Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Flash Season 5, Episode 8: What's Past Is Prologue

It's the special ONE HUNDREDTH EPISODE of The Flash!

There've been some ups and downs over the past five years of course, but overall it's been a pretty enjoyable run. The Arrowverse shows are consistently better than ANY of the movies in the DC movie universe.


This episode is sort of "The Flash's Greatest Hits," as Barry and his future daughter visit several significant moments from the show's convoluted history. It was enjoyable for fans of the series, but I pity anyone who tuned into the show for the first time tonight! I've seen every episode over the years and even I was struggling to figure out what was going on at times.

This week's episode was directed by Tom Cavanagh, who's played many, many different versions of Harrison Wells over the years. It's not his first time in The Flash's directing chair though, as he previously helmed The Once And Future Flash and Elongated Journey Into Night.

His work here was extra impressive though, as he not only directed this installment but starred in it as well— playing not one, but FOUR different characters in the episode! Amazing! Cavanagh definitely earned his paycheck this week!

Even though I know all the various Wellseses are played by Cavanagh, somehow he's able to make me believe they're all completely different people. That's quite a feat!

Sadly though, seeing Cavanagh effortlessly slip back into his sinister Thawne persona only highlights just how lame Sherloque, the current version of Wells, really is. I was hoping Sherloque would eventually grow on me, but alas, it hasn't happened yet.

One of the highlights of this episode was the brief appearance by actor John Wesley Shipp as the 1990 version of The Flash! Yep, believe it or not, after all this time the producers found a way to integrate his adventures into the Arrowverse! How incredibly cool is that?

Just a day or two before this episode aired, I actually got to meet John Wesley Shipp at a comic show! We had a nice chat about both the old and new shows, his old costume, and the fact that I first saw him way back in the 1980s on Guiding Light! He said there'd been quite a few people that day who mentioned seeing him on that soap. Shipp couldn't possibly have been nicer, and he still looks great. Heck, he looks younger than me! Glad I got a chance to meet him.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Ralph & Sherloque continue to duplicate one another's function by staking out Central City Hospital, keeping tabs on Orlin Dwyer (aka Cicada). They present their findings to Team Flash, somehow knowing that Dwyer got his powers during DeVoe's Enlightenment and blames all metas for his niece's coma.

Now that they know who Cicada is, they discuss how to take down a villain who can dampen all their powers. Ralph jokingly suggests a power dampener dampener, but Cisco says he's onto something. He says all they need a powerful magnet made of a super-strong alloy to rip the metal lightning bolt dagger from Cicada's hand, and a way to negate its dark matter energy. Unfortunately they have no way to build such a device.

Nora then pipes up and says they could get the requisite parts from the past. She says they could get the super-strong alloy from Savitar's suit. Then they could get the Speed Force Transmitter from Zoom and recalibrate it for dark matter during the Particle Accelerator explosion. Once they did all that, they could perform a "Time Hack" and hide the device inside the hospital in the past so Cicada would never detect it, and retrieve in the present (got all that?).

Cisco says that idea's so crazy it just might work. They then pick the three most likely episodes, er, dates to find the items they need. Nora wants to come with Barry, but tells her no, saying she could accidentally screw up the timeline. Barry tells her this. Barry Allen. The guy who's torn the timeline a new asshole on more occasions than anyone can count. Iris takes him aside and tells him he should let Nora come with, so he finally relents.

Meanwhile, Sherloque finds Nora's journal— the one with the crazy written language inside. Curious, he uses Cisco's translation software to try and decipher it.

Barry and Nora then take off and break into the Time Stream. They awkwardly run past images of recent events, and jump out on May 23, 2017, the night Savitar was killed. Barry and Nora watch from the bushes as the events unfold. They see Past Barry phase Future Barry out of the Savitar suit, which causes it to explode. Shards of the suit land on the ground near them.

