Last time on The Flash, Gorilla Grodd returned and had an unlikely, but brief and awesome alliance with Barry Allen / Flash (Grant Gustin).
In this week’s installment, “Death of the Speed Force,” we see the return of not one, not two, but three Flash fan favorites!
[As always, SPOILERS AHEAD]
Oh Barry, Barry, Barry . . . When will you ever catch a break? During this episode, we once again get to watch a riveting performance by Gustin as the Flash watches one of his parents die again: this time his mother posing as the Speed Force.
As Barry has unwittingly caused his own problems yet again because of a minor plot detail that happened during Crisis of Infinite Earths – the “green energy” that The Spectre / Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) had imbued The Flash with that allowed him to return to the Speed Force had ironically corrupted and inevitably killed it beyond repair.
The destruction of the mysterious entity has dire implications for Team Flash going forward because it renders Barry’s source of power to become limited, and it’s only a matter of time when his and other speedster’s abilities eventually run out.
This, of course, sets up a bit of conflict between Barry, and the featured guest star of this episode . . .
Wally West / Kid Flash
[Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West / Kid Flash. The CW Network, The Flash. 2020]
The return of Keiynan Lonsdale as Kid Flash started-off this week’s show with a flashy (pun intended) show of power as he saves people from a helicopter crash in spectacular fashion when he dismantles the machine piece-by-piece as it falls.
While doing so, he reveals to have learned a couple of new speedster tricks – the ability to make multiple speed clones (AWESOME!), and make shapes with his lightning and twirl it around his hands. (Which, looks cool? I guess…)
He also seems to have developed a Zen-like demeanor after spending time with the Peace Corps and studying under a Buddhist monk.
Upon his return he is welcomed back by the Flash family with a party at Star Labs, and while everyone is celebrating his return . . .
Cisco Ramon / Vibe
Cisco (Carlos Valdes) arrives at the party and thinks it’s meant for him.
Of course, he is hilariously disappointed as he discovers it’s actually for Kid Flash, but his return to the team is nonetheless greeted delightfully by everyone.
After his trip around the world (including an apparently long stay in Atlantis) collecting data on the Post-Crisis metahuman situation, he comes back with a bingo book –which is aptly called
“Cisco’s Who’s Who? Binder” – filled with cards with information and stats on past, present and (potentially) future metahumans in the show.
(IF YOU PAUSE when Cisco is going through the book, you can see a few more familiar faces in the album who we haven’t seen since season 1!)
As Cisco goes through the book, he pulls out a card of “Turtle-2,” the metahuman who’s responsible for trying to crash the helicopter earlier in the episode.
Barry, instead of being concerned for the new villain, comments on Cisco’s underwhelming nickname choice. (As am I! I expected more from you, Cisco)
And speaking of villains . . .
Reverse-Flash / Eobard Thawne
As it has been hinted for a few weeks with Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) through visions/hallucinations, season 1 “big bad” and hands-down THE MOST ICONIC VILLAIN ever to grace the show, Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash, returned this week by SOMEHOW possessing Nash’s body.
His first act upon returning, of course, is trying to kill Cisco (which he has successfully done in the past), but thankfully he fails this time because – as he regrettably discovers – he does not have super-speed since Nash is not a speedster (yet).
Tom Cavanagh has always been a delight to watch throughout the show’s run and to see him play Nash Wells and Eobard Thawne in this episode showcases the nuance in his performance as it’s easy to tell when Cavanagh switches from one character to the other by changing up his body language and the way he talks.
Thawne is easily the most ruthless and dangerous villain the show has ever had, and his return in this Post-Crisis era of the Arrowverse seems like a step in the right direction for the show.
Moreover, he serves as an inspiration of sorts for Team Flash because they realize that Thawne created the Negative Speed Force, the source of his powers, and since the real Speed Force is “dead,” at the end of the episode they plan to create their own artificial source of super-speed.
The Flash, “Death of the Speed Force,” is an excellent setup episode that places several key characters and plot details in place for the show to resolve as the season keeps moving forward to a seemingly satisfying conclusion.
That’s why this installment scores a . . .
- Eva McCulloch (Efrat Dor) is still keeping the real Iris-West Allen (Candice Patton) in the Mirrorverse, and it seems that she and the Iris clone are slowly becoming more unstable the longer they’re separated.
- Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) has one of his signature pep talks with Wally, which Wally then pays forward to Barry… because like father, like son, right?
- Wally notices that the Iris clone “seems different” and warns Joe to keep an eye on her.
- Kamilla Hwang (Victoria Park) unwittingly takes a photo of the Iris clone, which reveals her true nature. In response, the Iris clone tries to make her delete the photo, but when Kamilla failed to do so, she is shot by the Iris clone’s stolen Mirror Master gun, which sends her (presumably) to the Mirrorverse.
