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The Flash: Mother

“What I am is a mother to a newer and better world.”

"Mother" is the season six finale we were meant to have. The one that hopefully answers the question once and for all that Barry’s heart, not his speed, is his superpower.

On the plus side, it was nice to have a non-speedster Big Bad. I also enjoyed the fact that she was morally grey rather than a straight-up Black Hat. Like some of the best villains, she had a valid argument. Eva’s technology can end hunger. The Flash can only save individuals (and occasionally a multiverse-ending crisis, but for that he needed help) but he can’t make people’s lives better. Unfortunately, while her intentions may be benign, her methods were evil.

My problem is her logic was so faulty by the end that you could have run multiple particle accelerators through them. She’s sending humans to a better place, because they’ve wrecked this world and don’t deserve it. If the Mirrorverse is so much better, she could have stayed there with her children without all the hassle. Then again, maybe her failing logic was the point. Discovering she wasn’t the Eva of this world broke her. She still wanted this world and now used whatever justifications were handy. Regardless of the reason, her devolution made her much less interesting.

Actually, that’s how I felt about the entire episode. The idea of Barry having to face the Mirror Monarch stripped of his speed, on the outs with his team, and fearing for his wife held such potential. Then The Powers That Be either undercut the stakes or blew past opportunities to mine the emotional beats they'd created in service of the plot. Worse, what was left made emotional sense but could not hold together under the slightest scrutiny.

First, Cisco, without discussing anything with Allegra, Caitlyn or Frost, tells Barry he was forgiven for attacking his team and stranding Kamilla and Singh in the Mirrorverse mere minutes ago. That felt like a narrative conceit to move the story along rather than a realistic reaction to what just happened. They would have been better served if Cisco had said we’ll deal with the city-wide threat now and talk about that later. Cisco could have made his peace with it once he'd had time to think or they could have had the discussion offscreen.

I know Iris and Barry are supposed to be The Flash but we still want Barry to make the big save in the end. Here, Barry does so only tangentially. His belief in the power of love restores Iris, and she is responsible for bringing back the Speed Force, just as she is responsible for talking Eva off her villainous ledge. Yes, Barry lent Eva his power (in some unexplained metaphysical way) to send her out-of-control minions back to the Mirrorverse, but that was only after Iris won the battle of ideas.

Then in true Flash fashion they let Eva return to the Mirrorverse despite the destruction she caused and the murders she committed. Barry never even asked for her to help humanity as she promised. One would think that’d be her first step on any path of redemption.

Let’s take a moment to discuss Iris’s ability to recharge the Speed Force without being sucked into it a la Nash. Why did that work again? Was a residual amount of the Speed Force inside of her? Or is her and Barry’s love just that strong? I know they had to figure out some way to recreate the Speed Force, but this cheapens Nash’s sacrifice.

And why introduce a new Wells just to take him away again? Of all the Wells we’ve met, I would have liked time to explore this one longer. Gotten a taste of the Harrison Wells Barry, Caitlin and Cisco should have worked with and been mentored by. And as brilliant as Tom Cavanagh is, at this point “Run Barry, Run”'s returns have seriously diminished. There’s also the fact that with so much ground to cover, Allegra’s grief got short shrift. That said, Cisco and Harrison’s goodbye should not have worked, but totally worked.

Joe and Cecile being trapped in the precinct was frightening up to a point. Why break down the office door when it’s been established that Mirrorverse entities can come in through the uncovered window? Besides, there is nothing that would make me believe Papa Joe would orphan his daughter, no matter how much he loves Cecile.

Finally, there was the moment where the Speed Force lightning split into four colors. In the past, different colors represented different types of speed. Does this mean Barry and Iris have created multiple Speed Forces, or just multiple speedsters?

I loved this episode in theory, but the execution left a lot to be desired and as the season finale it should have been, I was underwhelmed. However, they deserve a little slack considering we’re still in the midst of a pandemic and they had to write out the Elongated Man without Hartley Sawyer’s services.

3 out of 5 reflective surfaces

Parting Thoughts:

From a tension building perspective, I get why Cisco waited to shoot Barry in the opening scene. But he’s literally the fastest man on Earth. Catching him with his back to Cisco was his best chance. SMH!

Who or what did Harrison see when the Speed Force reawakened? And why didn’t he tell anyone?

Eva’s duplicates have worse aim than Storm Troopers.

Quotes:

Allegra: “No matter how strong you both are on your own, you’re even stronger together.”

Barry: “Of all the Wells, you were the one I wanted to meet the most.”

Chester: “You’re here to save us, right? Also, which one is he?”
Harrison: “I’m the original.”

Cisco: “Holy plasmas. Dibs. Where’s your face? It looks like mashed potatoes.”

Barry: “I may be the Paragon of Love, but that’s only because you’re my heart.”

Chester: “Ain’t no A in this SF!”

Iris: “I knew you’d find your way back to me.”

Joe: “Why should I trust you?”
Mirrorverse Cecile: “You have no choice.”

Iris: “Look around. Is this your idea of peace?”

Barry: “The foundation for a better world is compassion, not violence.”

Cisco: “Is it really you?”
Kamilla: “No, it’s Chewbacca.”

Frost: “Need a ride? I’m ice-bridging. Safest way to travel.”
Cisco: “Knowing you, I find that hard to believe.”

Cisco: “Timeless Wells. That’s a new one.”

Dibny: “Stay flashy. Dibny out.”

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

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Excellent review, Shari. You said everything I was thinking.

And I so wish that we'd gotten more of this Wells. I get why Cavanagh is ready to be done, but the show is just not the same without at least one Wells.

Shari said...

Thanks Billie,

At least they left it open for Tom to come back on occasion. I like that a lot better than when they killed off Nash...