Getting Up To Speed On The Flash’s Seventh Season

Now that I didn’t review the Snyder cut of Justice League starring Staplewolf by popular demand, we can get up to speed on The Flash! (Since the DuckTales finale was the runner-up, you’d expect me to get to that blog first. It takes longer to write reviews where there are hardly any criticisms. I will definitely get to it when it’s no longer newsworthy!) The tail end of The Flash’s sixth season was off to a solid start at the beginning of its seventh season. (There’s a sentence!) How about the last two episodes to close it out? Well I’ve got some good news & some bad news… Oh, season seven officially starts with episode four. SPOILERS ahoy for its latest three episodes!

Mirror_Monarch

Instead of Mirror Master or Mirror Mistress, Eva “not a true Scotswoman” McCulloch opts to dub herself Mirror Monarch just to spite my running gag. Would Reflection Ruler be more precise?

Saving friends trapped in the Mirrorverese looks like a job for Vibe! Oh wait, Cisco gave up his psychometry & teleportation powers. I understand why the writers don’t want him to be the easy solution to everything, but renouncing his metahumanity still doesn’t make sense for his character. How has being powerless improved his quality of life when he’s still getting directly involved with metahuman crimes? He can still be an inventor with powers.

By trying to avoid Barry being full of negativity like Eobard, Cisco, Nash, & Chunk calibrated the Artificial Speed Force Generator not to be fueled by emotion. As a side effect it’s made Barry so logical he can see into the future, as if he didn’t already have enough superpowers. This soon turns him into “Mirror, Mirror” Spock, which is consistent with how they presented intelligence & compassion as incompatible with The Thinker. (Brainiac pulling a Malcolm Tucker exit remains my favorite example of the trope.)

Now that she’s dismantled Black Hole, her late husband’s mercenary cartel, Dr. Eva McCullcoch announces altruism is her masterplan. During a live TV interview, Barry leaks footage of the original Eva dying. It’s an unusual move by the heroes, but he’s right that they have a better chance at a Mirrorverse rescue if she’s distracted. This doxing  shatters Eva so much that she decides to replace everyone with mirror duplicates so she won’t feel so alone. DAMN IT, BARRY! She was about to make world-saving devices!

Kamilla & Singh conveniently pass out simultaneously as a result of being sent to the Miroverse via mirror-gun instead of Eva pulling them through like Iris. (The Mirrorverse whereabouts of Sam Scudder are unknown.) Also conveniently STAR Labs only has enough technobabble to save the supporting character duo or Iris. Barry unilaterally decides to rescue Iris, not because she’s his wife, but because she’ll be able to provide more insight into defeating Mirror Mistress. This causes his team to do a mutiny. That escalated quickly!

Killer Frost is on performance enhancing drugs now. I ain’t mad about it, but Trajectory & Zoom are. She did it to help the team, but that’s how it always starts. Pretty soon she’ll be juicing on the reg. They’ll have to rename the show The Killer Flash-Frost! Thanks to Velocity-10, she can now shoot lighting & cold simultaneously!

Barry is able to thwart his team thanks to their glowing superball. Iris insists her husband save her friends instead, but he ignores her. After the successful rescue, Barry has a breakdown & destroys the Artificial Speed Force Generator with lightning. So Nash’s sacrifice was in vain then? (Wells, XS, Firestorm, & Jesse Quick get headless memorial busts in a room that’s supposedly immune to timeline shifts.)

Dr. Harrison Wells is now a SPOOOKY GHOOOST! Does the green glow mean he The Spectre now? The guy who was your regularly scheduled Wrath Of God decided he’d rather spend eternity macking on his wife in an abandoned office building. I can’t blame him. (There would be no Olicity if Emily Bett Rickards had been cast as Dinah Lance.)

What would’ve been season six’s penultimate episode was odd. Usually by this point the Big Bad’s plan is ramping up & there’s urgency to stopping them. Eva has done her share of crimes, but they’re smaller scale & she’s comparatively well-intentioned. Barry losing his compassion seems like a bigger threat at this point as he becomes paradoxically more & less competent. The last third was a gonzo surprise.

