The Flash recap: Pied Piper returns as Team Flash faces Godspeed
Way back in fall 2019, The Flash kicked off its sixth season with Barry chasing Godspeed around Central City. When he eventually caught up to the white speedster, he discovered it wasn’t the real Godspeed, but a speechless drone that emitted a loud annoying sound. According to Cisco, that was the fourth one they’d encountered. And that was that. Godspeed and this mystery weren’t mentioned again for the 16 episodes that followed. (To be fair, the show had more pressing matters on its mind.)
Thankfully, that all changed with tonight’s installment “Pay the Piper,” which featured the return of Godspeed. I’ll admit I was pretty excited when I learned the premise of this episode about two weeks ago because I’ve been dying to find out what was up with those drone-clones. Unfortunately, “Pay the Piper" didn’t give us any concrete answers, which is rather frustrating. That being said, I did enjoy the rest of the hour, which saw Team Flash struggling to find itself again in the wake of last week’s shocking revelations.
“Pay the Piper” begins with a sweaty Barry sneaking into Joe’s witness protection home and telling him what’s up with Iris. From this scene alone, it’s immediately clear how hopeless Barry is feeling about this entire situation because he can't believe he didn't realize something was wrong sooner and has no idea if or how he’ll save Iris. Unfortunately, his crisis of confidence and hope deepens once he tells the rest of the team about the mirror clones. How is he supposed to tell them everything’s going to be alright when he doesn’t believe himself? It doesn’t help that Cisco flips out on him, too. Director Amanda Tapping effectively captures the tension and high emotions in the room with tight close-ups on everyone’s faces, especially Barry and Cisco’s; their pain is palpable. Furthermore, Barry being so thrown by losing Iris reinforces his status as the Paragon of Love.
Needing some kind of outlet for his frustration, Barry throws himself into his work on the artificial Speed Force. And that’s when Godspeed zooms in out of nowhere and tries to steal Barry’s speed. Thankfully, Nash — who later (appropriately) gives Cisco crap for not having a protocol in place to prevent this kind of thing — shows up with a Harry Well’s blaster and sends the gaudily dressed speedster running away.
Since this Godspeed was capable of talking, the team assumes it’s the real one. Furthermore, they realize that Godspeed was using vibrations/sound/something to pin Barry down and take his speed. Unfortunately, this means they have to turn to the one sound expert they know: Hartley Rathaway. And I say unfortunately because Hartley, a.k.a Pied Piper, hates Team Flash. See, in the new post-Crisis timeline, Barry accidentally injured Hartley’s right-hand man Roderick while trying to defend himself during their season 1 bridge fight. Since that tragic night, Roderick has been at Mercury Labs because his molecules were destabilized.
From the moment Cisco told Barry this, I guessed that Roderick was also Hartley’s boyfriend, which would explain why Hartley turned on Team Flash so quickly. For some reason, that doesn’t occur to Team Flash at all when they initially offer to fix Roderick in exchange for Hartley’s help defeating Godspeed. Unsurprisingly, their first attempt fails. “Don’t ask me for anything. My world is over,” says Hartley. Alas, no one on Team Flash can take a hint because they're so caught up in their own relationship drama.
In the wake of this failure, Barry and Cisco moodily head off to work on the artificial Speed Force and a way to enter the Mirroverse, respectively, which means it's time for a Flash Pep Talk. Since Joe and Caitlin are indisposed, it falls on Nash and Cecile to help the emo boys regain their confidence. Honestly, I loved both of the pep talks because the script ties them to some of the season’s ongoing themes. Nash uses his traumatic experiences as Pariah in Crisis and with Thawne to remind Barry that he has an opportunity to not only save Iris but to forgive himself in the process. Similarly, Cecile reminds Cisco — who feels powerless without Kamilla or his powers — that he can do the impossible without vibing, a struggle he’s been dealing with all season.
Meanwhile, in the Mirrorverse, Iris also faces a crisis of confidence because she can’t believe Eva managed to trick her like that. Thankfully, Iris reunites with the real Kamilla, who pushes Iris to forgive herself because it's their only chance to find a way out — which they need to do quickly because Iris is starting to suffer from the same neural dissonance Eva dealt with, anxious arm scratching and all.
Back in the real world, a pepped up Barry finally realizes Roderick was Hartley’s boyfriend and uses that to give Hartley a pep talk. “Thanks, Oprah,” Hartley replies, which is the best response ever. In the end, though, it works. When Godspeed returns and threatens to kill Central City citizens if Barry doesn’t hand over his speed, Pied Pider joins Barry in the field and helps him defeat the speedster by recreating the accident that hurt Roderick. Not only that, but their attack causes “charged sound” to leak out of Godpseed's body and they use that to bind Roderick’s molecules together and save him.
Unfortunately for Team Flash, it turns out that the Godspeed Barry and Hartley fought isn’t the real one either. When Barry took Godspeed to Iron Heights, he told Barry that the one who sent him wants infinite velocity before it started chirping like the other drones they encountered. In other words, it seems like we have to wait until season 7 to find out exactly what’s going on here, which I find very frustrating. To be fair, some of that is out of the show’s control because they weren’t able to finish their season due to the pandemic and next week’s episode is now season 6’s finale. (That being said, who knows if they even planned on solving this mystery this season anyway.)
As the episode ends, Barry gathers Team Flash in the Cortex and delivers a rousing speech, reminding them that they’re capable of doing anything as long as they have faith in themselves. In a welcomed turn of events, Cisco has found a way to enter the Mirrorverse, but he needs to travel to Atlantis to get what he needs to pull this off, which is pretty exciting. Will The Flash actually show us Atlantis? I hope so, but I doubt it. But wouldn’t it be cool if it did?!
Wall of Weird:
- While all of this was going on, Ralph checked in with Frost and helped her realize she was just as valuable as any member of Team Flash. That bit of advice helped boost her confidence as she and Caitlin head off to see their mother, which Frost was dreading.
- In the episode’s stinger, Eva dramatically wakes up inside of some pods and declares that she’s coming for Joseph. Bring on the martial drama!
- “Sounds violent. I’m in,” says Nash, in response to Barry’s rousing episode-ending speech.
- After this episode, Hartley is a friend of Team Flash once again!