Saturday, May 27, 2023

The Flash 9x13 Review: "A New World, Part Four" (So Long and Thanks for All the Flash) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“A New World, Part Four”
Original Airdate: May 24, 2023

Alas, all good things must come to an end. And despite my periodic complaints in these reviews (163 of them!) I do count this show as a good thing. For all its flaws, The Flash has frequently embodied everything I appreciate about comic books and comic book shows — not the least of which being a full embrace of absurdity. But how does “A New World, Part Four” measure up as a series send-off? I guess we’ll see!


We begin with a voiceover, in classic The Flash fashion, as Barry asks us to believe in the impossible. As a fun bit, Allegra accidentally answers that plea with “Nope, I can’t believe it,” while Team Flash recaps that Eddie Thawne has become the Negative Speed Force avatar. Just as Mark laments that they could really use the Flash to help deal with this, Barry calls out over the comms. He’s heading to the hospital, but he shares the bad news that the timeline started fracturing back in 2049 and they’ll be in trouble if it reaches the present day.

Zoom/Hunter Zolomon appears in a red-tinged, Negative Speed Force version of the West house, having just died. Godspeed shows up shortly after him. Surprise! The old speedster villains are making an appearance in this grand finale. Considering how boring I find speedster villains, this isn’t a good surprise, but it is technically a surprise. Savitar and Godspeed posture and threaten and generally prove why they’re such unappealing villains, before Wells-faced Eobard Thawne interrupts. He’s also an unappealing villain, but at least he has a little comedy flair. Savitar, the God of Speed, is ironically late to the party.

Eddie says that he’s the reason for the Evil Speedster Meet-and-Greet and holds up the glowing blue crystal, which looks extra cool in the red-lighting of the house. He clutches the crystal and gets a magical costume change, then promises the villains he’ll help them get enough speed to defeat the Flash. This is the corniest thing the show’s done in a long time and I’m thrilled it’s going out with a negative cool factor. Once a nerd, always a nerd, The Flash.

Eddie — now going by Cobalt Blue — interrupts the reunion between Barry and Iris in the hospital, bearing blue roses and a creepy smile. His plan is to kill Barry, destroy the timeline, and rebuild a new timeline where he’s the hero. When he asks for Barry and Iris’s last words, Iris pulls out the ol’ “Run, Barry. Run.” Negative. Cool. Factor. Barry zips Eddie away from the hospital room while Iris carries on being incredibly pregnant.

Speedster fight! Eddie hits Barry with lightning and the blast sends him flying off, destroying like, five cars in the process. Nora saves Barry from another strike, then the rest of Team Flash arrives — in costume — to provide backup. This presents a perfect opportunity for Eddie to present his evil speedster team and declare that he has “a whole legion.” First: four people does not a legion make, Ed. Second: everyone on your side has been defeated before, so I don’t know why you’re so smug.

Another high speed fight breaks out, with each member of the team facing off with an evil speedster. Nora gets Savitar, who stabs her in the same way he was supposed to stab Iris back during the Savitar season, but Nora just yanks the blade out of her gut and stabs him right back. Cecile makes short work of Godspeed and even lands a cheesy one-liner. Chester, who was not part of the field team, somehow ends up facing Eobard Thawne, who speed-electrocutes him and scares us all with the possibility of him being a series finale sacrifice, but Allegra saves him. Khione and CCPD handle Zoom. Barry, of course, gets tasked with Eddie.

All the other villains were subdued but not killed, so when Jay Garrick swipes Eddie’s speed, it gives him the opportunity to suck up the speed of his former allies. Eddie disappears and the temporal storm that had spelled doom for 2049 begins rumbling in the sky, indicating that the timeline has begun to unravel. Barry and Jay realize Eddie’s next step will be to absorb the Negative Speed Force, which will mean overloading and killing himself like Thawne did.

Barry doesn’t want to just let Eddie die, but he’s struggling to find a solution to the problem because the Negative Speed Force is just an endless cycle of fighting and death. Khione says they need coexistence. Barry says it’s impossible, but Khione implores him to believe in the impossible in order to create a better world. Grant Gustin’s really stellar in this scene, by the way.