Unshockingly, Ghost-Wells isn’t The Spectre. The cosmos required Prime-Earth to have a wells, even though Nash already fulfilled that role & perished. Not only did some dispersed multiversal particles make Earth-1 Wells a spook, it caught him up to date on Team Flash & gave him time travel powers. Yay for drama-negating contrivances?

 Being yanked out of the Mirrorverse has discombobulated Iris’s neural pathways, leaving her comatose. Ghost Wells arrives to Dues es machina the situation. He says the Speed Force didn’t completely die & has been sneakily hiding in Iris, possibly since that episode where she accidentally gained Barry’s power. If it was stuck with her in the Mirroverse, that could explain why Barry & Wally couldn’t access it. (If it’s an intrinsic force from which all motion derives, this plotline is even crazier.) When he prepares to siphon it from her into the Artificial Speed Force Generator, she’s conveniently ambulatory again. She’s able to touch the doohickey without disintegrating like Nash. Barry is recharged thanks to the power of love too, as if this wasn’t complicated enough. Their love is so powerful it shoots multi-colored power lightning of new S-Forces into the city to provide season seven’s hook. The Flash running on love is appropriately schmaltzy nonsense.

Eva McCulloch the Mirror Monarch (he also debuted dead) gives Barry a good speech about how she’ll use her mirror chip technology to help the world, which is more than he’s ever tried. This moment is immediately undermined when she blows up her whole headquarters offscreen. If it was just her security system overreacting to Sue & Ralph stealing exonerating evidence, that’s a big design flaw. This moment was just an excuse to melt Elongated Man’s head so they can recast him. McCulloch’s Angels are completely absent in the conclusion, so did they get exploded too?

McCulloch is exiling everyone to her home dimension to stop humanity from wrecking the world further. Bloodwork was infecting people with his goo but was defeated with the power of empathy. Mirror Monarch replaces them with mirror dopplegangers but gets talked down. That’s underwhelming that the repeated conclusions for Big Bads back to back. Maybe this would’ve felt more satisfying as a thematic bookend for season six if everything else about “Mother” wasn’t so jumbled. This could’ve used another episode so it didn’t feel like they were throwing plot points at the wall rapidfire. I have to grade it on a curve because the pandemic forced changes, although they had extra time to write a more satisfying “season finale.” (The protracted production pause allowed Danielle Panabaker to return from maternity leave sooner than planned.) Covid restrictions on the amount of extras & the effects budget being stretched thin mean that the climax doesn’t look nearly as epic as it ought either. Whereas Iris being dragged into the Mirrorverse was was scary, a gaggle of arms grasping from mirrors is goofy.

Mirror Monarch refracts herself for zany battle with Flash, Killer Frost, & Mecha-Vibe (who is not in Mecha-Godzilla’s league) at Broome Tower. (John Broome co-created the original Mirror Master.) Cisco now wears tech to replicate his powers, which makes him taking the cure extra pointless. (Might as well replace him with Pied Piper.) Eva’s mirror-clones randomly go berserk on innocent bystanders, & she suddenly can’t control them. Not only did Iris contain the Speed Force, she also has a share of mirror powers. Iris & Barry give Eva an energy boost to shatter her misbehaving children by holding her hands. (How many years of bad luck are they getting apiece?) Eva realizes that things went haywire & releases all her captives from the Mirrorverse.

A repentant McCulloch decides to return to the Mirrorverse & stock it with her own creations rather than kidnapees. Eva declares she’ll use her inventions to make a better world for the mirror creatures that won’t exist until she makes them. Mirrorverse events generally don’t correlate to the standard universe, so that’s not really going to help anyone. If Eva is truly a humanitarian, she should put her inventions to work on Prime-Earth. It seems the Flash is too exhausted by this entire ordeal to hold her accountable for her crimes, so he takes the win presented. This is conclusion is unsatisfying similar to the end of WandaVision

