Thursday, May 18, 2023

The Flash 9x11 Review: "A New World, Part Two" (Crystal Blue Persuasion) [Contributor: Deborah M]

“A New World, Part Two”
Original Airdate: May 10, 2023

Time for part two, and everything is still blue! The Flash continues to deliver some interesting stuff this week, and while the blue theme isn’t as in-your-face as it was in Part One, it’s definitely sticking around. Considering the buzz on the internet about where this final arc is going, I’m thinking things are staying blue until the end. I only hope I’ll have enough song references for the subtitles of these reviews.


Our blue Dr. Malcolm Gilmore pays a visit to CCPD, searching for answers about Eddie Thawne. Several officers clearly recognize him and look on, bewildered. I’m surprised anyone in Central City law enforcement has the capacity for bewilderment, considering everything that goes on in this town. Despite a lack of title card indicating we’re in the future, it’s made very clear that’s where Gilmore’s storyline is taking place: Korber, the only background CCPD officer with a name, is now Captain and a brief flash of Gilmore’s ID places his date of birth in 2017. I know I probably should have assumed a future timeline last week when all the computer screens were super advanced hologram looking things, but to be fair the technology in this show is silly and futuristic by default.

While the events surrounding Dr. Gilmore are the more compelling bits of the episode, the meat of the episode unfortunately revolves around Team Flash trying to figure out Barry’s disappearance. It is interesting that this episode seems to be the other side of last week’s episode, though, including some moments (like Iris thinking about Barry while Barry’s thinking about Iris during his fight with Negative Speed Force Joe) that line up nicely.

Chester picked up radioactive cobalt isotopes where Barry disappeared and says they can all assume he was taken. Well, yeah, dude. I doubt sucking loved ones away within a glowing blue light happens naturally, even in Central City. Mark suddenly appears to help the team track Barry down, except he’s actually possessed by the Negative Speed Force so he’s really just hangin’ around to cause trouble. Spoiler alert, yeah — but they don’t waste much time before the glowy-eyed reveal, so I don’t feel like I’m jumping the gun too much.

Like Joe last week, Mark picked up that blue crystal at some point during his travels and got possessed by the Negative Speed Force, who is now trying to knock off Team Flash members one by one in order to get to Iris and, subsequently, Barry and Iris’s unborn child. He irradiates Allegra first, then drives Khione away by calling her an abomination after she turns a couple CCC Media employees into PlantSims. When that’s done, he distracts Chester so he can take out all the progress being made on tracking cobalt isotopes, knocks Cecile out, and finally has Iris cornered when Speed Force Nora shows up to scare him off. Ah, making use of that actress while you can, eh?

Speed Force Nora explains that everything is the fault of the Negative Forces, and I get flashbacks to those awful Forces storylines of seasons past. Just... the worst. Anyway, she’s being attacked on the cosmic plane so she can’t stick around to help, but Khione can. Nora summons Khione from wherever she’d gone and pep talks her into realizing she has the power of a goddess and if she just embraces that power, she’ll be able to help the team and help get Mark back to his old self. Do we really want that, though?

Apparently Khione does. She meets up with Mark at her apartment, destroying her door for the sake of a dramatic entrance, and gives the Negative Speed Force one last chance to leave. He shows Khione that the blue crystal is embedded in his hand and as long as he has it, he’s in charge — so Khione removes the crystal. By disintegrating Mark into a pile of dust and then rebuilding him. It’s a very neat special effect but a very over-the-top solution to the problem. Like, jeez, girl, I feel like there was an easier way to rip that crystal out of his palm that didn’t involve reducing your friend to a fine powder first.

But reduced and recycled Mark was, sans blue crystal and, therefore, sans Negative Speed Force. The crystal itself is on the floor afterwards, but just like with Joe’s crystal, it disappears before either Mark or Khione can grab it.

Meanwhile, Iris has been dealing with the disappearance of Barry and possibly living through the timeline in which she raises Nora alone, all thanks to this Negative Speed Force and its vendetta against the Allen family. She’s only more upset when she goes into labor and laments Barry not being there to support her. But no sooner has she spoken than Barry appears, flashing into STAR Labs in a blue light just in time to hear he’s about to be a dad.

The team takes Iris to the hospital and, while they wait for her to go through that whole labor thing, Barry explains that the crystal seems to be traveling through time, trying to kill everyone in all timelines at once. Ludicrously, Mark volunteers to search for the crystal. He just said it travels through time and space, Mark. What are you gonna do, take out a Craigslist ad? “Lost: Mysterious Blue Crystal, Defies Physics, Evil. If found, please contact Chillblaine.” Khione also has her doubts, and it seems like she might assist Mark on his search since she says she’s meant for bigger things than protecting the city, but Barry disappears again before she can explain more. Wish he’d stop doing that.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Gilmore is digging up Eddie’s grave because growling voices only he can hear telling him to “find her” and random flashes of Eddie’s life with Iris have driven the man to the brink of insanity. Captain Korber catches him and pulls her futuristic gun on him, but he insists he needs to see Eddie’s body. He gets more flashes, takes a little break to laugh like a crazy person, and finally opens Eddie’s casket to reveal that it’s empty. He remembers shooting himself in the chest and when he looks down at his own chest, there’s a bloodstain.

Gilmore declares that he is actually Eddie Thawne, and to prove it he digs the bullet out of his gaping chest wound. Bro, I do believe you because narratively I have to, but that is a truly unhinged way to prove anything and I don’t think it serves as legally viable identification.

Other Things:

  • I’m like 99% sure that The Flash writers did not have Gilmore working in Mercury Labs because Sailor Mercury is the blue-themed Sailor Scout from Sailor Moon, but it’s fun to think they did.
  • Wait, Eddie’s body got sucked up into a vortex or whatever when he died, so the casket being empty isn’t even a big deal. There was never even a body to bury. Which makes me wonder why they bothered to bury an empty casket in the first place?
  • Unrelated, but Rick Cosnett was giving 80s David Bowie vibes this whole episode and I can’t fully explain why.


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