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The Flash: A New World, Part 3: Changes

“There’s being alive and there’s what makes life worth living.”

It’s been said many times that there’s a fine line between love and hate. The Negative Speed Force is intent on proving that it’s true.

Before we get into the meat of the episode, we need to address the elephant in the room. Namely, Barry’s lack of screen time. On the one hand, I get it. If you’re setting up a showdown between our hero and the Big Bad in the series finale, you’d want to limit his interactions with him as much as possible. The problem is they haven’t limited the interactions. This is the second time Barry has faced his foe. The first time was a draw and the second time he had to be saved by Cecile.

Even this could be explained by Barry’s separation from the Speed Force and the Negative Speed Force’s growing connection to Eddie. But no effort was made to justify this power differential. The end result being the worst of both worlds. The fact that both Khione and Cecile easily handled the Negative Speed Force cheapens their (its?) value as the Big Bad. And Barry’s inability to defend himself from the Negative Speed Force makes him look weak in comparison. This is disappointing given that we’re watching The Flash and not The Khione and Cecile Show.

By the third episode of the arc, I hoped I’d have an inkling of the Negative Speed Force’s master plan, but no such luck. Sure, they/it wants to end Barry’s family line, but how? Bouncing Barry through time and attempting to kill him with brute force attacks, while simultaneously resurrecting and recruiting Eddie as their/its newest avatar feel like two separate plans, not a single plan with multiple fronts. And if the Negative Speed Force resurrected Eddie, why the doubt about his chosen one status? If there was any doubt to be had, it should only have been about whether Eddie was corruptible.

Eddie’s corruption is the only unifying arc of this run of episodes. Eddie’s descent may have been a foregone conclusion but knowing the destination doesn’t make the journey any less entertaining. Besides, I remain hopeful that he’ll be redeemed in the end. If for no other reason than that, when Barry puts his faith in someone to make the “right choice,” they inevitably do.

The idea of corrupting love into hate was the most fascinating part of the episode. I always considered Eddie’s enduring respect for Barry his superpower. I may grudgingly admit the good The Flash has done for Central City, but I’d sure as hell still resent the man for taking the love of my life.

Even after Eddie came back from the dead, his faith in Barry seemed unshakable. It was only after Barry admitted he didn’t know how to defeat the Negative Speed Force and wasn’t sure what would happen to Eddie if he didn’t become the avatar, that Eddie began to waver. Still, it wasn’t a hatred of Barry that tipped the scales, but a despondency over the life that could have been.

That said, that Eddie’s life could have mirrored Barry’s is a stronger argument for being the Negative Speed Force’s avatar than Eobard’s. Barry married his fiancĂ©e and became Central City’s beloved hero while Eddie made the ultimate sacrifice and fell into obscurity. And the Reverse-Flash’s resurrection made his death meaningless. Meanwhile, Eobard was what, embarrassed once in front of his would-be admirers?

All of which was well and good, but considering the series finale is upon us, I was hoping for a bit more. There were so many opportunities for an overarching theme, if not in the final season, at least in these last four episodes. Barry and Oliver’s discussion teed up Barry’s fear that he hadn’t done enough as a hero. Or the possible crisis of conscience, of whether Barry had suitably honored the people lost over the years. That could have been the perfect tie in with Eddie given that he was the first loss for what was to become Team Flash.

There’s also an argument to be made for Barry’s death in Crisis balancing the universe, and that the Negative Speed Force is just setting things aright. However, instead of finding a storyline that shows how Barry has grown over the past nine seasons, they’ve dressed a new foe in the same garments as many of the past speedsters. It was an ill fit. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last of my disappointments.

This isn’t Cecile’s first brush with work/life balance issues. This time, it was even harder to justify. First of all Jenna would be in her thirties and presumably with a home of her own. So the need for Joe to be off in the country was nonexistent. Putting that aside, Chester’s pep talk, like Allegra’s before him, did NOTHING to assuage Cecile’s guilt or to justify Cecile’s absence. Call me crazy, but I don’t care how much Cecile and Joe love each other, relationships require two active participants.

The more interesting question is, why was Chester chosen to deliver said pep talk? Khione’s empathic abilities made her the obvious choice. Or Allegra, who, as her roommate, would presumably know Cecile better. Unfortunately, the answer appears to be to allow Chester to fully embody Cisco’s mantle and give Cecile her hero name. Marrying Cecile Horton’s non-powered history in the comics with Virtue’s meta abilities.

We’ve still a lot of ground to cover and very little time left. If past is prologue, I have my doubts about their ability to pull this off. Yet hope springs eternal.

2.5 out of 5 red lightning filled skies

Parting Thoughts:

I’m not sure if I’m pissed or impressed by the brazenness of never explaining how the Reverse-Flash came back into existence.

I was right. Eddie wasn’t in our present day. He was in 2049.

Speaking of, why is the future always 2049? Is this an Easter egg from the comics I don’t understand? And why does everyone look like they drank from the fountain of youth despite being 26 years older? They barely aged them at all.

With Chester’s reference to N.K. Jemison, he has now expanded into the literary world.

This is the third mention of Chronarch on the show. Although I couldn’t find any mention of a Chronarch War anywhere.

The Savothians appear to be an even deeper cut, though I would have loved to see that episode.


Eddie: “I am Eddie Thawne. I’m alive and I need to know why!”

Chester: “It’s genius. Who’d look for the Flash under his own museum?”

Chester: “I was a black hole once. It happens.”

Eddie: “So do you guys finally believe me, or do you need me to pee into a cup.”

Nora: “You’ve been given the rarest gift, a second chance. You just have to decide how you’re going to use it.”

Negative Speed Force: “Are you still the idiot who died trying to save a man who stole his life?”

Eddie: “Returning from the dead really has a way of making you realize the mistakes you made in your old life.”

Barry: “What would Iris want you to do?”

Cecile: “Let’s get to work.”

Eddie: “I just want to do the right thing.”

Iris: “This is my future and I’m sorry, it’s not with you.”

Barry: “Eddie, what did you do?”

Chester: “And here I thought today couldn’t get any freakier.”

Barry: “I wish we had more time.”

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

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