Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 18: The Man In The Yellow Tie

This week on The Flash, we get the long awaited return of a fan-favorite villain (sort of), Meena continues to be a better character than Iris ever was and Chillblaine returns. Oh, and John Diggle's back for some very unsatisfying closure.

Overall it's not a bad episode, and I particularly enjoyed seeing Barry train Meena to become a speedster. She's like a breath of fresh air on the show, and I'm wondering what they're gonna do with her now that she's been established as Central City's newest speedster. I have a horrible feeling they may have introduced her as cannon fodder, so she can sacrifice herself to save Barry or rescue Iris or something like that.

I was never a huge fan of the Matt Letscher version of Thawne, as I always liked Tom Cavanagh much better in the role. Heresy, I know, since most fans have long preferred the Letscher version. So his appearance here wasn't the jaw-dropping revelation to me that it likely was to some. Plus we didn't even get to see properly see him as Evil Eobard, as he shows up this week as a kinder, gentler amnesiac version. 

The writers have sang that particular song many times before, so do not be surprised if his memories return next week and he's restored to his evil, scenery-chewing glory.

As for Diggle, the producers bring him in this week to finish a storyline that began all the way back in the series finale of Arrow. I'll be going into this in more depth below, but for now let me just say they wrapped up his arc in the most frustrating and infuriating way possible. In fact it made me so legitimately angry I almost threw something at my TV!

Lastly, it's come to my attention there's a woman in Vancouver (where The Flash is filmed) who regularly walks up and down the streets of the city with her pet duck waddling behind her!

I hereby request— make that DEMAND— that the producers of The Flash feature the Duck Lady and her friendly fowl in an upcoming episode, STAT! I can see it now— she'll be pushing her cart past Jitters, and some interdimensional monster will suddenly appear and threaten her and her duck. Right on cue, Barry will speed to the scene and rescue them both!

Get on this NOW, Eric Wallace!


The Plot:
Note: In order to avoid confusion with the two Thawnes, I'll be referring to the Matt Letscher version as Eobard, and the Tom Cavanagh one as Thawne.

Meena Dhawan zooms through a forest, trying to catch the much faster Barry— who's training her how to use her speed. Suddenly she trips, and accidentally fires off a blast of her black energy, which hits Barry and knocks him over. She apologizes, but he's more concerned about how and why her blast seemingly knocked out his powers (hmmm...). She says her speed's about to run out, so he tells her that's enough training for one day.

Elsewhere, Cecile enters a bank to make a deposit. Suddenly a trio of robbers enter and order everyone to get on the floor. She tries to grab her phone to activate her Flash alert, but one of the robbers points his gun in her face and tells her to freeze. She looks around at the other terrified patrons, and is able to see their tangible fear. Somehow she figures out she can take their fear and physically transfer it to the robbers (!). As she does so, each of the robbers collapses in terror and are incapacitated until CCPD arrives.

Back at STAR Labs, Chester scans Cecile and confirms her psychic abilities have increased 1000% for some reason. Cecile senses Barry's troubled, and he says he's worried about Meena and her powers.

Barry goes to Fast Track Labs to talk with Meena— saying he's there on behalf of the Flash (wink, wink). She shows him the device that generates her speed— the Biometric Lightning Oscillation Chamber, or BLOC for short. She says it harnesses natural lightning and turns it into artificial speed.

She then introduces her partner and Chief Engineer, Eobard Thawne— the original, non-Wells version! GASP!

Barry's stunned to see Eobard, as he's the man who killed his mother and caused him to become the Flash. Eobard doesn't seem to recognize him, and sticks out his hand. Barry reluctantly shakes it. Meena asks if the two have met before. Eobard doesn't think so, and Meena explains he has retrograde amnesia. As Meena busies herself elsewhere, Barry accuses Eobard of being the Reverse-Flash, but he insists he has no idea what he's talking about. A shaken Barry leaves the lab.

