Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Flash 6x16 Review: "So Long and Goodnight" (Oh No, Joe!) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“So Long and Goodnight”
Original Airdate: April 21, 2020

Heeeey, how’s everyone holding up? Keeping calm, keeping safe, keeping sane? We’re stuck in some weird, scary, frustrating times right now which is why the return of this show from mini-hiatus got delayed into a larger-than-mini-hiatus. I gotta be completely honest with you all: like my awareness of dates and control over my sleep schedule, I’m afraid current events have caused me to lose my firm grip on the details of The Flash. Who’s a mirror person? Black Hole? What’s the main evil dude’s name again? Something, something, Speed Force powered by love... Ah, well. We’ll muddle through somehow.


Joseph Carver! That’s evil Black Hole dude’s name. Anyway, Carver is chatting with a henchman about how annoying it is that people keep wanting him to stop doing evil stuff and casually orders the assassination of Joe West. We don’t see which metahuman assassin he gives the job to, but I’m gonna spoil it and tell you it’s freaky-deaky Rag Doll. Man, I do not like that guy. Rag Doll, I mean. I don’t like Carver either, but it’s more of a ‘meh’ than a shiver of soul-deep disgust.

Oh, and Joe’s not at the focus of just one villain. In the Mirror World, Iris has learned to focus enough that she can actually read things despite the warped mirror-ness of everything around her. She’s figured out that there’s a way to phase through the mirror and maybe get the two of them out, then reveals that her husband is actually the Flash. Eva doesn’t want Barry/the Flash to come to their rescue, so she orders Mirror Iris to do anything within her power to get Barry to use up all his superspeed. The situation with Joe has provided a convenient opportunity: if Mirror Iris guilts Barry enough, he’ll fry his powers to keep Joe safe.

Meanwhile, the Flash family is unsuspecting of the hit out on their de facto patriarch and playing Pictionary. The evening is interrupted when Joe gets a phone call from Chief of Police David Singh, who tells him there’s been a break in the Carver case. Joe leaves the party, but on the way to Singh, the brakes in his car go out. Apply the handbrake, Joe! Quick, before the creepy metahuman in your engine causes the car to accelerate too much and renders the brake ineffective! Apply the — oh, fine. Slam your car into a cement wall and tuck and roll into a ditch. That works too.

Even after his near-death experience and the explosion of his vehicle, Joe is still fired up about getting some legal dirt on Carver and rejects the idea of witness protection as soon as Singh brings it up. Everyone makes worried faces because Joe’s clearly in danger but isn’t doing anything to keep himself safe.

Later, Joe is trying to get a former Black Hole meta (Sunshine, from the last episode) to turn over information on Carver and Rag Doll’s telltale gross crunching can be heard from inside a nearby file box. It looks like Joe is getting through to his potential witness, but then Rag Doll pops out of his box. Joe fires at Rag Doll, but he twists and bounces the bullets back at Joe while Barry is speeding to his rescue, having figured out that Rag Doll is their assassin. Barry manages to catch most of the bullets, but his speed fritzes out before he can get the last one, which scrapes Joe’s shoulder.

Even now, two assassination attempts and one flesh wound later, Joe is still refusing witness protection and doesn’t want to back down from the Carver investigation. Mirror Iris shows up as Joe is leaving STAR Labs, notices that Barry’s speed monitor has gone from green to yellow (I’m not sure why that’s a thing. I thought the speed monitor did that monitoring on a speed-burst-by-speed-burst basis) and does a convincing bit of worry over her not-father’s safety. Please, show, tell me the psychology of the mirror doppelgangers. Do they have self-actualization? Are they robots? Is the stuff she feels about Iris’s family real or just good programming?

Joe, in full reckless mode, visits Carver to accuse him of hiring Rag Doll to kill him. Carver plays it cool until he drops some knowledge he shouldn’t have about how Rag Doll attacked Joe. The jig officially being up, Carver shrugs it off and confesses, saying that Joe’s been too annoying to let live. Joe reveals that he’s recorded the whole confession. Hey, advice to anyone trying to capture voice recordings as evidence: upload that thing to the cloud in real time with live-streaming! Also, don’t reveal that you’ve been recording the person you’ve been recording until they’re sitting in a police interrogation room, because they’ll find a way to break your phone. Which Carver does to Joe.

Again, Joe refuses to go into witness protection. Perhaps frustrated by Joe’s combined refusal to be assassinated and taunting lack of self-preservation, Rag Doll targets his family instead of Joe himself and takes Cecile hostage. When Barry and Joe locate where Rag Doll is holding Cecile, Barry tries to distract the creepy meta while Joe is on hostage rescue duty.

Unfortunately, Cecile is tied to a pressure-sensitive bomb and that makes successful rescue pretty difficult. After getting advice on the make of the bomb from Nash Wells leads nowhere, Joe decides to switch places with Cecile so she can get to safety. Cecile doesn’t want to go but Barry guides her out, returning at super-speed to rescue Joe before the bomb goes off. Once again, Barry’s powers malfunction. However, to his (and our) great relief, Joe has managed to disarm the bomb out of pure luck and probably a lot of prayer.

Joe finally accepts that he should go into witness protection. Barry and Cecile are there to say goodbye to him before he’s taken off to locations unknown. Wait, why would Joe be the only one going into witness protection? Half this episode was about using Joe’s loved ones to get to him when the direct approach failed, why wouldn’t Carver just target Cecile or baby Jenna (or Iris or Barry or literally anyone Joe is close to) again to flush him out? At the very least, Cecile and their daughter should be going with him.

After Joe is driven away, we see Singh in his car, talking to Eva through his rear-view mirror. It’s (probably) Mirror Singh! And he had a plot to get Joe out of the way all along! Dun, dun, duuuunnn!

Speaking of mirror doppelgangers: Mirror Iris, having failed in her duty to get Barry to use up all his speed, has decided to crush Barry emotionally instead. She feigns upset at having missed saying goodbye to “her” father, then kicks Barry out of their apartment. As Barry is walking away, all sad and brokenhearted, the yellow light on his speed monitor fades into red. I guess it’s connected to his emotions now? If speed and emotions are connected in some way, maybe that will tie in with Barry’s plan to create a new Speed Force with the power of love.

Other Things:
  • It sure is convenient that all these non-cooperating forces (Carver wanting Joe dead, Eva getting Singh to get Joe out of the way so she’s the only one who can get revenge on her husband, Eva getting Mirror Iris to guilt Barry into using his powers) converged so perfectly this episode.
  • Ralph and Cisco had a little plotline that had them cross paths with Sue Dearbon again. We learn that Sue’s been hitting banks and stealing stuff to protect her parents, who are being blackmailed by Joseph Carver. They have a couple little moments that hint at an alliance, including Sue giving Ralph the big ol’ honkin’ diamond she stole. She tells Ralph to “look into it” because he might find “something interesting.” Everything’s coming up Black Hole, people!
  • “You should’ve seen me about two years ago. I was a real crap-bag.” You’re right, Ralph! I’m so glad you’ve improved.
  • Ragdoll is the most psychologically messed up metahuman villain, on top of being the creepiest. Jeez.


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