Finding the Formula on The Flash

If there’s been a constant theme for the season and two-thirds that we’ve seen of The Flash thus far, it’s that Barry Allen knows he has to get faster. Despite being able to run at sufficient speed to break the sound barrier and travel through time, he’s still found himself overmatched when it comes to the villainous speedsters he’s encountered, whether it’s Big Bads like Reverse-Flash and Zoom or one-off menaces like Trajectory.

So Barry has done a lot to change that. He’s run on his specially designed treadmill. He’s briefly considered taking Velocity 9, despite the fact that it has the worst possible side effect (that’d be death). And this week, we saw him pore over books at super-speed, researching something that turned out to be a Speed Force equation.

That didn’t escape the notice of the eagle-eyed hosts on The Flash After Show, who discussed the theory that maybe Harrison “Harry” Wells is something more than he appears — perhaps even a slightly lesser known speedster himself. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves …

A Formula for Speed

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The idea of an equation or formula that can grant super-speed comes not from any iteration of the Flash, but a different speedster from the Golden Age of comics named Johnny Quick. Created in 1941, journalist Johnny Chambers learned the formula 3X2(9YZ)4A, which when said out loud (don’t ask how it’s actually pronounced) gave him the ability to move at incredible speeds.

Though he always felt like a bit of a second fiddle to original Flash Jay Garrick, Chambers had a lengthy heroic career by himself and as a member of the All-Star Squadron. He even married fellow superhero Libery Belle, with whom he had a daughter, Jesse. She would later succeed both her parents as Jesse Quick (most of the time) and Liberty Belle (less often), but in either identity, she knew what to say to go fast as well.

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Johnny was originally taught that the formula was mystical in nature, and indeed, his early comic book adventures carried the tagline, “Johnny Quick and his Magic Formula.” It wasn’t until decades later that writers linked his powers to the Speed Force, the unifying energy that gives the Flash and almost all speedsters their abilities. With this development, it was explained that the formula was merely a mantra that allowed Chambers to tap into the Speed Force.

If this is the direction the writers on The Flash are going, there’s some precedent for a person with super-speed using the formula to become even faster. During a time when the first Wally West in DC Comics was the Flash, he persuaded Johnny to teach him the formula, and the result was that he could move at near-light speed with little effort — though slowing back down again was a problem.

Could Wells be Johnny Quick?

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The Flash After Show host Devon Stewart knows everything we just covered with regard to Johnny Quick and the formula, which is why he brought up this intriguing hypothesis during this week’s episode:

To me, the new Wells #2 is Johnny Quick. You can’t have Jesse Quick as you daughter and then not be Johnny Quick, unless you adopt her. I don’t know what the issue is that we haven’t found out, but his name is Johnny Quick to me.

Jack Hind piggybacked off that idea and then took it to the next level:

Everybody who is a speedster embodies the character of Harrison Wells in their specific world. So we have Eobard Thawne, Harrison Wells in our normal world, and then we’ve got Johnny Quick, Harrison Wells in Earth-2.

You can’t rule it out. With some knowledge of a speed formula, a daughter named Jesse who he’s already called “my Jesse Quick” and some feelings of rivalry/inferiority when it comes to Jay Garrick, the writers of The Flash are at least giving Johnny Quick a massive tribute if not intending Harry Wells to actually be that character.

Another Option for Barry

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Despite his initial goal of traveling back in time to get Thawne to help him complete the speed equation, Barry eventually ended up with something else entirely: The specs to the Reverse-Flash’s tachyon device, or so it appeared.

If you watched the Supergirl crossover episode earlier this week, it’s quite possible you’ve already seen the device in action, helping the Flash run fast enough to break the dimensional barrier without use of a portal. That didn’t necessarily sit well with the TFAS hosts, though Adam Kruger pointed out that perhaps Barry’s meeting with Kara happens later in The Flash Season 2 relative to where we are right now, and the events of “Flash Back” certainly seem to back that idea up.

That said, the equation or formula is still out there as a potential tool for Barry to access more of the Speed Force, maybe even enough to defeat Zoom once and for all.

Make sure you watch this week’s entire edition of The Flash After Show for discussion of time wraiths, how Barry got knocked out so easily by Thawne/Wells, a touching moment for Iris West and much more.

Do you think Harry will truly be revealed as Johnny Quick? Which way will the Flash eventually become faster? Is Adam’s tan the best souvenir he brought back from Hawaii? Sound off on these and other pressing questions by using the hashtag #TheFlashAS on social media.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @theStreamtv and The Flash After Show hosts:

Adam Kruger – @TheAdamKruger
Devon Stewart – @DevonDStewart
Jack Hind – @JackHind
Carolina Bonetti – @CarolinaBonetti

theStream.tv Fan Show Network presents The Flash After Show. Tune in each week, live or on demand, for review and conversation about CW’s The Flash! At the helm of the show are writers & producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns who help bring this DC Superhero to life. The series is produced by CW and is a spinoff of their popular DC Superhero show, Arrow. The Flash, tells the story of Barry Allen after witnessing his mother’s strange murder and his father’s wrongful conviction for the crime. Allen becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. After being struck by lightning from a storm and doused with chemicals in his lab, he enters a nine-month coma, and when he wakes up he discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds. Harrison Wells, the disgraced designer of the failed accelerator which caused the storm, describes Barry’s special nature as “metahuman”. Allen soon discovers that he is not the only one changed by the radiation, vowing to use his gifts to protect Central City from the escalating violence of metahuman criminals. In the series, The Flash will face metahumans from the DC universe including Weather Wizard, Multiplex, The Mist, Captain Cold, The General, Girder, and Blackout. Barry Allen is aided by a few close friends and associates who guard his secrets.
If you’re a fan of the DC and the show then tune in each week for the live after show. #TheFlashAS

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1 Comment

  1. PETE on January 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Johnny Quicks formula can be seen in season 2 episode 17 at 40 seconds. Can be seen in reverse as Barry is writing the formula down on the clear dry erase board

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