One Year Ago
Meena interviews Eobard, and says he has no qualifications to work at Fast Track. He stares at her board, walks over to it and finishes an equation she'd been struggling with for months. He recognizes she's trying to create artificial speed and says he can help. She hires him on the spot.

The Present
Barry zooms to Lian Yu, where the Wellsian version of Thawne is being held. He asks Thawne how he got his speed back and escaped. Thawne has no idea what he's talking about. Barry says Eobard must be from another timeline, and wasn't fully erased by the Black Flash.

Barry draws the BLOC and shows it to Thawne, who says it's really HIS invention, that he created two centuries from now when he was younger (convoluted!). He said it worked, but not the way he intended. Barry realizes Meena's powers are erratic because she's tapping into the Negative Speed Force— which will eventually turn her evil. He speeds off to stop her.

Once Barry's gone, Thawne tells someone in the shadows they can stop hiding. John Diggle emerges, and shows Thawne the "cube" he found several years ago. He said it opened for him once, but closed before he could see what was in it. For some reason he thinks Thawne can help him open it again. Thawne tells him he'll help, as long as he gets to see what's inside.

Back at Fast Track, Meena enters the BLOC for another speed infusion. Just then Flash zooms in and stops her, claiming the BLOC is filling her with Negative Speed Force energy that'll twist her mind. He's too late though, as she activates the machine. He tries to pull her out of it, but she knocks him and Eobard unconscious. Her eyes glow red as she steps out of the BLOC, and hisses that she needs more speed. She zooms out into the city, and begins absorbing energy from power lines.

Back on Lian Yu, Thawne tells Diggle the cube closed on him because he wasn't ready, so he needs to accept its power. Diggle concentrates, and the cube actually opens, filling the cell with green light. Diggle then sees visions of galaxies and cosmic phenomenon. Suddenly he slams the cube shut and throws it, causing it to vanish.

Thawne screams at him, asking why the hell he did that. Diggle says he's not ready to live a cosmic life, and only wants to be with his family. Thawne's furious, as he planned to use the cube's power to escape, and says Diggle's life will never amount to anything. Diggle disagrees, saying the love of his family is all he needs. He calls his wife Lyla as he walks out.

Well that was all pointless!

At Fast Track, Flash comes to and realizes his speed's been negated by Meena's powers. Eobard confesses he originally wanted to become a speedster, and helped Meena build the BLOC to make it happen. For some reason it could only transform one of them though. When Meena had a heart attack, he realized the BLOV was the only thing that could save her, so he shoved her into the machine. It acted much like a defibrillator and saved her life— granting her superspeed as well.

Eobard says he's in love with Meena and can't live without her, and begs Barry to save her. Barry realizes he's being sincere, and promises to try. Just then his speed returns, and he zooms out to find Meena. He finds her at the Keystone Cleveland Dam, soaking up energy.

Barry tries talking her down, warning her that millions will die if she destroys the dam. He gets her to chase him, hoping to burn off the speed she's absorbed. It begins working, and Barry throws a Speed Force lightning bolt at her, which knocks her unconscious.

Barry approaches Meena and asks if she's OK. Suddenly she conjures up lightning in the sky, which strikes Barry and knocks HIM out (lots of knocking out in this episode!). Eobard, who's riding with Chester & Allegra in a STAR Labs van, is impressed that she's now summoning Negative Speed Force energy directly, without the help of the BLOC.

As Barry lies unconscious, Meena stands over him and says he's pathetic. Eobard jumps out of the van and begs Meena to come back to him. She says the Meena he knew is gone, and raises her hand to kill Barry. Eobard throws himself in front of him, and tells Meena he loves her.

His confession sparks Meena's memory, and she snaps out of the Negative Speed Force's control. Yep, they actually played the Love Conquers All card for the hundredth time. Flash comes to again, and sees what happened. He says Meena and Eobard will be OK now that they're together again.

