Barry and Iris may just barely be holding up OK as the Crisis nears, but what about The Flash‘s poor viewers?
Because, man, the second of these pre-“Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover episodes was an emotional doozy, for those in Central City and us at home. Coming off the Monitor’s stern warning, Barry did the logical thing and aimed to time-travel to Dec. 11 of this year, to see if the Crisis was all it’s cracked up to be. But as Barry raced through the speed tunnel and neared that date, WHAM! He crashed into an impenetrable wall made of skin-lacerating anti-matter. (DC Comics Cheat Sheet: the Anti-Monitor who sets in motion the Crisis is, as his name indicates, all about anti-matter.)
Barry gets the idea to pick fellow speedster Jay Garrick’s brain, over on Earth-Three. There, Jay introduces Barry to his lady love, Joan, who is a dead ringer for Henry Allen’s own wife, Nora. Barry is not so much spooked by the doppelganger as touched by the kismet of it all, and he and Joan quickly form a bond. In fact, neuroscientist Joan plays an active role in strapping Barry into a gizmo of Jay’s that will allow Barry’s mind, at least, to get past the anti-matter wall and “see” the future. But what Barry sees… well, it is horrible, awful, tragic, heart-crushing. Including but not limited to the deaths of Iris, Cisco(/Vibe?!) and the rest of Team Flash.
Pulled out of the contraption, a bereft Barry reports that he witnessed “billions of possible futures, billions of deaths,” and all the pain and suffering that comes with it — and the only way to avoid the latter is through his own sacrifice: “Now I know the Monitor is right. I have to die.” Barry’s nerves are literally fried by his experience, to the point he can barely move without blinding pain. As such, Jay and Joan deliver him to his couch at home, where, for starters, he brings Iris up to speed on what he saw. “No, that’s not the future,” Iris argued. “We control our destiny, we can change the timeline for the better.”
Barry posits that this is why he was given powers, to save everyone from the Crisis, and as such, “I have to accept this. We both do.” Iris, though, insists, “The Barry I know would never stop running. He would find another way to fight.”
When paid a visit by Joe, Barry doesn’t go into detail about everything, but instead just warns, “Something’s coming, Joe. I have to make a scrificice, but at the same time I can’t help feeling like I’m giving up.” Joe responds with a yarn about a near-miss bullet that spooked him as a beat cop, and yet he stayed on the job. Though neither of them approach their jobs as a death wish, “When we hear the call of duty, we’re willing to make that sacrifice,” Joe says. “That’s not giving up; that’s what you call resilience.”
Later, after the Case of the Week is resolved and after bidding Jay and Joan adieu, Iris embraces Barry and says, “Seeing you at the CCPD, fighting with your all, it reminded me that no matter what this Crisis brings, no matter what you choose, I know that you’re never going to give up.” To which Barry says, “I’m not choosing to die. I could never make the choice to leave you. But if my death is the only way to save the universe, to save you, I’m willing to do that.”
“Then whatever we do next,” Iris responds, “let’s make it count.”
What they must do next, Barry sighs, is prepare the rest of Team Flash for the Crisis — and, a world without him in it.
Elsewhere in the episode:
* Cecile “sensed” that Allegra Garcia (played by Attack of the Killer Donuts‘ Kayla Compton), a meta who controls radio waves, was in fact innocent of murder. After securing the young woman’s trust, Cecile learned that on the night of the particle accelerator explosion, Allegra was in juvie with her
sister cousin, Esperanza, who was killed by the dark matter waves. Esperanza, though, actually had survived and then fallen into the hands of a secret organization that contracts out metas as assassins. Coming after her sister cousin, Esperanza aka UltraViolet did some damage at the CCPD until The Flash showed up and pushed himself to resist her literally searing UV blasts. In the aftermath, Allegra, a wannabe reporter, showed up to intern at the Citizen, while Cecile decided to become a defense attorney who specializes in metas.
* Killer Frost had some stumbles during her first day “living a life,” coldly insulting Kamilla’s photography at an art show and what not. But she came to realize that she needed to find her own way to better express herself, by buying up some art (“with Caity’s credit cards”) and trying some doodling of her own.
* Dr. Ramsey Rosso met up with a goon to buy another of those dark matter guns, but when the guy jacked up the price and whipped out a pistol, Rosso… well, his arm turned into some dark, gooey, tendril-like thing and latched latched onto the goon’s shoulder. At episode’s end, we saw Rosso tending to the “dead” guy’s wound in his lab, looking to examine how the cure inside him might have transferred to another subject. But as Rosso turned to do some analysis, we saw the guy rise up from the slab and then brutally assault the doc.
What did you think of the episode “A Flash of the Lightning”?