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The Flash: Heart of the Matter, Pt. 2

“There can be only one god of speed.”

We’ve reached the end of another season. Monologuing supervillain? Check. Heartbreaking “All hope is lost” moment? Check. Awesome, final showdown? Double check. And yet...

Externally, this was a simple episode. Team Flash must find a way to defeat Godspeed before his clones destroy Central City. They survive multiple defeats and triumph over not only Godspeed but our favorite villainous speedster, Thawne. We got to spend time with old favorites (Cisco) and new (Bart) and who doesn’t love a wedding, sorry, renewal ceremony? If that were the only layer of story we were judging, it would get high marks.

However, a season finale is a commentary on all that came before. The Powers That Be’s opportunity to answer the numerous questions they’ve posed throughout the season and render final judgment on the world they’ve created. For the life of me, I have no idea what they were trying to say.

In some ways, this episode was the rebuttal to Diggle’s claim. Family doesn’t always come first. Sometimes a hero has to choose the greater good. Little Nora and Bart make that argument to Barry and Chester makes it to Allegra. In each case, their assertion is the impetus for Barry and Allegra to live up to their ideals.

Yet, the only through-line of the season has been its emphasis on family. Real, found and, in this case, metaphorical. However, when that family combined to confront the Godspeed clones, they failed. Barry’s ultimate success came with the assistance of his arch-nemesis, Thawne. I don’t think that’s the message The Powers That Be meant to send.

If I had to guess, I think they were trying to point out how much Barry has matured since he first got his speed. Little Nora and Bart represent the younger Barry. Hope-filled and brash. That version of Barry would have approached the problem as his children did. Just give the villain what he wants now and trust you’ll have enough time and resources to defeat him during the next confrontation. The older and wiser Barry knew he had to have a plan to deal with Godspeed’s (and Thawne’s) inevitable betrayal. More importantly, that plan included the input of Iris, and the Speed Force, as opposed to the days when he’d run into dangerous situations on his own without any idea of what to do.

Then there was Chester’s pep talk. It started so well. First with an acknowledgment that Allegra the person is more important than the things she can do. Then with the reminder that Esperanza’s choice was hers to make, and her death is not Allegra’s fault. I might quibble that stopping the remnants of Black Hole could be considered helping Central City and even if it wasn’t, Esperanza was not a member of Team Flash and never vowed to protect said city, but that’s beside the point. Chester’s argument was sound, and we all knew what Allegra would do before it began. My problem is Chester did the thing he said he wasn’t there to do. He asked her to rejoin the fight rather than letting her come to a decision on her own.

Another foregone conclusion was Kramer’s meta status. Once upon a time I thought her arc would turn on her decision to use meta-weapons against someone either she or the viewers cared for deeply. But Adam’s claims made it obvious she was a metahuman. The journey may have been different, but the destination was the same. Kramer’s worldview on meta-humans changed, and she now recognizes the wisdom of Papa Joe.

I have to admit, a couple of things caught me by surprise. After all the emphasis on the present-day August’s remorse, I expected The Flash would eventually find a way to appeal to Godspeed’s better nature. No such luck. I’m also surprised that we ended the season with a wedding, sorry, a renewal ceremony rather than a birth announcement. But I guess all the pregnancy talk was just a precursor to Nora and Bart’s appearance.

There are a few questions still to be answered. Will Joe rejoin CCPD now that Kramer is gone? Was Iris' power boost temporary or is she now a full-fledged speedster? And has Barry changed the future yet again? However, the season ended without a cliffhanger. Honestly, I didn’t miss it. What a nice change of pace to leave Barry and Iris in a single blissful moment.

I loved so many things about this episode, not the least of which was Bart West-Allen singing. Unfortunately, the whole didn’t quite live up to the sum of its parts. Better luck next season.

3.5 out 5 S.E.E.s

Parting Thoughts:

The cheesiness of the opening teaser and all the reaction shots made me think the episode must have run a little short.

As happy as I was to see Cisco in the episode, he wasn’t necessary to the plot. Ten points from Gryffindor.

It’s about time someone acknowledged the fact Cecile and Joe still aren’t married. For me, as I said before, it isn’t about the institution; it's that they've never discussed it.

That many Broadway-caliber singers on the set and we only got the one song?

Quotes:

Barry: “What you’re asking me to do? It’s impossible.”
Heart: “The impossible is your thing!”

Little Nora: “It just all feels so hopeless.”
Jay: “It never is. Promise you that.”

Allegra: “I can’t charge your dad’s gizmo. Not now, not ever.”
Chester: “Allegra, I don’t give a crap about the S.E.E. right now. Right now, all I care about is my friend.”

Jay: “If I may, you look a whole lot like someone very close to me.”
Big Nora: “I get that a lot.”

Bart: “I’m back! Did you miss me?”

Godspeed Clones: “Kill the adversary and his allies. Kill them. Kill them all.”

Bart: “Central City doesn’t need parents right now. Dad, it needs heroes.”

Cisco: “Am I a genius?”
Frost: “Never do that again!”
Cisco: “I’ll take that as a yes.”

August: “Sorry, Cecile. Turns out, I like being the bad guy.”

Thawne: “Everything you are is because of me! What did you do?”
Barry: “I got faster.”

Caitlin: “It’s finally over.”
Bart: “Great. Can we eat now? I’m starving.”

Cecile: “Aw, I love renewal ceremonies... And weddings.”
Joe: “Good to know.”

Iris: “Flashtime, huh?”
Barry: “Do you blame me? I want this moment to last forever.”

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

5 comments:

Patrick said...

If this season told me anything, it's that this show is running on fumes. It's sounding more and more like the next season could be its last, and it's probably time.

Shari said...

I would agree if I didn't have the niggling thought that COVID had a lot to do with this season's inconsistency. They had a shorter season than normal and 3 of the episodes were used to tie up last season. And who knows what they had to do logistically to pull it off. This is not an excuse. I'm just saying that I still have hope for the show.

Patrick said...

I'm sure Covid affected production somewhat, and the short-notice firing of Hartley Sawyer probably had them scrambling a bit too. But I feel like the show has been in decline since Season 5, so my view is decidedly less optimistic. Especially with Cisco's departure. Honestly the Arrowverse in general hasn't been the same since Arrow ended, at least not the "1st-Gen" shows. I'm still enjoying Superman & Lois, and I'm loving Stargirl. But beyond that, *shrug*

Billie Doux said...

I've been bitching about The Flash so much this year that I thought I'd post a comment only on what I liked about this season finale.

1. I very much liked the three generations of heroes fighting the bad guys together, even if the eldest generation wasn't technically Barry's parents.

2. Thawne. Although I didn't really get where he came from. (Sometimes Flash plotlines zip right past me.)

3. The cheesy light(ning)sabers.

and 4. Nora Junior, or Little Nora, is a more positive character now. And this time, I liked Bart.

And yeah, my biggest complaint was that Grant Gustin and Jesse L. Martin were standing right there, not singing. :)

Thanks so much for a lovely review, Shari, and for reviewing The Flash for us.

Shari said...

Awww, thanks, Billie (blushing)!

Don't forget Carlos Valdes got his start in theater and sings like an angel.