Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Flash 9x01 Review: "Wednesday Ever After" (Here We Go Again) [Contributor: Deborah M.]

“Wednesday Ever After”
Original Airdate: February 8, 2023

Ah, the time has come for the last season premiere of The Flash I will ever review. I’m not gonna lie, it makes me a little sad to think about my time watching and snarking on this ludicrous show coming to an end. I’ve complained, I’ve yelled at my TV, I’ve rolled my eyes, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. Look forward to some bouts of sentimentality in my write-ups as The Flash winds down, peppered in with my usual confusion. Because heaven knows I’m not expecting the show will finally get it together in its final act. I’m emotional, not delusional.

Previously on The Flash: Iris had Time Sickness but she got better. Cecile is a really powerful meta. Frost died, but Caitlin hatched a scheme to bring her back and it didn’t go well. Once again, I thank network TV for standardizing the “previously on” format because I would recall none of these events otherwise.


This week on The Flash: a CGI lava-man terrorizes a construction site. Barry initiates “omega maneuvers” and it cues the reveal of Frost, Chester, Cecile, Allegra, and Joe, who all help defeat the lava-man and turn him back into a man-man, which are much easier to arrest. Just as the Flash team is lining up for their hero victory poses, Barry catches on that Frost is dead, and everyone says some vague stuff about him failing to protect them before dropping like flies. It is, of course, a nightmare.

From Barry and Iris’s morning conversation, it’s only been a week since last season’s finale. I’m certainly not going to sit here and figure out if that makes sense, so fine. As Iris is getting ready to go back to work after their week-long vacation, Barry cryptically tells her to “just say yes” to something that’ll happen to her at CCC Media, and she later learns what Barry was talking about: Cat Grant from CatCo wants to buy the company. Allegra is excited because it could be the start of Iris’s “empire” but Iris is unsure, probably because of Barry’s cryptic nonsense that morning. She pretends she left her phone at home to get out of making a decision.

At CCPD, Captain Kramer calls Barry into her office but before she can say anything, Barry asks to be the Director of CCPD’s CSI division. It turns out that’s exactly what she wanted to talk to him about, and when Barry reassures her that he’ll be able to handle the workload on top of being the Flash, she promises to put a word in with the mayor. They’re interrupted by an officer telling them about an attack downtown and Barry zips off at super speed despite the massive honkin’ window in the captain’s office. Ah, Barry’s not-so-secret secret identity. Perhaps I’ll miss making jokes about you the most.

The attacker in question is Captain Boomerang. When Barry fails to capture him and he teleports away, instead of hunting him down Barry just tells Allegra and Chester to take the rest of the day off because he has dinner plans with Iris. Barry’s pretty cheerful, but the big metal structure Captain Boomerang targeted and stole something from sparkles ominously.

As Barry and Iris are getting ready for bed, Iris asks him about the CatCo “say yes” thing and Barry reveals that he’s spent their week-long vacation cataloging everything he knows about the future in a folder he calls his “mapbook.” He thinks it will ensure they’re prepared for everything, the good and the bad, and guaranteed a happy, safe future. Oh, Barry. Stupid, stupid Barry. With all your mucking around with time, you’d think you’d have figured out by now that trying to game the system never works. Barry is thrilled because he’s a moron. Iris is upset because she’s married to a moron. Aw, I’m gonna miss this zippy little idiot!

The camera pans over to the February 1st date on the alarm clock and Barry and Iris are swamped by mysterious glowing orbs. You wanna know why it focused on the calendar date? It’s because this is a time loop episode, baby! We got ourselves a Groundhog Day!

We go through Iris and Barry’s days again, with Iris figuring out the time loop and walking off to yell at Barry for time travel shenanigans while Barry’s day goes significantly poorer this time around. Not only does he not get that promotion he wanted, but he also dies. It stops the most recent loop and Barry and Iris wake up again in bed on the morning of Wednesday, February 1st.

At STAR Labs, since this is a genre show with a universe where this sort of thing happens on the daily, Barry and Iris get to skip past the customary disbelief that they’re in a time loop and the team gets started on trying to fix it. A bout of technobabble later and Chester and Barry have a plan, while Iris goes to work like normal. Unfortunately, while they’re examining the techy battery Captain Boomerang wanted to steal from the ominously sparkling machine, Chester pokes something wrong and the Wednesday ends when Barry dies again.