Later at Fast Track, Meena thanks Barry for saving her (even though Eobard's the one who did it). Barry says there may be a way to utilize the Negative Speed Force without being corrupted by it— as long as she concentrates on her love for Eobard while accessing it. Sure, that might as well happen.

Just then Team Flash gets a call from Ray Palmer, aka Atom. He explains how Eobard is alive and well in the present, recapping his plotline from recent episodes of Legends Of Tomorrow. He claims the Time Wraiths saved Eobard from Black Flash, and assigned him to protect a Fixed Point in time (in the 1920s, I think). This incident caused him to turn over a new leaf, and he died helping out the Legends.

Chester wonders how Eobard could be in the present if he died in the Fixed Point. Barry says maybe the Time Wraiths brought him to 2022 for a reason. He says they're all lucky they did, as he saved the city from Evil Meena.

Elsewhere, a woman runs from a mugger. Cecile approaches and uses her newfound powers to incapacitate him. She smiles and walks away, as we see a Mystery Woman watching from the shadows.

Meanwhile, Mark calls Caitlin from apartment, and asks where she is. She says Barry trashed her makeshift lab, and she's staying with her mom to deal with it. He tells her to get her ass home, as he knows how they can bring back Frost.

Back at Lian Yu, Thawne's lying on his bunk, reminiscing about the times he's defeated Barry. Suddenly he hears a voice, saying the energy from Diggle's cube led him here. Thawne asks who he is, and he says he's both an old and new friend. He steps out of the shadows and we see it's Evil Deon, who says he's going to help Thawne fulfill his destiny.

• This week's title is likely a play on the Season 1 episode The Man In The Yellow Suit. Although when I first read it all I could think of was Curious George's The Man In The Yellow Hat!

• I loved Meena's intro, in which she's speeding through a forest and says, "For the next three minutes and fifty two seconds, I Am the Fastest Woman Alive." 

This was clearly a takeoff on the intro that kicked off the early seasons of the show, in which Barry introduced himself as "The Fastest Man Alive." I really miss that version of the opening titles, as it was a lot of fun and had more personality than the current soap opera version.

By the way, I like Meena quite a bit, as she's quite a fun character— much more so than some of the regulars! In fact last week I said that Meena and Barry had so much instant chemistry together that I wouldn't mind if she became a full time cast member and replaced Iris!

Unfortunately, this episode establishes that she's already spoken for. Darn.

• Superhero Landing!

• Meena looks at her smart watch, which says her Artificial Speed is down to just 3%. She tells Barry she has to hurry back to her lab before it runs out, and zooms off.

So... I guess her speed remains constant until it's completely exhausted, so she has the same amount at 3% that she does at 100%? That's certainly convenient!

• Cecile goes to the bank to make a deposit, and of course a gang of robbers bursts in.

Because this is Central City, the bank robbers can't just carry ordinary everyday guns, laws no! Instead they're all armed with some sort of blasters powered by glowing green ampules.

Cecile then tries to covertly activate her Flash Alert app, and the Main Robber yells, "Hey Teacup! You trying to be a hero?" See? I'm not the only one who noticed how incredibly tiny she is!

• Once again, Cecile's being portrayed like she's freakin' Professor X. It appears she now has the ability to visualize a person's emotions— like fear— and physically transfer them to someone else! It's actually kind of a cool power, and perfectly executed here.

So I guess the writers are turning Cecile into Rainbow Raider 2.0, or maybe Psycho Pirate 2.0. I guess I don't have a problem with that per se, but... where's this coming from? How'd she suddenly gain this amazing ability completely out of the blue, with absolutely no buildup? That's not how writing works, guys! You can't just have a character turn into Dark Phoenix for no good reason! You gotta plant seeds for a transformation instead of springing it on the audience out of nowhere.

• Back at STAR Labs, Chester scans Cecile to find out how she's "leveled up" like she has. As he does so, he utters another of his Black History Month oaths, saying, "Fiery Frances Sumner! According to Gideon, your empathic capacity is up a thousand percent!"

