Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Flash, Season 7, Episode 17: Heart Of The Matter, Part 1

This week on The Flash, it's the series' amazing colossal 150th episode! Huzzah!

Who knew way back in October of 2014 that the show would still be going strong (well, sort of) a whopping seven seasons later?

Considering this is such a big milestone episode, it's an oddly unspectacular outing. In fact if you didn't already know about the anniversary there's nothing in it to indicate it's special in any way. I didn't even see any promos touting the anniversary. Strange.

I have to assume our old pal Covid is the culprit here, and likely put the kibosh on an epic and expansive celebratory episode. 

OK, we do get the appearance of Barry & Iris' future kids, since everyone apparently liked that storyline so much they decided to just up and do it again. That said, Nora and Bart were a breath of fresh air on the show, and brought back some of the sorely-missed fun of the early seasons. 

It took me an episode to get used to this more upbeat and peppy Nora, but so far I'm enjoying her. Jordan Fisher as Bart is fun as well, even though he seems to be borrowing VERY heavily from Ezra Miller's Flash playbook in the Justice League movie. Nothing good can ever come from that movie.

I've been trying all season to be less negative about the show and find the good in each episode, but lordy. They are not making it easy on me, as Season 7 has been the worst one yet.

I'm sure the producers are quick to blame Covid for the lack of quality as well, and they're probably not wrong. But that excuse only goes so far, and should only pertain to the actual filming and production, not the writing!

Part of the problem may be the writing staff imploding due to the strain of having to come up with eighteen to twenty four episodes per season. That'd be enough to stress out anyone, and it may be time to start thinking about having shorter seasons— like Stargirl and Superman & Lois have. Those series have thirteen & sixteen episode seasons respectively, and are both the better for it. As a result of the lowered count, they have few if any filler episodes as each one counts and moves the story along. It's definitely something for The Flash writers to think about, if it's not too late.

As for the episode itself, the best way I can describe it is puzzling. NOTHING makes any sense this week, as things happen for no apparent reason other than the writers say so. The Godspeed's plan is never adequately spelled out, and Team Flash's determination to restore the villainous August Heart's memories is baffling to say the least. 

Same goes for Iris' time displacement, which seemed like it was going to be a huge storyline in the previous episode, but is seemingly dropped this week. Then we have Allegra, who's being secretive about her cousin Ultraviolet's death for no discernible reason. And why's the show still devoting precious time to Kristen Kramer and her "brother" that no one cares about? Why's any of this even in the episode?

On the plus side, it was great to get an appearance by Jay Garrick, even though his Post-Crisis existence makes absolutely no sense. And it was awesome to see an all-too-brief cameo from the recently departed Cisco as well, even though his return only served to highlight how much his absence has affected the show. 

Ah well. On with the review!

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Prologue: 
Godspeed's zooming through the streets of Central City in 2049, monologuing about gaining "infinite velocity" and forcing everyone to bow down to him. Just then he's caught and incapacitated by a Speed Force lasso (?) from Nora Allen, aka XS. Unfortunately Godspeed recovers and blasts Nora with Speed Force lightning, telling her to never anger a god.

Suddenly Bart Allen, aka Impulse, phases through Godspeed's body and knocks him out. Nora scolds him for such a dangerous stunt, and while they're bickering, Godspeed comes to and gets away.

Godspeed zooms to the Flash Museum, where he jumps on the fully functional Speed Treadmill. He runs on it at superspeed, generating a time portal and leaping into it. 
The "kids" see him and go through the portal as well.

They end up in 2020 (or is it 2021?), where they encounter Barry.
End Prologue.

In the present, Barry tells his kids that Team Flash has August Heart in custody at STAR Labs, but he's suffering from amnesia and has no idea who he is. The kids see Chester, Caitlin and "Grammy" Cecile, and greet them all warmly. Barry says he wishes Iris was there to meet them as well.

Team Flash thinks that with Nora and Bart's powers, they'll be able to defeat the Godspeeds easily. Amazingly the kids say they can't stay, as they shouldn't be in the past and need to protect the timeline at all costs. Barry warns them that the Godspeeds are recharging inside the Speed Force, so it's not safe for them to enter and go home. He says they're stuck there for a while.

