After an extended hiatus, The Flash is finally back. “Marathon,” the midseason premiere, has the tough task of dealing with the fallout of “Crisis on Infinite Earths” while also setting up the Iris-centric storyline for the back half of the season. It’s a lot, maybe too much. Actually, definitely too much. But thankfully, it’s far from boring.
While the first half of season 6 was mainly focused on Barry’s impending death in “Crisis,” it also introduced a mysterious secret organization that was exploiting metahumans and turned Allegra’s cousin Esperanza into an assassin. Tonight’s episode picks up that spread as Iris, Allegra, Kamilla, and Cecile (a.k.a. Team Citizen) dive headfirst into investigating the organization, which is called Black Hole, throwing tons of confusion exposition at the audience in the process. Iris meets with an anonymous source who says that Black Hole is connected with McCulloch Technologies, but McCulloch’s CEO Joseph Carver denies these claims. Nevertheless, Iris ignores Cecile’s legal advice and runs her story, which results in McCulloch suing the Citizen for defamation. But that’s just the beginning.
In response to the article, Black Hole puts a kill order out on Iris. Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi, a metahuman who can control light and is the new, more dangerous Doctor Light in the post-“Crisis” world, tries to kill Iris multiple times; Iris narrowly escapes her second encounter with Light, which resulted in her anonymous source being murdered. Cisco is particularly agitated by this development because Doctor Light is one of the many things that changed after the creation of Earth-Prime. “The best part is that a bunch of our old villains are back with fresh paint jobs,” says Cisco at one point. “Our Earth has more threats than ever and we don’t even know where they’re coming from!” I’m glad The Flash, like the other shows, are using “Crisis” to generate more stories.
How everyone is feeling post-“Crisis” is actually at the heart of the episode, especially when it comes to Iris and Barry. Despite the heightened danger, Iris seems hellbent on breaking this Black Hole story because she still hasn’t disengaged from Crisis-mode; she’s still living like there might not be a tomorrow. Thankfully, Joe delivers one of his patented heart-to-hearts and reminds her that she doesn’t have to live like that anymore since they all survived the Crisis. “We have time now,” he says. “Don’t go charging to the frontline like you have nothing to lose.”
Similarly, Barry is having trouble coming to terms with Oliver’s death. Diggle comes to town and delivers a gift from Oliver: the mask Barry made for him way back in Arrow season 2’s episode “Three Ghosts.” Barry notices traces of Mirakuru on the mask and immediately assumes Oliver left this for him as a warning to some new threat. So, he drags Diggle all the way to Lian-Yu only for them to discover that there is indeed no Mirakuru out there. That’s when Diggle helps Barry realize the true meaning of Oliver’s sacrifice during “Crisis.” “That man sprinted from crusade to crusade, but Barry, life’s more than just the mission,” says Diggle. “Unfortunately, Oliver learned that too late and wouldn’t want you going down the same path.” I love that the episode tried to find the space to examine how Iris and Barry are faring after everything, and the lessons they learn, even if it did make the episode feel a bit too busy.
Meanwhile, back in S.T.A.R. City, Iris takes Joe’s advice, pumps the breaks, and decides to go after Black Hole more strategically. While Joe and Frost set up a trap for Doctor Light, Iris confronts Joseph Carver about being the leader of Black Hole and makes it clear that she will release all of the information she has on him and Black Hole if any harm should come to her and/or her friends. That’s enough to make Carver call off Doctor Light — and drop the defamation suit.
But Iris changes her mind about pursuing this story slowly when she has an epiphany in the middle of the night thanks to something her anonymous source said: Joseph Carver’s missing wife Eva McCulloch is somehow connected to the Black Hole of it all and there may be clues in her abandoned McCulloch Technologies office. So Iris sneaks into McCulloch Technologies to do some snooping and discovers a giant mirror in Eva’s office. Two silver hands emerge from the mirror and pull Iris into the mirror, which means we’re taking a trip to the mirror world!
Before the episode ends, Cisco voluntarily decides to take his own trip. It turns out the events of “Crisis” left him conflicted over whether or not he should’ve taken the metahuman cure last season. Needing some time to figure out next steps, Cisco takes Caitlin’s advice and decides to leave Star City and catalog all of the changes that resulted from the creation of Earth-Prime. Don’t worry, though, he doesn’t leave Team Flash in the lurch because he asks Nash to help the team in his absence — which will obviously go well.
Wall of Weird:
- The cold open is one of the show’s funniest scenes to date: Jitters finally reopens after the Crisis and is immediately robbed by armed terrorists. “Dude, we just reopened. There’s barely anything in [the cash register],” says an annoyed barista.
- “What happened to Magenta? I liked her,” wonders Frost after Cisco anxiously yells about the Earth-Prime changes.
- After yelling at Nash because of his role in starting the Crisis, Cisco retreats to his lab and watches a pre-Crisis message from Harry Wells, who started regaining his intelligence before dying.
- Fun fact: Kimiyo Hoshi was first introduced as a new Doctor Light in the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic.
- More comics info: Both Carver and Black Hole are relatively new additions to the DC Comics mythos, having been introduced in the Rebirth-era Flash series. In the comics, Black Hole’s main goal is exploiting the Speed Force. It’s unclear whether or not the show will follow that same path.
- The Flash boss warns that Barry isn’t prepared for ‘the real fallout’ of ‘Crisis’
- ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ introduces a major change for the CW’s superhero shows
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