Frances Sumner was the first black man to receive a PHD in Psychology— which has nothing to do with telepathy or other psychic powers. So once again, one of Chester's exclamations is completely random and is irrelevant to the current situation.

• Cecile then says to Barry: "I can feel a massive wave of concern wash over you. You're worried about something. It's way more than just me." Barry replies, "It's the new speedster I'm training, Meena Dhawan."

Note that he says this instead of, "Yeah, I'm concerned about the fact that my wife is lost somewhere in the Still Force." I know I keep saying it, but Team Flash literally DOES NOT CARE about Iris!

• Barry tells the others about how Meena accidentally blasted him with her lightning. Allegra replies, "OK, accidental attacks, artificial speed... Is she gonna go all Spock Flash?"

She's referring to the Season 7 episode The Speed Of Thought here. In that episode, Barry was slowly but surely losing his powers, so he built an Artificial Speed Force generator to recharge them. Unfortunately for reasons, this ASF turned him into a hyper-intelligent genius— one who was completely devoid of empathy and emotion.

• Barry zooms over to Fast Track Labs (as himself) to check up on Meena. 

The part of Fast Track is played by the Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Corporate Office in Burnaby, British Columbia— just a few miles outside of Vancouver.

The interior of Fast Track— including the tree— was also shot at Ritchie Bros.

• Barry meets with Meena, who acts as if she's never met him before. That's because technically she hasn't! It took me a minute to realize that she only knows him as the Flash. So many people in Central City are aware of Barry's "secret" identity at this point that's it's honestly surprising and novel to find someone who isn't!

Not A Nitpick, But An Observation: Meena describes how she gets her powers: "It's a biometric lightning oscillation chamber, technically. We call it the BLOC. It's built with quantum computing to remotely harness lightning from the Earth's upper atmosphere and turn it into artificial speed."

So Barry's speed generates lightning, while Meena uses lightning to generate speed! Interesting!

• Barry then meets the man who helped Meena build the BLOC— the original Eobard Thawne, who's somehow come back to life.

Eobard's played here by Matt Letscher, who hasn't been seen on the show since Season 3's Flashpoint. Thank Thor they finally brought him back! For five long years now, fans have been whining for and demanding his return— to the point where I was actually getting sick of hearing about him. Maybe now that he's back they'll finally shut the hell up about it.

As for HOW he can be back, I gave up trying to figure out the whole Thawne timeline long ago. At this point I have absolutely no idea how either version exists, and I'm convinced the writers don't either. Clearly the answer to how they're still alive is "Because."

The Flash has been more soap opera than superhero opus for quite some time now, and never has that been more true than in this episode. Check out this first encounter between Barry and Eobard, as the camera just can't stop giving us reaction shots of the two of them meeting. That's Soap 101 right there!

• As Barry tries to determine Eobard's angle here, Meena gets a call and excuses herself, saying, "Hey, Avery."

That's likely Avery Ho, who also works at Fast Track Labs and was introduced as a potential love interest for Bart. She first appeared earlier this season in Impulsive Excessive Disorder.

• Eobard then has a lengthy flashback, explaining just how he was hired at Fast Track. As Meena interviews him, we see his "deliberately comical" resume, which is so pathetic it doesn't even include his address or email.

It also contains just a couple of hurriedly written past jobs, at Hewitt Mair Labs and Mia Whitter Industries. The Flash loves to use the names of prominent comic book creators or production staffers in its scripts, but I couldn't find anyone with either of those names working at DC Comics or on the show.

Eobard's lame resume is so bad that Meena actually mocks it, saying he's wasting her time. He then does the old "Character Sees A Partial Equation On A Board And Casually Finishes It, Astounding The Person Who Started It" bit, as he actually gets up and solves it. This impresses Meena so much she hires him on the spot!