Meanwhile, Caitlin & Cecile try to restore August Heart's memories for... some reason. Chester cobbles together a device that will neutralize kinetic energy sources (ie: slow things down), and just needs a way to charge it up. He asks Allegra to use her powers to charge it, but she has the sads due to the death of her cousin Ultraviolet.

Just then the alarm sounds, signaling the Godspeeds' return. Barry, Nora and Bart rush out to face them. Barry comes up with a plan to make the Godspeeds rapidly burn up all their energy so they'll be forced to retreat and recharge. To that end, he and the kids split up and run off in different directions. Unfortunately they all follow Bart, who they refer to as "The Adversary."

Barry & Nora save Bart from the Godspeeds, and they return to the Speed Force. Back at STAR, Barry asks what's going on with the whole "The Adversary" business. Nora says they can't tell him, as it's a future spoiler. He demands they tell him anyway, and Bart blurts out that Godspeed is his own personal version of Thawne. Nora takes Bart into the Speed Lab to run and calm down.

Over in the dull subplot that no one cares about, Kristen Kramer is in Midway City, giving an oral report on Creyke to the Feds. Joe's there as well, and notes that she leaves out the part where Creyke claimed she died in the explosion that killed her platoon. He's more concerned though by the fact that he can't get through to Cecile (due to Godspeed interference). He & Kristen head back to Central City.

Back at STAR, Barry tries to contact Wally, but of course he's useless as he's off meditating somewhere. Suddenly Iris appears, to Barry's shock and delight. She says Deon managed to temporarily stabilize her in the timeline while he searches for a permanent solution. She tells him she's aware their kids are there, as she's been observing everything from inside the Still Force (everything?). She tells Barry they need to keep Bart away from Godspeed.

Elsewhere, Jay Garrick and his wife Joan are somehow alive and well and living in Keystone City. He'd lost his speed in some unknown manner, and was surprised when it returned within the last forty days. He says he wants to help Barry win the war against the Godspeeds (although it's unclear how he knows about that). Suddenly several Godspeeds appear and take him hostage.

Back at STAR, the kids enter and see Iris, and the entire family's reunited. Barry & Iris then put up a united front, saying Bart's too hotheaded and impulsive (heh) to safely face the Godspeeds. He says they don't even know him, and turns to Nora for backup. She agrees with her parents, saying he has trouble keeping his cool. Bart gets so upset he zooms off. Way to illustrate everyone's point!

Nora instinctively knows where Bart went, and finds him at Joe's house. He says he saw Godspeed kill "Uncle Jay" in front of him, and he wants revenge. Bart wants to tell Barry what Godspeed did, but she says they need to keep mum and protect the timeline. Nora asks him what Uncle Jay would say in this situation, and Bart says he'd tell him to sit this one out. Nora says she'll stop Godspeed for him and Jay.

Back at STAR, Caitlin shows Heart the Speed Treadmill, hoping it'll jog his memory. He says it feels like he should know it, but doesn't recognize it. He reaches out to touch it and it shocks him. He worries that he may have a family he doesn't remember who's wondering where he is.

Cut to the Lab, where Allegra's halfheartedly charging Chester's neutralizer device. He notes it's less than 10% charged, and she says her powers are on the fritz. Just then there's another Godspeed alert, and Barry rushes in. He sees the device isn't charged, and uses his kinetic energy to power it in a single second. He grabs the device and zooms out.

Barry meets up with Nora, who somehow got the alert as well. He sets up the neutralizer while she leads the Godspeeds into it. Barry activates the device, and it sends out a blast of energy that knocks them all down. Unfortunately they don't stay down for long, as they get up and start blasting Barry & Nora. Nora's knocked out, but Barry painfully gets up and steps in front of her, taking the full brunt of the Godspeeds' blasts. Just then Frost shows up and freezes the Godspeeds.

Back at STAR, Barry & Nora recover. Barry wonders why the neutralizer didn't work. Chester theorizes it's because Barry charged it with Speed Force energy, instead of Allegra doing so with her electromagnetic powers. Barry says they'll definitely need more speedsters if they're going to win this war.

Right on cue, Bart returns and says he's ready to fight. Barry & Iris once again forbid both their grown-ass kids to enter the battle, as it's too dangerous. Nora quite rightly reminds them that she and Bart are both adults, and as such they have no authority over them. Barry & Iris are adamant, saying they'll lock them in the STAR Labs Secret Super Jail if they have too. Weird.

