Tuesday, July 12, 2022

The Flash Season 8, Episode 19: Negative, Part One

This week on The Flash we get the first half of the big Season 8 finale, as Team Flash (or what's left of it) takes on the Negative Forces, Thawne dies and gets better (yawn!) and Iris finally returns from her vacation, er, I mean the time stream or wherever the hell she's been.

Overall this was a pretty lackluster and muddled episode, as little or nothing that happened made the least bit of sense. That said, it did feature a truly shocking ending that came out of nowhere, and allllllllmost made up for the rest of it. Not quite, but almost!

As for Iris' return... meh. Her lengthy absence has proven that the show doesn't really need her, and can do just fine without her. Which is kind of what I predicted would happen when Candice Patton took her extended leave from the series. 

There seems to be a lot of Candice Patton hate brewing on the internet lately for some reason. Personally I don't actively dislike her, but I can't say I'm a fan either. She's always seemed cold and aloof on the show, and has little or no chemistry with the other actors— especially Grant Gustin! That's not good, since the two of them play husband and wife!

As I keep saying, Barry's had more chemistry with Meena Dhawan in just a couple of episodes than he's had with Iris in eight seasons! Maybe Candice Patton's just not that great an actress. Or maybe she doesn't get along with her co-stars. Or maybe she's just not into the gig and phones it in every week, I dunno. 

Whatever the reason, her absence has only spotlighted the problem!


The Plot:
Nora and Bart are playing a videogame when they get a holographic call from 2049 Iris. She tells Nora she liked her article, and wants her to write a followup. Suddenly the call's interrupted as the 2022 version of Iris appears in their apartment.

She tells them she's been lost in the time stream for weeks or even months. She asks where Barry is, but Bart says he's off planet with Jay (???). Nora tries to zoom Iris back to 2022, but they run into a Still Force barrier, and figure Deon's preventing them from time traveling. Iris clutches her head in pain, but then it passes.

The Flash and Chester are at Fast Track Labs, where they're monitoring Meena Dhawan's speedster training. She's now wearing a cool black version of Barry's Flash suit. Meena runs on a treadmill, while her boyfriend, the Original Eobard Thawne (who's no longer evil) checks her vitals.

Suddenly Meena flies off the treadmill, crashing into the wall. Thawne tells her she's not invincible, and warns that she's pushing herself too hard. She snaps at him and zooms off. Flash follows to talk with her.

Flash catches up to Meena, who says the usual, "I'm not a hero" mantra that's so popular on this show. She says she's afraid she'll never be as good as him. Flash removes his mask and reveals his secret identity to her (of course!). He then gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling her she's stronger than she knows or some such crap. He names her "Fast Track," and the two speed off together.

On Lian Yu, Deon confronts the Wells version of Thawne, claiming he's there to give him back his speed. Thawne asks what it'll cost him, and Deon says nothing much— just his life. He snaps his fingers, and Thawne instantly ages a couple hundred years and falls dead to the floor (!).

Back at STAR, Chester somehow detects temporal energy on Lian Yu, so Barry speeds there in a flash (heh). He finds Thawne's corpse, and makes the incredibly intuitive leap that Deon's responsible. He figures Iris' time sickness has corrupted Deon and turned him evil (even though it's not doing that to her).

At the West home, Joe's furious with Cecile for going out patrolling at night with her newfound powers. She says it's fine, as she's leveled up and can now induce vertigo in addition to her other abilities. He says that sounds a lot like Rosa Dillion's (aka the Top) powers. Right on cue, Rosa shows up at their door.

She says her powers are gone, and accuses Cecile of somehow stealing them from her. Cecile says she was near Rosa's house when she was out patrolling and thwarted a mugger, and theorizes that she can now absorb the powers of any psychic metas in the area. Rosa wants her powers back, and Joe says he has an idea.

Nora and Bart take Iris to Jay Garrick's wife Joan for examination. She detects negative tachyons in Iris' body, and says they're multiplying. Iris clutches her head in pain again, and Joan says eventually the strain will be too much for her. Nora says she's going to 2022 to find Barry.

