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The Flash: A New World, Part 2: The Blues

“Is there a problem?”

Last week pitted Barry against the Negative Speed Force. This week should have started with a giant “Meanwhile...” in the corner. However, the opportunity to spotlight another character or provide more context around our Big Bad’s master plan was wasted. Making this feel more like a bunch of side quests than the next well-crafted step towards the series finale.

First, there was the mysterious new threat to Team Flash. Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting locked door mystery was resolved after the attack on Allegra. Granted, Mark’s attempts to divide and conquer from within Team Flash created its own brand of tension, but they were essentially a rehash of last week.

This is the second time the Negative Speed Force has said the only way to defeat him is by killing the vessel that houses him. And once again, it was untrue. He feels less like a major threat than an over-powered villain of the week. Even the knowledge that he’s attacking multiple points in the timeline doesn’t seem to illicit the level of fear one might expect from a force of nature. My hope is that these attacks are a distraction from whatever he’s doing to Malcolm. Or should I say Eddie?

Structurally, I think we were meant to empathize with Malcolm’s degeneration. This might have been more impactful had we known more about the man other than he works for Mercury Labs. We have no reason to believe Malcolm is anything other than a good person. However, the fact that he’s a die hard Sharks fan and makes good on his bets isn’t enough to make us care.

That said, I do care what happens to Eddie. It’s clear that the Negative Speed Force is pushing Eddie to become Cobalt Blue, if not his new avatar. I’m hoping his true nature will win out. Eddie sacrificed himself to save the people he loved. His legacy shouldn’t be to end as a villain.

I’m still convinced that what’s happening to Malcolm (or should I say Eddie) isn’t happening in the present day. First, because Officer Korber is now Captain Korber with no mention of Kramer. There’s also the weapon she held on Malcolm, which didn’t resemble any gun or taser I’m aware of. Finally, because Taylor was back at CC Media instead of home bemoaning her green tinted skin.

Speaking of green skin. I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch upon the ongoing mystery that was Khione. While the breadcrumbs were initially tantalizing, the rollout of clues left much to be desired. As I mentioned last week, Khione went from having a few empathic tendencies to being nigh on all-powerful in the space of a couple of weeks. Most of which happened off screen.

Khione’s exhilaration at discovering new abilities as well as her concern over their proper use could have been an ongoing arc for the season. It would have given weight to the consent issues that Mark raised as well as her fear of acknowledging her godhood. Without that context, Khione’s reveal wasn’t as affecting as The Powers That Be hoped for.

And what of Mark and Khione’s great bond? They knew each other for two months before he disappeared. Most of that time he spent either trying to replace her with or trying to get her to be more like the woman he lost. Neither makes for a lasting friendship. And her newfound status as a goddess doesn’t bode well for the romantic relationship the show seemed to be building towards.

There’s also Iris’ fears. Once upon a time, she had to make peace with the idea that she would lose Barry and have to raise their daughter alone. Thanks to Oliver’s sacrifice, that future never came to pass. However, Barry’s disappearance on the cusp of Nora’s birth leaves Iris wondering if single motherhood has always been her destiny.

This combined with the Negative Speed Force’s claim that Barry’s legacy has unbalanced the universe could have played into the fears Barry expressed to Oliver. Why is he here when so many others have been lost? Has Barry done enough for his city and his team? Like so many of the other storylines this week, this felt like the means to move the plot along instead of the opportunity to explore what it means to be a hero it could have been.

Finally, there’s Barry’s re-appearance and disappearance. There didn’t seem to be a narrative reason other than to start the proverbial timeclock. Whatever happens, Barry must keep his promise and be back in time to see Nora’s birth.

The combination of any two or possibly three of these storylines could have made for a compelling hour of television. All of them together felt like a disjointed mess. And my fear is that with only two episodes left, few if any, of the questions posed will get explored.

2.5 out of 5 goddesses of nature

Parting Thoughts:

Kayla Compton, AKA Allegra, directed this episode.

This is the second mention of Cisco in recent weeks. Please tell me he will make an appearance before this is all over.

Always with the perfectly dug graves.


Mark: “Barry never gave up on me, you know, not even when I was at my lowest point. So, I’m not ready to give up on him.”

Taylor: “I don’t know what you are, but stay away from us!”

Mark/Negative Speed Force: “I really thought you were going to be a hero. I was wrong.”

Negative Speed Force: “Oh, Mark isn’t here right now.”

Iris: “I know we’ll find our way back to each other. We always do.”

Speed Force: “Sounds to me like you already know what you are.”

Khione: “Leave my friend’s body and crawl back to whatever hole in the universe you came from.”

Negative Speed Force: “Did your life coach not get into the nitty-gritty with you when she gave you your little pep talk?”

Mark: “What did you do to me?”

Khione: “I saved you.”

Iris: “We’re having a baby.”

Barry: “I’m home now. I’m not going anywhere.”

Khione: “I don’t think it’s my destiny to protect just this team, or this city.”

Malcolm/Eddie: “There’s no such thing as a coincidence.”

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

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