Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Flash 6x08 Review: "The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2" (Prepping for Crisis) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2”
Original Airdate: December 3, 2019

In the last episode of The Flash before the entire DCTV multiverse has to face the big crossover Crisis and Barry is destined to die, Barry doesn’t even get to be Barry most of the time and poor Grant Gustin spends a lot of the episode with his teeth comically slathered in black ink. This also seems to close out the Ramsey/Bloodwork storyline, but I don’t buy that’s actually the case — the writers have probably just learned its lesson about having crossover shenanigans while the season’s villain is still running around Central City.


Starting where we left off, Team Flash sans the Flash is dealing with the aftermath of a Barry gone dark. Thankfully, Cisco seems to already have a fix in mind: a photon blast that could disrupt Ramsey’s influence. Unfortunately, it involves shooting radiation at Barry and Iris isn’t so keen on the idea. There’s a lot of Cisco/Iris stuff in this episode, which is a nice change of pace and something I’d like to see more of in the future.

Communications have gone down all over Central City as part of Ramsey’s plan to sow fear and, in doing so, make it possible for him to convert everyone into zombies, which we’re now calling “blood brothers” I guess? I don’t like that name, so I think I’ll stick with dark matter zombies. The team is split off into groups: Cecile with Kamilla trapped in Cecile’s office building, Joe being CCPD captain out in the field, Nash Wells down in those tunnels talking to a wall, etc. The disconnected cast lends itself to the chaotic nature of a town overrun by Bloodwork’s zombies and, of course, Barry isn’t around to act as Team Leader and pull everyone together.

I suppose this meant to be a hint at what the team without the Flash in a crisis would be like, but... Barry was in the Speed Force for months just a couple seasons back, remember? The team — and the city — has already experienced life without the Flash and, while members of the team didn’t personally or emotionally deal with the loss all that well, it’s not as if things fell into chaos. Is it different because Barry is supposed to be dead forever after Crisis hits? Is it different because there’s a sense of expectation for his loss, while Barry stepping into the Speed Force before was done on a whim? It’s almost like the writers realized that, oh wait, we should’ve really wrung out more drama from that whole Barry-being-gone thing, let’s just do it over.

Anyway, Iris tries to get through to Barry as his wife and the love of his life, but the Bloodwork control is too strong. Then Cisco tries his experimental device on Ramsey but Barry interrupts by zooming into him and destroying the device. After this, Ramsey’s evil plan is revealed: he wants to use the particle accelerator to spread his infection with another explosion. Just after Ramsey-as-Barry woke up last episode, he hacked the particle accelerator to explode, so now it’s prepped to make dark matter zombies out of everyone.

Iris and Cisco are sad about their losing plans and while Iris is still relatively optimistic, Cisco is being a real downer until he Cisco recalls Ramsey saying he “knew [he] picked the right guy,” echoing the exact same words Barry said to Cisco about leaving Cisco in charge. Dark Flash also told Iris that he was “coming home,” which is another Barry-specific reference. They determine that Barry, though he’s being controlled by Ramsey, is finding a way to get messages to the two of them.

Just as this epiphany is happening, Dark Barry tells them to “let the light in,” which Iris and Cisco take to mean that Barry wants through the defenses put up around S.T.A.R Labs and to use Allegra (who seems to have been unceremoniously brought into the Team Flash fold over the course of figuring out secret identities one by one) and her UV powers against Bloodwork.

Barry, Ramsey, and a horde of Bloodwork zombies enter S.T.A.R Labs. Allegra will use her UV powers to spread the antidote of Bloodwork’s “lifeblood,” which is a really gross name by the way, by attaching it to the explosion Ramsey set into motion.

There’s a standoff outside the Pipeline, with Ramsey telling mind-controlled Barry to kill Iris. The power of love is stronger than the power of fear-based dark matter goo, though, and Barry resists. Iris snatches up a gun and, while she doesn’t kill Ramsey, there’s enough distraction for the UV plan to proceed. When the particle accelerator explodes, it sends a wave of zombie-healing throughout the city.

Ramsey escapes, pursued by a Barry with newly restored free will, and Bloodwork changes from mildly gross to a full-on monster. It seems like Ramsey’s about to land a killing blow on the Flash when suddenly Ramsey’s late mother appears and chastises him for turning all evil. Barry brought her out of Ramsey’s mind when he got infected. I’m... not sure how that works, but fine. How is Barry projecting her, though? Wait — no. I’m not going to ask questions; this show won’t ever answer them. So, yeah, Ramsey returns to his more natural state of not a monster, not a goo-covered evil entity, long enough to tell his mom that he just wanted to help everyone.

While the enemy is distracted by this heartwarming reunion from beyond the veil, Barry speeds Ramsey into the containment cell where they’d kept Chester P. Runk while he was coming down from his mind-meld with a black hole. He’s stored there until getting transferred into ARGUS custody and, like I said, I’m assuming we’ll be seeing Ramsey/Bloodwork again some point after the Crisis crossover is done. Then again, his whole purpose was to act as a less healthy mirror to Barry dealing with mortality, so maybe (hopefully) the show will just do what I’ve been wanting it to do and split the season into two villain arcs, thereby skirting around the awful pacing problems that come when the writers try to stretch a storyline over more than twenty episodes.

Frost hands control over to Caitlin so she can be with the team for “whatever Crisis is about to bring.” Everyone seems to just be counting down the seconds until Crisis begins. We get some reminiscing about how great Barry is while Barry gets all teary-eyed, and part of this seems like a summarization of all the weird stuff in the multiverse. Cisco even brings up the “good old days” before Flashpoint and time travel — so will the Crisis crossover event reflect the plot of the Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book run and clean up some of the complications in the Arrowverse?

A red light looms on the horizon. Barry and Iris look at each other, nod, and seem ready to face whatever’s coming together.

Other Things:

  • Boy, Ramsey sure skipped over the ugly black-stained teeth small print during his temptation of Barry last episode.
  • Why are Barry’s fingers black OVER his costume gloves?
  • Meanwhile, Nash Wells gets sucked into a wall. I sure hope that character has a point after Crisis, because he’s seemed entirely superfluous to the actual The Flash universe.


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