Just then a Time Wraith appears, having detected Barry meddling with history again. He tells Nora to stay behind and grab a shard, while he rushes away to distract the Wraith. As she waits for the right moment, she sees Iris shoot and kill Future Barry. Nora's shocked, as her knowledge of her family's past is sketchy at best.

Nora grabs a shard and makes a run for it. She dashes past the Wraith that's chasing Barry, and the two of them jump back into the Time Stream.

They exit on April 19, 2016. They sneak into STAR Labs, where they hide and witness Zoom steal 2016 Barry's power and threaten to kill him. Zoom spares Barry, but kidnaps Caitlin and runs off with her. As the 2016 Team Flash takes off after Zoom, Barry sneaks into the lab to steal the Speed Force Transmitter.

Unfortunately he can't find it, and is confronted by Harry Wells. Harry's ranting that he can't find his daughter Jesse, and almost breaks the Transmitter. Barry uses his knowledge of the future to tell him how to find Jesse, and Harry hands over the Transmitter before running off.

Barry and Nora prepare to leave, when they're suddenly confronted by Zoom, all decked out in his scary black costume. They zip away, with Zoom following right behind. They lead him on a super speed chase through the city, and jump back into the Time Stream.

Zoom follows them in, catches up to Barry and grabs him by the shoulder. Suddenly the Time Wraith appears and drags him away to... somewhere. Back to his own time? Who knows at this point?

The Wraith causes Barry & Nora to fall out of the Time Stream, and they land roughly on the street. Barry drops the Transmitter and it shatters. 
He says they're done, as the Transmitter was built by Harry, and he's the only one who can fix it. He says he's not even sure just when they are.

Nora suggests they go back to 2016 and get Harry to fix the Transmitter. Oddly, Barry says they can't as Harry's mind "isn't what it once was." I guess he forgot they've been traveling in time all day, and could visit Harry long before he lost his intelligence.

Nora then suggests having Harrison Wells fix it. Barry reminds her that Wells isn't Wells, but Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash, aka his arch enemy. Barry then sees his past self lying unconscious on the street, and realizes they've exited the Time Stream on March 29, 2016. A date he visited once before, to get Wells/Thawne's help. Nora says if he asked Wells/Thawne for help once, he can do it again.

Cut to the Time Room, where Wells/Thawne is casually sitting in a chair, with a past version of Barry tied up on the floor. Barry and Nora phase into the room, and Wells/Thawne gives them to old, "What took you so long" supervillain line.

Wells/Thawne engages in some creepy banter with them, and correctly deduces that Nora is Barry's daughter. He then realizes that Barry's very existence means his plan to return to his own time is unsuccessful, and freaks the hell out.

Eventually he composes himself, and Barry asks Wells/Thawne to fix the Speed Force Transmitter. For some reason, he agrees. He fixes it, then has to rush back to the Time Room to deal with Past Barry. Present Barry tells Nora it's time to go back to the beginning.

Barry and Nora then go back to December 11, 2013— the night of the Particle Accelerator Explosion. They see Wells/Thawne holding a press conference for the Central City media. Cisco, Caitlin, Ronnie Raymond and Hartley Sawyer all look on proudly. Also in the audience is Clifford DeVoe and his wife Marlize.

The two sneak into STAR Labs, where Wells/Thawne prepares to activate the Particle Accelerator. They phase into the Time Room, where Barry activates Gideon and has her set up the modifications to the Transmitter. Nora sees the Reverse Flash's costume in an alcove, and reaches out to touch it.

Barry snaps at her and tells her to leave it alone. Amazingly she asks why he hates Thawne so much. Barry tells her that Thawne killed his mother right in front of him, just to make him suffer (which isn't true, but we'll get into that later). Somehow Nora wasn't aware of any of this.