Chester tells Allegra he's figured out what's wrong with her powers— instead of her usual microwaves, she's emitting UV rays, which "come from negative emotions." What the hell does THAT mean? Anyway, she finally confesses that her cousin Ultraviolet is dead, and she feels she let her and the team down. She runs off to pout.

Elsewhere, Barry & Iris take a few minutes during the crisis to hang out in the Lounge. Barry says their troubles started when Thawne killed his mother, and says Bart's situation with Godspeed feels like history repeating itself. He wonders if their family's cursed. He says they need to beat the Godspeeds here in 2021 (or is it 2020?), so they won't exist in 2049 (?).

Just then the Godspeeds send a message to Barry: Turn over Bart to them or the one he loves will die. To prove they're not kidding, they reveal they have Jay.

Chester tracks the signal to Zauriel Cathedral in Central City. Bart impulsively (heh) zooms off to save Jay. Nora tells Barry that Bart's running into a trap, and they take off after him.

Bart arrives at the cathedral and finds Jay's metal helmet on the floor. The Godspeeds appear, holding a beaten and defeated Jay. Bart says he won't let it happen again and attacks them.

Barry & Nora arrive at the cathedral, and see the Godspeeds have Bart suspended high in the air, screaming in agony as they torture him. The two stand watching this tableau for an inordinately long amount of time, before finally springing into action.

Nora yells for the Godspeeds to attack her and zooms off. Several follow, while the last one fires a blast at Barry. He phases through the beam (smart!) and the Godspeed as well, incapacitating it. An unconscious Bart falls from the ceiling and Barry catches him.

Jay recovers and runs to Barry & Bart. Nora returns and says the Godspeeds are right behind her. Within seconds, the group's surrounded by a dozen Godspeeds. They begin closing in on Barry & the others.

Suddenly Cisco bursts into the cathedral, in full Mecha-Vibe gear. He blasts the Godspeeds with an entropy trap, saving everyone.

Everyone returns to STAR, but unfortunately Bart's still unresponsive. Caitlin says his speed-healing is keeping him alive, but for some reason isn't restoring him. Cisco says John Diggle filled him in on the situation in Central City, and he figured they could use his help. He warns that the stasis field he used on the Godspeeds is only temporary.

Barry says Heart may be the answer— if they can figure out what Godspeed wants, maybe they can stop him here in the past. To that end, Barry wants to go inside Heart's head and poke around in his memory.

Meanwhile, Kristen's driving Joe back to Central City. As they cross a bridge, they see a steady line of cars evacuating as everyone's trying to get the hell out of town. Suddenly a car swerves out of its lane toward them, and Kristen narrowly avoids crashing into it. Two Godspeeds leap on top of her car and begin fighting one another.

Back at STAR, Chester & Jay hook Barry & Heart to a technobabble device, while Cecile stands by to guide Barry's mind. Barry tells Heart he doesn't have to go through with the experiment, but he says he needs to recover his memories and find out who he is. Iris warns Barry not to trust Heart while he's in his head.

Jay wishes Barry good luck and activates the machine. Barry finds himself inside Heart's Mindscape, which for some reason looks exactly like the Zauriel Cathedral. Heart's inside, dressed as Godspeed. He tells Barry he has the answers to all his questions and says they're gonna have "so much fun." He then lets loose with a classic supervillain laugh.

Thoughts: 
• I'm still feverishly playing catchup with my reviews this month. I'm in the home stretch now— only one more episode to go and I can put Season 7 of The Flash to bed! Of course I still have a crap-ton of Legends Of Tomorrow and Superman & Lois reviews to write, but we won't speak of that right now.

• The episode begins with a prologue set in 2049 Central City— a time when various buildings are topped with holographic signage and advertisement.

It's hard to see here, but if you look closely at the building in the upper left, it's sporting a "Z Nation" logo. No, not the Siffy Channel zombie series of the same name, but the social media empire founded by Zari Tarazi of Legends Of Tomorrow. Zari 2.0 was originally from 2045, where she was a wildly popular influencer who parlayed her fame into a large fortune. I guess it makes sense that her brand would still be around five years later in 2049.

We then see a building topped by the Central City Sharks logo. The Sharks have suddenly become a thing here in Season 7, as they've made at least four or five appearances so far. 