Thing is though, he had no way of knowing Meena would be working on a theorem he could finish for her. Which means he seriously thought his pitiful resume would work!

Also, note that Meena has one of those clear "white boards" that this show seems to love so much. I get why they use them (to make it easier to film people scribbling on them), but no one in real life would ever buy one.

• During the flashback, we see Meena's been prescribed Metoprolol. It's a real drug, used to treat angina and hypertension, as well as lower the risk of death in the event of heart failure. A bit later we'll learn that Meena does indeed have a heart condition.

• Jesus Christ, is it ever daylight on Lian Yu? Asking for a friend.

• Barry pays a visit to the other Thawne, trying to figure out how he can be in two places at once. Thawne sits in his cell reading a copy of The Count Of Monte Cristo, which is about a man who's wrongly imprisoned, and gets revenge on all those who betrayed him. Subtle!

• Barry tells Thawne about the BLOC that his counterpart built with Meena's help. Thawne says HE actually invented the BLOC "hundreds of years from now." He says it doesn't get its power from lightning as Meena said, but from the Negative Speed Force.

Barry's stunned by this revelation, but he shouldn't have been. The Negative Speed Force typically cancels out his powers. At the beginning of the episode, Meena accidentally blasted him with her lightning, and he temporarily lost his speed!

Add to that the fact that Meena's lightning is BLACK when she runs, and... it looks like Barry's not really paying attention!

• After Barry leaves, Other Thawne gets a visit from John Diggle, of all people!

Back in the series finale of Arrow, Diggle found a mysterious box that eerily called to him. He picked it up and opened it, revealing a bright green light inside before it snapped shut again. According to this episode, he's been traveling the Arrowverse ever since, trying to find a way to open the box again. 

Most fans (myself included) naturally assumed that the mystery box housed a Power Ring, and that the producers were planning on turning Diggle into the Arrowverse equivalent of the John Stewart Green Lantern from the comics.

It made perfect sense, as both characters are black, share a first name and were seemingly chosen by a glowing green space object. What else could there be in the box but a Green Lantern ring?

There were even rumors that Diggle would be spun off into his own Green Lantern series. This was great news, as I've long been a fan of Green Lantern comics and I couldn't wait to see Digg in his own show.

Then in one of the biggest instances of Franchise Blue Balls ever, three lonnnnng years have gone by and there's still no sign of a Green Lantern show.

So what's the problem? Why the huge delay? Who's in charge of The CW, George RR Martin?

I don't pretend to understand all the behind the scenes machinations, but from what I gather there's some sort of rights issue preventing them from launching a Green Lantern series. Along with the fact that The CW's in very dire straits these days and has even put itself up for sale.

So apparently the producers decided to deal with Diggle's dangling storyline (ouch!) by resolving it here on The Flash. And in an extremely disappointing move, they did so by having him finally reopen the box, see the cosmic wonders that were his for the taking, only to have him reject them in lieu of growing old with his family.

Are you f*cking kidding me?

I was VERY disappointed by this entire scene. No, that's not right— I was actively angered and pissed off. Enraged, even.

I suppose one could argue that Diggle did the right and noble thing by choosing family over adventure. But this is a goddamned superhero show! People tune in to see exciting comic book-inspired adventures! They don't want freakin' This Is Us with a glowing green box!

It makes me wonder why they bothered to bring Diggle back at all. I mean, why bother unless he's gonna put on the Power Ring and fly off?

Honestly I'd have preferred it if they never brought up Diggle again at all. Just leave his storyline open and had lots of fun and exciting unseen adventures in space. Feh!

• Diggle asks for Thawne's help to open the cube. Thawne agrees, but not before spouting a monologue loaded with DC Comics references and shoutouts. There's a LOT to unpack in his little speech, and I could easily write 50,000 words on it all, so I'll be as brief as possible:

—Thawne consents to help Diggle, saying, "You've come to the right place. I've seen transmatter technology like that before, forged at the Orrery of Worlds with the power to travel across realities."

