Thursday, July 22, 2021

The Flash 7x17 Review: "Heart of the Matter, Part 1" (Hey Kids) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Heart of the Matter, Part 1”
Original Airdate: July 13, 2021

Previously on The Flash: Nora and her heretofore unknown brother arrived from the future, just in time to stop Barry on his downward “Iris is in a temporal crisis, Godspeed might have messed up the future, there’s a chance I’ll never be a father” spiral. So now Team Flash has two bonus speedsters to help out with the Godspeed war going on in Central City, Barry probably feels a little bit better about the future of his children, and we get to know newcomer Bart. 

All in all, it promises an interesting start to the two-part season finale that I had no idea was the first part of a two-part season finale, since I’m used to the 20+ episode slog this show usually foists upon me. Also, “Heart of the Matter, Part 1” is the 150th episode of the show, so it’s extra special!


The episode starts in 2049, with Nora as XS lightning-lassoing Original Flavor Godspeed. He’s not terribly fazed by it, but then Bart — superhero name Impulse — phases through him (ha!) and it knocks him out. Even though her enemy is primed for arrest, Nora gets distracted by yelling at her brother for the risky phasing-through-a-speedster move and Godspeed escapes. He heads to the Flash museum, then through time to 2021.

Which brings us to the present, where Nora and Bart are getting to know the past versions of the people they grew up knowing. I get that weird stuff is a given in their lives, but they’re remarkably blasé about this whole time travel thing. Considering that they have a family rule about protecting the timeline at all costs, I guess they travel through time a lot? Also, I was briefly proud of Barry apparently growing enough as a person to set such a strict non-interference rule for his time traveling brood, but that pride evaporated when he immediately decided Bart and Nora could ignore the rule and help out with the Godspeeds. It’s always special circumstances with you, huh, Barry?

Chester has developed a “solar encryption engine” from his father’s blueprints in order to help drain the Godspeed clones of their energy and get them out of the way. I’d explain how it’s supposed to work, but every time I listen to the technobabble on this show it sounds like when adults talk in Charlie Brown cartoons. Just know that “machine does thing to stop Godspeeds, but machine needs battery charge to work” and we can move forward. Some UV light from Allegra would really help Chester out with the SEE device, but Allegra has been MIA to Team Flash. So I guess they don’t know her cousin’s dead.

Barry and the kids go out to stop a Godspeed attack and then split off, hoping to break the Godspeed packs down to more manageable chunks for each of them to fight. But all the Godspeeds follow Bart instead, repeating the phrase “kill the adversary” while they go. Hmm, that’s probably important.

After they escape and are back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry asks his son what’s up with the whole “kill the adversary” situation and Bart loses his temper over the interrogation. He finally just yells that, in the future, Godspeed is “[his] Thawne.” Bart doesn’t go into details, but suffice to say that Godspeed kills someone Bart loves in the future and they’ve been nemeses ever since. Wait, so then why was Bart so casual when he and Nora were fighting Godspeed in 2049? Shouldn’t he have been single-mindedly focused on throwing Godspeed in jail instead of cheerfully bickering with his sister?

As Barry is consulting with Gideon about other speedsters to call for help with the Godspeeds (he’s trying to get into contact with Wally, who’s apparently too busy meditating) Iris appears, good as new despite her dire temporal situation last episode. She also knows everything that’s been happening with Barry while she was gone, and she’s taking the sudden arrival of her adult children in stride. I guess if it happens once, it’s hard to be surprised the second time around.

Next we see that Jay Garrick still exists, which I’m pretty sure he shouldn’t if there’s no multiverse. Not only that, but he’s on Barry’s Earth and he’s such a part of the West-Allen family in the future that it turns out his death is what turns Godspeed into Bart’s arch-enemy. This is why the Godspeeds end up kidnapping Jay, so they can lure Bart out and finally deal with “the adversary.”

Chester has finally tracked down a sullen Allegra and pulled her in to help charge the SEE device, but Allegra’s failing to get the battery past ten percent. Barry is in a hurry to get rid of a bunch of Godspeeds, so when he comes in to check on the SEE progress and Chester tells him it’s not ready, Barry blasts it with lightning to charge it up. This turns out to be a bad idea because the energy from speed lighting just powers the Godspeeds when Team Flash later uses the SEE on them, giving them a chance to blast our heroes with cartoonish white spirals. Nora gets knocked out in the fight, which leads Barry to banning her from fighting anymore Godspeeds.

The kidnapping of Jay Garrick comes back into play when the Godspeeds announce who they’ve captured to Team Flash. Of course, Bart goes after his uncle and is immediately captured by Godspeeds, who hold him up in the air with their cartoonish white spirals while he screams the whole time. Barry and Nora show up and, despite hearing the screams of their beloved family member, just stare dumbly at the Godspeeds and Bart for like... way too long. You guys know you have super speed, right? Your reaction time should be significantly faster than this. 

Eventually they do react, with Nora going for Bart and Barry going for the main Godspeed. Barry phases through him the same way Bart does in the future, which knocks Godspeed out and releases Bart. The Godspeeds all spring back up, surrounding the West-Allen family and Jay, who declares that they should “give [the Godspeeds] heck” because he’s a product of 1940 and he doesn’t gosh-darn swear. 

It looks like it’s going to be a losing battle for the non-evil speedsters until a surprise guest appears: Cisco! He provides just enough of a distraction to get everyone out of danger and they manage to cart Bart’s still-unconscious body back to S.T.A.R. Labs for further examination. It turns out that Bart is in a coma and severely low on speed; the only reason why he’s not dead is because what little speed he has left is keeping him alive.

The team sets up what they’ll be doing when the season finale airs next week: Chester will keep working on the SEE, Cisco will try to make a synthetic replacement for the temporal trap that was broken last week, and Barry wants to climb into August Heart’s mind to figure out a way to stop him from becoming an evil speedster in the first place. You know. Normal stuff!

At the end of the episode, Barry is hooking himself up to a still-docile August Heart while Cecile plays brain wave conductor and sends his consciousness over. When Barry finds himself in Heart’s mind, it consists of a cathedral and an obelisk throne and August Heart making broadly villainous statements about how cool he is. Man, I really was right about Godspeed being a tool.

Other Things:

  • Kramer’s lack of death in that failed mission is indeed important, since Joe mentions it to her during their little micro-plot this episode.
  • Did I miss something about Jay Garrick being around? He’s definitely supposed to be on another Earth, right? And the multiverse isn’t supposed to exist anymore? Although, I caught a little bit of Superman and Lois after this episode and there’s someone from a different Earth on there, too, so two questions: 1) is anyone going to explain this? And 2) how much of it is Barry’s fault? 


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