Meena continues her training at her lab. Suddenly three of the Four Forces— Deon, Psych and Fuerza— appear. Meena asks who they are and what they want, and Deon says they're there to kill Eobard. Meena tries to speed him to safety, but Deon snaps his fingers and freezes them in time.

Just then Barry arrives, and Deon freezes him as well. Barry manages to exert enough Speed Force energy to counter Deon's powers, and hurls a blast of lightning at him and the others. This frees Meena and Eobard from their time lock. The Forces recover, and Barry asks what they want. Deon confirms they're all the NEGATIVE Forces, and they're tired of sharing the universe with their positive counterparts.

Eobard asks what any of this has to do with him, and Negative Fuerza says he's not the Avatar and his mere existence makes them all weak. Negative Deon cryptically says Barry will pay for what he did, and he and the other Negative Forces teleport away. Barry, exhausted from fighting against Negative Deon's time lock, collapses. Chester radios for Meena to bring Barry back to STAR.

Meanwhile at Caitlin's apartment, we see that she and Chillblaine have somehow built the cryo pod he proposed last week. He says with it, they'll be able to reactivate any trace of Frost that's still rattling around in her consciousness, and eventually figure out a way to give her a physical body again. Caitlin agrees, and steps into the pod. Chillblaine activates it, and the pod fills with chilled fog.

Back at STAR, Barry recovers from his ordeal with Negative Deon. Nora arrives from the future, and says she wasn't able to bring Iris back with her. Barry points out that there were only three Negative Forces, as there was no Negative Speed Force with them. He theorizes that when he severed Thawne's connection to the Negative Speed Force, it erased Negative Nora. He says that must be what Negative Deon was talking about when he said Barry had to pay for what he did. He says the Negative Forces are hoping Iris' time sickness spreads to the Positive ones and kill them. Then the Negative Forces could take over the entire universe. Sure, why not.

Cecile and Rosa go to Iron Heights to talk with Mona Taylor, aka Queen of the Royal Flush Gang. Why? It's not exactly clear. Anyway, Cecile asks Queen to read her mind. Mona tries, and suddenly screams that her powers are gone. Apparently Cecile absorbed hers as well! Rosa says Cecile's becoming one of the most powerful metas on Earth.

Joan tells Nora and Bart that Iris might not survive another time sickness attack. She says defeating the Negative Forces is the only way to save her. I love how all the "scientists" on this show pull the most outlandish notions possible out of their heads, and everyone instantly treats it as fact.

Back at STAR, Eobard asks Meena what's wrong. She says becoming a speedster was HIS dream, and she feels like she took it from him. She says she never wanted speed in the first place— only to help the world. He gives her another Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling her that working alongside the Flash IS helping save the world. He says he's extremely proud of her, thereby guaranteeing he'll be dead by the end of the episode.

Meena wishes there was some way she could give her speed to Eobard. Just then Barry enters, and says there is, as he announces he's going to teach Meena to share her powers. Well there's no possible way THAT idea could go wrong.

Multicolored lightning begins flashing over Central City, as the Negative Forces move in. Barry tells Cecile, Allegra and Chester (!) to go out and try to stall them. Barry gives Eobard his old Reverse Flash ring (where the hell did THAT come from?), and he suits up in his old Reverse-Flash costume. Meena then enters the BLOC to charge herself. She worries that the device is powered by the Negative Speed Force, but Barry says her and Eobard's love for one another will cancel out any evil impulses. Oy.

Out on the street, the Z Team (Cecile, Allegra and Chester) confront the Negative Forces. Cecile uses her leveled up abilities to somehow negate Negative Deon's powers. Allegra blasts Negative Psych, who teleports away and begins taunting her. Negative Fuerza comes after Chester, but he surrounds her with an impenetrable forcefield that saps her strength.

Meena exits the BLOC, and Barry shows her how to transfer her power into Eobard. The speed flows into him, and he says he's never felt so alive. Suddenly he says he's being filled with hate (of course!), and Barry tells him he has to find a balance.