Transmatter Technology
In the comics, both the Justice League and the Justice Society had transmatter cubes that let them travel between Earth-1 and Earth-2. The Legion Of Superheroes, who lived in the 31st Century, regularly used transmatter portals as well, to travel around Earth and even to other planets.

Orrery Of Worlds
A concept first introduced in DC's Final Crisis miniseries. It was basically a map of the 52 different worlds in the Multiverse. Thawne's use of the term doesn't make much sense here, but whatever.

—Thawne then tells Diggle,"Think of what your future could be. All the light you could bring into this world. All the cosmic odysseys that await."

Cosmic Odyssey 
A comic miniseries published by DC in 1988. In it, the Anti-Life Equation somehow became sentient and threatened to destroy all of reality. Highfather, leader of the New Gods, teamed up with the evil Darkseid to destroy it. They were joined by Superman and a host of other heroes— including John Stewart, who replaced Hal Jordan as Earth's Green Lantern. That can't be a coincidence, as for years now fans have insisted that Diggle is the Arrowverse version of Stewart.

—Lastly, Thawne tells Diggle, "Do it, John. Do it. Drink of The Bleed Mandrakk hid within the cube. Feel its power. Break through the Source Wall, for when you break through that wall, all those worlds that await will be yours."

The Bleed
In the comics, The Bleed is the empty space between universes, named after the void's red color.

In Final Crisis, an evil being known as Mandrakk, aka the Dark Monitor, attempted to consume the entire multiverse (seems like a popular pastime among cosmic villains).

The Source Wall
Part of the New Gods mythology, it's a boundary that separates the Multiverse from the Source— the energy field that created all of reality. The Source Wall was apparently a physical barrier, as it was decorated with the bodies of various gods and other cosmic entities that attempted to pierce it.

Worlds Await
It's a phrase that pops up a lot in the Arrowverse. I think it may have started as the tagline of in-house advertising for 1986's Crisis On Infinite Earths miniseries, but don't quote me on that.

So with all that explained, there's just one major question remaining: How the hell does Thawne know about all this stuff? He's never been presented as a particularly cosmic entity, so his detailed knowledge of such things is both puzzling and surprising.

• All through the episode, Diggle consistently refers to the flat, octagonal cosmic box he found as a "cube."

I kind of feel like the producers don't understand what a cube is.

• Back at Fast Track Labs, Eobard preps the BLOC and tells Meena, "You set the oscillation levels at 52 million joules— that's more speed than you have ever absorbed before."

Was that yet another New 52 reference? You know, the DC Comics revamp came out a whopping ELEVEN years ago in 2011. Why is this show so obsessed with this event, and constantly act like it just happened?

• Meena enters the BLOC, where she's filled with a heaping amount of Negative Speed Force energy. I gotta say, she does a GREAT "crazed supervillain" face!

• Once Meena's taken over by the Negative Speed Force, we cut to a commercial. Instead of the usual flash of yellow lightning to signal a break, we get a burst of black Negative Speed Force lightning. Cool!

• Barry battles Evil Meena, who throws a bolt of Negative Speed Force lightning at him— which cancels out his powers for a few minutes. 

Has this Negative Speed Forces Cancels Out The Positive Speed Force always been a thing on the show? Based on Barry's dialogue it seems like it has, but I honestly don't ever remember it happening before now. I'm pretty sure the Reverse-Flash never negated Barry's speed before though, because if he did he would have just killed him long ago and gotten it over with.

I'm calling this a Big Ol' Retcon!

• Eobard infodumps his recent backstory to Barry, saying he fell in love with Meena and told her he always felt he was destined to do great things. To that end, they built the BLOC together to make him a speedster.

Unfortunately they discovered the BLOC would only work for one person (?). Eobard planned on using it, but when Meena had a heart attack he stuck her in it to save her— which turned her into a speedster instead.