There's also a Central City Citizen Media hologram atop an adjacent building. I assume this is the descendent of Iris' newspaper, which will apparently grow into an all-encompassing media conglomerate at some point in the next twenty eight years.

In the previous episode, Team Flash captured a Godspeed clone in order to interrogate it. At the time I pointed out that its voice sounded a LOT like that of Optimus Prime.

This week we see the one true Godspeed, aka August Heart, in 2049 and of course he sounds completely different than all his duplicates— like an over-the-top serial villain. Wait, what? I have to admit I'm confused here. If the Godspeeds are all clones of Heart, then shouldn't everyone sound exactly the same? Why the difference in voices? So the audience knows which Godspeed they're watching?

• As Godspeed's monologuing about how he's going to rule the world or something, Nora lassos him with a Speed Lighting... er, rope.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, I like seeing the characters learn new ways to use their existing powers. On the other, I don't think they need any NEW ones. Jaysis, speedsters are already way overpowered as it is. They don't need even more abilities!

Plus I'm puzzled as to how Nora's Speed Force Lasso actually works. Generally speaking, speedsters are only surrounded by lightning when they access the Speed Force. They don't generate it when they're standing still. 

Somehow Nora's apparently figured out a way to utilize the Speed Force while she's at rest!

• As I pointed out last week, this new version of Nora is much peppier and more upbeat than the original. That's likely because this New Nora has an entirely different timeline than the original version did. In this world Barry didn't vanish during the Crisis, so this Nora grew up with her father. Her mother Iris didn't implant her with a chip that sapped her speed, like the original did! Nor did this New Nora get involved with Eobard Thawne and become his "student."

This New Nora also has a younger brother now, who fights crime alongside her. And her world looks significantly brighter as well. ARGUS isn't hunting down metahumans as they were in Zari Tomaz's future over on Legends Of Tomorrow. As a result of this, Nora and Bart are free to use their powers in public and become superheroes.

• Something occurred to me this week: Remember the scene in the execrable Batman V Superman, in which the fact that both heroes had mothers named "Martha" became a goddamned plot point?

That movie had nothing on The Flash and its obsession with the name "Nora." Barry's mother was named Nora. Whenever the Speed Force needs to communicate with Barry, it takes the form of his dead mother and calls itself Nora. At some point in the future Barry & Iris had a child they named Nora, who came to the past and was erased from existence. And now they have yet ANOTHER future daughter who's come to the past, who's also named Nora.

Jesus Christ! Four instances of the name and counting!

• When Bart first appears he phases right through Godspeed, which causes the evil speedster to glitch and fall over. Nora then tears Bart a new one, hissing, "What the hell was that? You just phased through a speedster. Your molecules could have conjoined on a quantum level!"

Say, now THAT would have made an interesting episode! Much more so than the one we actually got! I'd have paid good money to see a horrifying BartSpeed lumbering around Central City, as Team Flash struggled to separate their atoms.

• Back in Season 5's Godspeed, we got to see Nora's origin story, as August Heart inadvertently jumpstarted her powers, murdered her friend Lia and became her archenemy. All in a single episode!

For some reason, in this new future Godspeed is now Bart's nemesis, not Nora's. No idea why they'd make this change, other than this was Bart's first full episode, and they needed some way to spotlight him and give him something to do.

• Does Bart have a secret identity like his Dad? Because if he does, that half cowl and those yellow glasses ain't gettin' the job done. Just look at him! His entire face is exposed! The only things covered are his ears and the back of his head! That'll fool everyone!

This brings up an interesting question— is Barry still the Flash in 2049? I don't think they ever say one way or another in this episode. If he is, does the general public know that XS and Impulse are his kids? 

I would hope they'd be smart enough to keep their familial connections secret. Otherwise an evil meta could emotionally manipulate Barry by capturing one or both of his kids and threaten to kill them unless he surrenders.

• Based on their ages in this episode, Nora was born sometime in 2023 and Bart in 2030.

• While the kids are busy bickering, Godspeed recovers and zooms into the Flash Museum. A couple things here:

First off, Gideon alerts Nora that Godspeed's heading for the Museum, saying, "Warning— August Heart now located at 5724 Fontana Drive."

That may be a reference to Shea Fontana, who's written numerous DC Comics.