Wells/Thawne activates the Particle Accelerator, and it explodes right on schedule. Ronnie Raymond's vaporized by the explosion, while DeVoe's mind is supercharged by the wave of dark energy. Miles away, Mark Marden's plane is hit by the wave, transforming him into the Weather Wizard. And at the CCPD, 2013 Barry's hit by lightning from the explosion, which turns him into a speedster.

Gideon uses the energy to transform the Transmitter into a power dampener damperner. Barry grabs it and he and Nora leave STAR Labs. They go to Central City Hospital, where Barry phases the Transmitter into a column in front of the building. They return to the present day, seconds after they left.

Team Flash then gears up to take down Cicada. Barry waits outside the hospital. Orlin Dwyer, who's sitting in his niece's room, senses his presence. He suits up and exits the hospital to confront Barry. Cicada sees that Cisco, Nora and Ralph are all there as well. 


Barry tells him that all metas aren't responsible for Grace's coma, but Cicada feels otherwise. He vows once again to kill all metas, and once he's done, he'll put an end to himself too.

Cicada throws his dagger at them, but it's drawn like a magnet to the transmitter, which has been embedded within the hospital column for the past five years. It crashes into the column and is temporarily rendered powerless.

Barry then speedster punches Cicada, knocking him flat. Cisco pulls the dagger out of the column and breaches it into outer space. Team Flash has seemingly defeated Cicada!

Suddenly Cicada howls in anger and his dark matter infection begins glowing brightly. In space, the dagger stops tumbling and makes a beeline back toward Earth. It lands in the parking lot, and knocks Team Flash on their collective asses. Oh, and it negates their powers too.

Cicada moves toward Barry, intending to stab him with the dagger. Suddenly Caitlin and Sherloque breach to the scene (I guess?) with blasters. Cicada throws his dagger at them, knocking the guns from their hands. He moves toward Barry again, but suddenly a voice cries out for him to stop.

Everyone turns to see Killer Frost standing in the lot. She hits Cicada with an ice blast, knocking him into a van. For some reason his power dampener doesn't work on her. Before she can attack again though, Cicada flies straight into the air and disappears.

Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin explains that Killer Frost's powers don't come from dark matter, so she's immune to Cicada's dagger. Sherloque then returns Nora's journal to her, and asks about the language inside. She says it's a "time language," one that she made up.

Nora leaves and Sherloque checks the computer, which has translated a single line— "The timeline is malleable." Well that's certainly not news on this show!

Nora then enters the Time Vault, activates Gideon and has her scan her most recent journal entry. She tells Gideon to deliver it to the usual address. Nora then says she has an additional message, but tells Gideon she'll deliver it herself.

She speeds into the Time Stream to 2049, where she visits a cell in Iron Heights Prison. Inside the cell we see an older, grayer version of Wells/Eobard Thawne. GASP!!!

Cut to Earth-90, a world decimated by a very recent disaster. The bodies of dozens of dead superheroes decorate the desolate, burning landscape. The Earth-90 Flash crawls along the ground, toward a large book. Just as he's about to reach it, the Monitor (although we're not supposed to know that's his name yet) bends down and picks it up.

The Monitor says, "You failed." Flash-90 asks why he's doing this. The monitor tells him, "You did this to yourself. Now, all of you will perish." He opens the book, which glows from within. Flash-90 gets up and zooms away at super speed.

Thoughts: 

• It's a shame Jesse L. Martin couldn't be part of this 100th episode. Technically he does appear briefly when Barry and Nora visit STAR Labs in the past, but it's through stock footage only.


• While staking out Cicada in his car, Ralph eats sunflower seeds. Note that as they wait, he spits the seeds out the window, but it's rolled up!

• After their stakeout, Ralph and Sherloque give Team Flash a rundown on Orwin Dwyer/Cicada. Several things here:

First off, they report that Dwyer has a part-time job as Szrek Chemicals. Wha...? How the hell's he supporting a kid and paying for her hospital stay without a full-time job?