- The show recreates a pivotal comic book panel with this shot of Barry & Wally sharing a hug as they re-unite.
The Flash Season Finale Recap – Flash Fails in Finale (6 x 19)
In the (premature) season finale of The Flash, Barry and the team form an uneasy alliance with Joseph Carver to stop Eva/Mirror Master.
Carver, who has relentlessly tormented Barry and the team this season, becomes vulnerable when his band of female mercenaries – Dr. Light, Ultraviolet, and Sunshine – are captured and persuaded by Eva to betray him.
The mercenaries are, of course, hilariously dubbed by Ralph as “Carver’s Angels.”
At first, Carver tries to escape into witness protection (an ironic solution since he forced Joe West to do the same), but because Mirror Chief Singh is in charge of CCPD it is unsafe for him.
Which, of course, forces him to work with Team Flash.
THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND
Barry, along with Ralph, Nash, and Allegra, reluctantly agree to protect Carver.
So the team and Carver’s personal army take their stand against Eva’s imminent attack at the McCulloch Tech Industries building.
Eva, Mirror Singh, and the three mercenaries, however, manage to break through the building’s defenses and make easy work of Carver’s security detail.
While Nash, Ralph, Allegra, and Sue hold off the three mercenaries, Eva and Mirror Singh pursue Carver, who Barry personally guards.
Eva showcases the ability to take control of a mirror double as she breaks out of the body of Mirror Singh while battling Barry.
Despite their best efforts, Eva successfully murders Carver when she infiltrates his panic room and telekinetically stabs him with a piece of broken mirror.
This scene has shades of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) driving a coin via magnetism through the skull of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in X-Men: First Class.
Barry, who tried to shield Carver from Eva’s onslaught, was incapacitated with glass shards and was helpless to stop the killing.
Essentially, Barry becomes the de facto Professor X in this scenario, but less dramatic or cinematic.
For once though, Barry’s incompetence becomes believable and almost excusable because of the death of the Speed Force plot device, so kudos to the writers for that, I guess?
Because I do believe a fully-powered Flash is nigh unbeatable in most situations – an opinion backed up by years of comic book reference material.
So seeing him fail within reason is less off-putting than it usually is when he does have his full speed.
Nevertheless, Eva orders her minions to stop fighting with Team Flash and decides to spare their lives because she has nothing against them personally.
And that they should be thankful to her for taking out Carver because he was “evil.”
She even asks Barry to become allies in the future, which Barry declines – a bit of a puzzling decision considering the benefits.
Pros (If they became allies)
- ) Eva likely releases Iris, Kamilla, and Singh from Mirrorverse.
- ) STAR Labs + McCulloch Tech, Inc. = more capital and brainpower.
- ) Improved security, and a roster of meta-human mercenaries.
- ) Access to the Mirrorverse where you can place meta-human criminals instead of Iron Heights – because they’ve got to be close to full capacity by now, right?
- ) Your boss is a bit crazy (what boss, isn’t?), and may stab you if you piss her off.
- ) You get paranoid around mirrors because she may be watching you at any moment, and come out of it.
- ) She may secretly make a mirror clone to replace you.
All things considered, Eva’s proposition makes a lot of sense if she genuinely is doing what she does for the sake of good as she claims.
This is why I do tend to agree with Eva’s logic because even though she has done “bad” things, she arguably does have justifiable reasons to do so, while Carver simply chose to in order to gain power.
Moreover, Eva’s mind has been warped by the Mirrorverse, to no fault of her own, and her actions seem like less of a direct threat to Team Flash than Carver’s.
For instance, Carver straight-up tries to have Joe West and other members of the team assassinated, while Eva simply kidnaps and uses them as insurance so Flash doesn’t interfere with her plans.
So then it becomes a case of the lesser of two evils, and Eva, in this case, seems to be the lesser. Plus, she is a much more compelling villain anyway.
What I don’t understand though is why did she need to keep Iris, Kamilla, and Singh in Mirrorverse? A question that will be left unanswered until season 7 returns, whenever that may be.
In the end, Eva reclaims control of her company and fakes a story about Carver dying during a rescue attempt from a terrorist group that was keeping her hostage during the years she went missing.
While Team Flash can chalk this up as a loss, they live to fight another day as they figure out how to deal with Eva and her now powerful influence.
In hindsight, the title of the episode “Success Is Assured,” which is also the mantra of Eva and her mirror clones, sort of acts as a foreshadowing of the events that unfolded.
And it’s kind of refreshing, in a way, to see the good guys lose for once. It makes them seem more grounded and less cliche’.