Eventually the Negative Forces manage to free themselves and teleport away. They reappear in STAR Labs, where they confront Barry, Meena and Eobard. Barry gives them one last chance to leave, and 
Negative Deon laughs, saying there has to be a sacrifice. The three speedsters then attack the Negative Forces. Flash manages to take down Negative Psych and Negative Fuerza, while Negative Deon freezes Fast Track and Reverse-Flash in their tracks. They eventually escape, and he teleports away from them.

Iris, who's been resting comfortably, suddenly wakes and says "It's a new moment in time!" Nora and Bart figure she's seeing things that are happening in 2022 that are changing the future (???). Iris says she can see 
Negative Deon killing Eobard.

The two sides regroup, and 
Negative Deon tells Barry he can't win. Barry tells Meena and Eobard he has an idea, and to keep the Forces in place. He then zooms off, while the other two run superspeed rings around Deon and the others.

Iris says she has to see what's happening, as the sacrifice isn't Eobard.

Barry runs several miles down the street and turns around, building up a massive charge of superspeed lightning. He approaches the Negative Forces and lets loose with a mighty blast of Speed Force lightning. Meena and Eobard move out of the way, as the energy blast heads right toward 
Negative Deon and the others.

At the last microsecond, 
Negative Deon snaps his fingers and 2022 Iris is yanked into the present— where she's hit squarely in the chest by Barry's blast, killing her.

Barry catches Iris' lifeless body, as 
Negative Deon says she's not the only sacrifice. He and the other Forces teleport away, and Iris' body disintegrates into glowing green temporal energy. It floats through the air and enters Eobard's body.

Eobard screams in agony and clutches at his head. He tears his skin open, revealing the Wells version of Thawne inside him!

• We open on this view of 2049 Central City that we've seen several times before. Not sure if I ever mentioned it, but this is actually downtown Portland, Oregon— with a few holograms thrown in.

• We then check in with Bart & Nora, who're playing what appears to be a 2049 version of the Nintendo Wii!

Seriously, they're even holding little controllers in their hands! The only real difference between this game and the Wii (which was discontinued back in 2013) are the glowing headsets.

We then get a POV shot of their game, and... boy, is it something. I would have expected WAY more realistic and compelling graphics for a game that won't be invented for another twenty seven years. Maybe this is an older system, and Bart's just really into vintage gaming systems?

• The kids then get a holographic phone call from Future Iris, who's alive and well and living in 2049. A couple things here:

As I've been saying for weeks now, Future Iris' existence is a HUGE mistake on the part of the writers. The whole reason for the "Iris' Time Sickness Causes Her To Disappear" storyline is to make the audience fear for her safety or even think that she's dead.

Kind of hard to get too worked up about her vanishing when we see she's perfectly fine in the future! If she's OK in 2049, then why worry about her in 2022? 

Heck, her kids are even with Iris in the future as well, meaning she HAS to return at some point soon in order to start having them!

Secondly, take a look at that holographic image of Future Iris. Who'd want to talk to someone's transparent head for an entire phone call? Why does allegedly "advanced" technology in sci-fi shows always look worse than what we already have today?

• Future Iris' holographic phone call is disrupted, as Present Day Iris suddenly materializes in Bart & Nora's living room.

Boy, I can't wait for her to find out how Team Flash sat back and played D&D for months instead of trying fo find a way to rescue her from the time stream! That's gonna be one awkward conversation!

• After she materializes, Present Day Iris asks to talk with Barry. Bart tells her he's "off world" with Jay. Wait, what? 

What the hell does that mean? Surely they don't expect us to believe humanity's colonized other planets by 2049? That's only twenty seven short years from now— not nearly enough time for something like that. And even if there were planetary colonies, how the hell would Barry & Jay casually travel to 'em? Are there commuter spaceships in 2049? Or did Barry & Jay run through space?

Maybe Bart meant they're on one of the alternate Earths that aren't supposed to exist but do? Either way, his little offhand remark didn't make much sense.

