Twice in Season 1 (I haven't yet seen Season 2) Barry outruns a lightning bolt (or reacts faster than the bolt itself).

The first time is in Season 1 Episode 7 (Power Outage), where

Barry outruns a bolt of electricity aimed at Dr. Wells by Blackout to move Wells out of the way of harm.

The second time is in, I believe, Season 1 Episode 15 (Out of Time), where

Barry pulls Joe out of his car when Mark Mardon manipulates the weather to destroy the car.

Both times, there's a bullet-time sequence that shows the bolt of lightning slowing to a crawl in mid-air - Barry then outruns the bolt, or reacts quicker than that speed.

According to Google, the speed of a bolt of lightning is 3700 miles per second (or 224,000 miles per hour). Barry, in these episodes, has only reached speeds slightly higher than the speed of sound, which is above 700 mph.

I'm sure I could come up with a fan reason for this (as I'm a nerd) if there was a moderate jump in speed, but there's quite the discrepancy here. Granted, he's the Flash, and we know how powerful he's going to become - but is there any canon reason that Barry can perform these feats at this point in time? Or is it just an oversight by the writers for Rule of Cool?

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    I thought the same thing when I saw both of those. Something else I noticed was that Barry only traveled a short distance to avoid those lightning strikes, which suggest he couldn't sustain it and it was impulse-driven (ha!). I choose to believe his need was helping him tap into the Speed Force, albeit in a crude, uncontrolled fashion.
    – user31178
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:22
  • I had the same exact question "The science in this flash show isn't making much sense.. not to long ago they were talking about Barry breaking the sound barrier and how it was awesome.. then suddenly he's faster than a bolt of lightning so much so that the bolt is in slow motion meaning he is a lot faster than it.. like 100 faster than it.. but the bolt of lighting is like 180x faster than the speed of sound.. meaning he went from sound barrier to 18,000x faster than the speed of sound in about half a season
    – VictorB
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 23:51

1 Answer 1


Speed Force is a powerful thing and it isn't always attached with raw leg speed. Remember, Barry was able to pass through matter using Speed Force.

Speed Force can allow you to even manipulate Space-time continuum.

Only logical explanation of your question: Sudden impulsive emotions allowed him to accidentally tap into Speed Force which slowed down time.

  • Given that Barry is later able to freely manipulate time and dimensions, I guess this is as good an answer as any.
    – user14952
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 6:39