The Flash Season Six Doesn’t Cross The Finish Line

The Flash claims to be the fastest man alive, so his season is ending quicker than expected. (Just as his boast is questionable, Arrow & Black Lightning finished for the year sooner.) Much like Riverdale, The Flash season six got shorted on its last three episodes due to coronavirus shutting down production. (“The Flash Runs Out” was the runner-up headline.) I was planning on making this a humongous Beeboverse blog covering Supergirl & Batwoman too, but they don’t finish until Sunday. Look for that next week. (She-Ra’s last season drops between then, so maybe that’ll run sooner.) Incomplete SPOILERS to follow!

Although the reason why the Speed Force died is dumb (DAMN IT, OLIVER!), it’s a good plot device. We all know Barry is going to get his powers back, but it’s useful for the time being to up the stakes. With only a dwindling amount of residual superspeed left, we don’t have to suspend disbelief that Barry can’t solve any problem in the blink of an eye. Now even non-speedsters stand a chance against him.

When last we saw Reverse-Flash, he still had a physical body following his future jailbreak. Why is he possessing Nash’s body rather than just running back in time? (Even Eobard Thawne pretending to be Nash mistook Sherloque for French!) Is this a a Hsalf from one of those instances in the timestream when he died? Or did he become red ghost lightning Post-Crisis? I’m still confused by the Negative Speed Force too. If Mustard-Flash is empowered by his own Speed Force that runs on negative emotions, why was he stuck in the past for decades until Barry connected to the natural Speed Force?

Allegra is mad at Nash Wells for trying to bond with her since her doppelganger accidentally died under his watch. That’s weird, but it’s odder that he’s getting more flack from trying to make amends than for releasing the Anti-Monitor. Quit teasing & show us Starro the Conqueror!

Killer Frost’s edges continue to be ground off until she’s barely distinct from Caitlin. At this point they might as well merge her personalities together. She’s even dropped Killer from her supranym. At least she earned a Dib-ploma. A lingering wound from Dr. Light was the pretext to get her off the show while Danielle Panabaker gave birth. The silver lining to the production shutdown is that she’ll probably be ready to rejoin the series once filming resumes. Meanwhile Danielle Nicolet has been doing great supporting character work plugging various gaps as Cecille Horton.

Rag Doll’s stretchy powers are now better illustrated than mere contortionism. He’s delightfully creepy. I worry he may get a little diluted by his hated mother dying offscreen, but it could also open him up to organically appear in non-vengeance stories.

The mirror duplicates are odd. They don’t seem to be exact inversions or they’d be noticed for being opposite handed. None have telltale evil goatees either. In addition to her memories, Mirror Iris has skills that the original didn’t such as speaking Italian & cooking. (Barry sincerely stating Iris cannot make pancakes was hilarious.) Candice Patton does some of her best work playing both. Iris isolated in the Mirrorverse is eerily prescient. (The weird scheduling makes it feel like she’s been trapped there even longer, but it shouldn’t be an issue for binging.) Since he got shot with the Mirror Gun last year, is there also a Mirror-Ralph?

Bloodwork’s blood is the final ingredient Eva needs to step through the looking glass back into the real world without burning up. Siri Mirror Iris transformed her arms into blades like the dearly departed Razorsharp. (Maybe she’s alive again Post-Crisis like Everyman?) Eva psychically shatters a mirror above him & M-Iris is able to stab him repeatedly through all the falling shards. The mirror teleportation makes it one of the most creative fights. Siri gloats to Barry that she’d been raping him for weeks. Once she decides to break from Eva’s thralldom, her “mother” breaks her instead.

It’s about time they did an episode with Pied Piper titled “Pay The Piper,” though Hartley Rathaway (confusingly not played by Hartley Swayer just like Scarlett Johansson isn’t Scarlet Witch) still needs a flute. He seems to be the only character that got screwed over by the agglomeration of the Multiverse, which would feel more momentous if the series didn’t reset its timelines so often. On Prime Earth, Hartley had henchmen & Barry knew how to throw lightning before meeting Jay Garrick Hunter Zolomon Black Godspeed, leaving his boyfriend to be stuck in a molecular-interphasic coma. Luckily he’s cured by the magic blueblood of a Godspeed White Zoom clone. A nifty flourish shows off Hartley’s metahuman super-hearing. (His hearing aid implants dampen his accompanying super-tinnitus.) Rathaway also rightly ribs Ramon for forsaking his incredibly useful Vibe powers.

Godspeed is a fanboy from the future, so it adds up that he’d be derivative of evil speedsters. I’d still like him to have more personality. (If you can’t handle me at my White Zoom, you don’t deserve me at my Black Godspeed.) Apparently without XS to thwart his origin, he becomes successful enough to send dial-up duplicates back in time to bedevil Barry. Godspeed draining Barry’s speed upon arrival was an excellent entrance! Why does Barry still have any residual Speed Force left at this point? There’s a crazy fan theory that he’ll merge with Reverse-Flash or Bloodwork to become Red Death since he’d been namedropped in the Flash Museum last season. (Red Death is an evil altverse Bruce Wayne who became his universe’s Flash from Justice League Dark Knights: Metal because Grodd forbid DC do anything that doesn’t revolve around Batman.) It’s probably too soon to bring in a baddie named that.

Godspeed

Remember when Comics Alliance was alive & doing photo recaps? BRAZINGLES!

Were any viewers unfamiliar with the comics surprised that Eva is an antagonist? She’s sadly missing the Scottish accent, but Eva McCulloch at least gets a Mirror Master costume. This puts her ahead of the lackluster Sam Scudder. What does it look like without red lighting? Hopefully her shiny supersuit is copper & green like Aquaman since Cisco is off to Atlantis for parts to finish the artificial Speed Force.

Eva wisely turns Black Hole’s assassins against her husband in the episode’s best twist. She doesn’t even need to replace them with mirror duplicates! Stylish split-screens are employed for the fun dust-up with Carver’s McCulloch’s Angels, though the red lights made it even more discombobulating. With Black Hole employing so many light-powered metas, it feels like we’re overdue for the return of Paul Anthony as an upgraded Rainbow Raider.

Nash gives Barry grief about considering trading Joseph Carver to Eva in exchange for Iris. Carver is a known garbage crimester, so this seems like a no-brainer to me.  As the heroes, Team Flash is obligated to protect the dirtbag yuppie. Carver is too foolish to realize Eva knows about his secret panic room behind the mirror & that inactive monitors are reflective. (If he betrayed his wife, why’d he keep her mirror bedroom intact for years?) The Mirror Mistress obtains her divorce via mirror shard murder. Then she frames Sue Dearbon for it after reclaiming her company. (Sue also planned to kill him but got distracted helping Elongated Man.) Her success was assured! Now that Eva’s out of the Mirrorverse, we don’t know what her her plans entail. She’s refreshingly not pure evil, although her endgame will surely undermine that. The big cliffhanger is Iris dematerializing just as she’s starting to acclimate to the Mirrorverse.

The “finale” was one of the best of the season, so it’s frustrating it halts here just as the momentum crescendos. Season six has been doing a good job paying off earlier breadcrumbs, so I’m optimistic about its return. Splitting it into two Big Bad arcs seems to be working better than stretching one across an entire season. It also has its share of befuddling plot holes, but I’m still giving it the benefit of the doubt as they’re baked into its DNA by now.

Since it didn’t end with its intended season finale, this title is more literal than an a qualitative opinion. It could end up being both, but we’ll have to wait until this arc finishes to decide. Fingers crossed it doesn’t take too long to complete & proposed post-pandemic production changes don’t cut The Flash’s legs out from under it.

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