Also, Bart just confirmed that Barry's alive in 2049! Which means his scheduled disappearance in 2024— which we've been seeing on the front page of The Central City Citizen for the past eight years— must not be that big of a big deal!

• Nora tries to zoom Present Day Iris back to 2022. Unfortunately some sort of temporal barrier prevents Iris from leaving. Nora then travels back in time by herself to let Barry know what's happening.

Note that Nora's gone to 2022 & back literally every time she's appeared all season. In fact she travels through time like most people enter their kitchen.

What happened to all the warnings about the negative consequences of speedster time travel? What happened to Barry cautioning Nora that her temporal activities could create another Flashpoint? And where are the Time Wraiths, whose sole purpose is to protect the timeline from meddling speedsters— except when they don't?

• Meena gets a proper speedster costume this week, and man is it a thing of beauty! She looks exactly like she stepped out of the pages of the comic! In fact this may be the most comic-accurate costume they've ever featured on the show.

The only thing missing here are the glowing white lines, which I really wish they'd have tried to incorporate. Ah well. It's still awesome.

Annnnd then Meena puts on her cowl and ruins everyone's fun.

Holy crap, that's a bad look. It's like she pulled a big black condom over her head! Plus it's so tight it makes her look like some sort of pinhead. They definitely needed to ditch the cowl, let her hair flow free and just give her a domino mask.

I guess it could have been worse though. They could have gone with her look from the comic, in which she had a ridiculously long, gravity-defying ponytail sticking out the top of her cowl!

• Last week we found out that Meena had a heart condition. In fact it led to her becoming a speedster, as she had a heart attack and Eobard quickly shoved her into the BLOC to save her life. 

This week Meena's obsessed with training, and constantly pushes herself to the limits of her endurance. Eobard mildly cautions her about working out so much, and Barry makes a very brief mention of her heart rate, but that's it. At no point does anyone mention anything about her potentially having another heart attack. Did the BLOC permanently fix her faulty heart?

• Meena doesn't think she's cut out to be a hero (yawn), so she runs away in shame. Flash follows and gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk®, telling her that anyone can be a hero or some such hooey. To prove his point he removes his cowl and reveals his "secret" identity to her. Meena's gobsmacked to learn that he's really Barry Allen.

Honestly there're already so many people on the show who know his true identity that it took me a minute to realize that Meena wasn't one of them.

• As you can probably tell, I am NOT a fan of this show's constant maudlin Pep Talks. That said, the one between Barry & Meena this week was pretty well written— and acted! Check it out:

Barry: "You'd be surprised at people's capacity to rise up and help others during a crisis. They just need to be given the opportunity. That suit, that's your opportunity. I think you're gonna be surprised at how well it fits, but you have to give yourself the chance."
Meena: (smiling) "Damn, that's good."
Barry: "I have my moments."
Meena: "Fine. I'll give it a shot."

Of course one reason this Pep Talk is more bearable than most is due to the delivery of Kausar Mohammed as Meena. I love the relationship between her and Barry, as they've had more chemistry together in the last couple weeks than he and Iris have in eight seasons! I really wish it was possible for them to become a couple.

• When Barry's Pep Talking Meena, there's a poster on the wall next to him that prominently features a skull.

Nothing happens in a shot like this by accident, so I'm wondering if this is a not-so-subtle clue that someone near and dear to Barry's gonna die soon? Like at the very end of this episode?

If that poster placement WAS deliberate, then it's actually kind of cool. Obvious, but cool.

• When Meena decides to go all in and become a speedster, she says she needs a codename. Barry says she's already got one—"Fast Track." Named after her company, natch.

Lucky for Meena she didn't call her business "Amalgamated Scientific Research and Development LLC!"

• Negative Deon appears in Thawne's cell, where he kills him by aging him hundreds of years in an instant for reasons. A point to everyone who had "Thawne Dies For The 79th Time" on their Bingo cards!