- Sue Dearbon is framed by Eva for the death of Joseph Carver for some reason. Which is completely baffling, so an explanation should be in order for next season
- Iris’s “neural dissonance” has gotten worse, but she finds where Singh is in Mirrorverse and lets Kamilla know. However, she suddenly disappears, and her fate is unresolved until the show resumes.
- Caitlyn Snow / Frost is taken in by their mother to cure her of her ice disease, and it is hinted that she may not return for a while.
- Nash gifts Allegra a stone fragment that allows her to force her enemies to re-live their worst memory – which, of course, she uses on her cousin Ultraviolet.
- Joe West returns from witness protection and should be back for season 7.
- No mention of Cisco because he’s in Atlantis chillin’ with Aquaman or something, apparently.
Many plot points were left unresolved (again, because of the Coronavirus situation), and it’s a bit frustrating to be forced to wait a long time for the payoff.
In a way though, it is still a satisfying ending to the season because it sets up a number of storylines that could potentially drive the narrative for season 7 in a unique direction.
Plus, the villains winning in a season finale is a breath of fresh air (regardless if it was intentional or not) akin to how Thanos won in Avengers: Infinity War.
That’s why this installment of The Flash scores…
The Flash Recap – Pied Piper and Godspeed Return (6×18)
On the May 5 episode of The Flash, Godspeed and Pied Piper return to Central City for some unfinished business with Team Flash.
Godspeed/August Heart, as always, wants to suck the speed out of Barry and every speedster in the known universe, while Piped Piper/Hartley Rathaway is still holding a deep-seated grudge.
On the other hand, Barry and his team are stuck in a rut because they have no idea how to break the real Iris, Kamilla, and Chief Singh out of Mirrorverse.
And their Artificial Speed Force is yet to be activated.
So just a typical day for the heroes of Central City.
The episode begins with Godspeed, or rather another drone of the real deal, suddenly attacking The Flash at one of his weakest points.
He sucks out a portion of Barry’s speed and is stopped by Nash Wells.
After the attack, the team argues which tasks are more important – namely dealing with the threat of Godspeed, engineering the Artificial Speed Force, or getting their friends out of Mirrorverse.
They do not come to a consensus, and each basically does their own thing.
In order to deal with Godspeed, Barry is forced to seek help from his old “frenemy” Hartley, whose boyfriend he basically put into a sort of “vibration coma.”
Meanwhile, Godspeed collects the speed from the previous drones locked-up in Iron Heights and threatens to kill everyone in the city if The Flash does not give himself up.
Barry, of course, recklessly runs to face Godspeed with no plan whatsoever and almost gets killed.
However, Hartley comes to the rescue after digesting the inspirational words from Barry during an earlier heart-to-heart talk.
So the two of them join forces to take down Godspeed with a combined Flash Lightning / Piper Soundwave attack that SOMEHOW conveniently stops the supercharged Godspeed.
Moreover, as Godspeed lays defeated, a liquid discharge / “blood-like” substance seeps from its body, which Wells happens to deduce to be the exact component they need to save Hartley’s boyfriend.
Photo courtesy of The CW.
Okay. So, I know The Flash thrives in its formulaic superhero trope, and its part of the reason they’ve been fun to watch because you get to see random comic book characters come to life each show.
But this episode is just lazy writing riddled with plot device after another.
Plus, the side stories aren’t even that interesting and did not serve to further or add to the bigger picture narrative for this season.
Yes, there were action sequences with great special effects.
Yes, there were acting moments that provided an emotional backbone to the characters.
But the plot just seemed forced and poorly tie any of the characters together, which is a shame because they yet again wasted a Godspeed appearance.
Or are the writers now simply using his character as a narrative “band-aid” to fill as a plot device when needed?
This would be a disservice to the character’s comic book counterpart, and it’s frustrating to watch for a lot of fans.
Since he’s basically reduced to the role of a mysterious recurring eye candy cameo.
And his comic book version has far more substance than that.
- Cisco goes “emo” during the episode and basically focuses on getting Kamilla back, but at the end of the episode, he teases going to Atlantis, which makes up for his lack of impact in this episode.
- Iris and Kamilla find each other in the Mirrorverse, but Iris is beginning to show the neural dissonance effects that Eva was suffering from.
- Where is Chief Singh?
- Ralph and Frost/Caitlyn basically finish their friendship story arc, and it ends with Ralph handing Frost a life coach “Dig-ploma” (Digby + diploma).
- Allegra is still giving Nash the cold shoulder
- Joe is shown safe and sound in his new witsec home as Barry visits him.
Simply put, this was a filler episode with visual fan service.
Despite the flashy (pun intended) special effects used in this installment, the narrative fell flat and a little too deus ex machina. (i.e.) How Godspeed’s “blood” was the key to saving Pied Piper’s boyfriend.