Speaking of stellar: the fight scene between Eddie and Barry! The all red lighting interspersed with blue-tinted flashbacks, Eddie’s fracturing sanity, and — holy moly, when Eddie punches Barry, Barry actually spits blood all over the wall! I don’t think we’ve ever gotten that much blood on this show before. Barry throws some more speechifying at Eddie and finally gets through to him, resulting in Eddit ripping the blue crystal off his chest and shattering it. The red lighting of the scene shifts to blue in a neat little effect, and while Eddie still seems to be the Negative Speed Force avatar, he’s no longer insane and violent. Eddie wants Barry to tell Iris he’s happy for her, they shake hands, and Barry is transported to the hospital where Iris has officially gone into labor.

Despite only just being past the halfway mark of the episode, everything from here on out is tying up loose ends. Baby Nora is born (and we get an incredibly touching Barry/Iris love story montage as Joe sings to his new granddaughter), Chester has black hole powers (kinda cute that the black hole meta and the light meta are a couple), and a visitation from that timeless version of Harrison Wells inspires Khione to ascend as a goddess protector of the natural order, allowing Caitlin to take her body back. 

A week after the events of the episode, Barry and Iris host a party celebrating the new addition to the family. Barry and Caitlin apologize for the fight they had over bringing Frost back to life and hug it out, and it’s very sweet — if only because they’re two of the original members of Team Flash, and I’m feeling nostalgic. The party’s an array of The Flash faces, but Cisco is notable in his absence. Understandable, since Carlos Valdes couldn’t make the filming, but it’s still a tad disappointing not to see him in the last episode. Anyway, Joe and Cecile get engaged at the party, just to add to the happy vibes.

After the party, Barry soothes a fussy baby Nora by asking her to believe in the impossible, then telling her the story of the Flash. Barry says that, in order to keep Nora from experiencing the tragedies he experienced, he’s going to spread the amazing gift of super speed to worthy people: Avery Ho, Max Mercury, and Jess Chambers. He hopes sharing his powers will create a better world, where nothing has to be impossible.


Well, that’s all, folks — and what a lovely end! I’d like to take a moment to thank Jenn for giving me the space on Just About Write to ramble about a show that’s teetered between fun, infuriating, brilliant, and bewildering like the world’s wobbliest Weeble. What started as a temporary guest contribution turned into, as stated at the beginning of this review, over 160 installments averaging around 1,400 words each. It is, without a doubt, my longest-lasting and largest writing project ever, and it’s all been dedicated to this ridiculous show full of speedsters and talking gorillas and man-sharks, too much angst and too little Cisco Ramon, wonderful moments and baffling plot decisions. 

I hope these reviews have been entertaining to read. If they’ve managed to inspire a chuckle or two over the years, I’ll go ahead and consider it a success. If they haven’t, well... don’t tell me. I’m very sensitive.

And to sign off, for old time’s sake after a long, long absence, I present you with the very last ever:



Other Things:

  • “Meet Eddie Thawne, the dumbest branch on my family tree.” It’s not Eddie’s fault the writers decided his smart plan had to be undone for the sake of extended angst, Eobard.
  • Eddie talking through a stuffed bunny and making a sad face about destroying the universe was funny enough to make him my favorite of the evil speedsters. Not saying a lot, but still.
  • How did Godspeed know Cecile’s superhero name when we just learned it last week and he wasn’t there? Why would Thawne target Chester? How did Zoom know Khione was a goddess? These are just a few of the questions I don’t have to care about getting answers for anymore!
  • Nora, in the waiting room for her own birth: “Am I breaking timeline rules by being here?” Oh, sweetie. It’s way too late for anyone in your family to worry about that.
  • Very cute that Chester memorized the names of all Khione’s plants.
  • Barry, as he watches Nora cuddle her baby self: “Okay, even for us, this is trippy.”
  • Two things about Joe and Cecile’s engagement: adorable that Cecile puts a pillow down to protect Joe’s knees, and hilarious that Joe kneeling is almost as tall as Cecile standing.


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