The Flash is back! After having to wait an entire summer, we finally get to see the fallout of Barry entering the Speed Force!
But, who was protecting the city? Who was keeping the citizens of Central City safe from villains? Grab a Big Belly Burger, a cup of hot coffee from Jitters, and hang on as I dive back into the world of the Fastest Man Alive!
This season starts off with a recap, of course, to remind everyone what happened last year. So, to recap: Barry created time remnants to help stop Savitar, who was himself a time remnant from Barry’s fight against Savitar. If it makes your head hurt, don’t worry. You aren’t alone!
Killer Frost aka Caitlin Snow aka our favorite meta-human doctor, took off for parts unknown. She said she wasn’t Caitlin anymore, and she wasn’t Killer Frost. She needed to find out who she was. Turns out, she was a bartender in the seedy part of town!
HR has died, and with him, his love interest left. Also, Caitlin’s love interest from last season, Julian (played by Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton) is gone, leaving us back, once again, with the core of Team Flash. Just, with no Dr. Wells (of any world)….yet.
Joe is still involved with his girlfriend, who is now moving in with him. Iris seems to be ok with it, but Iris is VERY detached.
Since Barry headed off into the Speed Force, with the last words of “keep running, keep moving forward”, that is exactly what Iris did. She became the de facto leader of Team Flash.
The episode opens with Kid Flash (Wally), and Vibe (Cisco) chasing down a villain, with Joe in hot pursuit behind them. The supervillain keeps avoiding them, until Iris finds a pattern. She gives Vibe the heads up, and he is able to show up before the villain, and stop her. This is the teleporting villain from a few seasons back “Peekaboo”. She even gets to say her catchphrase before the heroes kick her ass. A combination effort from Vibe (who freezes her in place, and opens a portal), Kid Flash (who throws her through the portal), and Joe (who shoots her with an electricity gun to knock her out) drops Peekaboo, and allows them to bask int he post-fight glow.
But, out of no where, a new threat appears. It’s a masked man, wearing a Samurai outfit. He swings his blades pretty fast, and has an attached jetpack for flight. He demands that The Flash show up, or he will destroy the city. Wally says “hey, I’m here!” and tried to challenge the Samurai….but he knows he’s not Barry, and just calls him a fake and flies off. He says the city has 24 hours, or he will destroy it, if the Flash doesn’t show up to fight him. The Samurai then drives his blade into the ground, causing a massive shockwave, knocking everyone off their feet, and he flies off.
Bad news, dude. Flash is stuck in a Speed Force prison!
The Team heads back to S.T.A.R. Labs to put their heads together, and try to come up with a solution. First, Cisco tracks down Caitlin, and begs her to return to Team Flash.
Caitlin, not Killer Frost, is working as a bartender in a seedy bar. Cisco shows up, and talks to her, trying to convince her to come home. I think his most effective argument was “I really miss my friend.” Ultimately, she decides to come back to STAR Labs, but not before a scene with a creepy dude who is missing an eye. I expect he’ll be a plot complication later on.
Cisco has an idea on how to get Barry back. He name drops all the smart people he knows who have helped him – Harrison Wells, Tina McGee, Tracy Brand, Felicity Smoak, and Curtis Holt. He thinks he has a way to save Barry form the Speed Force. Iris is all against it. She is cold, and distant, seemingly hiding her feelings about the loss of Barry. Everyone else is on-board, but Iris flatly refuses to back the idea.
Iris is afraid they’ll bring another Speed Force storm down on the city. Cisco says if they don’t try something, the Samurai will destroy the city, anyhow! Iris won’t back the idea, no matter what.
So, Cisco does what any self-respecting hero does – he goes behind her back, and gets the team together to try it anyhow. He gathers Caitlin, Joe, and Wally, and together, they use the Speed Force Bazooka (from last season), as well as some other tech-y gizmo’s, and open the portal to the Speed Force. They execute the plan….and nothing. No Speed Force Storm, no Barry, nothing.