Secondly, they say Dwyer took legal custody of his niece Grace Gibbons after her parents were murdered by a metahuman. Um... how could they possibly know that particular detail? Is that what it said on their death certificates? "Murdered by a metahuman?"

They go on to say that Dwyer got his powers on the night of the Enlightenment, when he was struck by a shard from the STAR Labs Satellite explosion. Again, how could they possibly know this? All they've seen so far is that Cicada carries a dagger made from a shard of the satellite. I can't see any way in hell they could know that the shard lodged itself in his chest!

• Team Flash decides their best chance to defeat Cicada is to travel to the past the gather parts for a special weapon. They then pick the three best dates for Barry and Nora to visit. In order, the dates are:

May 23, 2017, during the Finish Line episode.
April 19, 2016 during Versus Zoom.
December 11, 2013 during the Pilot.

They accidentally end up in 
March 29, 2016 during Flash Back, which is where they're forced to ask Wells/Thawne for his help before proceeding to the Pilot.


• When Barry & Nora jump into the Time Stream, the rest of Team Flash monitors them from the cortex. Suddenly Ralph leans over a console, pushes ONE button and Back In Time (by Huey Lewis & The News) begins playing. I guess Cisco must have installed a Huey Lewis button on the console?

• Barry and Nora spend a good part of the episode running through the Time Stream on their way to the three past dates.

Their stiff, stilted running reminded me of something, but I can't quite think what it is...

Oh yeah. Now I remember. Actually the Dynamic Duo here looks far more convincing than Barry and Nora's scenes!

The Flash regularly features impressive, top notch special effects, especially when you consider they're operating on a TV budget. Unfortunately this wasn't one of them. It looked exactly like what it was— two actors awkwardly running in place in front of a green screen.

Barry fared a little better than Nora, with her odd, choppy hand motions. She honestly looked like she'd never run before in her life, and wasn't quite sure how to go about it.

I think the problem is that in most of Barry's closeup running scenes, they speed up the film or digitally blur his arms so it really looks like he's chugging away. For some reason they didn't do that here, and it ended up looking incredibly fake and stupid.

• As Barry and Nora run through the Time Stream, they zoom by various visions of past events. We see them in the Stream three different times. In order, the events they see are:

 Barry hooked up to DeVoe's chair
 DeVoe inhabiting Ralph's body
 Iris as a speedster
 Marlize and The Thinker in his lair
 Barry in prison for seemingly killing DeVoe
 Barry returning from the Speed Force and scribbling on the wall
 Barry willingly giving himself to the Speed Force, as he walks into it with a manifestation of his Mom
 The last one's hard to make out, but it looks like Barry and Cisco with Jay Garrick/Zoom.

The second time they enter the Stream they see:
 Savitar killing Iris
 Killer Frost attacking Vibe
 Grodd roaring
— The Black Flash?
 Something else I can't make out
 Jay Garrick and Hunter Zolomon?

 The third time they see:
 King Shark
 Something I can't make out
 Grodd again
 The Pied Piper (I think)

• Nora puts in a pretty poor showing in this episode. She and Barry go back to 2017, where they see the Flash fighting a large, hulking armored form. Nora asks, "Is that Savatar?"

Welp, there's only two people in the field, and one of 'em's clearly your dad*, so yes Nora, I'd say the other one probably is Savitar.

• Actually BOTH of 'em are her dad, but let's not confuse things even more.

• Once Barry and Nora arrive in 2017, a Time Wraith shows up and starts chasing Barry. Um... why's it only after him? They both just broke through the time barrier, right? So why's it completely uninterested in Nora?

• The bulk of Nora's knowledge about her father comes from the Flash Museum, which explains why there's so much she doesn't know about him. It's a nice little touch.


That said, why the hell is she so ignorant about the Reverse Flash? I could see the Museum leaving out his true identity, or not knowing a lot of personal info about him. But Jesus Christ! In this episode she doesn't even know the Reverse Flash was her father's arch enemy! That seems like some pretty basic info.

