Monday, March 23, 2020

The Flash 6x15 Review: "The Exorcism of Nash Wells" (A Thawne Infestation) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“The Exorcism of Nash Wells”
Original Airdate: March 17, 2020

The Flash kind of, sort of, focuses on Nash Wells’ inner Thawne problem this week while also having a completely unnecessary metahuman of the week plot. Why would the show throw in a generic meta villain when it’s got some Eobard Thawne drama to get on with? I personally think it was to further distract the audience from the fact that no one can adequately explain why Eobard Thawne has anything at all to do with the multiverse of Wellses.


To open the episode, we see that Kamilla has a mirror double but we don’t actually know what happened to the real Kamilla. Why didn’t the show just pull her into the mirrorverse like with Iris? Why make that a mystery? The world beyond the mirror is just as big as the real world — they could’ve said Kamilla got transported to an empty Mirror Australia or something, thus explaining why she can’t team up with Iris immediately. That dismissiveness of real Kamilla’s fate just bugs me. Anyway, Eva shows the doubles a copy of a “prismatic refractor” and orders her two mirror minions to get their hands on the real life version.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of learning that Barry’s speed is now limited with the Speed Force dead, Caitlin and Cisco have already worked out a color-coded way to gauge Barry’s speed use via a smartwatch. It’s a helpful reminder for Barry to not use all his powers willy-nilly, and a helpful reminder for the audience of the dramatic stakes underlying every lightning-streaked zip and zoom from now until this plotline is resolved.

Oh hey, another example of the show being infuriatingly dismissive of plot elements for the sake of easier writing this episode: while discussing what to do about the Thawne/Nash situation and all the Wellses living in Nash’s head, Barry brings up the fact that Eobard Thawne is not a Wells, then the show promptly glosses over that and never mentions it again. Seriously. Barry’s like, “It’s weird that Nash has been seeing his doppelgangers because of the Wells connection, but Thawne isn’t a Wells — he’s just a dude who stole a Wells face,” and gets no response or follow-up. It’s almost comical. Does the show think acknowledging a plot hole exists is as good as fixing it? Because it’s not. I want answers, show! Answers!

During an effort to separate Thawne’s tachyons from Nash’s body, Thawne reveals himself to be in control and makes a run for it, heading for the time sphere in order to get away from Team Flash and fully meld with Nash’s body. The only way Thawne can get his speedster powers back and kill Barry is by essentially kicking Nash out of his own body, but Thawne can’t do that without weakening Nash. The team catches up with Thawne before he can time travel (Barry’s speed goes in the red on his speed gauge watch) and they knock him out.

With Cecile around to monitor Nash’s emotions, it’s revealed what’s really going on in Nash’s head: he’s being overwhelmed by negativity, which powers Thawne’s, uh, powers and helps him gain control over Nash’s body. The way Thawne is doing so is by trapping Thawne in a terrible memory of when he lost Maya, his Earth’s doppelganger of Allegra. In short, Nash was a really bad mentor in Indian Jones-style treasure hunting, teaching Maya that “the prize” was worth more than anything, including her own life. She ended up dying trying to get an artifact from a dangerous place, and Nash’s guilt kept him from admitting how much her death was his fault.

Outside Nash’s brain, Barry is trying to cope with the impending battle against Thawne without having his powers to back him up, and Mirror Iris is being remarkably supportive of her not-husband while also being sketchy and trying to steal the prismatic refractor. Really, the advice she offers Barry — that metahumans are the ones with limitations, not regular humans, because metas always have “a weakness” — is so good I, again, question what the morality/thought processes of this double could actually be. How much free will do the mirror copies have? How much emotional intelligence do they have? How much awareness? Are they people? Are they alive? When the time of their inevitable defeat comes, will I feel bad if any of the good guys kills them? There is so much here and I can’t help feeling like the show isn’t pushing this idea to its full potential.

Barry’s talk with Iris helps out both the Nash/Thawne situation and the metahuman of the week, Sunshine. In the case of the latter, Barry realizes a sun-powered meta probably wouldn’t be much of a threat if you just lured her into a dark room (really, Barry? You needed a eureka moment to figure that one out?) so that’s what he does, allowing her to get cuffed and hauled away by CCPD while Iris managed to get the prismatic reflector both she and Sunshine were after. For the former, Cecile helps Barry and Cisco enter Nash’s mind and Barry blocks Thawne from getting to the breakdown-suffering Nash by declaring the limitlessness of humanity.

Cisco talks Nash into facing his terrible memory and the faults of his own actions and Team Flash manages to expel Thawne out of Nash, sending his tachyons into the atmosphere until he can find another person to possess. Inspired by the mention of Nora when in Nash’s mind, Barry realizes that he can not only use his daughter’s notes as Thawne’s former apprentice of the Negative Speed Force to figure out how to make one of their own, but he can power it with the power of love. Someone notify Huey Lewis & The News that he was right all along.

Other Things:
  • I feel bad for that actor who plays the real Eobard Thawne. Poor dude’s just been erased from canon by sup-par writing.
  • Joe is definitely catching on to Mirror Iris’s weird behavior now. I expect this plot to pick up a lot more steam very soon.
  • Man, the CGI budget really took a hit this season, huh? The green screen background Maya gets for the fall to her death was so bad it completely removed any emotional weight to the scene.
  • Also a killer for emotional weight: those glowy brainwave triangles everyone was wearing when they left Nash’s brain. Doesn’t matter how good an actor is, they cannot hold pathos wearing glowy triangles on their foreheads.
  • I wanted to subtitle this review “A Thawne-ting” like, “A Haunting,” y’know? But I didn’t know if it would track. Sometimes puns are hard.


Post a Comment