Tuesday, March 23, 2021

The Flash 7x03 Review: "Mother" (Goodbye Mirrorverse) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

Original Airdate: March 16, 2021

The Mirrorverse storyline of The Flash finally draws to a close this week and does so with all the finesse of sweeping dirt under the rug because you don’t have the energy to hunt down the dustpan. Well okay, that’s a little unfair. “Mother” does some interesting things with what’s left of this plot, namely in the way it dispenses with our villain and the focus put on the Barry/Iris relationship as a foundation for Barry’s role as a hero. But I still detected a certain element of impatience in the way the Mirrorverse plot, specifically, is wrapped up. Considering that it’s all just lingering threads from a year ago, I can’t exactly blame the writers for just wanting to move on to something else.


Only moments have passed in-show since the last episode. We open up to Cisco, Allegra, and Frost waking up on the lab floor. They’re initially wary when they see Barry, but his teary expression and repeated pleas for them to help Iris — who is still unresponsive, despite her eyes now being open — signal that last week’s Robo-Barry is no more. We’re back to regular ol’ Barry Allen, though a very sad variant.

Getting forcefully yanked out of the Mirrorverse seems to have scrambled Iris’s brain via “molecular anomaly.” So much of Iris’s plot in the Mirrorverse involved how it was physically changing her that it’d be weird if getting pulled through the portal actually was what remapped her brain, but I’ll assume the characters are just making guesses based off the information they have.

As Team Flash deals with the tragic recovery of one of their own, Joe and the rest of CCPD are trying to get a handle on the invasion of Mirrorverse duplicates infesting Central City now that Eva has embraced her own duplicate-ness and decided to take over the world. By the way, at this point in my notes for this review (which are written in real time as I watch the episode) I mention that Eva’s plan doesn’t make sense because what’s the point of taking over the “real” world if you’re just going to replace everyone with your mirror-made minions, but I make the assumption it’ll be clarified later. Now that I’m actually typing up the review, I’ve got a spoiler for you all: this is not clarified.

The team figures out what’s going on with Eva’s takeover and sets to work minimizing the number of reflective surfaces throughout (the very, very shiny) S.T.A.R Labs. Comically, just as Cisco and the others finish emphasizing how much they need to dim the lights and cover up anything with even the slightest bit of gloss, Barry catches his reflection in a glass window and gets swiped by Eva into the Mirrorverse. Remarkable.

Eva delivers an Evil Speech of Evil (or maybe an Evil Speech of Eva?) about how she’s the “mother of a new world” and she still doesn’t want to fight Barry because she still doesn’t see him as her enemy. Not just because she doesn’t see what she’s doing as evil (despite the speechifying) but because she doesn’t see Barry or his teammates as a threat. In Eva’s eyes, she’s already won — the rest is just settling into her new world, and Barry trying to oppose her is just delaying the inevitable.

Barry is released from the Mirrorverse to deliver the news to Team Flash, fully believing that their fight against Eva is a lost cause. I’m sure it doesn’t help that Iris is still unresponsive and Barry has officially given up on getting his super speed back, since he no longer trusts the artificial Speedforce after it turned him into an emotionless robot. That’s when Harrison Wells appears for a patented Wells Pep Talk.

This show often throws a lot of sci-fi technobabble nonsense at us, but the explanation for how Harrison Wells has been revived via the combined lingering particles of Wellses throughout the now-defunct Multiverse is on shaky foundations, even for The Flash. I suppose that’s why Harrison Wells: Original Recipe (kinda) doesn’t stick around very long, just long enough to deliver a “run, Barry, run” that doesn’t have the usual oomph to it, possibly because we just had one of those two episodes ago and they should be used sparingly.

After, Barry is talking to still-catatonic Iris about his current woes and he touches her, getting a literal spark as well as a spark of inspiration. To the rest of the team, Barry says he always wondered why he was the Paragon of Love during Crisis and how that related to his speed. He theorizes that the Speedforce lives on in Iris, extrapolating from the fact that Iris was a speedster once and Nora’s speed lightning was a Barry/Iris combo of yellow and purple. “That is so romantic!” says Chester P. Runk, joining the WestAllen fanclub.

Gather round the Fusion Sphere, my friends — it’s time for Barry to get his speed back. Again. This time, powered by LOVE! Wells warns Barry that if he’s wrong about Iris being a conduit for the Speedforce, “Every atom in your body will be split in two.” Just then, Iris herself appears in a trance-like state and touches the Sphere, and Barry confidently starts running. Sleepwalking Iris kinda took that leap of faith out of his hands, but I’m guessing they were just on the same wavelength or something. Memories of Barry’s time with Iris flash by as he runs and lightning sparks from the Sphere and hits Barry. Cisco is somehow able to monitor the existence of the Speedforce in terms of organic vs. artificial power, and the one Barry gets struck by when everything flashes and sparks is apparently “100% organic.” Yeah, okay, everything is made up and Barry and Iris being fully reunited is too cute so I’m ignoring how convenient all this is.

With Barry’s speed back for realsies this time, he, Cisco, and Frost head out to confront Eva and her doppelganger army wreaking havoc on Central City. A fight set to rock music (as fights last season often were, once again reminding us all that these past few episodes have been holdovers from last year) ensues, but the team can’t beat Eva’s ability to duplicate herself. Watching from S.T.A.R Labs, Iris realizes they’ll need more than superpowers to stop Eva and goes to help.

Iris shows up on the scene and engages in some “you can stop this and get back on the right path”-style conversation. Eva doesn’t buy it and throws some mirror shards toward Iris, but Iris is able to manipulate the shards the same way Eva can and tosses them away. So that’s two superpowers Iris has had now, right? Barry joins in with Iris, both of them telling Eva that her destructive Mirrorverse minions are not ushering in the peaceful, benevolent new world she’d originally wanted when she was just a scientist hoping to help people with her technology.

This call to Eva’s better nature works, but Eva realizes that her “children” are too strong for her to control. Iris and Barry hold her hands with the intention of magnifying her abilities (which makes sense for Iris because she has temporary mirror powers, but what’s Barry doing?) and it works. The duplicates shatter around Central City, and then Eva waves her hands and all the stolen people are back. 

Iris asks Eva what she’ll do now that she’s no longer bent on world domination and Eva says she’s going back to the Mirrorverse, to take care of the world there. Which implies that Eva has the ability to create people without stealing them, so what was the point of all this? If she can create mirror-people without having to steal real people, why was she trying to take over this world?! I mean, credit to The Flash for finally giving us a villain they could do this whole “forgive and forget” redemption-esque storyline with since Eva didn’t murder swathes of people before going good, but this thing turned out messy. Motivation, intention, power limitations — all messy.

Everything is all smiles and hope for Team Flash when the dust settles. Their friends are back, Eva’s gone home, Barry has super speed again. All good! And then we get a flashback to “18 hours earlier,” when the Speedforce was powering back up, and there’s a shot of multicolored lightning flying off into the sky.

Other Things:

  • Huh. Guess Robo-Barry was right about pulling Iris from the Mirrorverse, since none of this would’ve worked without her.
  • Hilarious note: Ralph has begun the process of recasting by melting his face and sticking a helmet on him.
  • The new Harrison Wells can time travel, which I suspect is just a way for the writers to be able to pull him into the story whenever necessary.


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