• After narrowly escaping the Time Wraith, Barry and Nora end up in an alleyway in 2016. As we can see in the background, the alley's just a block or so from STAR Labs.

The camera then pans up and we see just how massive a place it really is! 

I wish we'd get shots like this more often on the show. Most of the time they use the same three or four long shots, which don't really show the building's scale.

• Barry & Nora exit the Time Stream in 2016, where the Transmitter's accidentally broken. Due to its complicated construction, they have no choice but to ask Wells/Thawne to fix it.

So was Wells/Thawne REALLY the only person who could possibly have fixed the Transmitter? It looked like all he did was turn a couple screws. Cisco couldn't have done that?

Nora even suggests having Harry Wells fix it, but Barry says no, as "his mind's not what it was." So? You have the ability to travel back and forth through time! Just go to a point where Harry's still a genius and have HIM fix it!

• The whole scene with Barry, Nora and Wells/Thawne just talking in the Time Vault was very ominous and very well done. Tom Cavanagh really knocked it out of the park here, both as an actor AND a director. There's a lot to analyze here as well.

First of all, there was that atonal music/ambient sound in the background. It was creepy, unnerving and perfect.

Wells/Thawne then turns to Nora and says, "Who's your friend? Let me guess. Jesse Chambers. No. Libby Lawrence. Wait. Danica Williams." .


All three of the women he names are speedsters in the comics (and in one case, on the show). The first name he mentions, Jesse Chambers, is the real name of Jesse Quick (aka Harry Wells' daughter), who we've seen on the show many times. She's currently serving as the Flash over on Earth-2.

The other two names will likely sail far over the heads of most viewers, but will means something to comic fans. In the comics, Libby Lawrence was the secret identity of Liberty Belle, another Earth-2 speedster. She married Johnny Quick, who was also a speedster, and the two of them had a daughter who became Jesse Quick.

Also in the comics, Danica Williams is the Flash in the 2040s. Interestingly, she works (will work?) in the Flash Museum!

Wells/Thawne then realizes who Nora is, looks at Barry and says, "She's your daughter. You've brought me your daughter."

Wow. Absolute chills. Wells/Thawne is definitely channeling Hannibal Lecter here! Once again, a tip of the hat to Tom Cavanagh, who can be incredibly sinister without even doing anything!

Wells/Thawne then says to Nora, "It's, um Dawn, if I'm not mistaken." She replies, "Nora." He says, "Nora. Oh, that's nice. At least you still have one."

Several things could be happening here. In the comics, Barry and Iris have twins, named Dawn and Don. They're both speedsters of course, and go by the name of the Tornado Twins. It's possible in the TV universe, Barry & Iris had twin girls instead, Dawn and Nora. Wells/Thawne''s "at least you still have one" may be a reference to this.

Another possibility: Wells/Thawne already killed Barry's mother Nora. So he may simply be taunting Barry here, saying he still has at least one Nora left.

• When Wells/Thawne is repairing the Transmitter, Barry mentions it was Nora's idea to use it. Wells/Thawne then hisses, "Clever girl."

Later in the present, Sherloque questions Nora about the strange text in her journal. She says it's a "time language" that she invented. Sherloque gives her an intense look and says, "Clever girl."

Because of these two exchanges, many fans are wondering if Sherloque is actually a secret version of Eobard Thawne. Eh, I dunno. That would definitely be a twist, but it seems a little too obvious to me.

On the other hand, that's what I said when everyone was speculating that Savitar was actually Barry and that's where the show went, so... who knows?

• Nora continues to demonstrate she's not the sharpest tool in the shed. When she and Barry sneak into STAR Labs on the night of the particle accelerator, they walk past a large cage housing Grodd. So what's her first reaction? She actually starts to stick her arm into his cage, presumably to pet him, I guess? Barry has to tell his grown-ass daughter that that's probably not a good idea.