Barry assures Iris that he and Chester aren’t going to make the same mistake again. Cue: Chester and Barry making the same mistake again, and Barry dying. Again. We then get a fun little montage of Iris avoiding saying “yes” to the CatCo deal and Barry dying over and over and over, if the way he wakes up with a startled little yelp is anything to go by.

But the fun ends when Barry wakes up on February 1st and Iris isn’t in bed. Turns out, she got up before him (not sure how that’s possible when they seem to wake up at the same time for every previous iteration) and is enjoying a breakfast of wine and avoiding her problems. This might say something about me, but Iris has it right. If I ever got caught in a time loop, you better believe I’d use that to vacation from work, responsibilities, and social norms. Barry thinks they’re stuck in a time loop because Iris hasn’t said yes to the CatCo offer and Iris is fighting against saying yes because she wants to choose her own future, not follow the guidelines set by Barry’s mapbook. Hey, you know what would have solved this problem before it even started? If Barry had kept his mouth shut instead of coyly telling Iris to “say yes” to something.

Upset, Barry goes for a day-long run, stopping by Joe and Cecile’s place just as they’re getting ready for dinner. He explains everything that’s going on with him and Iris and the mapbook. While Barry’s spiraling about not getting to have his future with Iris, Joe and Cecile tell him the future is something people create with the ones they love. Barry returns to Iris and they have a sweet scene where he tells her he’ll be fine taking their lives day by day instead of trying to follow the mapbook, which he burns (and, presumably, burns again in the morning when the day resets).

Hey, things are fun again! Barry and Iris are united once more and approach the events of this eternal Wednesday together. First, Barry follows Iris to her workplace to hand out bagels. Then, they take a break to swim in a pool and drink cocktails. After that, Iris follows Barry to CCPD to get him that promotion again. Rounding out the day, Barry heads off Captain Boomerang and taunts him a little bit before Iris blasts him with a laser gun. Unfortunately, the blasting doesn’t stick and Captain Boomerang retaliates by turning the ominously sparkling device into a nuclear bomb. Barry vibrates the explosion and renders it inert. I’m not going to pretend that makes sense but that’s the only description you’re getting from me. The day is saved!

The team debriefs at STAR Labs. Barry and Iris apparently went through 58 time loops and implied that they probably did spend some we didn’t see goofing off and having fun together before finally fixing the loop with their last attempt. I wish we’d seen more of the fun loops, honestly, but this episode had a lot of other stuff going for it so I’ll let it pass. The team decides that Captain Boomerang must have had a partner as the brains of his operation, but they’ll have to deal with catching them both later.

Iris, having acquired the start of her media empire on her own terms by partnering with Sue Dearbon instead of CatCo, is cheerful when Barry catches up with her and proposes they go on some late newlywed adventures together before Iris is supposed to get pregnant in three months.

Meanwhile, Captain Boomerang walks into a warehouse and receives his payment of boomerangs for the battery he stole. His partner is a shadowy red lightning-covered figure with distortion voice who threatens to kill everyone Barry loves, blah blah blah. The episode ends on the symbol for Red Death, whose story I have serious doubts of The Flash handling well. But we’ll see! Maybe this show can finally take the ol’ “evil-doer obsessed with speed” plot and do something interesting with it!

Other Things:

  • Cecile’s “Joey from Friends” one-liner at the beginning of this episode was bafflingly bad. Was it because Barry can’t write pithy jokes in his nightmares?
  • “I think I died.” “What?” I love shows where that exchange can happen. Wonderful.
  • The little look Chester and Barry share when, after very careful instruction, Barry accidentally sparks the battery and causes another explosion? Golden.
  • Barry burned the mapbook, but he made that whole thing from memory anyway so...
  • Chester and Allegra finally kiss, but they don’t look happy about it?
  • After nine long years full of metahuman nonsense, Joe thinks he and Cecile should leave Central City. I don’t really get why since it’s been established that metahuman stuff happens all over the world.
  • Barry answers an alert from someone who looks like Caitlin and sounds like Caitlin but isn’t Caitlin, and the scene ends before she says who she actually is. Judging by the blue HotTopic streaks in her hair, I predict she’s Britta from the Darkest Timeline.


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