• Last week Cecile went out on patrol to test her newfound psychic powers, and we saw she was being tailed by a Mystery Woman hiding in the shadows. I said based on the back of her head, it looked like Rosa Dillon, aka the Top. A few things here:

First off, it turns out the Mystery Woman was indeed Rosa. Score one for me!

Secondly, Rosa shows up at the West house this week, accusing Cecile of stealing her powers and demanding she somehow give them back. This finally explains HOW Cecile's suddenly becoming Professor X and started gaining new abilities left and right. Unfortunately it doesn't tell us WHY.

Third, Cecile throrizes she was able to give a mugger vertigo in the previous episode by stealing Rosa's powers. 
But last week she also discovered she could take one person's emotions and transfer them to another. So whose powers did she swipe then? Apparently it's none of our business, as this is never addressed.

Lastly, after a month or two absence, we get another instance of "Leveled Up," this season's most inexplicably popular catchphrase. As Cecile spouts her theory, Joe says, "Cecile, is that why you leveled up?"

• We've seen this shot of 2049 on the show before, but I had a couple new comments about it.

First, that's the CCC Media building on the right. Wow! Looks like Iris' little home-grown business is gonna grow & expand quite a bit at some point in the next twenty seven years, as it'll have its own skyscraper!

Second, note that they're projecting the top news stories of the day on the front of the building. I kind of like that idea, and it seems like something that'll probably actually happen soon. That said though, the public's gonna need reeeeeally good eyes to read that body copy from hundreds of feet away! Maybe they should stick to simple headlines instead of the actual articles!

• The episode then goes completely off the rails as the three Negative Forces suddenly appear. Because everything on this show needs an evil counterpart, dontcha know!

I actually called this last week in The Man In The Yellow Tie, where a clearly evil Deon appeared in Thawne's cell on Lian Yu:

"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?"

So points to me for correctly anticipating there'd be additional Negative Forces. We still don't know WHY they exist though, as the writers haven't deigned to tell us that yet.

• The kids take Present Day Iris to see Jay's wife Joan Williams. She scans Iris, and determines that the time sickness she's been suffering from all season is being caused by negative tachyons in her body. 

So there's a Negative Speed Force created by Thanwe, Negative Forces of all Four Forces and now negative tachyons. I get the feeling the producers just stuck the word "negative" in front of everything this season and all went home early.

By the way, the episode completely blurs over it, but there are now TWO Irises currently existing in 2049— the older one who's supposed to be there, and the present day one. I guess that fact wasn't important enough for the writers to explore?

• This episode is filled to the brim with Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plans, that make little or no sense. We'll be going through them one by one.

Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plan #1: This first one explains the Negative Forces' master plan, and why Negative Deon killed Thawne earlier in the episode. It's so, so monumentally stupid that it's actually a thing of beauty. Let's let the characters themselves explain it:

Nora: "Dad, you said that it was just Negative Deon, Alexa, and Bashir, but there was no Negative Speed Force Nora. Where was she?"
Barry: "This other Deon said I had to pay for what I did, and I took away Thawne's speed by severing his connection to the Negative Speed Force."
Nora: "Which might have erased Negative Nora."
Chester: "That must be why they're weaker now and why they blame you."
Nora: "Maybe they think that killing Thawne will somehow bring back the Negative Speed Force Avatar."
Allegra: "Hold on, if they're tired of sharing their turf, they'd want to level the playing field."
Barry: "By weakening the Forces we know. Iris' time sickness, it was never about her. I mean, they knew Deon would try to help." 
Nora: "And Mom's sickness would spread to the Positive Forces."
Allegra: "Taking them out of the picture."
Chester: "Wait, hold up, what happens if the bad Forces end up being the only ones left?"
Barry: "Then every speedster we know could cease to exist. Leaving the entire planet unprotected from the Negative Forces."

So basically Barry accidentally killed Negative Nora when he severed Thawne's link to the Negative Speed Force. This angered the other Negative Forces, causing them to seek revenge against Barry. To that end, they gave Iris her time sickness, which they hoped would somehow spread to the Four Positive Forces. This would weaken them enough for the Negative Forces to destroy them.

