“Mask of the Red Death, Part One” Review of S9E4 of THE FLASH

You’ve seen who is behind the armor of the Red Death…but you don’t know her story. By the end of this episode, you’ll get the scoop behind the Arrowverse version of this baddie, and you see what appears to be a critical loss for Team Flash. Wanna know more? Follow us after the jump!



Since the news first came out that Red Death would be (at least one of) the baddies in Season 9, we’ve all been speculating on how the origin story would be told. After all, the comics version of Red Death was tied to the Metal storyline, and it was unlikely the Dark Multiverse would be thrown into the mix in this series. We get the full story tonight, as Ryan Wilder tells her story to Iris.

This Ryan Wilder is from another timeline, one in which she was adopted by the Waynes as a child. It was she who saw Martha and Thomas Wayne gunned down. There was never a BatMAN, only a Batwoman. She became more and more obsessed with protecting Gotham, but felt she was losing the fight. She started studying the weapons of her enemies (explaining the high-tech versions of the weapons her team has).

This version of Ryan studied the Flash’s uniform and created an artificial Speed Force of her own – no negative Speed Force avatar here – and began to wage war in a new way. She wanted to move to crime-prevention…by going after criminals BEFORE they committed a crime. The Flash of her timeline tried to stop her. He freed his Rogues and went after her, and it turned into a way. In a battle with her Flash, Ryan accidentally kills the Iris West-Allen of that timeline.

After that, Ryan tries to hide in the Speed Force. But, her speed is not organic so it kicked her out…into our timeline. She wants to go back…and she wants our Iris to go with her to convince the Flash of that timeline to stop. Still no guarantee that she wouldn’t kill everyone afterward, but that’s at least her story.

To do all this, she needs our Barry to power this Cosmic Treadmill that Mark/Chillblaine is assembling for her – using parts the rest of her baddies have stolen in earlier episodes. Ryan really would be fine with Barry running until he dies, and using Iris as hostage she convinces Barry to try.

Barry starts running…but an earlier conversation he had with Mark/Chillblaine comes into play here. Mark felt that his double-cross of Team Flash could never be forgiven…but as Barry said, “It’s never too late”…

…and with those same words, “It’s never too late”, Mark sabotages the treadmill. It temporarily knocks out Red Death and gives them a chance to escape. Ryan’s baddies show up, so Mark takes them on to give the rest a chance to escape.

Barry’s speed is depleted, so there isn’t much he can do. Team Flash has teleported in to help…but they force him to teleport out without saving Mark. They leave just as a knife is headed down for Mark – and for now at least we have to assume he died (…insert “you didn’t see the body” and watch for his return if comic book physics is correct…but for now they consider him to have died).

Barry is mad that they didn’t save Mark – that’s not what Team Flash is about. Khione is also mad that they didn’t save him…but for now the team is left to mourn.

Meanwhile, Red Death has recovered. She knows she can’t return home now…so she is ready to take the war to our version of Team Flash and things aren’t looking good at all. That’s where we leave tonight’s episode.


  • Other threads include Joe and Cecile’s debate over leaving Central City. We see a version of their daughter that looks to be 4 or 5 years old…which makes a bit of sense since she was born near the end of Season 4 (I believe – please correct me if I’m wrong).
    • In the end, after Cecile saves everyone in the house (and neighborhood), Joe agrees to stay and let their daughter grow up knowing she can become anything.
    • And, Jasmine (their daughter) has drawn a picture of Cecile in a superhero uniform…foreshadowing future episodes
  • This version of the Red Death storyline may not be Metal, but it is about as close as they can get with the Arrowverse. I finally get why we’re hearing all the Kevin Conroy quotes – if there was no Batman, this Ryan Wilder would BE the main Bat of her timeline.
    • I did like the Iron Man equivalent of the Red Death armor flying to Ryan. And her
  • Only one complaint…can we FINALLY resolve the Chester and Allegra storyline? It keeps going back and forth…and while that’s good for a while, this has gone on for too long. Just let them be a couple or break them apart and be done with it please (although I would prefer them to be a couple).


This was a good start to the two-parter, giving us plenty of action, lots of emotion, and a full backstory (whether all the details are true or not) about our big bad. What happens to Mark is heartbreaking…but is he really dead? We’ll see before long, but for now I’ll give this episode an 8/10. Of course, that’s just my opinion. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!


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