“Marathon” Review of THE FLASH S6 E10

“Marathon” THE FLASH S6 E10

 

Now that the CRISIS is over, we rejoin Team Flash as they hit their mid-season debut. What has changed on Earth-Prime? Plenty, if you saw the end of COIE. But, there are more surprises to be found as we see how things are going now for our favorite heroes. You will see Iris West-Allen in a whole new light (no pun intended) by the end of this episode. In fact, this may be the character’s best episode in the entire series to date. We’ll see plenty of action and danger, and at least one exit…wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!

SPOILERS AHEAD! 

First a quick apology for the delay. Yesterday we celebrated by son-in-law’s birthday. He’s a great guy and we were honored that his parents invited us to the dinner. It lasted until well into the show’s airing last night, so I caught it on CWTV.com tonight. Thanks for your understanding.

Barry’s part of this show is mostly tangential, starting with him stopping a robbery at the just-reopened CC Jitters. He later meets with Diggle, who presents Oliver’s original mask to Barry. This is the mask Barry made for Oliver, and it has the start of a mystery – or does it?

Barry and Diggle go to Lian Yu to follow a “clue” about possible stashes of mirakuru, that serum that created Deathstroke. By episode’s end, Barry realizes that he missed the true message of the mask. Barry gave that mask to Oliver to remind him to keep fighting, to remember to protect the people he loved – and the return of that mask was meant to tell Barry to take his own advice. As for the rest of the episode?

There were two story lines, with the main story being about Iris West-Allen and her investigation into McCulloch Technologies and a terrorist organization called Black Hole. Let’s go there first.

Iris shows herself to be a top-notch investigative reporter, tracking down this strange organization that has been in operation since around the time of the particle accelerator accident. The group has abducted metahumans with light-based powers, like Esperanza (Allegra’s cousin) and Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi – aka Doctor Light – and trained them to become assassins. 

In tracking this group down, Iris realizes there is a connection between Black Hole and Joseph Carver, CEO of McCulloch Technologies. Doctor Light is using a weapon that was “stolen” from McCulloch – but in fact was given to Doctor Light to use in her deadly work. They eventually kill Iris’ source, but not before he gives her the clues she needs to put the puzzle pieces together.

Of course, a hit is called on Iris. Doctor Light tries more than once to kill Iris, but is stopped for the moment by Joe West and Frost (no longer “Killer” Frost), with the help of the rest of Team Flash. Doctor Light regains the upper hand, but Iris is able to force Carver to call off Doctor Light by threatening the release of all the information she has tying him to Black Hole.

As Iris and Barry reconnect, they both realize that they need to slow down a bit. Both have been living as if each day were their last. Now, they can try to enjoy life a bit…until…

In the middle of the night, Iris has an epiphany about McCulloch Technologies and its missing founder, Eva McCulloch. She breaks in to McCulloch Tech, using a badge her source gave her before he was killed. She enters Eva’s former office and checks out the place. Iris eventually finds a giant mirror. Getting nervous yet? She starts to turn away when…

Shiny arms reach out of the mirror and pull Iris in! That’s where we leave her story thread (and the episode). But let’s move back to that other story, the one regarding Cisco.

Cisco has been carrying a lot of guilt for having given up his powers…could he have sensed the anti-matter wave sooner and saved Earth-2? He is dealing with that guilt by taking it out on Nash, locking him in the closet and generally being as tough on Nash as possible. For his part, Nash is also dealing with immense guilt, having been the one to free the Anti-Monitor and cause all the Crisis in the first place. 

Cisco is also dealing with the new physics of Earth-Prime. The extrapolators no longer work, as the multiverse as they knew it is gone. Cisco and all of Team Flash are under the impression that there is only one Earth left (though as we know, that’s not quite the case). Still, the physics of breaching have changed – and that’s just one change. While the doppelgangers of the good guys are no longer around, there ARE a lot of aliens and metas and villains who present brand new threats to Earth-Prime. On a lesser note, Cisco has no idea how or when he bought that Superman t-shirt he’s wearing. (nice joke for the scene). 

Eventually, Cisco realizes while talking to Caitlin that he needs a fresh start and some new perspective. He’s going to leave Central City for a while, to begin the process of mapping out all the changes to their reality since the start of the Crisis. He has a begrudgingly friendly scene with Nash as he leaves – with all the gruffness one would expect – and leaves S.T.A.R. Labs for the immediate future. Nash will stay for now, “holding down the fort” for the rest of Team Flash. 

That catches us up for now, so let’s go to the…

NOTES:

  • This episode basically moves past the entire Bloodwork storyline, and frankly I’m more than okay with that. This is a new Earth-Prime, and a new story with new bad guys is a perfect fit here. 
  • For those who haven’t followed the comics since REBIRTH, the Black Hole organization is slightly different there. In THE FLASH comics, Black Hole was studying the Speed Force, and started the Speed Force storm that gave many citizens of Central City super-speed for a time (and some for a much longer time). Here, Black Hole seems more interested in metas with light-based powers, kidnapping people like Esperanza and Doctor Light. The connection to the name McCulloch should be a clue here as to why a “reflecting microchip” would be important.
  • Candice Patton turns in her best performance of the series to date. This is an Iris West-Allen who is completely believable as an investigative journalist. She dives into danger head-long in pursuit of a story, and simply does not let go of a lead. This was a well-written and exceptionally well-acted version of Iris West-Allen, and I’m looking forward to more of this kind of story. Of course, she needs to escape the mirror dimension first…
  • Goodbye to Cisco, at least for now. I’m not crying, you’re crying. Carlos Valdez has been a breakout star of the series since the very beginning, and it is tough to see him leave. He took what had been an unfortunately silly character in the comics and made him a hero to be admired. We can only wish Carlos the best in whatever he does next…and we can hope to see him again in THE FLASH some time down the road.
  • As for the meaning of the title of tonight’s episode – that comes from Diggle. He tells Barry, “Life’s a marathon, not a sprint. Slow down and enjoy it.” That’s actually good advice for us all.

SUMMARY:

This was an outstanding start to the second half of the season. They pulled out all the stops for this one. The character of Iris West-Allen has received a well-deserved boost with a stellar performance by Candice Patton. And, we say a tearful farewell to Cisco Ramon. This is a 10/10 mid-season premiere for me. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!

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