So how is any of that revenge against Barry? I guess because it caused his wife to disappear? And maybe cause him to lose his powers? It still seems like a lot of trouble just to get back at one guy.

Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plan #2: This week we check in with Caitlin and Chillblaine, who amazingly are STILL trying to resurrect Frost. Their plan is pure Comic Book Bullsh*t Science too.

Chillblaine: "Caitlin, why are you helping me? I thought you gave up on Frost."
Caitlin: "I had, but after I saw your designs, I realized I'll never stop trying to bring her back. I can't."
Chillblaine: "Okay, if all goes according to plan, the pod's cerebral circuitry should stimulate, and then reactivate Frost's residual subconscious left inside your mind."
Caitlin: "And then I'll get her voice back."
Chillblaine: "Yeah, and when she's with us again..."
Caitlin: "We can pick up where we left off and build her a new body."

OK, remember that for decades, Frost was a separate personality inside Caitlin's mind, who occasionally "spoke" to her as a voice in her head. Once Frost accidentally got her own physical body (through even more Comic Book Bullsh*t Science), Caitlin no longer heard her thoughts.

Apparently this episode would have us believe there's still some minute trace of Frost's entire personality rattling around inside Caitlin's head, and all they have to do is activate it and then somehow recreate the one in a trillion accident that generated a separate body for her. Sure, why not.

• Barry stares at a readout showing how the Negative Forces' powers are growing and expanding over Central City. Chester then says:

Chester: "It's all three isotopic energy masses: Electrochemical, temporal, and geothermic. They're gathering strength on their own planes of existence. That's what's bleeding through."

OK, electrochemical energy is what fuels our brains, so that's likely Negative Psych. The temporal energy is clearly tied to Negative Deon. That leaves geothermal energy for Negative Fuerza. That.,.. that doesn't make any sense! She's the Negative Strength Force. What's that got to do with heat from the Earth?

• We get another "Leveled Up" in this episode, this time from Allegra:

Barry: "Have you heard back from Cecile yet?"
Allegra: "Yeah, Joe said she was at Iron Heights and that it's important. She thinks she might know how her powers are leveling up, but she'll be here as soon as she can."

Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plan #3: In order to find out if Cecile can actually swipe powers from other psychic metas, Joe arranges for her and Rosa to visit Iron Heights. There they'll meet with Mona, aka Queen of the Royal Flush Gang, to see if Cecile absorbs her telekinetic powers.

Wait, what? Surely to Thor there was a simpler way to test this theory? As is, it's like seeing a gun for the first time, firing it at someone and killing them, then firing it at a SECOND person to see if it's what caused the first person to die.

• At Iron Heights, Cecile and Rosa bring Mona into a special cell:

Cecile: "Mona, I don't have much time, so here's how it's gonna go. I'm gonna take those off, you're gonna read my mind, tell me what I'm thinking if you can."
Mona: "With pleasure."
Rosa: "Don't get any ideas, Mona. She's taking the cuffs off, but this is a meta-interrogation cell. The walls are meta-dampened, so you won't be able to read anything except us."

OK, the meta-cuffs are obviously to prevent Mona from using her powers on anyone inside the room. So apparently the walls prevent Mona from using them on anyone outside the cell?

That's actually pretty smart. But then Cecile does indeed absorb Mona's telepathic powers, and can suddenly hear the thoughts of everyone in Central City. But... they just said the walls were meta-dampened to prevent just such a thing.

I guess we're to believe that Cecile's somehow become so powerful that she's negating the meta-dampening walls?

I really hope we're gonna get an explanation for this soon, as so far it's come completely out of nowhere and doesn't make the least bit of sense sense.

• Eobard demands to know why Meena's pushing herself and training so hard. She says she doesn't want to let him down, as being a speedster was HIS dream— one she never wanted anything to do with.

That's actually a pretty interesting take on the subject. Every other speedster on the show has always reveled in their powers and craved as much speed as possible. It's kind of refreshing to find someone who doesn't want it!