As always, the Museum is really a future, repurposed STAR Labs. Amazingly, it looks like they FINALLY fixed the damaged fins and roof! It's about freakin' time!

Lastly, take a look at that gold statue of the Flash outside the Museum. I assume that's supposed to be an heroic, idealized version of him. Either that, or Barry will start seriously bulking up at some point in the next twenty eight years!

• I brought this up in the previous episode, but it happened again here. For the second week in a row now, the opening credits spoil a surprise appearance— by TWO guest stars this time.

I know, I know, SAG rules state that everyone has to be listed in the opening credits. But it's hard to have a big surprise reveal when the credits trumpet an actor's presence at the beginning of the episode. Just think how much more fun it'd have been when Cisco showed up at the end if we didn't already know he was gonna appear.

• Nora and Bart are delighted when they see their "Grammy Cecile" enter STAR Labs, and rush over to smother her with hugs. We then hear the "Cecile's Empathic Powers Sound Effect" as she says, "Oh my god! I feel so much love from you two!" 

Seriously? Did she REALLY need her powers to sense that her step-grandchildren love her?

• For some reason Allegra doesn't tell anyone that her prima Ultraviolet's dead. Not even Caitlin, who spent the past two episodes working feverishly to restore her voice. What the hell?

She finally tells Chester about it late in the episode, but only after he prods her about what's wrong. I guess they needed something for Allegra to do, and "Nonsensically Keeping Quiet About Her Cousin's Death" was all they could come up with.

• At one point we check in on the dull & boring Joe/Kristen subplot, where we see an aerial view of Midway City.

I did a quick Google Image Search, and found out the part of Midway was played by downtown Atlanta, courtesy of video clipart. I even found the exact clip they used!

This isn't the first time the show's used commercially available footage like this. The most recent instance that comes to mind was in Timeless, where they used a Shutterstock clip to represent Timeless Wells' home of Starling City Beach.

Note that I'm not dissing the producers here, as that's literally what clipart is for! It makes good financial sense too, as it's no doubt a fraction of the cost of sending a film crew to Georgia to shoot ten seconds of footage. If using clipart means more money in the budget for speedster battles, then I'm all for it!

• So Joe & Krysten check in with the FBI in Midway City, where they question her about Creyke and her involvement with him. I assume Kristen must have turned in Creyke to the Feds? I'm pretty sure that's the point of this scene, although it's never stated outright.

Once again I have to point out how odd this entire plotline is. It feels like it was written solely to separate Joe from the rest of the characters. Is Jesse L. Martin particularly vulnerable to Covid, so the producers are doing everything they can to isolate him from the cast?

• At one point we see Nora and Bart enjoying Chinese food here in 2021. Note that Bart doesn't just run fast & phase through enemies, he even EATS at superspeed as well.

There's actually a precedent for this in the comics— sort of. Back in the 1980s, Wally West became the new Flash after Barry Allen died in the Crisis On Infinite Earths series. Wally found he needed to consume a huge amount of calories every day to fuel his speed, and would often eat incredibly quickly.

• Barry tries using Gideon to contact Wally to help with the Godspeed Civil War. Unfortunately he's unavailable, as she says, "Bhikkhuni Amala confirms Wally West is in deep meditation, handling unrest on the psychic plane."

So let me get this straight— Kid Flash can't help defend Central City because he's busy meditating? Jesus Christ! And who gives two sh*ts about "unrest on the psychic plane!" There's REAL unrest and deadly attacks in the physical plane!

It would have been awesome to see Wally return and meet his future niece & nephew this week, but I guess it wasn't to be. According to actor Keiynan Lonsdale, the producers approached him, but he was busy filming on another series, and Canadian quarantine rules prevented him from returning as well.

That's one explanation for his absence. Personally I think he didn't appear because he's a huge weirdo and a massive flake. And before any of the SJW Brigade comes for me with their torches and pitchforks, may I remind you that Keiynan Lonsdale recently said this out loud where others could hear it: 

“Okay, this might sound stupid, but I don’t care. I don’t think this is offensive, but I don’t want to go by 'he' anymore. I just want to go by 'tree.' I want people to call me 'tree' because we all come from trees, so it doesn’t matter if you’re a he or a she or they or them. At the end of the day, everyone’s a tree. I want to call my friends tree, and me tree, and everyone tree. So, I think like when people ask me what my preferred pronoun is, I’m going to say tree. I’m not high by the way, this is just me.”

