This THe Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 7 Episode 3
When we initially learned that the last three episodes of The Flash’s Season 6 would be rolled over into its seventh, some of us (read: me) were hopeful that it might serve as an impetus to rethink Season 7 entirely and build these additional installments into some sort of larger story that worked as a cohesive whole.
But, unfortunately, it’s very obvious that “Mother” was meant to serve as The Flash’s sixth season finale – for all the good and ill that designation entails. Season enders have never really been this show’s strong suit, and this hour is no different, an episode that leans fully into the show’s most aggressively saccharine tendencies and solves complicated problems using little more than the power of love and occasional random handwaving. Yet, the emotional beats help carry the day to something that generally feels satisfying, particularly if you don’t look too closely at how or why pretty much anything actually happens.
Central City is suddenly bursting with reports of pod people as Eva continues her sudden and largely inexplicable plan to take over the world by populating it with mirror clones. Or reflective surface clones. Whatever. Iris is back from the Mirror Universe but badly hurt, and Barry feels bad enough about causing her condition that it somehow disables the speedthinking that made him an automaton in the first place.
I’ve complained before that Eva is far too good a villain for this sort of basic and disappointing ending, and the sudden pseudo-environmental twist wherein Eva promises that she and her mirror creations will somehow take better care of the planet than the human race does feels like The Flash’s attempt to put some kind of meaningful spin on what is essentially a story we’ve seen a dozen times before. (Villain decides they are better than/the true next evolution of humanity and behaves accordingly, usually spouting terrible dialogue like “This is Mother’s world now.”)
Still, the ending sequence, in which Eva realizes the wrong she’s done and tries to correct it, is surprisingly lovely, even if the ultimate way to defeat her army of Mirror Mistress clones turns out to be the Arrowverse equivalent of the Care Bear Stare. (Why did holding hands with Barry and Iris help her amplify her mirror ability? Truly, I have no idea.)
At the end of the day, at least Eva survives and goes back to the Mirror Universe to start over, rather than getting thrown in Iron Heights or killed, so things could certainly have been worse. But The Flash never really did right by her realization that she wasn’t human nor did it completely justify her sudden heel turn into “Mother” megalomania. (Even if she did choose the path of light in the end.) Maybe we’ll get lucky and see her again someday. Listen, a girl can dream.
The return of Harrison Wells also turns out to be something of a disappointment, precisely because he’s not entirely the original Wells. Instead, he’s some poorly explained combination of the original, mixed with pieces of all the other Wellses from across the multiverse, with some time travel dust on top. It’s all very poorly explained and nonsensical, and for those of us – like Barry, as it turns out – who always wanted to meet this particular Wells, ehhhh, joke’s on us, because now I kind of wish we hadn’t.
His primary purpose appears to be plot exposition, and while The Flash has always been deeply rooted in sentiment and emotion in a way that many other Arrowverse series are not, there’s something…honestly kind of annoying about the fact this particular Wells, the one no one actually even knows, gets the big rousing pep talk about how only the power of love can save the day. It’s obvious what they were going for, with his closing speech about his eternal love for his wife and all, but at this point, Frost might have been more believable in this role. At least I believe she cares about Barry.
Anyway, after a season’s worth of doing the absolute most to keep Barry and Iris apart, it’s nice to see The Flash’s marquee couple finally reunited, even if the dialogue does kind of lay the apparently cosmic power of their love on with a trowel. (Guys, I promise, we get it.) But, at least Iris’ connection to the Speed Force offers a nice tie-in to her own brief time as a speedster, and the fact that Nora’s lightning was a visual combination of her parents’. Thankfully, Grant Gustin and Candice Patton sell the crap out of Barry and Iris’ reunion and the continuing callback to the lightning rod imagery – here finally made deeply literal – is lovingly done.
Admittedly, though, I’m a lot more interesting in what all of this means for Iris. As this episode makes blatantly obvious in the original Team Flash versus Eva fight, Iris is the last main character who doesn’t have powers of some type, and even Harrison Wells can time travel now. We’ve been wondering since she went into the mirror if her time there would permanently change her in some way and Caitlin’s throwaway explanation about Eva talking all those abilities back into the mirror with her feels like exactly the sort of thing that will eventually turn out to be very wrong.
Guess we’ll find out in the real Season 7, which at least we don’t have to wait an entire summer to see.
Additional Flash Thoughts
I have truly never shriek laughed so much as at the arrival of melted and therefore unrecognizable Ralph Dibny. That’s certainly one way to deal with Hartley Sawyer’s exit. Would love to know what any of this was originally supposed to be.
The CGI during Barry’s love-fueled trip around the speed track was especially cringe-y this week. I guess last week’s Flash/Frost speedster battle really must have depleted the special effects budget.
“Need a ride? I’m ice bridging. Safest way to travel.” (Truly I love Frost and I’m not sorry.)
Chester watches Doctor Who! A perfect Venn diagram of my interests!
Maybe Tom Cavanagh can go visit Legends of Tomorrow? I don’t know how they bring a Wells back after this, and I don’t really even know that I want one.
I feel like this episode gave us an easy way to say goodbye to Ralph and Sue while leaving them together, but truly if this is the last we see of Natalie Dreyfuss I’m going to be so angry. We shouldn’t have to lose this character just because a completely different actor behaved badly.