The Flash recap: Emotions run high for a perfectly dark Halloween episode
Despite my worries, The Flash didn’t leave us hanging after Barry dropped the bomb on Team Flash about his “Crisis on Infinite Earths” death. Last week’s episode may have cut off before we could see how everyone took the news, but I should have known that this Arrowverse series wouldn’t give up an opportunity to really bring the emotion — even on Halloween. It made for a perfectly dark hour, but not in the way that anyone, including all of Team Flash, expected for the spooky and fun holiday. And while I’m not your regular recapper, I love The Flash and I’m happy I get to step in this week to break down all that happened in “There Will Be Blood.” Let’s dive in, shall we?
This week’s hour picks right back up with Dr. Ramsey Rosso, still fiending for his next dark matter fix, and he’s in pretty bad shape. He can barely hold himself upright as he heads to the hospital to steal some blood bags for his experiments.
Meanwhile, much to my happiness, we finally get to see how the rest of Team Flash reacts to Barry’s confession about his fated death. Cisco is the one taking the news the hardest. He refuses to just sit around doing nothing while Barry’s death looms, and it’s heartbreaking to see how much he’s struggling with this. It’s clear how close they’ve become over the years, so Barry should have known that Cisco’s reluctant “acceptance” of the news was fake.
But before Barry can do more to help Cisco get behind his plan to accept his fate, Joe calls him in for work to investigate what we already know — Ramsey stole 10 liters of blood. With no cameras, the CCPD has no idea who got bloodthirsty. Even Barry isn’t convinced this is a metahuman crime; since it’s Halloween, it could just be kids pulling a bloody prank. It’s not like Ramsey left behind any clues that could help blow up his spot. And while my colleague Chancellor Agard wondered last week if Barry told Joe and Cecile about his part in the “Crisis,” Joe’s comments to Barry in this scene prove that he indeed has. I wish we could have seen that play out on screen, though! Just think of the amazingly emotional father/son moments we would have gotten from that scene. I feel robbed. But at least something Joe says inspires Barry with a plan to help Cisco accept his fate.
Back with Ramsey, he confirms that what he absorbed from Mitch Romero temporarily cured the HLH cancer in his blood, but it wasn’t enough. He needs more blood to create a permanent cure, hence his hospital heist. While he uses the stolen blood, we get flashbacks that get us up to speed on his mother’s journey from loving and healthy to sick and accepting her death, which Ramsey hated.
Back at STAR Labs, Barry meets up with Cisco to talk some more, but not, as Cisco hoped, about figuring out a way to save Barry’s life — he wants to save Ramsey’s life before he croaks instead. Cisco’s reluctant because he doesn’t see the point in working to save one man when he could be focusing on saving Barry, but all of a sudden Harry “Nash” Wells climbs up the outside of STAR Labs and jumps onto the balcony to offer his help. And he knows Barry’s the Flash because he bugged Cisco (and Cisco is not happy about that)! Nash needs Barry and Cisco to build him something to help him complete his work on this Earth and he offers to help them with saving Ramsey in return, quid-pro-quo-style. They don’t trust him but agree all the same.
At Ralph’s office, Iris shows up with a surprise Halloween treat — a break in his Sue Dearbon case. But after his obsessive work for months, he’s surprisingly not enthused. And back at Ramsey’s lab, the doc tries out his new blood serum on himself, but instead of curing his HLH, it actually starts covering his body in black goo instead. It’s a good thing Nash is simultaneously leading Barry and Cisco to McCulloch Technologies, which is housing a bio-regenerative substance that heals organic tissue, “no matter what the harm.” Now that sounds too good to be true.
And it is — it won’t work if Ramsey is too far gone. Plus, McCulloch Technologies didn’t actually invent it, they stole it from the Dominator home planet, recovered from some invasion three years ago. While Barry flashes out to disable the security cameras, Cisco gets the idea to use the serum on Barry to protect him from the antimatter wave that’s set to kill him during the “Crisis.” That’s actually not a bad idea! While they all sneak into the building, Barry points out the metahuman dampeners hindering his powers, so they’re forced to go analog and Barry and Cisco immediately get caught… but Nash is nowhere to be found when they do.
That’s because he was busy taking out the guards who were holding Barry and Cisco at gunpoint! This Wells certainly does have some handy skills. Multiversal adventurer, indeed. And when Barry has his back turned, Cisco plants some kind of tech on the wall. While cracking the safe holding the serum, he uses the tech to set off an alarm to distract Barry and Nash so he can pocket the serum and pretend like it wasn’t even there when he finally “cracks” the safe open. Using Nash’s tech, they somehow teleport (?) back to STAR Labs where Nash refuses to let them back out of building him his circuit despite them “not” getting ahold of the serum. And while Cisco keeps up their end of the deal and the charade that the serum wasn’t there, Barry notices a freezer in Cisco’s lab set to the exact temperature needed to keep the serum stable. Very suspicious! Cisco comes up with another lie about keeping Killer Frost’s stuff in there, but Barry realizes Cisco hasn’t looked him in the eye since their heist. He opens the freezer, sees the serum, and is shocked when Cisco says, “I don’t care what powers you have. If you want it, you’re going to have to go through me.” Damn, son! That’s savage.
