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The Halloween zombies are fun, but Barry's foretold death is a drag on Team Flash

Grant Gustin
Photo: Robert Falconer (The CW)
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A Halloween episode of The Flash sounds like a hoot, but the somber tone that has overtaken the show since the revelation of Barry’s fate makes “There Will Be Blood” a much less festive occasion than it might otherwise have been. This problem is built into the schedule, since we know the exact date of the Crisis, still a month and a half away. It appears inevitable that the depressive mood seeping into almost every corner of this episode will continue to dominate the next few weeks.

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If this were the final season of The Flash and we were into the last few episodes, this funereal quality would be a lot easier to justify. Since the show is building up to a big crossover that will be followed by the second half of the season, however, the gloom and doom mostly just saps the energy out of the episode. It comes to life a few times, but at this point, the Crisis can’t get here soon enough.

Immediately following Barry’s speech to Team Flash, Cisco isn’t taking it well. He can’t accept that there’s no other way out of this mess, and he’s determined to find a way to save Barry, who tries to distract him with another live-saving mission. He always means well, our Barry Allen, but the decision to focus energy on saving Ramsey Rosso is, we already know, a bad one. Rosso has been continuing his own blood experiments, but is unable to replicate the temporary success he saw with Mitch Romano’s sample. Barry doesn’t know this, of course, so he suggests that Cisco whip up a batch of cancer-curing serum. This seems like something Cisco should be working on whenever he has some spare time, but he insists this request is beyond his super-genius abilities.

Jesse L. Martin
Photo: Robert Falconer (The CW)

In swings Nash Wells, multiversal explorer and expert in so many things, including experimental tissue replicating serums that can be used to cure practically anything. I’m really enjoying this particular Wells so far. Every iteration is full of himself in one way or another, but Tom Cavanagh invests Nash with confidence and bravado without making him overly condescending or delusional. (I mean, sure, he’s a little condescending to Cisco, but he wouldn’t be a Wells otherwise.) Their mission to swipe the serum from another tech facility briefly lightens the mood, but Cisco can’t help himself: he pockets the serum for his own use, tricking Barry into believing it’s already left the facility. Since the serum has to be stored at minus fifteen degrees and Cisco just happens to have a freezer back at STAR Labs set to that particular temperature, the ruse doesn’t last long. Barry, who had been eyeing Cisco as the new team leader once he’s gone, is very disappointed!

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Cisco isn’t the only one bummed about Barry’s seemingly unalterable fate. When Iris brings Ralph a lead on his missing persons case, he shows very little interest and suggests her time would be better spent with her soon-to-be-dead husband, which is rude, but come on, the guy’s got a point. Ralph’s storyline is essentially the same as Cisco’s: neither one of them can see the point of saving a random person’s life if they can’t save their pal Barry. The end result is a series of heart-to-heart talks, the most effective of which is the one between Barry and Joe, as both Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin deliver on the emotion of the scene. Still, it can’t help but feel a little hollow knowing that Barry’s death, if it happens, will almost certainly be temporary. (And if it turns out that it isn’t...well-played, show.)

The liveliest part of the episode involves dead people, which is only appropriate this time of year. When Rosso figures out that he needs blood from living people in a state of fear, he heads to the hospital and goes on a rampage. Once his victims are drained, he can raise them and operate them like marionettes against Frost and the Flash. The sequence isn’t terrifying by any means, but the zombies clawing at Frost’s ice cage is nicely unnerving and their sudden deterioration into puddles of black goo is enjoyably disgusting. “There Will Be Blood” could have spent a little more time harvesting our fear and a little less tugging at our heartstrings.

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Stray observations

  • I don’t know if this is a known example of the Mandela Effect, but Sue Dibny’s maiden name turns up as both Dearborn and Dearbon in about equal measure in a casual Google search. Anyway, the show is going with Dearbon.
  • “It’s not like I’m looking to get married.” Clunk.
  • Are we to gather from the final scene that Nash Wells is already on the trail of the Anti-Monitor?
  • My hopes for a Mirror Master reboot remain alive. The Sam Scudder version of the classic rogue never amounted to much on this show, but now that McCulloch Technologies is back in the picture (recall they supplied the mirror gun Team Flash used against Cicada last year), the second Mirror Master, Evan McCulloch, may be in play.
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About the author

Scott Von Doviak

My debut novel Charlesgate Confidential is now available from Hard Case Crime.