Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Grant Gustin
Grant Gustin
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

Has it been a year since the last episode of The Flash aired? Ten years? Life has changed so rapidly over such a short time that it feels like forever since we’ve caught up with Team Flash, and honestly it’s a relief to do so. I don’t think I’m overrating this episode just because it provided an hour of respite from our current hellscape, but if I am, so be it.

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It may be hard to remember now, but we left off with Mirror Iris zapping Kamilla with the mirror gun. We learn now that this presumably sent the real Kamilla into the Mirrorverse, replacing her with a mirror double connected with Eva in the same way as Mirror Iris. (Question about these mirror duplicates: Shouldn’t they be the reverse of the real deal in every way? For instance, if Iris is right-handed, shouldn’t her double be left-handed? Just wondering.) Their next mission is to retrieve another of Eva’s gadgets, the Prismatic Refractor, from Mercury Labs, which purchased it from her husband Joseph Carver.

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Their efforts are thwarted by the meta-of-the-week, Sunshine, another light-based villain affiliated with Carver. Her powers are particularly amorphous even by Flash standards, but she can burn people and disappear, so those are both handy. Iris sends an emergency signal to Barry, but he’s benched. In an effort to conserve what remaining speed he has in his body, Caitlin has equipped him with a smart watch that gives him the red light if he uses too much of it. Frost responds to the call instead and gets zapped in the same spot Dr. Light got her for her trouble. (Is it Barry’s fault? It is indeed Barry’s fault.)

Natalie Sharp
Natalie Sharp
Photo: Katie Yu (The CW)
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The Sunshine plot is negligible and ends with Barry and Joe setting a trap that cuts off her access to sunlight. Joe delivers the Prismatic Refractor to ARGUS...except Mirror Team Citizen has already switched it for the replica Eva passed them through the mirror. (The physics of this is still unclear; she can pass objects back and forth but can’t walk out, I guess?) Along the way, though, Mirror Iris draws more suspicion, this time from Joe, who can’t help but notice she isn’t as concerned about Barry as she usually is.

The heart of the episode, however, is the titular exorcism of Nash Wells. It turns out that it’s not just Thawne who has taken up residence in his mind, but every Wells from the multiverse that ended during Crisis. (How this fits in with the new multiverse created in the aftermath, which nobody knows about yet, remains to be seen.) Thawne, who is not technically a real Wells anyway, has his hooks in deepest. He’s trying to take over Nash’s body permanently by trapping the real Nash in a loop of sorrow and remorse.

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And so we get Nash’s back story, some of which we’ve gathered over recent weeks, though not in detail. Allegra isn’t a doppelganger of his real daughter, but rather an orphan named Maya who Nash more or less adopted as his protege while myth-busting in the multiverse. Something terrible happened, and Nash has been in denial about it every since. In his mind, Thawne has him cornered in a cave that I at first took to be the one where he released the Anti-Monitor (which, to be fair, would also be a powerful source of guilt for Nash). Cisco and Barry enter his mind using some of their old Thinker tech, and while Cisco uses his natural Wells rapport to connect with Nash, Barry holds off Thawne, who he almost killed (along with Nash) earlier in the hour. Despite his usual stubbornness—in this case manifesting in Frost getting injured—this was a good episode for Barry. He used his smarts rather than his speed to defeat Sunshine, and here he is able to tune out Thawne’s attempts to leverage his own guilt about Nora’s death.

Nash confronts the memory he’s been avoiding all this time: that he does bear responsibility for Maya’s death, as she slipped off the side of a cliff while trying to claim one of his all-important prizes. Thawne has no more purchase in his mind, and dissolves into flashes of red lightning. His tachyons still exist, however, and it probably won’t be long before they reassemble. As for Nash, he is now All The Wellses, which is one way of keeping Tom Cavanagh on his toes.

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Stray observations

  • The Flash is off for the next two weeks, returning on April 7. But for how long? Production shut down on March 13 for the same reason everything else has shut down, and there’s no telling when it will start up again. My best guess is that this season is going to end rather abruptly, with the Mirrorverse arc unresolved until the fall or beyond.
  • Cecile bringing holy water, garlic, stakes, and a Ouija board to the “exorcism” is a reminder that Danielle Nicolet is a strong comic talent and an underused member of the ever-expanding supporting cast. And hey, the Ouija board actually came in handy!
  • Once again, no Ralph and Sue this week. Granted, it was an overstuffed episode, but I hope the powers that be know they hit on something good with this pairing.
  • It’s always one step forward, two steps back with Barry. Congratulations on confronting your feelings of responsibility for Nora’s death, but combing her diary for tips on building your own Speed Force is, I can almost certainly assure you, a terrible idea.
  • Stay safe, people. April 7 feels like a long, long time from now.
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My debut novel Charlesgate Confidential is now available from Hard Case Crime.

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