Barry Allen is the Fastest Man Alive, at least in the Arrowverse. And, like his counterpart in the pages of DC Comics, he gains a new power tonight. It’s not without some drawbacks, but this new power plays heavily into the plot. Let’s get up to the “Speed of Thought” and we’ll be ready for tonight’s episode. Wanna know more? Join us after the jump!
SPOILERS AHEAD – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
NOTE: This review is posting before THE FLASH airs in the Pacific Time Zone, USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, STOP HERE and come back after watching the episode. You’ll be glad you did!
Barry has always been able to think fast – but now he has gained a power that allows him to essentially “look ahead” to all the possible outcomes of a situation. It’s “Speed Thinking”, and at first this is an amazing ability, even to Team Flash.
Barry is able to predict what Cisco will write on the board. Barry can predict where the most unpredictable “Quantum Ball” will bounce. He seems capable of looking ahead to almost anything, and this new ability even gives him a clue as to how to get through to the Mirrorverse.
That’s the good side of that power. The down side? Barry is becoming more and more emotionless as the episode moves along. He is becoming colder, more distant, and definitely less caring. Barry believes that his emotions have been used against him by his enemies, and this new power is taking that alleged “weakness” away. But, at what cost?
Part of the plan to get people out of the Mirrorverse involves using that perfect device-for-all-times, the Tachyon enhancer. As Killer Frost distracts Eva, Barry is able to gather a large amount of dark matter particles for the plan. However, when Eva hits Frost and is walking over to deliver a potentially lethal blow, Barry does nothing?
Cisco demands an answer – and the answer is shocking. Barry calculated the risk to the tachyon enhancer and there was a .002% chance of damage. And, Barry “knew” he could reverse the effects of the attack. He was right – but he still risked Frost’s life in the calculations.
Barry is ready to open the portal, but even with Gideon’s help he can’t find a way to save everyone in the Mirrorverse. It’s either save David and Kamilla, or save Iris. Barry uses Speed Thinking to predict that there would be a vote by Team Flash on who to save, and he doesn’t like the result. So, he moves ahead without consulting them.
As Cisco finds this out, Barry has an even more disturbing reason for what he plans to do. It isn’t that Iris is his soulmate. No, it’s that Iris would have the most information from the Mirrorverse that would allow them to defeat Eva. Nothing more, nothing less.
Team Flash turns on Barry, determined to stop what’s going on. The issue is in the Artificial Speed Force. Since Thawne used negative emotions to power his force, they purposely left emotion out of the ASF. Unfortunately, that meant that the Artificial Speed Force is simultaneously helping his “Speed Thinking” and draining all his emotions. A battle starts, and for a while Team Flash has the upper hand. We even see how Frost can use Velocity X to combine her powers with super speed. But, in the end Barry wins.
Barry opens the portal to save Iris, and only Iris. But, she won’t have it. Iris resists with everything she has. Eventually he does pull Iris through, but she begins to have seizures almost immediately.
That brings Barry to his senses, and he uses a lightning bolt to destroy the Artificial Speed Force. That isn’t the end of the lightning, however. Even with the ASF down, Barry is struck by multi-colored lightning (whether that gives back his speed is left for next week). Barry has his emotions back, but Team Flash is unconscious due to his attack, and Iris is still in seizures.
That takes us to…
Barry has outed Eva during her television interview, causing the clip from Eva’s death to be seen by everyone. Eva is distraught, saying over and over that “this isn’t my world.” That is, until a new plan forms. We see her act on an officer of the CCPD, pulling her into the Mirrorverse and sending a duplicate to take her place. It may not be “her world”, but she believes she can make it that way.
We revisit the original Reverse Flash attack on the first Harrison Wells. We see Wells die and be buried as Thawne takes over his identity. But this time, something new happens. Over that grave, multiversal particles appear and take the form of the one Harrison Wells we never got to know very well – the one and only original who built S.T.A.R. Labs! This is not Thawne, but one more chance for us to know Wells. THIS should be interesting!
- This episode started with a tribute to Nash, and to the other characters who have died along the way of this series. Among other things, you’ll see jackets from XS, Firestorm, and possibly Jesse Quick (not sure about that last one). The early part of the episode deals with those emotions from several characters, though this is quickly overwhelmed by the main plot line.
- A similar version of Speed Thinking appeared in the New 52 during Manapul and Buccellato’s tenure on the book. It didn’t take away Barry’s emotions in the comic, but even in the comic he found out the hard way that it didn’t always predict things correctly.
- The thing that Barry could not predict in this episode was emotions. That makes sense as the Artificial Speed Force doesn’t contain any emotion. And, that was the flaw that caused all the bad outcomes in this episode.
- I’m not totally sure why, but I kept having flashbacks to Sheldon fromThe Big Bang Theory while watching Barry’s emotionless displays. Grant Gustin did a good job making himself into this strange version of the Flash, but it kept taking me back to Sheldon.
This was a solid episode. It left some story threads a little too loose as not a lot was resolved. But it did set up some strong points to be developed over the next few episodes. We are seeing Team Flash torn down to be rebuilt, and I’m still on board to see what happens next. I’ll give this episode an 8/10 – but that’s my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!