• Sorry, FX Team, but black lightning that somehow still glows just doesn't look right. It looks pasted on top of the scene, rather than a part of it.

Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plan #4: Actually this one isn't all that convoluted, but it's definitely stupid!

Barry needs help in order to fight the Negative Forces. To that end, he tells Meena to charge herself with Negative Speed Force energy, then shows her how to share it with Eobard to make him a speedster too.

Wow, what a plan! Giving a formerly psychotic villain his powers back seems like a wonderful idea, and I don't see any way it could ever possibly go wrong!

Meena has the same concerns about this idea, but of course Barry says Eobard won't turn evil because of the Power Of Love. Jaysis.

• Once Eobard's all charged up with speedster energy, Barry gives him his old Reverse-Flash ring, which apparently contains his costume.

So how is it Barry has the Reverse-Flash's ring? Good question! One that I can't fully answer, as I'm not sure the writers even understand it. Here's what I know about it:

Thawne's Reverse-Flash ring first appeared way back in Season 1's The Man In The Yellow Suit. He stored his costume in the ring, which used some sort of future tech to cause it to grow to human size once it was released. The ring also acted as a key on several occasions.

The Reverse-Flash was wearing the ring when his ancestor Eddie Thawne killed himself, which wiped Eobard out of existence. For some unknown reason, the ring survived. 

Barry had Cisco try to reverse engineer the ring, so he could have one of his own to store his costume in. Unfortunately Cisco wasn't able to figure out the futuristic tech. Barry eventually got his own Flash ring from his daughter Nora West-Allen, who brought it to him from the future (thus making his ring a bootstrap paradox). 

Eventually the Reverse-Flash ring was put on display in the Flash Museum sometime around 2030. At this point in time Thawne had been resurrected, and was mentally manipulating Nora. He talked her into taking the ring from the museum and using it to open the STAR Labs Time Vault for reasons. 

This future timeline was erased when Cicada's dagger was destroyed (don't ask), but Thawne managed to survive somehow— along with his ring. 

At some point after that, the ring came into Barry's possession. Just how did that happen? Your guess is as good as mine, as I gave up trying to figure out Thawne's chronology lonnnnng ago. I suppose we could chalk it up to Crisis, since that seems to be the producers'  answer for just about everything on this show.

Bottom line: Barry has Reverse-Flash's ring because he does.

• The three Negative Forces appear, and Team Flash— kind of— shows up to confront them.

OK, Allegra I can definitely see, as she's the second most powerful member after Barry. Cecile as well, as she's "leveled up" her powers lately. But why's Chester there? What the hell's he gonna do? Fling his Black History Month oaths at them?

To be fair, he does eventually produce some sort of force field that envelops Negative Fuerza, but she gets out of it pretty easily.

• Speaking of Negative Fuerza, why's she stay in her "Alexa Rivera" form all through the episode?

If you'll recall, when she first appeared back in Season 7 she could morph into a ten foot tall behemoth, not unlike She-Hulk. So why doesn't she do that here to fight Team Flash?

If I had to guess, I bet the producers are still stinging from the mocking they received due to her subpar CGI mode, and decided not to bother this time. That or they just couldn't afford to include a fully digital character this week. Or both!

• At one point Negative Psych lures Allegra away from the others, and she stupidly follows him. We then see her lurching along like she's never walked before, with her arms awkwardly raised in an unnatural position.

I assume she wanted her hands at the ready so she could blast Negative Psych at a second's notice. But surely there was a less stupid looking way to do so.

Negative Psych then taunts Allegra by projecting decoys of himself that appear all around her. Of course she frantically fires at each copy, which all vanish right before they're hit. She does this over and over, never seeming to learn from her mistakes.

Why didn't she just build up her strength and release one massive 360ยบ blast? That way she couldn't miss and would have been sure to hit the real Negative Psych!