• Barry and Nora enter the Time Vault in order to reconfigure the Transmitter. Barry activates Gideon, and she greets him and Nora. Note that she identifies Nora by saying, "I know you as well, Nora West-Allen. Also known as X-S. Fifth recruit in the rebooted Legion Of..." before Barry cuts her off.

Obviously we're meant to think Gideon was going to say Legion Of Superheroes, and that's probably correct. But what if she was going to say Legion Of Doom? Think about it! She's already working with Thawne in some capacity. Who's to say she doesn't join him and several other villains in their own little club?

When Gideon identifies Nora as the fifth recruit of the Legion... Obviously we're meant to think she meant Legion Of Superheroes. But what if she was gonna say Legion Of Doom?

• By the way, several seasons ago when Barry first discovered the Time Vault, Gideon told him that HE created her at some point in the future (!). He'd better get busy programmin' then! Times running out if he's gonna invent her!

• While in the Time Vault, Nora sees the Reverse Flash's costume, and reaches out to touch it. Barry screams at her to get away from it, and the two have the following conversation:

Barry: "Do you not know what he did?"
Nora: "I know he was your archenemy."
Barry: "He killed my mother and our home when I was 11 years old. An 11-year-old boy. You know why he did it? He thought if I suffered a tragedy that was horrific enough, I'd never recover and never become the Flash."

Um... what the hell is Barry talking about here? That's not the reason at ALL! Thawne, who's from the future, originally came to the past to kill young Barry and erase him from existence. But young Barry was saved by an older version of the Flash, and Thawne ended up killing Nora Allen instead.

Unfortunately for Thawne, he lost his connection to the Speed Force and became trapped in the past. He then took the form of Harrison Wells, and deliberately caused the Particle Accelerator to explode, knowing it would transform Barry into the Flash. He then mentored the Flash, helping him develop his powers so he could steal them and return to his own time.

Thawne never had any intention of preventing Barry from becoming the Flash. I have no idea where the writers of this episode got that cockamamie notion!

• Barry and Nora travel to the night of the Particle Accelerator explosion, and we see just how huge an event it really was for the series.

We get a look at a younger, pre-speedster Barry, along with Iris...

Caitlin and some guy I don't remember...

And Caitlin's fiance Ronnie Raymond, who would briefly become Firestorm after leaving the show to star in such hit films as The Duff (thanks a lot, Robbie Amell!).

We even see Clifford DeVow and his wife Marlize, who weren't really in the pilot but were shoehorned into it last season.

• Wow, get a look at this historic moment in time, kids! At one point in time STAR Labs actually had more than two employees!

• Right before Wells/Thawne activates the Particle Accelerator, he congratulates Cisco and thanks him for all his help. Note the very deliberate and somehow ominous way Tom Cavanagh offers his hand...

This is obviously meant to parallel/foreshadow that killing Cisco by phasing his hand through his chest in the Season 1 episode Out Of Time. Creepy! Cavanagh knew exactly what he was doing in this scene, and obviously had a great time directing the episode.

• The Particle Accelerator explodes right on schedule, and we see just how many people it affected.

First of all we see Ronnie Raymond vaporized.

We also see that Professor Martin Stein (of the Legends Of Tomorrow) is affected in some way I don't remember...

Clifford DeVoe's "Thinking Cap" is struck by dark matter energy from the explosion, supercharging his brain and turning him into The Thinker. 

Mark Marden's, who's piloting a getaway plane, is hit by the dark matter wave, which gives him control over the weather.

And of course Barry himself is struck by the lightning from the explosion, which turns him into a speedster.

RETCON ALERT! After the Particle Accelerator explosion, paramedics rush Wells/Thawne and Barry to the E.R. Dr. Ambres, who's Orlin Dwyer's helper and confidant, appears and starts barking orders.

Ambres (whose name I STILL don't think has ever been spoken in dialogue on the show) made her very first appearance in , and was most definitely NOT in the Pilot episode. Her inclusion here is 100% pure retcon.

