The Flash recap: Wally's return reveals the real fallout of 'Crisis'
Right now it feels like The Flash is the busiest it's ever been. There’s the Black Hole storyline, Iris’ adventures with Eva McCulloch in the Mirrorverse, whatever is going on with Nash and Thawne, and the Sue Dearbon mystery. In tonight’s episode, “Death of the Speed Force,” the show threw yet another ball in the air: the titular death of the Speed Force and the need to create a new one. In other words, there’s a lot going on and I’m curious to see if the show can pull it all off. That being said, none of this is boring — especially this episode.
“Death of the Speed Force” begins with a Russian helicopter starting to go down over Central City and Wally West, a.k.a. Kid Flash, racing to the rescue as Blake Neely and Nathaniel Blume’s soaring score (that sounds reminiscent of Supergirl in places) plays underneath. First, Wally whisks the passengers and pilot to safety. Then, he returns to the sky and creates multiple speed mirages (or time remnants?) who help him dismantle the helicopter before it crashes to the ground. It’s truly one of the show’s best action sequences to date, and a great way to reintroduce Keiynan Lonsdale, because it’s thrilling, doesn’t feel like anything the show has done yet, and more importantly, it’s tied to character. Watching Wally pull off this impressive feat on his own conveys just how much he’s grown since we last saw him in The Flash season 4 and Legends of Tomorrow season 3 better than any line of dialogue could. The sequence is brilliantly rendered by director Brent Crowell, but ultimately it’s a sign of great writing on the parts of Sam Chalsen and Emily Palizzi Gilbert.
With the day saved, the episode starts digging even deeper into what’s different about Wally. During a welcome home party (which is interrupted by Cisco’s own homecoming), a very zen Wally explains that his Buddhist training taught him how to create shapes like a lotus flower with lightning and, more importantly, project his consciousness into the Speed Force and talk to it. Unfortunately, though, Wally hasn’t been able to communicate with it for a bit. But now that he’s home, he realizes this may be symbolic of a larger problem because he notices that Barry’s powers are fritzing and have been for a while (see his lightning hand in the midseason premiere and slow healing).
Eventually, Iris tells Wally about what happened between Barry and the Speed Force during the Bloodwork storyline. So Wally uses his powers to bring Barry with him into the Speed Force, where they find an ailing Nora Allen in bed; the Speed Force is dying and it’s Barry fault. At first, Wally and Barry believe this is a result of his fight with Bloodwork, and Wally loses his chill and goes off on Barry for causing this and trying to ignore his concerns. Even though Wally is very harsh (as Joe points out later), his outburst makes sense, especially when you remember that Barry wasn’t the best mentor way back when.
Feeling guilty, Barry goes to see the Speed Force again and learns that it started dying after Barry used the Spectre's power to enter in Crisis. For some reason, the Spectre's energy disrupted the Speed Force's balance. With that depressing info dropped, the Speed Force expires, and thus Barry is forced to watch his mom die yet again. Remember when showrunner Eric Wallace told EW that Barry hadn’t faced the real fallout of Crisis yet when the midseason premiere aired and wasn’t prepared for it? Well, now we know what he’s talking about.
After their big fight, Joe helps Wally see he was wrong to go off on Barry like that because he should know that Barry, more than anyone, is probably kicking himself for this. After rehashing a lesson about guilt and responsibility that they’ve learned countless times before, Wally and Barry apologize to each other, make up, and join forces to take down Turtle 2, the metahuman of the week who was murdering some Russian informants that turned on her. (The meta-human plot is pretty flimsy and not that engaging.)
On the interesting front, though, is what’s going on with Cisco, who returns to Central City pretty grumpy and starts pushing his friends away. See, Cisco hoped his adventures in Atlantis would change him but he doesn’t feel any different now that he’s back in Central City. Caitlin gives him a pep talk and he gets over himself and agrees to help Nash with his Wells ghost problem. Except when he arrives at Nash’s office, he discovers that Thawne has taken possession of Nash’s body. Even though Thawne is powerless in Nash’s body, he still tries to kill Cisco. Thankfully, Cecile hears the commotion and tasers Thawne before he strangles Cisco to death. Alas, we never find out how or why Thawne has taken over Nash's body.
From there, Team Flash imprisons Nash-Thawne in the pipeline. In classic Thawne fashion, he threatens to break out of there and kill them all and teases Barry about the death of Speed Force. However, when Thawne mentions his Negative Speed Force, Barry gets an idea: he, Cisco, and Caitlin need to create their own artificial Speed Force so that Barry and Wally don’t lose their powers in the next few months. Hopefully, they can find the time to do so in between dealing with Black Hole, Sue Dearbon, and the Mirrorverse drama.
Speaking of the Mirrorverse, earlier in the episode, Kamilla takes a photo Wally and Not-Iris. Not-Iris immediately asks her to delete it and Kamilla does. But then at the end of the hour, she picks up her camera and discovers that the photo wasn’t deleted. Instead, her camera started downloading a filter that revealed Not-Iris is some mirror creature. Unfortunately, Not-Iris walks in on Kamilla right as she makes this discovery and shoots her with the Mirror Gun. Hopefully, Kamilla isn’t dead-dead because I liked her having on Team Citizen. Grade: B+
Wall of Weird:
- The other members of Team Flash are starting to suspect something's up with Not-Iris. First, Barry is taken aback when she suggests that losing his powers after the Speed Force dies may be a good thing because it means they'll be able to live a normal life (in this city? Ha!). Then right before he heads off to his next Peace Corps mission, Wally tells Joe to keep an eye on Iris because something isn't right.
- I don't know what's going on with Thawne right now, but I'm very interested and I'm dying to learn more.
After the success of Arrow, Barry Allen (a.k.a. the Flash) gets his own CW treatment in this comic-themed spin-off.