We are entering the last two episodes of THE FLASH prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. Barry knows he is about to die…right? After two excellent episodes that showcased Cisco and Ralph, we return to a central focus on Barry as he faces “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen.” We needed something epic before stepping into the BIG crossover, and this certainly qualifies. What IS the “last temptation”? And, what will Barry do? Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!
SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
This review of THE FLASH is posting prior to its airing in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, STOP HERE and come back after watching the show. You’ll be glad you did!
We pick up at the end of that battle between Ralph and Rosso, the one that pushed them over the edge of the roof top. Both land safely, and the battle continues. Ralph puts up a great fight. But, Ramsey Rosso has a trick up his sleeve…or more accurately, in his arm. He hits Ralph with that strange blood-like goo, then takes (almost) all of it back. It leaves Ralph incapacitated. When Cisco and Killer Frost take him back to S.T.A.R. Labs, Ralph begins to have seizures.
It looks really bad…but there is a potential cure. Barry and Ralph have the same blood type, so they arrange a direct transfusion from Barry’s arm to Ralph’s. It does seem to help, and Ralph is sent to an A.R.G.U.S. facility for full recovery. Of course, that’s not where the story ends or else we wouldn’t have an episode…
During that blood transfusion, some tiny drops of Bloodwork’s goo goes in the other direction, infecting Barry. It starts a huge battle for Barry’s life. The rest of this episode plays out that battle.
Barry begins to have spells in which he passes out and has dreams/visions/hallucinations, whatever you want to call it. But, in each vision he sees Bloodwork trying to pull him over to the dark side. He shows Barry what his life could be like if he joins him…giving himself over to Rosso’s control. He claims that Barry could survive the Crisis and still save the world. That Barry could live to see baby Nora born. That all his friends would survive. All he has to do is let Bloodwork have control.
The Speed Force itself tries to help Barry fight it, using the form of Nora Allen. This isn’t the first time that’s happened, but this one takes on a significant meaning as it is a battle in effect for Barry’s soul. The Speed Force almost wins the argument. But, “Nora” let’s Barry know that Bloodwork is telling the truth…at least to an extent. Yes, Barry could survive the Crisis and still save the world. He could see his baby born. But, he would lose control of himself in the process. And, there are universal balances that must stay in place. Does that convince Barry?
We see a final battle with the Speed Force trying to save him and Bloodwork trying to take over.
While this vision plays out, Cisco and Killer Frost are trying to help Barry in the real world. Cisco goes to a secret cache of Velocity X (yep, still has a few vials of that stuff) and injects Barry. It seems to bring him back. Yay! Bad guy defeated! No problem! Barry is great!
…okay, I lied…
When Iris gets to S.T.A.R. Labs, she recognizes that something is off. That’s when we see who really won that battle. Barry has given in to Rosso, and he leaves all of them unconcious as he leaves the lab. His chest symbol now has the same dark streaks as Rosso’s face and arms. He bows down to Rosso, who calls himself Bloodwork for what I believe is the first time this season (please correct me if I’m wrong here). That’s where we leave this episode, with all the wrong things happening in Flash-world. Of course, there is part 2 next week so stay tuned.
- While all of this goes on, Iris and Kamilla and Allegra are on the trail of whoever it was that kidnapped Esperanza and turned her into a villain. They get a lead, but that lead meets a very explosive end. They remain on that case, which keeps Iris away from Barry until that last encounter at S.T.A.R. Labs (that’s when she learns about the infection and realizes that Barry has lost that internal battle).
- Allegra finally let’s Iris know what she learned about Barry’s secret. Allegra had been wondering why Iris was so intent on working the story about Esperanza when Barry’s fate is so close. Turns out, it’s just too hard to face what will happen in just two days. With Allegra’s encouragement, Iris fights through her tears to begin writing that famous story we’ve been reading since Season One.
- Near the end of the show, Harrison Nash Wells gets through the rock wall and to another block wall with strange markings. He believes that he has left the Monitor “nowhere to hide”. Of course we will see more of that very soon.
- We do see both Nora Allen and Nora West-Allen in this episode…in a way. Both appear in Barry’s visions. Barry’s mom appears as the avatar of the Speed Force itself. Nora West-Allen/XS appears only as a baby in Barry’s visions…and that’s part of what pulls him over to Rosso’s control. Whether we will see XS again…that is for another episode (hopefully).
It’s hard to fully rate this show until Part 2 arrives, but still this set things up exceptionally well. We do get to see the doubts Barry has about what lies ahead – and it’s only natural that he would have those doubts. Who would face imminent death, even heroic death, even saving the world by his death, without some worries and fears? I’m more than ready to see what happens next week – but for now I’ll give this a 9/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!