By the way, there's a theory going around fandom that the true villain of Season 5 isn't actually Cicada, but Dr. Ambres herself!

It's not as crazy as it sounds. In Oh Come, All Ye Thankful, Ambres comments on how metas are destroying Central City, proving she had a deep-seated hatred of them before Cicada did. She keeps Orlin's identity secret so he can continue killing metas without interference from the police. And every time she patches him up, she makes a point of badmouthing metas in front of him.

What is she's secretly manipulating him and firing up his hatred of metas? She's like the Wormtongue to Cicada's King Theoden.

Heck, she could even be keeping Grace in a coma to help prolong Cicada's metahuman kill-spree. If that's true, that would turn Cicada against her, and he might even end up working with Team Flash! Hey, they gotta do something with the character now that they've found out his true identity!

• The E.R. scene also confirms Barry's age. As the paramedics bring him in, they describe him as a "24-year-old male, struck by lightning." Since we're now in Season 5 and the show's happening more or less in real time, that means Barry's currently 29.

• Apparently Orlin Dwyer's a big fan of Blade Runner. "It's too bad she won't wake up. But then again, who does?"

• Amazingly Team Flash's convoluted plan works, and they're able to power dampen Cicada's dagger. Cisco then grabs the dagger and breaches it into outer space, which is a brilliant idea.

Unfortunately the gang didn't count on Cicada's connection to it being so strong he could recall it from space! Whoops!

Many fans have taken Cisco to task for merely breaching the dagger into space, when he should have banished it to one of the many other universes. There're a couple problems with that idea.

First of all, let's give poor Cisco a break. Remember he's currently suffering a dark matter infection, and his powers aren't at 100%. It's very likely it was all he could do to simply breach the dagger into orbit.

Secondly, what if he had breached the dagger to another universe. One containing and Earth with another version of Cicada. That particular Cicada would sense the dagger, call it to him and then he'd have TWO incredibly powerful weapons. That Earth would then be royally f*cked!

Everyone needs to lay off Cisco, and instead ask why the hell Barry didn't just put the power-dampening cuffs on Cicada while he was momentarily powerless. There was a good thirty seconds or more when everyone was just standing around looking at one another.

Of course if they did that then the Cicada storyline would be over, and there'd be no big bad for the rest of the season, so...

• So Killer Frost is unaffected by Cicada's power-dampening ability because her power came from her father fiddling with her genetic cold, and not from dark matter. I guess that makes sense? I dunno. Seems like a power's a power, and a dampening weapon should dampen any and ALL of them.

• Sherloque steals Nora's journal and uses Cisco's computer to translate her "time language." Apparently it chugs away on the symbols all through the episode, and at the end manages to translate a single line: "The Timeline Is Malleable." Sherloque reads this incredibly profound bit of info, and stares meaningfully into the distance.

Um... is that really news? Jesus Christ, Eobard Thawne was messing with his past in the very first episode! The ENTIRE SERIES is built around changing the timeline!

• So apparently Nora's been working with Eobard Thawne since the beginning. Not entirely unexpected, as she's been acting pretty twitchy at times all season, but still somewhat of a surprise.

Obviously Nora sees Thawne as something of a mentor, since she was somehow completely unaware of the convoluted history between him and her father. It's unlikely that Thawne's repented over the years, so I can only imagine he's using her for some nefarious purpose.

Additionally, Thawne's look is interesting in this scene. Obviously he's older here, but his hair almost looks more blonde than gray. Is the REAL Eobard Thawne's face trying to come through the Wells facade here? That would be cool if that's what they're actually going for.

By the way, I'm not even gonna attempt to try and understand or explain how Thawne can still exist in 2049. I gave up on that long ago.

• One of this episode's many endings takes place on a decimated Earth-90, where the Flash from the 1990s TV series confronts an alien being called the Monitor (although we're not supposed to know that's who he is yet). This scene contains a ton of things to unpack.

