirs.
- The episode's title comes from the name of Barry's favorite childhood storybook.
- The Speed Force repeatedly says "sit, Barry, sit" when talking to Barry, which is likely a play on "run, Barry, run", which has been said on a number of occasions throughout the series.
- The Speed Force, while in the form of Nora Allen, later says "run, Barry, run" to Barry as he is about to leave the Speed Force.
- Cisco gives several zombie references in the episode:
- Barry momentarily shared his Speed Force energy to revive Jesse, which was an ability that in the comics was exclusive to Wally West as a speedster.
- Jason Mewes famously appeared with Kevin Smith as the comedic duo Jay and Silent Bob in Smith's View Askewniverse projects, including Clerks and their own film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
- Kevin Smith stated on Instagram that the final scene between Caitlin and Zoom was filmed during production of the previous episode, "", to allow Danielle Panabaker and Teddy Sears the following week off.
- Cisco references Young Frankenstein when he refers to Girder as "Abby Normal". Abby Normal is what Marty Feldman's Igor refers to as the person whose brain Dr. Frankenstein put into the creature.
- In the crowd of the Earth-2 meta-humans, you can see one meta-human that has the same jacket as Captain Cold, and he has icy hands. The New 52 version of Captain Cold was a meta-human who used his hands to freeze things instead of a cold gun.
- Harry says "First time as tragedy, second as farce." He is quoting from Karl Marx's essay The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, which was originally Die Revolution in 1852.
- When the customer compares the Big Belly Burger in Central City to that in Star City, he calls the latter city "Starling City", even though it had been renamed months prior.
- When Girder attacks the car outside Big Belly Burger, a sign can be seen behind him for a check cashing business which uses the Canadian spelling "cheque" instead of the American spelling.
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