The Flash showrunner Eric Wallace promised that this final season would be the “Barry and Iris” season. Well, the season opener lived up to that promise. The premise was flaky as hell, but how can you not do a time loop episode in a show that’s constantly f***ing with time? I refuse BTW to call this a “Groundhog Day” scenario, just because that film was far more entertaining and not worthy of comparison. We’ll just call this “Flash do-over day.”
Barry and Iris are repeating February 1, 2023 over and over again. They are doing it together though, and each solution they try ends up resetting them back to the beginning. I’ve seen loads of time loop sequences (as have we all), and theirs was cutesy but bland. Not the comical romp that it could have been. But the point was made, they were only able to escape the time loop by tackling their day together. How the time loop happened still doesn’t add up to me, but then again, nothing in this show really has. I gave up trying to figure out the technical aspects of the wild time scenarios on a white board years ago. We’ll just say the time gods wanted it that way and leave it at that.
Thin plot aside, there were some important character elements happening. After all, the presence of their children from the future in multiple seasons has told us that Barry and Iris are due for some greatness in their lives including…wait for it…BECOMING PARENTS. I’m with Iris, it’s a real bummer knowing exactly when you get pregnant, exactly how many kids you will have and the sex of each, the birthdates…you get the point. She’s also supposed to write her first pulitzer prize winning story this year, grow her media empire…blah blah. She just has to put her life on autopilot and show up now. I did laugh how she decided one day in her time loop to just sit around and drink wine all day, knowing that nothing she did mattered. We’ve all been there honey. Pour me a glass and I’ll join you!
Turns out, that’s exactly what Barry wants her to do, nothing. He’s even created a book documenting what’s supposed to happen in their lives by day. The plan is simple, follow the book and it’s happily ever after. That’s cute, but so naive. Shit ain’t like that Barry! Iris clearly wasn’t a fan, but it was naturally Joe and Cecile that gently brought him back to earth. I get it though, Barry is rightfully traumatized from the events of the past few seasons. He thought he lost Iris a few times, over being stuck in the Mirrorverse, the time sickness that somehow resulted in two Eobard Thawnes, which led to the nightmare scenario of her dying in his arms, all playing on auto loop in his mind. Okay, maybe it’s the auto loop of the multiple times she’s died in his arms over the years. That’s why f***ing with time as a cheap plot device resolution led to the trashing of my white board.
And of course, what is The Flash without the…shocking reveal! Since this is the first episode of the season, we get a glimpse of the season’s Big Bad. It was some black blurry figure with red eyes so naturally I was thinking it must be the Reverse Flash’s second cousin AC/DC Flash (get it, Back in Black?), but that only proves what a real comic book moron I am. One Google search later, and I find out it is Red Death, who is an evil version of Batman from Earth-52. I read up on the origin on this character in the comics, and it’s just too ludicrous for me to share here. Something about a beef with The Flash over not sharing powers when the world was ending. Geesh. You can read about this villain here for more information. I will say that the villain is this series will be played by a woman, Batwoman actually, Javicia Leslie. So more to come on that!
One villain I did enjoy, Captain Boomerang. Only because he was played by the wonderful Richard Harmon, best known as John Murphy on The 100. I interviewed him once (when I was covering The 100 for this site) and got to talk to him a bit at a party at Comic Con. For a guy who often plays villain or bad guy roles, he’s an absolute sweetheart in real life! It goes to show what a good actor he is! He got to repeat the whole Captain Boomerang shtick over and over again, which either had to be really fun or completely boring. Either way, he got a decent amount of face time and I was happy about that.
As a bonus, we didn’t get just one, but two reveals! I wondered where Caitlin was in this episode, and she didn’t show until the final minute. Except she’s Not!Caitlin, and now she gets to be this season’s Harrison Wells. A whole new character for the same actor. We don’t know who she is yet, but all we know is she’s not Caitlin and she’s not Frost. Yay, ambiguity!
So, all in all, things moved forward, Barry and Iris were actually cute together, and the episode didn’t involve too much head smacking from me. I guess that people were excited that Allegra and Chester finally kissed, but I was actually enjoying the geek tension between the two. Romance tends to ruin that stuff. But hey, ships have to be sailing I guess, especially in the final season. Joe and Cecile wanting to leave Central City felt random, but not shocking either considering the limited availability of Jesse L. Martin. Barry and Iris are going to be too busy anyway with his new job as Director of CSI and her new media mogul status to have folksy dinners with the family. All I kept thinking was given the real estate market today, Joe will be able to sell that charming house for a mint! He can retire in style.
Overall grade, a B. Nice start, and certainly a more pleasant watch than anything we’ve gotten the past few seasons. Hopefully the remaining twelve episodes are that way.