The Flash: The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2

"H.R. Wells told me once, 'Barry Allen's superpower isn't speed. It's hope. It's hope, and that kid has an endless reservoir of it.'"

By nature I love brevity: Could have been better, but it also wasn't the massive letdown part of me feared. The heart was all there, and the characters were smartly used.

So, first, the part I didn't love. I would have liked it if Bloodwork and Team Flash had been given an ideological battle to fight as well as a physical one. I feel like something about death and life could have been said through the story's main conflict, as it was in previous episodes. It's not that 'The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 2' is more interested in the big face-off than it is in the season's themes, because it pays a lot of attention to those things later on. It's more that the actual confrontation and the thematic and character elements are treated almost as separate things, to be dealt with one after the other rather than to complement one another. That's not a rare approach for television, especially for major finales, but I do like it much better when the other approach is taken.

To be entirely fair, though, it is a pretty dang good confrontation, and some quite well-acted character elements, so I'm not too disappointed. So let's get to the fun stuff.

I was expecting to be underwhelmed by the zombie aspect of Bloodwork's plot, but I wasn't. I actually really enjoyed the zombie bits, and was very pleased that both his final gambit and the solution to it made logical sense. The only thing that wasn't quite right was the number of blood brothers that stormed STAR Labs. It seemed like there should have been more of them, and it might've upped the stakes just a little bit. Other than that, though, the plot seems to check out logically. That's a big pet peeve of mine when you get to the end of a show's main plot, so it's nice to have a simple one that works.

I was afraid for awhile that the emotional journey we've seen from Ramsey was being discarded, but they did get back there eventually, and it was pretty good once they did. Plus, he's still alive, as the main villains from this show rarely are, so we may very well be seeing him again, maybe even in the back half of the season. I have to say, though, that I really don't like the extra deep voice effect it seems every show now puts on their villains. It was frightening when it first started happening, but by now, it's just the same old thing. Plus, that effect removes basically all performative power from an actor's delivery. You can't exactly do anything interesting with your voice when it'll be modulated beyond recognition anyways.

But of course, the main focus remains on our heroes. I liked Cisco subtly but definitively stepping into the leadership role – in fact, this episode sold me on him as the new leader more than 'Kiss Kiss Breach Breach' did. Iris' inability to separate her emotions from her judgement is quite in character, and it was used to good effect, so I won't fault it. Surprisingly enough to me, actually, I don't fault Barry's hints to the team through Ramsey's infection either. That sort of thing usually bothers me, but it was portrayed as a conscious battle between two forces inside of Barry's head earlier, so I don't see any reason why that shouldn't still be going on. And they didn't get him back just by giving him the 'This isn't you' speech, so that was nice.

And then it's over, and we get to the best part of the episode. There they sit, the core six of this show, waiting for the Crisis to come. The scene was played with a nostalgia for the first season that was very real, and a sense of finality that hit pretty hard. It's anybody's guess whether we'll ever see these characters all together again, so this moment is rather special. Barry, Iris, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, and even the latecomers Cecile and Ralph, are characters I've loved for years now. I don't know if I'm ready. But then nobody is supposed to be ready. Bring on the Crisis. In the immortal words of Heath Ledger, 'And... Here. We. Go!'

Running Plot Threads:

-I can forgive waiting until the end of the episode to send Nash into that cavern this time because this one started right where the last one left off, and the zombie thing kept him somewhat busy. Still, he should've been done with this long ago.

-Allegra used her powers again, which are turning out to be remarkably useful solutions to the Team's problems.

-No sign of Ralph yet. I'm betting he'll show up as part of 'the cavalry' in the Flash portion of Crisis.

-The particle accelerator gets used again, and it was even meant to explode just like Thawne-Wells intended way back at the beginning.

Pensees:

-So was Ramsey's mom really there, or was she just something Barry caused to surface from Ramsey's subconscious? I'm a little confused.

-So who else is down for a zombie movie with Tom Cavanagh, Danielle Nicolet, and Victoria Park now? No? Just me? Yeah, it's just me.

-If they're keeping Ramsey down in that chamber in the Speed Lab, does that mean there won't be scenes taking place there unless they involve Ramsey? Most likely they will just assume the chamber's been moved.

-So is Nash Pariah? I mean, I guess we'll find out, but it doesn't seem like a Pariah-ish origin.

-The effect on super Bloodwork wasn't bad.

-I wasn't a massive fan of Danielle Panabaker's performance in this episode. I think that's probably part of why I don't often connect to Frost very well. She's a terrific director, though, so I'd love to see her do more of that.

-I'm calling it now – this show will have a time jump after Crisis.

Quotes:

Iris: "We were preparing for the Flash to die trying to save this world, not helping to destroy it."
Cisco: "It doesn't matter, we were going to lose him anyway!"

Allegra: "What are you gonna do?"
Killer Frost: "What I do."

Rachel Rosso: "You were born to heal. But you've become an angel of destruction."

Cisco: "God, I remember the old days. No doppelgängers, no Flashpoint, no time travel. It was just us against the bad guys. I miss that."

Barry: "Whatever's in store for us, it can't change what we mean to each other. It can't erase what's in our hearts. As long as we hold on to that, we've beaten Crisis before it even begins."

Flawed, but still great. 5 out of 6 zombie plots.

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CoramDeo will watch. CoramDeo will cry. And CoramDeo will never be the same.

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