You read that right. Lonsdale's pronouns are "tree."

• This episode gives us the always welcome return of John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick (who last popped up in Season 6's A Flash Of The Lightning). Unfortunately great confusion surrounds Jay's appearance here— specifically how and why he's alive and living on Earth-Prime. And with good reason! There's no logical explanation for his existence here, other than the usual "Crisis Did It."

Here's a brief rundown of Jay's history on the show, for those of you who don't remember (like me!):

Jay Garrick was originally the Flash of Earth-3. At one point he was captured by Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, and held captive on Earth-2. Zoom then impersonated Jay and fooled Team Flash for several episodes. Eventually Jay was freed and returned to his wife Joan on Earth-3.

Later Jay paid a visit to Earth-1 and helped Team Flash defeat Savitar. Afterwards he decided it was time for him to retire and train an unnamed successor. Jay & Joan were then killed (along with everyone on all Earths) during the Crisis, which destroyed the entire Multiverse. Yet somehow they're both alive and well and living on Earth-Prime now. 

Presumably this is yet another side effect of the Paragons rebooting the Universe during the Crisis— which seems to be the writers' go-to explanation for pretty much everything these days.

This episode establishes that Jay's speed disappeared at some point in the recent past, and that he's been walking with a cane. No explanation is given for these occurrences.

It's also unclear why Jay's speed returns this week. Joan mentions something about "Speed Force saturation," but that's as close as we get to a reason. Is this a byproduct of the Four Forces storyline? Are the Godspeeds somehow increasing his power? Apparently none of this is any of our goddamned business, as it's never addressed.

Additionally, Jay and Joan are dead ringers for Barry's parents, Henry and Nora Allen. Since the Crisis placed them on Earth-Prime, and its changes are retroactive, I guess that means Barry's Dad now has an identical twin walking around.

Lastly, Barry's apparently aware of Jay & Joan's existence on Earth-Prime. At one point the Godspeeds send a message to Team Flash, saying they've captured Jay and plan to kill him. Note that neither Barry or Iris say anything like, "Jay who?" They both react as if they've always known he's alive and well and living on their world.

Oh, and once again, Michelle Harrison plays Jay's wife Joan Williams. This makes the third role Harrison's now played on the show, after Nora Allen and the Speed Force.

• Speaking of Jay, a big part of the episode involves his relationship with Bart, who considers him an unofficial uncle. We find out that at some point in the future, Godspeed murders Jay right in front of Bart— presumably to send a message to him. A couple things here:

For no good reason, Nora and Bart are reluctant to tell Barry about Jay's fate. I guess maybe they're trying to protect the timeline, as they're like afraid that the minute Barry hears about it, he'll create another Flashpoint trying to prevent Jay's death.

Secondly, I assume we're supposed to feel bad when we find out that Bart lost (will lose?) his beloved mentor. Thing is though, barring a brief cameo last week, this is really the first time we've ever seen Bart. We know little or nothing about him, and as such have no reason to care about his relationship with Jay. 

It's like we're joining his storyline already in progress. The emotional stakes come out of nowhere and feel unearned— yet we're supposed be invested in the situation. 

• When Barry & Iris find out that Godspeed is Bart's nemesis, they forbid both him and Nora from facing the villain. They even go so far as to threaten to lock them up for their own good if need be.

Eventually Nora gets fed up with their condescending attitude and points out that she's thirty. Or will be, in four years.

Thing is, she's absolutely right here! She's a grown-ass adult, and her parents have no right to force her to do anything. I get that there're time shenanigans going on here, but it's downright bizarre Barry & Iris scold their kids and treat them like toddlers.

Also, Nora was closer the first time when she said she was thirty. In real life, actress Jessica Parker Kennedy is thirty six!

• So last week the show made a big deal out of the fact that Iris had become "unstuck in time" or some such hooey. While this was clearly meant as a way to explain her sudden absence on the show, it felt like they were setting up a major plotline for her— one that may adapted from the comics.

