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The Flash: Heart of the Matter, Pt. 1

“This is gonna be so much fun.”

Obviously, the title is a play on August Heart and the memories locked inside his head. But the real heart of the matter remains family. It’s the single thread of consistency throughout this season. Why should the finale be any different?

After all his fears that he and Iris would never have children, Barry’s thrilled to meet not only Nora but Bart as well. This may look like season five Nora but looks can be deceiving. With two parents at home and no need to suppress her speed, this Nora is all grown up and without the anger issues and impulsiveness that plagued her previous iteration. Unfortunately, that impulsiveness appears to be dialed up to eleven in her younger brother Bart, whose actions border on recklessness at the best of times.

Barry’s joy in meeting his children is immediately tested when he realizes his ignorance of the future could get them killed. He and Iris’ first instincts are to do what any parent would do—take their children out of harm’s way. That’s a complicated prospect when the children you want to protect are superpowered adults you’ve only known for a few hours.

Barry has changed so much over the past eight years. Even after the trauma of his mother’s death and seeing his innocent father imprisoned, his hope for the future was undimmed. Now, despite all the storms he’s weathered and as much proof as anyone can be granted that he’ll have happy and healthy children, he wonders if tragedy will be his legacy.

Barry’s forgotten that the defining characteristic of a hero is to join the fight even when the odds are stacked against them. Usually, they manage to at least snatch a stalemate from the jaws of defeat, but not always. Does this mean they’re destined to fail? Or are the odds finally catching up to them? For better or worse, Barry’s children have decided to follow in his hero-trodden steps. Neither Barry nor Iris can protect them from that. I don’t think history is repeating itself. It’s just the terminology the West-Allen family uses to define the pain being a hero inevitably brings.

Then we have Allegra, who is still reeling from the death of her cousin. I wasn’t far off with my theory that Allegra’s power comes from love (or at least positive emotions). Her grief and guilt over Esperanza’s death is blocking all but her ultraviolet light, which is not able to charge the S.E.E. The knowledge that love is more powerful may be a comforting thought, but at this moment all Allegra can see is one more failure notched on her belt. Here’s hoping Chester convinces her otherwise.

And family extends past genetics. Godspeed became Bart’s “Thawne” by killing Uncle Jay, a fellow speedster who bears an uncanny resemblance to his grandfather but is of no relation. But what does blood matter when you find the one person who truly understands you? Bart loves his father and Uncle Wally, but Jay accepted Bart for who he was and made him believe he was worthy.

If we’re talking extended family, we have to mention the reappearance of Cisco. I wasn’t nearly as surprised as I should have been if only because his departure before the season finale just felt so wrong. That didn’t make his reappearance any less gratifying. It just reminded me of the void his absence leaves. I’ve grown fond of Chester, but Cisco, he is not.

Speaking of Chester, called it. Sort of. Chester’s father’s invention was the answer to a Team Flash problem. The fact that it didn’t work cannot be held against me. Especially since it may still win the day in the other half of the finale.

Finally, there’s the mystery of Kristen Kramer. She may be hoping to move on now that Creyke is in custody, but it’s clear Joe hasn’t forgotten the bomb Adam dropped. If Kramer died on that mission then who has Joe been working and sparring with all season? And will this tie back to the meta-weapons she helped develop or are The Powers That Be just planning to drop that storyline? They have heard of Chekhov’s gun, haven’t they?

This episode felt much longer than the standard 43 minutes, and I mean that in the best sense. It covered three major storylines, reshuffled the West-Allen family dynamics (AGAIN), reintroduced two major characters, and set up Barry and Godspeed’s final showdown. Yet nothing felt rushed. I’m usually leery of rating part one of a two-parter but what the hell.

4.5 out of 5 Fathwoom Booms

Parting Thoughts:

I think Iris’s instability is because she’s pregnant. Then again, if you do the math, she doesn’t have Nora till late 2022 at the earliest. So...

The Cathedral (and that was a mighty small church to be a cathedral) was named after Zauriel, a guardian angel in the comics. Was this just a cool Easter egg or a hint at things to come?

Quotes:

Heart: “Never anger a god, little one.”

Bart: “Godspeed is my arch-nemesis, okay. He’s my One Big Bad to rule them all. Just like you and Thawne.”

Iris: “Everything okay?”
Barry: “Yeah, now that you’re back, it’s perfect.”

Jay: “All right, old man. Time to get in on the action.”

Nora: “Maybe you should stop focusing on being a badass parkouring off every wall you see.”
Bart: “So you agree. I do look badass.”

Bart: “Okay, Dad I’m sorry for how I reacted earlier, but I- you don’t know me like that yet. I can keep my cool. I promise. I can. Tell them. I can keep my cool, right?”
Nora: “But you can’t.”

Iris: “How long were you listening?”
Bart: “Not long. Not long. I mean, just long enough to hear that Dad finally realized that he should tag me in.”

Allegra: “Esperanza was my family, and I should have been there for her. Just like I should be able to charge this stupid thing, but I can’t. And now, more people are gonna get hurt, and it’s all my fault.”

Godspeed: “Your inability to suppress your rash nature shall be your undoing.”

Cisco: “I leave Central City for two seconds.”

Frost: “We don’t have a way to depower them. We don’t have a way to capture them. What do we have?”
Barry: “We have August Heart.”

August: “I need to know who I am. Even if it’s someone I despise.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, and anything with a cape.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Definitely a fun episode for all the reasons you cited, Shari.

But five minutes of belching? :)

Shari said...

I know. Of all the callbacks to Season 5 they had to go with belching. Ugh.

This episode may not make my list of favorites but it was everything I love about The Flash. I hope there's more of this and less of the rest of this season next year.