However, the nod to Atlantis and its potential implications for the season finale are intriguing.
Cisco and/or Flash might be meeting Aquaman? Maybe at some point in the show’s future? One can dream.
For these reasons “Pay the Piper” scores a
The Flash will prematurely have its season 6 finale next Tuesday due to the Coronavirus pandemic stopping production mid-season.
The Flash Recap – Mirror Master Shatters Her Prison (6 x 17)
On the April 28th episode of The Flash “Liberation,” Barry tries to uncover the truth behind the unusual behavior of his wife Iris, but gets more than he bargained for.
After Barry gets kicked out by Mirror Iris in the previous episode, Barry goes to investigate his wife and realizes she is not her true self.
MIRROR IRIS EXPOSED
While investigating “Iris,” he tracks her cellphone’s GPS signal to the evening the real Iris went to Joseph Carver’s headquarters for a scoop, but is instead trapped in the Mirrorverse.
So Barry decides to tell Cecile of his discovery, and the two of them along with Nash Wells prepare to trap Mirror Iris.
However, Eva/Mirror Master-2 has been keeping track of Barry’s actions the entire time, and manages to take counter-measures against Barry’s trap.
Barry ends up being detained by Cecile and Nash because Mirror Iris is able to reverse the trap Barry setup.
Mirror Iris then proceeds to execute the plan she and Eva have been working on along with Mirror Singh, and Mirror Kamilla.
The three go into a maximum-security prison in order to take a blood sample from Bloodwork/Ramsey Rosso, but not without a cost.
In order to release Bloodwork from his prison, Mirror Kamilla willingly sacrifices herself to de-stabilize Bloodwork’s specialized meta-human cell to the dismay of Mirror Iris.
Bloodwork is unleashed and incapacitates Mirror Singh, and chokes and interrogates Mirror Iris.
He tries to find out what Eva is planning, and questions why Mirror Iris is so willing to go along with it as he senses her hesitation.
Mirror Iris answers. “I want to be alive,” which satisfies Bloodwork, so she gives them a sample of his blood and returns to his cell.
Sendhil Ramamurthy reprises his role as Ramsey Rosso/Bloodwork
MIRROR MASTER ESCAPES
As Barry is finally able to convince Cecile that he is not crazy or an impostor, he is released from his cell and confronts Mirror Iris.
He is too late, however, because Bloodwork’s blood sample turns out to be the key to unlocking Eva out of the Mirrorverse.
Mirror Iris and Barry engage in battle, which ends in Barry being severely wounded.
Meanwhile in the Mirrorverse, as Eva takes the final steps of her plan, the real Iris provokes an emotional response from her, which in turn affects Mirror Iris.
This prevents Barry from meeting his certain death as the emotional trauma is enough to awaken sentience in Mirror Iris, and she is convinced to betray Eva.
Eva senses this, so she destroys Mirror Iris who dies in the arms of Barry and says “I feel alive.”
Then Eva successfully escapes Mirrorverse, and confronts a weakened Barry.
She essentially tells him to get out of her way or else the real Iris will die too.
In the end, Barry and the real Iris share a touching dialogue where both “talk” to each other across dimensions essentially placing their faith in their love to conquer their current predicament.
- Barry, Cisco, and Ralph try to test run their “Speed Force” machine at STAR Labs, which ends in an epic failure.
- Come on guys, we all know Barry is going to get his speed back at some point, so step your game up!
- Caitlyn goes into an “ice coma” after sustaining wounds from the fight with Sunshine, and Cisco and Ralph were only able to wake her up by literally electric shocking her back to consciousness.
- Ralph makes an excellent Frozen reference her by saying “Thank Elsa!” when Caitlyn is revived.
- Cecile’s powers seem to be ineffective in sensing Mirror doppelganger’s as she is easily fooled by all of them.
- Can the Mirror doppelgangers somehow manipulate or reflect human emotions as well?
- Eva’s intentions still seem to be unclear at this point because even though she claims she wants “revenge” she clearly still has unresolved feelings for Carver.
- She is legitimately crazy at this point, so who knows what she wants?
After hating Mirror Iris for the majority of her existence this season, the writers of the show manage to coax out a bit of sympathy toward the Mirror doppelgangers.
Their existential crisis of following orders from their “Mother” Eva versus having free will is something a lot of people can relate to these days since we are sort of forced into staying home and not being able to do a lot.
This is examined through the lens of Mirror Iris in the episode, particularly in her moments of questioning Eva’s “plan.”
She flinches when her “sister” Mirror Kamilla kills herself with no hesitation, and she “feels” alive for the first time in her existence while dying in the arms of her enemy.
Her struggle resonates with the human spirit of yearning for a purpose in one’s life.
For that, this installment scores an
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