Annnnnd then this week she's back and seemingly fine. What the hell? Clearly she made a quick & dirty reappearance so she could interact with her future kids. But what happened to her being potentially fractured in time? The only explanation we get is an easy to miss line about how Deon's "temporarily stabalized" her. If it was that easy, why all the tsuris about her condition last week? Will they follow up on plotline in the season finale, or abandon it altogether?

• The Godspeeds set a trap for Bart inside the Zauriel Cathedral. 

In the comics, Zauriel was a former angel who came to Earth, where he joined the Justice League and became a member of Shadowpact. I don't see any connection between any of that and this episode, so maybe it's just a coincidence and doesn't mean anything.

Anyway, the part of Zauriel Cathedral is played by Christ Church Cathedral, located in downtown Vancouver (of course).

It appears they filmed the Zauriel interiors inside Christ Church as well.

• In the comics, Bart Allen's codename is "Impulse." Oddly enough no one ever comes right out and calls him that at any point. Is there some sort of trademark issue regarding the name?

The writers manage to make sure we know who he's supposed to be though, as all through the episode the various characters describe him as "impulsive." Subtle!

So just how many times do they use the word in the episode? FOUR, by my count!

— Bart talks about Jay, saying, "He was the first person that saw my impulsivenees as a strength and not as a weakness, and he would literally tell me. He'd say, 'Bart, sometimes you have to go with your gut, and is it impulsive? Maybe. But sometimes it's right."

— In the church after Bart's attacked, Godspeed says, "His primal impulses killed him, and now he's killed you too."

— In the third act, Jay asks Barry how he knew to defeat the Godspeed by phasing through him. Barry says, "Actually it was my son's idea. I guess sometimes it pays to be impulsive."

• So the Godspeeds lay a trap for Bart at Zauriel Cathedral, and once he arrives he's instantly captured by them. Fortunately, Barry & Nora arrive shortly afterward and look on in horror as they see the Godspeeds torturing Bart by suspending him in the air and stealing his powers. 

In fact the two of them are absolutely gobsmacked by his grim tableau, as they stand and stare at it for a whopping TWENTY THREE SECONDS. That may not sound like much at first, but count it out. It's a lonnnnnng-ass time to stand motionless and do nothing.

Some fans have suggested that it just seems long because the scene was shot in slow motion. Eh, I dunno. Either way, it took an inordinately long time before they sprang into action.

• Last week we were told the Godspeeds were at war because half of the clones decided they didn't want to get reabsorbed into August Heart and die. To that end, these "Good" Godspeeds were trying to find Heart and kill him. Which would seemingly end their existence, right?

Anyway, this week the Good Godspeeds apparently all decide it's more important to kill Bart instead.

Do the writers actually watch their own show and make any attempt at consistency from week to week? Or do they just come up with whatever strikes their fancy or seems "kewl?"

• Once again Barry makes good use of his powers, as he phases through a Godspeed's energy-sapping beam and then right through its body. Well done! I'm enjoying these sudden creative uses of his powers!

• Last week I pointed out that it was obvious the production team only created six Godspeed costumes, as we never, ever saw more than that onscreen at the same time. It was the same this week as well, till we got to this scene. I'm assuming they used CGI here to multiply the Godspeeds and give us way more than six.

• When the Godspeeds appear in Jay's house, he asks them, "What the hell do you want?" Later when he and the others are surrounded by Godspeeds inside Zauriel Cathedral, he says, "I say we give 'em heck, Flash!"

I'm assuming Jay cleaned up his language in the latter instance because he's in a church! That's actually pretty awesome, as it seems like a very "Jay" thing to do! He's always been portrayed as kind of an "old fashioned" character— almost like Captain America— so it makes perfect sense. Kudos to the writers or John Wesley Shipp for coming up with this bit.

• Just when it looks like things are over for Team Flash, Cisco makes his triumphant entrance and saves the day. Huzzah! A couple things here:

First of all, it was awesome to see Cisco again. It would have been even more amazing if he hadn't just left four episodes ago and given us time to properly miss him, but eh, I'm not complaining.

Secondly, as enjoyable as his brief cameo was, it also highlighted just how integral he was to the show and Team Flash's dynamic. No offense to Chester, but he's no substitute for Cisco.

• Back at STAR Labs, Jay asks Barry how he knew to stop the Godspeeds by phasing through them. Barry tells him it was his son's idea. But hold up... we saw Bart do that particular move in the prologue, which was set in 2049! Barry wasn't anywhere— or anyWHEN— near Bart when that happened. I guess maybe Bart or Nora must have told him about that move when we weren't looking.