I'm fuzzy on the whole "The BLOC Only Works On One Person" thing. Do they mean once it gives someone superspeed, it can't be used again till their powers wear off? Or does the BLOC calibrate itself to the first person who uses it, and from then on it'll only work on them?

• By the way, I couldn't help but notice how much Eobard's storyline mirrors that of August Heart (aka Godspeed) from Season 7. Both were deadly evil speedsters, both suffered from amnesia and both turned out to be really nice guys once they lost their memories.

Of course August Heart instantly turned into Godspeed again the second his memory was restored. I would not be at all surprised if the exact same thing happens to Eobard next week when his amnesia is inevitably reversed.

Are the writers really so creatively bankrupt at this point that they're recycling the exact same storyline so soon?

• Eobard goes on and on about how much he loves Meena and how she's his entire world. In the grand Hollywood tradition of Middle Aged Male Actors Who Have Hot Young Girlfriends, Matt Letscher is currently 51, while Kausar Mohammed (who plays Meena) is 30.

• Meena attacks Barry with her Negative Speed Force energy, which of course cancels out his powers. It also knocks out his suit comm, as he's unable to contact Chester. A few minutes later his speed returns, and the comm magically comes back online. 

So... was that just a coincidence, or is his suit communicator powered by his speed?

• Behold this actual line of dialogue from this episode:

Chester: "Okay, Meena's attacking power junctions all over the city."
Barry: "Why would Meena need electricity?"
Eobard: "Her speed is supposed to be temporary."
Barry: If Meena runs out of speed, the Negative Speed Force will lose its grip on her. It's making her absorb electricity to make more speed and maintain control."

There's not a single word of that last sentence that makes the least bit of sense, but let's just move on or we'll be here all day.

• Evil Meena goes to the Keystone Cleveland Dam in order to absorb all its electricity.

The Keystone Cleveland Dam been seen on the show before, as it first appeared way back in Season 1's The Sound And The Fury

So is the dam in Central City or Keystone? Despite the name, I think it's in CC, because the Team Flash van arrive there in minutes. On the other hand, Keystone is a sister city of Central City, as the two are allegedly separated by a river. So it's entirely possible it could be in Keystone City.

Wherever it is, it's nowhere near Cleveland, Ohio, as Keystone and Central City are in Kansas and Missouri, respectively.

• Barry seemingly drains Meena of her speed. She then summons a bolt of lightning and zaps Barry with it. But then we're told that he's lost his powers again, meaning he was hit with a blast of Negative Speed Force lightning. So Meena can apparently just yank that down out of the sky now? If that's true, then why didn't Reverse-Flash do that every time he saw Barry? He could have zapped him, canceled out his speed and killed him at his leisure. RETCON!

• After kncoking Barry unconscious, Meena prepares to kill him by vibrating her hand through his heart. Hey, that's Thawne's signature move! How the heck does she know about that? Did the Negative Speed Force teach it to her?

• Eobard manages to drive the Negative Speed Force out of Meena and save her with— you guessed it— the Power Of Love. No, really!

Ah, but it gets better! We then get this actual exchange:

Meena: "We built the B.L.O.C. so we could help people. But, if we can't use it without me turning into a super villain..."
Eobard: "Then it's not worth the risk. Especially if we don't even know how we tapped into the Negative Speed Force to begin with."
Barry: "What if there was a way around it? Whenever I start to feel like I'm in over my head, I think about the person I love most. She helps guide me home, like a lightning rod. Just like tonight, when the Negative Speed Force corrupted you...
Meena: "Eobard brought me back. So, you think that our bond could help me control my powers?"
Barry: "It would take some tinkering with the B.L.O.C., but if Eobard's your lightning rod, there's nothing you can't accomplish together."

That's right, folks, this sci-fi technobabble machine that turns people into supervillains can be overridden by LOVE. 
Jesus wept.