First of all, there's the matter of Earth-90. I get why this particular world is numbered that way because the original The Flash series premiered way back in 1990. Unfortunately that designation creates a serious plot hole. 

See, in last year's Crisis On Earth-X crossover, it was stated that there are 52 Earths in the Multiverse. 53 if you count the super secret Nazi-populated Earth-X. So how can there be an Earth-90?

I suppose the answer is that the various Earths aren't sequentially numbered. But I honestly can't think of any reason why they wouldn't be.


As the camera pans over the ruined landscape, we see the bodies of dozens of fallen superheroes. I spotted Stargirl, Firestorm (I think), Green Arrow from Smallville and what looks like the helmets of the Ray and Hawkman.

According to The CW,  Huntress and Captain Cold are also in the scene, but I wasn't able to spot them.

The Flash then appears, and once again he's played by actor John Wesley Shipp! Amazingly, he doesn't look all that different suited up, despite the fact that Shipp is currently 63 years old!

Note that when he appears, we get a brief snippet of Danny Elfman's1990 series' theme song on the soundtrack! Cool!

The Earth-90 Flash is confronted by the Monitor, who's holding the Book Of Destiny in his hands (although again, we're not supposed to know that's what it's called yet).

The Monitor was a major player in the Crisis On Infinite Earths miniseries that debuted way back in 1985. He looks awesome here, like he just stepped off the pages of the comic! Well done, Arrowverse producers!

• This Week's Best Lines:
Barry: "So let's destroy his dagger."

Ralph: "How are we gonna do that, unless we have some kind of power-dampening dagger... power dampener hidden away in storage?"
Cisco: "We don't, but if we did we'd come up with a much better way of saying that."
Barry: "Sure, I mean, just, like, dagger-dampener..."
(all talking over one another)
Cisco: "Wait, yeah, that's actually... That's decent, 'cause, you know, you're running into..."
Sherloque: "Just abbreviate."
Ralph: "Sir Damps-A-Lot?"
Barry: "P-D-P-D."

Wells/Thawne: "Well things just got a lot more complicated, didn't they? Barry Allen. But which Barry Allen? Clearly you're from a lot later than this one."

Barry: "Way later."
Wells/Thawne: "Way later."

Wells/Thawne: "All I can think of to say is I feel like I've waited for this day for centuries."

Wells/Thawne: "Well, it's all thanks to the team, right? Caitlin, fiance Ronnie, Hartley..."

Cisco: "Hmm..."
Wells/Thawne: "Hartley contributed. Especially you, Cisco. I have to say I have a vibe about you. About what you're destined to become."
(Given what we know will eventually happen, this innocent little exchange between Wells/Thawne and Cisco is absolutely chilling. Again, Kudos to Tom Cavanagh here. He took a silly little bit of fan service and turned it into something horrific and ominous)

Easy Come, Easy Go

Now that my once favorite show Doctor Who has become a huge dumpster fire and is now dead to me, I've been streaming a lot of episodes from the good old days. You know, from back when the series was actually watchable.

I recently watched 2005's The Christmas Invasion. It was the first Doctor Who Christmas Special, and also served as David Tennant's introduction to the series.

In it, a race of aliens called the Sycorax invades Earth on Xmas day (hence the title). The recently regenerated Doctor then defends the planet against them.

At one point, the Sycorax send a message to Harriet Jones, the Prime Minister Of England. For some reason, their message features four of the aliens onscreen at the same time.

Hmm... there's something about their message that seems familiar somehow, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is...

Ah. There it is! The Sycorax are apparently big fans of Queen. Maybe the band's music was beamed out into space and picked up by the alien's ship?

I'n betting this was an homage rather than just a coincidence. It had to be, since the only Sycorax who spoke was the one at the bottom center of the screen. There was no reason to have four of them there except as a tribute to Freddie and the boys.
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