• For the second week in a row now, Team Flash name-drops the Time Trapper.

In P.O.W., Digg paid a visit to STAR Labs and gifted Team Flash with an entropy trap, which he said was built with "one of a kind" Time Trapper tech.

Later in that episode the device is destroyed, and Chester vows, "If there's any way to duplicate this Time Trapper tech, we'll find it."

Then in this episode, Jay sees all of Cisco's Mecha-Vibe gear and says, "Hey, how about we use those gauntlets to fire another entropy trap?" Cisco replies, "Synthetic entropy trap. Unlike Time Trapper, mine are temporary, and the stronger these clones get, the faster they’re gonna break out of them."

Based on these shoutouts, it sounds like the Time Trapper is an important new character who's helped out Team Flash with his advanced technology. If you're like me though, you were probably wracking your brain trying to figure out just when the Trapper appeared. Did I somehow miss an episode?

NOPE!

He (or she, as this is The CW) has never made so much as a cameo in the show before. In fact the name "Time Trapper" was never once uttered on the series before last week. 

So what the hell's going on? Who the heck is the Time Trapper and why's Team Flash suddenly so intimately familiar with his tech?

According to the Official Arrowverse Wiki, "at some point" the Time Trapper became known to John Diggle, who used their entropy-based tech to created a weapon for use against the Godspeeds. Cisco also built a device based on the Time Trapper's powers.

That's it! That's apparently all the explanation we need and will ever get!

I should point out that in the comics, the Time Trapper is an entity who lives at the End Of Time, and regularly clashes with the Legion Of Super-Heroes— a group of super-powered teens who live in the 30th Century. So I have absolutely no clue why he'd be showing up in 21st Century Central City.

• My favorite part of this episode is when Joe & Kristen return to Central City, and encounter a steady stream of cars filled with people desperately trying to evacuate the place during this latest meta-attack! Haw! In reality that's exactly how it would be. In fact at this point I'm surprised anyone still lives there at all!

Also, not that the BC Place is visible in the center of the screen. It's popped up quite a lot this season, usually playing the part of Shark Stadium. It's also used whenever the show needs an exterior closeup of STAR Labs.

• A good part of this episode is devoted to Team Flash trying to restore the amnesiac August Heart's memories. Caitlin herself confirms this, telling Barry, "Cecile’s helping me with the MAD 2.0, so we can unlock August Heart’s memories, but no luck yet."

Remind me again why they're trying to do this? At this point in time Heart has absolutely no idea that he's really Godspeed, and poses no threat to anyone. Shouldn't they just leave well enough alone?

Indeed, Barry & Iris seem to understand the situation:

Barry: "Iris, if we beat the Godspeed clones here in 2021, the real August Heart will never get his powers back."
Iris: "Which means that when Nora and Bart go back to 2049, there won’t be a Godspeed there to endanger them."
Barry: We have to break the chain.

From this it sounds like they realize they have a real chance to change the future here. Annnnnnnnd then they make a complete 180ยบ turn and attempt to fix Heart.

No matter how you look at it, restoring Heart's memories makes absolutely no goddamned sense. Sure, having no idea who he is sucks for Heart, but it's for the greater good. Which is worse, letting one guy live out his life with no identity, or restoring his memories so he can kill thousands?

I just don't understand the thinking here. They're deliberately whacking a figurative hornet's nest by healing Heart. And of course when Team Flash eventually succeeds, they'll all stunned when he instantly turns into Godspeed and attacks them.

It's almost like the writers don't understand their own characters and script. Either that or they realized they'd written themselves into a corner with the whole amnesia plotline, and couldn't think of any other way to get out of it.

• During the attempt to restore Heart's memories, Jay consistently calls Cecile "Miss Horton." Wha...? I thought she & Joe got married years ago! I checked the Official Arrowverse Wiki and it turns out they're not! Apparently they're still cohabiting, and never actually got hitched. Color me VERY surprised!

• At the end of the episode, Barry enters Heart's Mindscape, which looks exactly like the interior of Zauriel Cathedral. He looks around in wonder and says, "I've been here before..." Yeah, we know. You just saw it twenty minutes ago in the real world, genius!

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