Barry obviously refuses to let Cisco try to save him because he’s seen that he has to die in order to save everyone, but Cisco tearfully explodes about how that doesn’t give him anything to look forward to. Waking up in a world without the Flash or his best friend is not a world he wants to live in. It’s honestly tough to watch both of these guys breaking down, but Barry explains his thought process: He wants Cisco to understand how tough it is to make these kinds of calls because he wants Cisco in charge of the team as their leader after he’s gone. He needs Cisco to get used to how hard the responsibilities are going to be, but Cisco’s actions — not only did he steal the serum meant to save another person’s life but he doubled down on his decision, saying he’d do it again — leads Barry to wonder if he made the wrong choice. This entire scene is absolutely destroying my emotions, especially when Cisco finally (reluctantly) gives Barry the serum to do with as he pleases.
He immediately gives it to Ramsey, but again I’m worried that because of Ramsey’s dark matter experiments, he might already be too far gone for the serum to work. If anything, it might actually do the opposite of what they’re all hoping — it could bond to Ramsey’s dark matter-affected cells and regenerate the metahuman aspect until he goes full villain (if he hasn’t already).
Iris checks back in on Ralph and the lead she had dropped off, but she’s surprised to see him baking cupcakes — he’s given up on Sue Dearbon altogether because he thinks it’s all a lost cause. So she recruits Joe to come and talk some sense into Ralph instead. Smart call! Joe can talk anyone into anything with one of his patented heartfelt speeches. But Ralph’s thinking is surprisingly in line with Cisco’s: Why should he focus on finding and saving some random person when he can’t save Barry? Joe’s perfect (of course) response comes from something his old partner told him once: You can’t always save everyone, but you can always save someone. Ralph’s voice breaks when he finally says he’s going to miss Barry, and all Joe does is nod. Why haven’t we seen Joe struggling with losing his surrogate son? I feel like it’s so strange that we haven’t.
Back at STAR Labs, Cisco gives Nash the finished circuit and he leaves. Cisco, clearly still struggling with everything, opens up to Frost after Nash is gone about how his friendship with Barry basically “exploded” because he still doesn’t think he should stop trying to save his friend. Frost’s advice? “You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.” And his obsession could lead him down a dark path to an unfixable mistake… just like Ramsey. The serum, of course, doesn’t work, but he does get an idea about why Mitch Romero’s blood worked for him when the stolen blood did not: He was afraid for his life, leading to a surge of adrenaline flooding his blood cells. That’s the mysterious bonding agent Ramsey needs for his cure to work. He decides that instead of just using epinephrine to replicate it, he needs to kill someone to remake the cure. That seems like quite the leap, dude. If you truly need someone to be afraid while taking their blood, can’t you just play a scary movie for someone voluntarily donating blood? Then you wouldn’t have to break your Hippocratic oath! This guy is clearly desperate and immediately heads back to the hospital where his eyes go completely black.
Team Flash gets the alert about people being attacked at the hospital, and Barry flashes there with Frost to stop Ramsey (or do we call him Bloodwork now?). He awakens the patients he attacked, who are now full-on zombies, and Frost makes some pretty badass ice “brass” knuckles for the fight. That’s a nifty new use of her powers! But Ramsey gets away and his zombies melt into puddles of black goo. Barry is distraught and disheartened at his failure to stop Ramsey from killing and going to the dark side, and he vows to stop him even if it’s the last thing he does “on this Earth.” And the team is taking this equally as hard as Barry. We haven’t seen them all this down in a long time, and it’s obviously the combination of losing Ramsey as well as Barry — that’s two fewer heroes with the ability to save lives.
At least Joe’s pep talk worked on Ralph — he apologizes to Iris for being so rude earlier and lets her know that he’s back on the Sue Dearbon case because of her tip. And when she’s excited about Sue having someone like Ralph on the case, he makes an offhand comment about how it’s “just a missing person’s case” and it’s not like he’s “looking to get married.” Sure, Ralph — we all know where this is going!
Meanwhile, Cisco apologizes to Barry about everything that went down with the serum, and Barry accepts it. He tells Cisco he’s just trying to teach his friend something that has taken years for him to learn, and they share a moment that makes my eyes leak a little bit. I swear I’m not crying, it’s just allergies, okay?! But then Barry steps out onto the balcony with Joe and I know the tears won’t stop coming. Joe tries to knock some sense into Barry about recognizing just how much good he’s done in the world already and whether or not he stops Ramsey won’t erase all that. But Joe is upset that this is the reward that Barry’s reaping after saving the world so many times, and honestly, I agree! It’s not right, but that’s not why heroes do what they do. But Joe can’t get past how the world owes Barry and he deserves better than this. This was the reaction I was waiting for from Joe! And how Barry handles it is beautiful, talking about being grateful for all the blessings in his life, especially Joe, who has inspired him his entire life. And then they both break down and hug and my eyes are leaking again!
Wall of Weird:
- The episode could have ended on that perfectly gutting Joe/Barry conversation, but we then flashback to Nash for a stinger scene. He is back in the sewers and puts Cisco’s circuit into his gauntlet to project some kind of map that also shows an image of The Monitor (or is that the Anti-Monitor?), confirming to Nash that that’s where he’s been hiding. So he takes a pick-axe to the wall to pay him a “house call.” What is Nash planning? And why is he searching for this cosmic being? Does this have something to do with Tom Cavanagh playing Pariah in the crossover?
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.