Iris comes out from behind the vehicle, and shows she’s as disappointed as the rest of them that Barry didn’t come back.
They head back to STAR Labs, dejectedly. A cut-scene later, though, and the portal to the Speed Force opens, and out zooms…someone. The portal closes, ad the zooming speedster zips around, and then out, of the city. A few seconds later, he stops in front of a car, that brakes hard to keep from hitting him. Now, we can clearly see it’s Barry! He’s back from the Speed Force! He has a beard, and his hair looks a LOT like Emo!Flash from last season (the 2024 Flash), and he’s naked, but otherwise, it’s Barry! He passes out, and the scene ends.
When we come back, Joe gets a call, and is told to come pick up Barry. Barry isn’t all there, and we see him drawing strange symbols and equations all over the room they were keeping him in. No one understands the symbols, and they bring Barry back to STAR Labs for safe-keeping.
Caitlin reveals he’s in good health, and nothing is wrong with him, physically. He keeps drawing the weird symbols, and then races around the room, throwing everyone around and breaking some windows. The team decides to keep Barry in one of their power-removing cells in the core. Barry keeps drawing the strange symbols, and speaking in a confused manner. They suspect his mind is working too fast, and his words are coming out wrong.
While Barry is locked up, Wally dresses in his costume, and confronts the Samurai. He gets a sword through his femur (NOT cool, dude) for his troubles when the Samurai instantly knows he isn’t Barry. He somehow gets back to the base, where Caitlin tells him if he weren’t a speedster, with amazing healing powers, she would be amputating his leg. Wally bravely asks how long before he will be ok, and then tries to talk. No luck, he’s out of action.
Iris confronts Barry, trying to draw him out, declaring her love, says she can’t do it without him, all the normal things people try to do when their fiancée is schizophrenic from being captured in the Speed Force for a long time. Because that always works!
She has a sudden revelation, though, and runs off. She knows how to get Barry back!
As usual, it turns out, the solution is to put Iris in jeopardy. She gives herself up to the Samurai, in the hopes of snapping Barry out of his confused state. It works, and Barry races out of STAR Labs, wearing the new and improved suit Cisco built for him, and goes to save Iris.
In defeating the Samurai, they discover it is a robot, which Cisco names “Samuraoid”…and quite honestly, that’s pretty clever. there are unanswered mysteries about who built him, and why – but the team is just happy Barry is back! He and Iris share a kiss, and everything seems to be coming up roses now!
The last scene is Caitlin, who returns to the seedy bar to quit. The one-eyed guy tries to stop her, saying she works for someone now (I forget the name, but I’m sure it’ll be important later), and she can’t just walk out. He grabs her by the arm, and twists, hurting her. She Frosts up, and slams him against a pinball game, saying if the boss wants to talk to her, he can do it himself. She laves the bar, all Frosted up, and starts looking to cause some havoc. After a painful transformation back, Caitlin ends with “not again”. She even used the line “Don’t make me Frosty, you wouldn’t like me when I’m Frosty.”….as that’s a reference to The Hulk, and she dislikes turning into Killer Frost…it looks like her seasonal arc is going to be her trying to “control” Killer Frost a la The Hulk. It can be interesting, if it’s done right!
The last scene shows a woman, putting the final touches on another Samuroid. She has a discussion with someone off-screen, finally turning to him, and revealing this years’ Big Bad – The Thinker!
So, there you have it! The Flash is back! And, by the looks of the trailer for tomorrow, it looks like they’re returning to the “Fun and Sun” Barry from season 1, and not the “Doom and Gloom” Barry of the last couple of seasons.
Which, is as it should be. The finally realized that Flash is the sunny counterpoint to Arrow’s brooding (Superman vs Batman). And it looks like, now that he’s spent some time in the Speed Force, he’s over all the bad stuff in his past. He’s done being down, and it’s time to ENJOY life, and ENJOY his powers, and ENJOY being a hero!
Which, hopefully, means I’m going to ENJOY this season!
Here’s the preview for next week..see you then!
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