Mirror Monarch is frustrating in how almost great she is. Her versatile powers make her a genuine threat to the Flash without being another speedster. Her costume is one of the show’s best, despite them barely releasing any images of it. Efrat Dor was a solid Eva McCulloch even though she lacked the proper Scottish accent. I appreciated that she wasn’t a moustache-twirling villainess. Once she made an Iris duplicate, however, why did she have to go through subterfuge instead of directly asking STAR Labs to help release her from her prison dimension? Both she & them agreed on destroying Black Hole. She only framed Sue for her dastardly husband’s murder out of pragmatism. Her hostages inspire the team to continue working against her. Her crimes are small potatoes compared to assorted rogues. It doesn’t seem like she had an fiendish plan for the Flash to oppose until after he gave her a nervous breakdown. Her impromptu replacement scheme was half-baked, especially for a major antagonist. Had she been successful, the entire population of Earth being moved to the Mirroverse wouldn’t have even substantially diminished their quality of life. (It’s unclear whether the Mirrorverse contains the same amount of food as normal Earth or whether you don’t need to eat there.) There’s so much kooky developments with Iris, Wells, & the Speed Force that they don’t spend enough time exploring her psyche in these final three installments.

Sue & a recuperating Ralph in a fencing uniform (The show made all the Daft Punk jokes itself.) depart to fight syndicates around the globe until he’s recovered enough to reveal his new actor. (C’mon Cory Michael Smith!) Elongated Man is the only member of the team who doesn’t do energy projection, so his departure depletes some power versatility. Natalie Dreyfuss has been a delightful addition (who has a Sue shirt), so it’s unfortunate that Sue’s presence is so tied to his recasting drama. Ghost-Wells decides to skedaddle back in time to when he & his wife were still alive. It’s traditional for supporting characters to depart in season finales & return early in the next. These seem extra pointless given that they’d only just resurfaced & what would’ve been the season premiere is next week.

So “Mother” was a mess. When am I gonna learn not to be optimistic about anything?

~

“Central City Strong” is set only a week after Mirror Monarch went home, so it’s still 2020. Barry still hasn’t made a special delivery to Freeland yet. Batwoman is lagging too. Maybe they’ll jump to 2021 by midseason? In the meantime, everybody ought to be wearing Fatewatches soon.

Romantic Barry tries to overcompensate to Iris over not realizing she’d been replaced sooner. Meanwhile Iris is struggling with how to process having been trapped in the Mirrorverse for three months. The couple with complementary trauma stays together!

In the kickoff to what would’ve been the seventh season premiere, David Dastmalchian found room in his movie filming & MacGyver schedule to reprise Abra Kadabra! I enjoy seeing old villains resurface instead of being relegated to one-offs. Maybe one day they’ll finally be able to get enough of them together to form a proper Rogues team. Four seems to be the maximum The CW can manage, which gets more lopsided as the STAR Labs crew expands.

When Earth-1 Barry didn’t die in Crisis as the prophecy foretold, Abra Kadabra’s future family poofed out of existence. The Martian-Memory-Restorer ring Cisco made as a plot contrivance for the penultimate Arrow episode made him realize he should be devastated. He was about to destroy Central City with an anti-matter bomb out of three blue crystals that he either made or located. (Implanted future nanotechnology means the writers don’t feel obligated to explain how he does anything!) Barry talks the murderer out of grief-revenge. Then they became best friends. This was sadly cut short when he died protecting Barry from an avatar of the Strength Force whom looked to be Rampage not Fuerza/Powerhouse. (Rampage doesn’t have anything to do with Flash in the comics, but neither did King Shark.) Empathetic pep talks kill! This can’t be the last we see of Abra Kadabra; he hasn’t turned Barry into a marionette yet! Fortunately he won’t even need to be resurrected for puppet-transmogrification since he’s a time traveler. He also namedrops the very obscure Chronarch, who is apparently a different time tyrant than The Monarch.

Tom Cavagnagh isn’t in the intro montage or opening credits. Lest you worry the supposing cast may be pruned to a manageable size, Killer Frost & Dr. Caitlin Snow split into separate beings. Do fissioned actresses still need to social distance?

KillerFrost CaitlinSnow

That’s the statement of the great mint in The Flash cool mint gum?

~

Superman & Lois midseason finale discussion got bumped because it got boring fast. Supergirl returns next week? Godzilla Vs. Kong drops then too!

4 thoughts on “Getting Up To Speed On The Flash’s Seventh Season

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