Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Flash 7x01 Review: "All's Well That Ends Wells" (Farewell, Wells) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“All's Well That Ends Wells”
Original Airdate: March 2, 2021

Every time we come back from a hiatus I have to scramble to remember what happened last time on The Flash (and no, the “previously on” recaps don’t help as much as you’d think) but this hiatus has really done a number on me. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I have a backlog of self-written recaps of this show to help me out, because my brain turned to mush last April and the only things reliably retained in there now are my library card number and the lyrics to “Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock.


Since we never actually got closure from last season’s non-finale (which, in hindsight, ending a season during a dark place of non-closure isn’t a bad plan as long as it’s, you know, a plan and not a side effect of a worldwide pandemic shutting down production) not a lot has changed between then and now. Barry’s speed is on the fritz, Evil Eva McCulloch is doing evil things, and Iris is still trapped in the Mirrorverse. But not the cool kind of Mirrorverse where Spock is there and has a goatee. Throughout the episode, it’s very obvious that this is not season premiere content — this is end-of-season content. Again, we can’t blame the writers at all for this, but it definitely affects the vibe.

The most pressing problem for Team Flash is the pending loss of our titular hero’s super speed. When the episode opens, we see Chester P. Runk manning the Team Flash control center, monitoring for signs of Eva doing villainous things in Central City. When he gets an alert, Barry is notified and drops out of a “cryo pod” he’s been using to preserve his speed, which is fading at a rate that will leave him powerless in days or even hours.

Barry ignores all the warnings related to his powers and speeds to Eva’s location in time to see Eva kill Sam Scudder (a.k.a. the first Mirror Master) and Rosa Dillon (metahuman identity: the far-too-short-to-be-pithy “Top”) mourn his loss. I remember last time really liking the idea of Eva as a reluctant adversary for the hero, and that’s continuing this season. She even says she and Barry are “on the same side” against the Black Hole crime organization, but Barry just wants Iris back. I don’t know why Eva refuses to return Iris if she wants Barry to leave her alone so badly, but I’m not confident enough in my memory of this plot to call the show out on it.

Back at the lab, Barry narrowly stops Chester from falling into a Fusion Sphere, which is a glowing ball with the power to use anyone who touches it as a fuel source and looks like something sold at your local mall’s Spencer’s gift store. So, with the danger of the Fusion Sphere should anyone ever touch it explained, we can all assume someone will touch it before the episode ends, right? Chekhov’s Glowing Ball!

And all signs are pointing to that person being Nash Wells, who is seeing manifestations of the other Wellses throughout the now-defunct multiverse. These Wellses explain how their existence as particles from the destroyed Earths means they could be used to re-power Barry’s speed, but an “organic receptor” is necessary to make that happen. Nash, as the focal point for the Wellses, would be the organic receptor — and he would die. Understandably, Nash is upset at the prospect of dying “so that Barry Allen can run fast.” Ha!

Nash busies himself trying to find an alternative to his untimely demise when Allegra shows up, giving him the inspiration to try something else: Allegra can use her powers to blast the multiverse particles from Nash and redistribute them into the sphere. Chester sees something wrong with this plan immediately, asking “Aren’t multiverse particles a little too chaotic to be contained in a Fusion Sphere?” and I love when this show says absolutely bananas stuff like it’s everyday logic. Yeah, of course! Multiverse particles are way too chaotic to be contained in a Fusion Sphere! Duh-doy!

Oh hey, it turns out that multiverse particles are too chaotic to be contained in a Fusion Sphere. Nash’s plan backfires and Barry dives in to stop a total explosion, getting zapped by all those multiverse particles in the process. He gets knocked out and wakes up with an absurd French accent, which seems like a really weird side-effect to being hit with multiverse particles until it’s made clear that the absurd French accent is actually Sherloque Wells’s absurd French accent.

We get a very brief reprieve from the psychological horror (see: Iris’s plotline) and angst (see: literally everyone else’s plotline) making up the bulk of this episode as Grant Gustin tries on various Wells personas. It’s fun and it seems like Gustin probably had a blast being versions of Tom Cavanagh’s character, but it doesn’t last long at all. Barry passes out and the team learns that having all those multiverse particles in him is essentially frying his brain. The only thing keeping Barry alive is his super speed, which is — as we’ve established — diminishing quickly.

After Chester mentions how an organic receptor would stabilize the particles, Allegra brings up that Nash had been researching organic receptors before his idea to use her powers and he comes clean. The only viable organic receptor is Nash, and Nash didn’t mention it because he doesn’t want to die. Allegra is angry about him keeping this knowledge from them, but... dude, he just doesn’t want to die! Like, self-preservation is Being a Living Organism 101, you can’t exactly blame him for wanting to try an alternative first.

The team devises a new plan to use Allegra’s powers to push the multiverse particles out of Barry and into a glowy vest worn by Nash. It works, but none of this fixes Barry’s speed issue. Which is bad because Team Flash learns that a jet full of Black Hole technology is flying toward Central City, rigged with enough explosives to kill thousands. Nash realizes that the Flash is kind of necessary, throws out his fear of dying, and touches the Fusion Sphere. Barry doesn’t want Nash to die for him, nor does he like the idea of there not being a Wells on Team Flash, but Nash has accepted his end. We get a quick zip through previous Wellses (but only the ones that were team members; Wells the Grey does not get a super special goodbye speech) before he sends Barry off with a final “Run, Barry. Run.”

Aw, that’s kind of nice. I’m unsure whether this actually is the end of all Wells variations on the show, but since they’re trying to write out the multiverse I don’t know how they’d bring back another one. Plus, it’s a nice enough sendoff to the character(s) that undoing it by just throwing another Wells at us in a few episodes would feel wasteful.

His speed restored and the day saved, Barry returns to Allegra and Chester, but finds Nash Wells to be nothing more than an ashy smear on the ground. Kinda gross. The reduced Team Flash has a bit of a memorial for their lost team member and Allegra mourns that she “never got to know” Nash. Well, Allegra, you were a bit busy dragging out a tedious feud that should’ve lasted maybe one or two conversations before ending. Anyway, Barry is sad about losing all those Wellses for the sake of his speed, but thanks Chester and Allegra for helping him through everything. All three of them promise to get everyone else currently missing in action back on the team.

Other Things:

  • The show asked itself “What do we do about that pre-existing Mirror Master whose powers and backstory we’ve already explained?” and answered “Kill him. Also, retcon him into being one of Eva’s mirror creations.” We just accept this.
  • Upon learning that Wells the Grey exists, Chester exclaims “There’s a wizard Wells?!” and asks him if he knows Gandalf. I really, really like you, Chester.
  • Also featured in this episode: Iris possibly having a mental breakdown, possibly just being toyed with by Eva. Still don’t get why Eva hates her so much. Eva herself learns that the real Eva is dead and the one going on a revenge spree through Central City is actually a mirror duplicate.
  • Cecile can now do the same kind of emotional manipulation as “Top” can do. She learns this from one scene to another, which seems a little unfair. Barry has to go through episode-long arcs to learn new powers!


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