Who are scenes like this supposed to be for? Surely the writers don't believe the audience actually enjoys this kind of crap, do they? This "Love Conquers All" plot magic hooey is fine for fairly tale fantasies and romantic comedies— but superhero shows, not so much. 

It all feels incredibly lazy, like it's the producers' go-to move to get themselves out of any corner they write themselves into.

• Team Flash then gets a Zoom call from Ray Palmer, aka Atom. SEVERAL things here:

First of all, Ray takes time out of his busy schedule to explain how Eobard is back. It's a magnificent piece of narrative bullsh*t, and a thing to behold:

Ray: "As for your question, I was out having retirement drinks with Nate, and turns out the Legends had their own encounter with Reverse-Flash this year. Yeah, apparently the Time Wraiths saved him from Black Flash."
(Flashback of Original Thawne talking to White Canary, aka Sara Lance)
Eobard: "My powers stripped, I was re-educated and assigned here to protect this fixed point."
Sara: "As penance for your past crimes."
Eobard: "Believe it or not, Sara, I came to see their point. That history cannot and should not be changed.:
(Present Day)
Atom: "Thawne spent years protecting the timeline. Until he died helping the Legends. Pretty tragic twist, huh?"
Chester: "Wait, if Thawne from Flashpoint became a hero, but then died, how could he be here?"
Barry: "Maybe when he sacrificed himself the Time Wraiths saved his life again, brought him here."

Holy crap. That's actually amazing, as none of it makes the least bit of sense. As I said earlier, the answer to how Eobard's alive and well again is: Don't Worry About It.

Doesn't make for very compelling viewing when the writers can't be arsed to figure out major plot points, and simply choose not to worry about it.

Secondly, according to Ray, the Time Wraiths apparently took pity on Eobard for some incomprehensible reason, and decided to give him a second chance by making him Guardian Of A Fixed Point In Time. When he was killed, they gave him a THIRD chance and brought him back to life in the present day.

Well that was all very nice of them! It's also complete and utter nonsense. May I remind everyone the Time Wraiths look like nightmarish, decayed zombies who hunt and kill speedsters who use the Speed Force to alter time. When the hell did they become so altruistic and benevolent?

Lastly, seeing Ray Palmer show up again ought to make me happy. Instead it infuriates me, as his appearance reminds me how the Legends Of Tomorrow producers senselessly wrote him out of the show in Season 5 for no good reason. Feh!

• At the end of the episode, Cecile's out roaming the streets, seemingly looking for crime to fight. She sees a mugger and incapacitates him with her newly souped up mental powers— smiling the whole time.

So is Cecile going all Dark Phoenix on us here?

By the way, after Cecile walks off, we see a Mystery Woman secretly watching her from the shadows. You'd think a psychic meta like Cecile would have detected this hidden observer, but I guess not!

Based on the back of the Mystery Woman's head, she looks a lot like Rosa Dillon, aka the Top. No idea why she'd be tailing Cecile though.

• Chillblaine returns in this episode, after taking off a couple weeks. He contacts Caitlin, and tells her he knows how to bring back Frost. He then shows her a drawing of some sort of cryo chamber he's apparently invented.

Seems like the only way that would work is if they dug up Frost's body and stuck her in it. I don't see that happening though, so I predict he's going to use it to give Caitlin ice powers of her own. Then I guess he hopes that any trace of Frost that's still in Caitlin's body will awaken and take over or something. 

Whatever his plan is, I guarantee it involves Caitlin developing ice powers, since she's the only person in her family without them.

• In the tag scene, Thawne gets a visit from Deon, who says it's time for him to fulfill his destiny.

It's pretty obvious at this point that this isn't the Deon we all know and love. He's clearly the Negative Speed Force, as all four of the Forces apparently have evil counterparts.

As we all know, Barry & Iris accidentally created the Four Forces while trying to restore his speed. Did they unknowingly create Negative Forces while they were at it? Or did they spring up on their own at a later date?

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