This week on The Flash, Barry and Cisco clashed over the saving of a life, after newcomer Nash Wells offered his (mysterious) assistance.
With Barry destined to die in six weeks because of the coming Crisis, it was Cisco’s time to react (given that Iris already is well-acquainted with the tragic news and, in what is arguably a storytelling miscalculation, Caitlin remains buried somewhere inside of Frost). Cisco refuses to sit on his hands and not do anything, preferring to search for a way to keep Barry from being vaporized by a wave of anti-matter.
Debating the issue privately with Cisco, Barry suggests that instead of trying to save him, they should focus their energy and smarts on finding a cure for Dr. Ramsey Rosso’s HLH cancer — because in doing so, they can allow the celebrated scientist to do more great things and likely save others. “Luckily,” cosmic mythbuster/geologist Nash wells overhears the discussion, thanks to a bug he planted on Cisco. He says that in trade for STAR Labs building him an “anti-vibrational cryptocircuit,” he can lead the boys to an “extremely rare bioregenerative serum” that can, essentially, fix anything (cancer included!), and is currently locked away at McCullouch Technologies (which appropriated it from the Dominators).
Sufficiently curious, Barry, Cisco and Nash stake out McCullouch Tech. After Barry speedily disables the cameras (no meta-dampening tech in the control room?), they make their way inside and seek out the serum, which is kept in a freezer at minus-15 degrees. Along the way, Cisco plants a gizmo that fakes an alarm, leading Nash and Barry to leave him alone hacking into the freezer. Cisco gains access, pockets the serum, and then closes the freezer back up before Barry and Nash return — at which point he pretends to open it for the first time, only to find it “empty.”
Because Cisco 1) has no poker face and 2) is bad at hiding things, Barry immediately stumbles across the serum back at STAR Labs. Barry reierates his stance that “sacrificing myself saves everything and everyone,” to which Cisco argues, “What does that give me to look forward to?? A world without the Flash, a life without my best friend?”
“You get to live,” Barry answers. “You all get to live.”
Barry goes on to explain that by deciding to save Ramsey’s life, he hoped Cisco would understand the tough calls that a team leader has to make — since Bar has picked him to run STAR Labs and the team once he is gone. Alas, Cisco’s deception here, and justification of same, forces Barry to wonder, “Maybe I made the wrong choice.” That said, Cisco retrieves the serum and surrenders it to Barry.
Barry catches Ramsey at his lab, on the heels of a tantrum. (Earlier in the episode, the hematologist realized that the curative effect of Mitch Romero’s black blood was temporary. He thought that tainting stolen blood with cells from Romero would replicate the substance, but it didn’t.) Ramsey is moved by Barry’s offer of the serum, and later tests a drop of it on his diseased blood… only to realize that his cells are too far gone to be repaired. Growing increasingly mad, Ramsey deduces that he needs to ingest the blood of people he has killed, while their cells are still flooded with fear-induced epinephrine. As such, he goes on a killing spree at the hospital (on Halloween, natch). Flash and Frost arrive to stop him, but the small zombie horde he has created and drank from prove too much for them to handle, all as Ramsey escapes out a window and clambors up the building using his gooey tendrils, Doc Ock-like.
So, now Team Flash knows what they are up against, in what is poised to be Barry’s final battle. Afterwards, Cisco pulls Barry aside and they acknowledge they tried to do “the right thing,” with Rosso. And regardless the outcome, Cisco has learned from Barry over the years what it means to be a hero. Which makes Barry glad that Cisco is his pick, to take over as team leader.
Elsewhere in the episode “There Will Be Blood”:
*Despite having a lead on Sue Dearbon gift-wrapped for him by Iris, Ralph was in a funk and seemed quite unappreciative. As he would later explain to Joe, he, akin to Cisco, wonders what’s the point of helping one stranger if he is unable to help Barry. Joe relays some cop advice, that you can’t save everyone, but you can save someone. Ralph then apologizes to Iris, and sets out to follow her lead to Midway City. Though as he notes, “It’s just a missing person case; it’s not like I’m going to get married.”
* In a heart-to-heart that I can’t begin to do justice without turning, again, into a pool of messy tears, Joe opens up to Barry about his own feelings — about all that Barry has done, only to have “this” be his reward. “The world owes you. You deserve better than this,” Joe asserts. But Barry insists, “I’m grateful for everything I have, the blessings in my life,” Iris included. “But YOU… you’re what I’m most grateful for,” he tells his father figure, as Joe and we sob.
* In the bonus scene, we see Nash venture into the tunnel where last week he detected there to be Eternium. Using the cryptocircuit that Cisco made for him, he accesses a holographic “projection” of something that happened there earlier — a figure that looks like the Monitor (but possibly is quite the opposite) passing through where a stone wall now stands. “So this is where you’ve been hiding,” Nash says, before taking a pick ax to the wall….