Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Flash 6x10 Review: "Marathon" (Living in a Post-Crisis World) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

Original Airdate: February 4, 2020

Previously on The Flash: there was a multiverse! Now, not so much. With all our DC TV heroes on one Earth, you’d think that would mean a significant increase in crossovers and cameos, but something tells me Team Flash will still manage to be inexplicably solitary in its endeavors to save Central City. Another remnant of a pre-Crisis world? Season-long plot arcs, apparently. It seems to me (and I very, very, very much hope I’m right about this) that the back half of season six will have absolutely nothing to do with Bloodwork and will instead revolve around that intriguing shady metahuman kidnapping ring we got a hint of at the beginning of the season.

Will this decision to adopt half-season plot arcs breathe a little life back into the show? Hard to say this early on, but “Marathon” was certainly a great return. There was a nice smattering of humor, some drama, Crisis fallout, back-to-normal stuff, and — here’s the thing that really gives me hope for this plot — Iris! Iris seems to finally be coming into her own as an investigative reporter, and I have my fingers crossed her role won’t be terribly diminished as the story unfolds.


After a cute opening segment in which Barry foils a poorly planned robbery of the newly reopened CC Jitters coffee shop, we get our first hint at what’s changed after Crisis via a Cisco rant. Yeah, I’m not so sure why everyone seemed so happy when the Infinite Earths got reduced to one Earth. Cisco has it right: this is a nightmare of deaths, bent realities, twisted timelines, and unknown evils. They lost an “infinite” number of doppelgangers, some of whom we’ve met and liked. The new Earth Prime had to make space for new cities like Supergirl’s National City and Metropolis, which begs the question of what happened to all the people who were there before those cities got placed on the map. And to top it all off, some long-defeated villains are back, plus some villains — and aliens now! — from other Earths the team might eventually have to worry about. It’s a headache. Also, Cisco doesn’t remember owning his Superman shirt!

The other post-Crisis remnant we get this episode is what removes Barry from the main plot so Iris can take the lead. I guess I was wrong about my assumption that no cameos would happen despite the merged Earths, since John Diggle shows up. To be fair, though, Dig was already a part of The Flash’s Earth and his show is over, so...

Anyway, Dig has something to give Barry on behalf of Oliver: an old mask Barry made for him in the early Arrow days, which Barry immediately starts looking at for clues to some secret mystery Oliver wants him to solve. He spots a smudge on the mask that contains trace particles of Lian Yu-type soil and Mirakuru super soldier serum. Barry jumps to the conclusion that there’s still Mirakuru on Lian Yu and Oliver wants him to get rid of it before it falls into the wrong hands.

All this culminates in Barry dragging poor motion-sick Diggle off to Lian Yu, scouring the island, and finding no Mirakuru. Barry’s confused by this, but Diggle clarifies that Oliver’s gift was really just a gift — not a mystery to be solved, and not a mission for Barry to devote himself to. Oliver learned too late that jumping from crusade to crusade was no way to live life and didn’t want Barry going down that same path. Good thing Diggle was there to translate for Oliver, because there’s no way Barry could’ve figured that out, even if he hadn’t been distracted by mourning. Oliver kinda sucks at gift-giving when the gift isn’t, like, self-sacrifice.

Squaring away the Crisis aftermath stories, Cisco decides to hit the road and start documenting everything that’s changed in the world, leaving Nash Wells in charge of the day-to-day Team Flash stuff. Maybe Cisco will bring a storyline or two back with him as a souvenir?


In what I’d consider the A-plot of the episode, Iris is working with Allegra, Kamilla, and Cecile to unravel a mystery involving McCulloch Industries, a shady organization of assassins called Black Hole, and the metahuman kidnappings hinted at earlier this season. Iris’s first lead is a former McCulloch employee, who is so paranoid about saying anything regarding the nefarious dealings between McCulloch and Black Hole that he won’t even allow himself to be recorded because they might recognize his voice.

Iris follows her source’s info to McCulloch and a meeting with the CEO, Joseph Carver. This meeting leads to Iris nearly getting killed twice — once, in her office (where a light beam turns her investigation pinboard into sparkly purple ash) and again when she checks in on her source (who gets the same fate as that aforementioned pinboard). Iris, being awesome, stubborn, and caring as she is, is doubly motivated to get to Black Hole/McCulloch.

I appreciate whenever Iris gets a good storyline because it allows her real, not-just-Barry’s-cheerleader personality to come out. She’s, perhaps, way too determined to get her “scoop,” brushing aside getting sued by Joseph Carver, almost getting killed by a light gun twice, and pretty much everyone around her telling her to slow down. Action Star Iris is just such an incredibly fun, interesting character that I can’t believe how rarely she gets to make an appearance — if I were the writers, I’d be trying to get Iris into high speed car chases and shoot-outs constantly.

After determining who the light-shooty assassin is (a new version of Doctor Light, this time named Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi, who uses a gun to focus her light powers), Iris cleverly blackmails Joseph Carver into calling off his assassin squad by, well, telling him she knows he has an assassin squad. She also informs him that if anything happens to Iris, her friends, or her family, she has a “deadman’s switch” in place that would release all the info she has on McCulloch to the public.

However, Iris is one of those investigative reporter types who just can’t let a job well done stay done. She recalls the last word her source said before dying — “mirror” — and a room, AV3, in the halls of McCulloch when she’d been visiting Carver. Mirrored back, “AV3” turns into “Eva,” the name of Joseph Carver’s missing wife. Not sure how she got into the building after hours, but Iris returns to McCulloch to investigate the AV3 room. Once she’s inside snooping around near a large mirror, a pair of hands reach through the mirror and yank Iris inside.

Next week: Iris seems okay... but is she?! (She’s not.)

Other Things:

  • “Gorilla City's part of Earth-Prime now. Don't you wanna go myth-bust it?” “No. Gorillas are atheists.”
  • Allegra’s alternate-Earth doppelganger has some connection to Nash Wells. Dunno what yet.


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