Monday, October 21, 2019

The Flash 6x02 Review: "A Flash of the Lightning" (Waves of Trouble) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“A Flash of the Lightning”
Original Airdate: October 15, 2019

First up: anyone else think this week’s episode is titled with some strange grammar? “A Flash of the Lightning”? What’s that “the” doing in there, The Flash? This has no bearing on my opinion of the episode, which I thought was well-acted and delivered a lot of interesting information but still seemed a bit slow for some reason. I just wanted to mention it.


If you recall last week’s episode, the Monitor stopped by to drop the bad news that Barry’s gotta die or else the whole multiverse is doomed. To quote Iris quoting the Monitor: “To save the lives of billions the Flash must die — what kind of crap is that?” Oh, Iris. Calling shenanigans on comic book prophecies like the genre-savvy boss you are. Please never change, unless that change is an increase in screen time.

Barry and Iris come up with a plan to go into the future, to the day after Barry’s meant to disappear, and see what’s there to be seen. Armed with a mobile Gideon to let Barry (and the audience) know when stuff starts going wrong, Barry zips into the future. When he starts to approach the December 10, 2019 date he’s aiming for, something spits him back out into the present with a glowy wound on his leg and not much information. Turns out, the glow on that wound is antimatter (I wonder if it’s French Vanilla flavored?) and if Barry didn’t have super fast healing powers, he would have ceased to exist.

Time for yet another trip! Onto another Earth, rather than into the future: Barry pays a visit to Jay Garrick of Earth-3 because he’s apparently a top expert on antimatter. Jay has noticed antimatter popping up all over the place in “walls,” thus endangering all Earths everywhere. There’s no way past the antimatter wall physically, but Jay has built a device that could potentially send Barry’s mind past the wall instead.

Barry gets strapped into Jay’s device but things start going wrong quickly. Barry witnesses billions of timelines, all of which involve the destruction of everything. After witnessing all his loved ones get wiped out of existence, we see a different timeline where a running Barry seems to dissolve mid-stride in a sequence reminiscent of the Flash’s death in the actual Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book the upcoming Arrowverse event is based on. Jay and his wife (who’s a doppelgänger of Barry’s mom, fittingly) pull Barry out of a medical crash but he’s passed out for a while.

When he wakes up, Barry’s feeling physical pain from neural entropy and emotional pain from realizing that his death really is the only option for saving the rest of the multiverse. He gets carted back to Earth-1 and Iris, who’s still trying to stay positive in the face of her husband’s newfound negativity. Grant Gustin and Candice Patton seriously ace all their scenes together this episode, the one where they discuss their choices for the upcoming Crisis especially. Barry is utterly defeated, but Iris still has hope they’ll figure something out without losing Barry.


Speaking of good acting: Danielle Nicolet as Cecile got a lot of great stuff to do this episode as well. Cecile is carrying the Meta of the Week portion of things while Barry and Iris deal with the weight of the season arc, and she does an excellent job swinging from absolute faith in her empath powers to doubt and frustration. The meta she’s dealing with is named Allegra, who can control wavelengths along the electromagnetic spectrum and is about to be sentenced in a murder case when Cecile senses not only a lack of guilt in her, but also knowledge of the real killer.

Cecile turns to the rest of Team Flash (sans the Flash himself) to figure out how Allegra could have an eyewitness pin her at the scene of the crime but not be guilty. The first step is to talk to that eyewitness, but when they show up at the person’s apartment they find the witness dead and Allegra present at the crime scene. She throws UV waves directly at Ralph’s face, resulting in a nasty sunburn that matches the burns found on the first victim in Allegra’s case.

Twists and turns lead Cecile & Co. to the only logical answer: the cousin Allegra was with when they were caught in the particle accelerator explosion years ago hadn’t died, as Allegra assumed, but gained the same powers Allegra got and turned down a far more murderous path in life. Allegra thinks mentioning her theory of her cousin Esperanza’s survival is guaranteed to make anyone laugh in her face and call her crazy, but I’m not so sure why. In a city often dealing with everything from people who can call upon lightning to people who can turn matter into cubes, I don’t really think “someone I thought was dead could still be alive” would rank in the top twenty of a Central City citizen’s weird-o-meter.

Once she gets the truth from Allegra, Cecile calls up Ralph and Iris, who have gathered together five years’ worth of juvie files, and asks Ralph to look up Esperanza. Turns out, she was in a vegetative state after the particle accelerator explosion, not dead. More interestingly, though: Esperanza was taken from the detention center’s hospital by a shady company and her file was largely redacted. Even more interestingly: Esperanza attacks CCPD looking for Allegra, who she wants to kill to keep the secret of her survival a secret. Um... wouldn’t it be better to just lay low until Allegra goes to jail? No one was believing her about Esperanza being the real killer anyway.

Anyway, the attack on CCPD pushes Barry out of his convalescence and his defeated funk. He speeds over to the police station and faces Esperanza head on — literally. He gets one of those UV burns on his face for his troubles, but he does manage to get a good punch in to knock Esperanza out. Presumably, she’s apprehended after that.

At the end of the episode, Barry’s experience with Esperanza has taught him to face his impending doom with less of a mopey attitude, I guess? Iris is still adamant that he shouldn’t go down without a fight, but Barry is convinced his death is a definite possibility, especially if it’s what needs to be done to save Iris and the rest of existence.

Other Things:
  • The Killer Frost/Cisco/Ralph storyline this episode was also wonderful, though it didn’t fit into the main body of this review. It’s also really funny that Cisco had a convenient fix for Frost’s icy-echo voice effect and glowy eyes. Guess the folks in post-production weren’t on board to add those effects over so much screen time.
  • “It’s not getting any less ow.” I’m still amazed by how funny Ralph is now that he’s not being gross all the time.
  • Esperanza/Ultraviolet’s strobe fight set to rock music was pretty cool. Is every episode this season going to have a cool sequence vaguely related to music cues?
  • Speaking of cool: Joe this episode? Even more cool than usual. I can’t pinpoint why, but he is.
  • My only real problem with the Cecile and Allegra plot is that it sort of buried the lede on that shady business of turning metahumans into assassins.


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