• All through the episode, Negative Deon activates his powers by snapping his fingers, Thanos-style. During their confrontation, Cecile foils him by using her telekinetic powers to freeze his fingers so he can't snap them. 

Wow, it's too bad he doesn't have another set of fingers he could snap on his other hand. Oh, wait...

• Negative Deon finally manages to gather his strength and snap his fingers, teleporting Cecile, Allegra and Chester outside of Fast Track Labs. He and the other Negative Forces then appear before them, and he says it's time to make them disappear permanently.

So... why didn't he just do that inside the building? Why was it necessary to move everyone outside in order to kill them?

• Barry, Meena and Eobard— who's wearing his old Reverse-Flash suit— then appear to battle the Negative forces. 

For years now, fans have been DEMANDING the return of the Matt Letscher version of the Reverse-Flash. Unfortunately the producers ignored their pleas, and steadfastly stuck with the Tom Cavanagh version— even when his appearance didn't make any sense.

Now at long last Letscher's finally back in his old suit! Unfortunately this is NOT the Reverse-Flash fans all know and love to hate. This is a touchy-feely, fueled by love version that no one asked for.

Then to add insult to injury, we don't even get the epic Flash/Reverse Flash rematch everyone wanted. Instead Eobard wears his costume for three minutes tops, and pretty much stands around doing nothing. 

Sigh... What a complete and utter waste of a guest star!

• During the battle with the Negative Forces, Barry takes Meena and Eobard into Flashtime with him, so they can secretly discuss their strategy while the rest of the world's frozen in time. OK, that was actually pretty darned cool!

• After battling the Negative Forces for a bit, Barry decides he's had enough. He zooms around the city, building up a massive charge of Speed Force Lightning. He then fires a huge blast at the Negative Forces. 

At the last possible instant, Negative Deon snaps his fingers and somehow teleports Present Day Iris from 2049 and materializes her in front of him. She then takes the full force of the blast, and Barry watches in horror as she's killed. A couple things here:

First of all, it's really too bad that a guy who can run so fast that time literally seems to stand still had no way to zoom his wife out of the way of the blast. 

Secondly, the fact that Iris was actually killed here means that Barry fully intended to murder the Negative Forces! Holy crap! What happened to the whole "Heroes Never Kill" thing?

Lastly, it was nice of the Negative Forces to all stop trying to kill Barry so he could cradle Iris' lifeless body in his arms for a few minutes. Classy!

Stupid, Overly Convoluted Plan #5: We then finally learn the full scope of the Negative Forces' Plan B. Like their earlier strategy, this one's so ridiculously complicated and unlikely that it's a wonder to behold:

The Negative Forces are still pissed at Barry for robbing Thawne of his powers, which destroyed the Negative Speed Force. In order to restore the cosmic balance, Negative Deon killed Thawne (?). He and the other Negative Forces then attacked Barry, knowing he'd retaliate. Negative Deon then yanked Iris from 2049 so that Barry would accidentally kill her. For some reason, this caused Iris to disintegrate into a ball of Negative Still Force energy, which drifted over to Eobard and was absorbed into his body. Thawne then literally tore Eobard's body in half and emerged from it as the new Negative Speed Force. Sure, why not.

I have many questions about this so-called plan. Why did Iris' body turn into a ball of glowing AfterEffects particles? Why would her negative TEMPORAL energy resurrect a speedster like Thawne? Doesn't he get his power from the Negative Speed Force? And even if temporal energy could somehow bring him back, why the hell would he materialize INSIDE of Eobard?

The answer to each of these questions is apparently none of our goddamned business, as none of this is ever addressed or explained.

• Holy crap! Now THAT was an ending! Thawne literally tears Eobard in half and emerges from inside him, like something out of a Cronenberg movie.

It was horrifying, incredibly bizarre and completely unexpected. I loved it! Too bad the rest of the episode didn't have an impact like this!

This ending was clearly inspired by 2017's The Flash #26. The only real difference is the cover features the Reverse-Flash emerging from within the Flash, and not Eobard. Despite that, it's obvious the producers were paying homage to that comic here.

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