Monday, August 9, 2021

The Flash 7x18 Review: "Heart of the Matter, Part 2" (So Long Season Seven) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Heart of the Matter, Part 2”
Original Airdate: July 20, 2021

Who’s ready for a season finale? The Flash is ready for a season finale! We’ve got everything you need to close out a season of a superhero show: villain monologues! A city in danger! A surprise appearance from a character no one expected! And, to round it all out, a wedding! Well, a vow renewal, but close enough. Actually, this finale was so neatly wrapped up (there wasn’t even a dramatic cliffhanger!) and cheerful by the end of it I felt like it would’ve made a pretty good series finale to send everyone off with. Alas, we will return next season.


Nora starts the episode freaking out about Bart, Central City, the future, and her father. Her father, meanwhile, is inside August Heart’s head and listening to the man villain-monologue about being a “living god of speed” or whatever. In seven years of this show being on the air, they have never managed to adequately explain why so many people go evil over being able to run fast. Or why people get so obsessed with running fast. Godspeed is already at the point of being able to run so fast he can travel back in time, so what more does he want?

Well, it turns out he wants “organic speed” instead of the synthetic stuff he invented and gave to himself. Throughout this episode, all chatter about “organic speed” and “synthetic speed” really makes it sound like everyone’s talking about amphetamines, which is kinda funny. But yeah, Godspeed thinks Barry can make the organic speed thing happen and, if he does, Godspeed will absorb his clones and stop the war. Barry refuses to give Godspeed what he wants and Godspeed threatens to destroy the city, blah blah blah. The usual.

Godspeed shouts Barry out of his head. With the connection broken, August Heart asks if Barry made any progress and questions what the “real” August Heart said. Everyone awkwardly looks at each other for way too long because neither Barry nor Cecile know how to tactfully explain to poor August Heart that his real self is a jerk and he’s genuinely more interesting as an amnesiac.

Later, Barry asks the team what they should do about Godspeed’s ultimatum. Nora says they need to give him the organic speed that he wants because everything as it is is completely hopeless. Nora, you’re being a real buzzkill right now. While Barry and the others contemplate potentially empowering a villain, Cecile is trying to comfort the sad, empty shell of said villain. August Heart is terrified of becoming a monster “obsessed with taking speed and ruling the world” — see? Amphetamines. Cecile insists that August is good deep down. Oh poor, poor naive Cecile.

Speed Force Nora shows up to boost everyone’s morale and also their speed, including Iris (I guess she’s like a latent speedster because of that one time she got speed powers?) and Bart, whose power surge gets him to wake up from his coma. Bart has a brief moment with “Uncle Jay” and, with the whole crew all together, Barry declares that they’re going to “end this civil war, once and for all.”

Bart shows up to get the Godspeeds’ attention, then the rest of the Flash family lines up alongside him. The Godspeeds have finally moved from “kill the adversary” to “kill the adversary and his allies,” so the divide-and-conquer strategy that failed last week finally has a chance. Each of the hero speedsters takes on a group of villain speedsters (except for Barry and Iris, who take on their group of Godspeeds together because #CoupleGoals). It seems pretty easy-going, until everyone gathers back together and they all watch as the Godspeeds they knocked out stand back up again. Speed Force Nora realizes they’re feeding off her the same way they fed off her in the Speed Force (realm), so Barry tells her she has to go.

With the Speed Force gone, the Flash Family is left to deal with repowered Godspeeds on their own even though nothing they do ever seems to work against them. Thankfully, Chester has pep-talked Allegra into throwing UV light again and she shows up with a charged SEE device that knocks the Godspeeds out. Everyone returns to S.T.A.R. Labs only to discover more Godspeeds on the move, except now Team Flash has no Speed Force Nora and no SEE device to help them.

Since they’re all out of options, Barry has changed his mind about the giving-the-villain-more-power deal and hooks August Heart up to a device that will likely give him organic speed. Before the device is powered up, August says he hopes whatever Barry does works out for the both of them. Unfortunately, speed makes August Heart evil. Why does speed make people evil? Investigate that mystery, Team Flash.

To Godspeed’s credit, he does keep his promise of absorbing all his clones so at least Central City doesn’t have to deal with the constant barrage of costumed speedsters wrecking all their stuff anymore. I feel like it would’ve been advantageous to his villainous plan if he hadn’t done that, but it makes him more powerful or something so I guess that’s the explanation. Either way, the focus has entirely moved to killing Barry and taking his speed. Thankfully, Barry says he has a plan.

And what was Barry’s plan? Calling in a bigger, badder evil speedster! In the middle of the fight between Barry and Godspeed, Eobard Thawne appears — still looking like Harrison Wells, which… has the show completely forgotten he used to have a different face? — and knocks Godspeed away. It’s unclear why Thawne would be any more effective than any other speedster has been so far against Godspeed, but all three of them summon Definitely Not Lightsabers and start a three-way sword battle that ends with Godspeed getting stabbed in the gut by Thawne. He doesn’t die from it, though. Somehow.

With Godspeed out of commission, Thawne turns on Barry. I’d forgotten that Tom Cavanagh delivers all his lines as Thawne in a whisper. It’s really annoying. Thawne takes a swing at Barry, but Barry zips away from him and tells him he “got faster” when Thawne asks how. Then Thawne runs off. Why can’t Speed Force Nora just take evil speedsters’ powers away, anyhow? She can grant more power to the people she likes, why can’t she also take away power from the people she doesn’t?

Now that the war is over, Barry offers to buy everyone dinner to celebrate (restaurants were open while Godspeeds were running amok?) and then gets down on one knee in front of Iris and proposes they renew their vows. 

We next see everyone a week later at the vow renewal ceremony, during which Bart sings a song for his not-yet parents, Cisco officiates, and Barry and Iris say wonderfully romantic things to each other. Like I said up top, it’s kind of so perfect an ending that it feels like it would’ve made a great series finale. As it is, it does make for a lovely way to head out of the occasionally rocky season 7 on an upbeat note.

Other Things:

  • Once again relegated to the Other Things bullets: it turns out Kramer’s a meta (duh-doy) and her power is the power of convenience. Seriously, she develops superpowers based on whatever she needs at any given moment.
  • Jay: “You look a whole lot like someone very close to me.” Speed Force Nora, whose actress plays three people on this show: “I get that a lot.”
  • Frost and Caitlin show up for the vow renewal together and I’m slightly amused that Caitlin’s wearing blue and Frost is wearing red.
  • “That was crash.” “No, no, no no.” “That’s how you say it.” “That’s how I say it, but you say it weird.” Barry being an uncool dad is hilarious.
  • “Do you, Iris... Bartholomew...” I love every time we’re reminded that Barry’s first name is actually Bartholomew.
  • Whew! Another season done. What will next season bring?


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