FLASH SPOILER Review: Episode 6×16- “So Long and Goodnight”

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The Flash (6×16)- “So Long and Goodnight”

Written by:         Kristen Kim & Thomas Pound

Directed by:       Alexander La Roche

This episode starts with our villain, Joseph Carver as he starts his evil day at his evil mansion, wearing his evil sweater, talking to his evil assistant and hiring Ragdoll to kill Joe all while drinking a glass of orange juice… Well, at least he starts his day with a full day’s worth of Vitamin C, so I’ll give him points for that.

Then it’s over to the West Home for boys vs girls game night.  Joe gets a phone call from Singh and he’s acting a bit suspicious when it comes to the Carver case.  These guys are supposed to be two of the last honest Cops in the World. Regular Jim Gordons in Batman Begins and lately Singh has felt a little more the cops that were holding Jim down:

I’m watching you, Singh.

Speaking of people that are after Carver, in the mirror dimension Iris thinks she’s onto a way to escape.  She shows Eva that she’s starting to be able to understand the writing on the other side of the mirror and she is hopeful that it will lead to her getting in contact with Barry and him saving them.  (Which may answer the question of does Iris know what’s going on outside the mirror dimension?)

Well that doesn’t work for Eva at all, so as soon as Iris leaves the rook Eva calls Not-Iris and tells her to wipe out Barry’s remaining speed.  Strangely enough, Not-Iris seemed conflicted but she agrees to Eva’s command.

Hey Ralph is back! It’s only been four episodes this time!  Really earning that “Series Regular” spot on the cast, Hartley Sawyer!  (I know it’s not his fault, but maybe it’s time to consider some cast shake ups for season seven.)  Anyway, Ralph is still chasing after Sue because… Well, he says it’s to stop her but he doesn’t put nearly as much effort into that as he does flirting with Sue.  Really the two of them just kind of bicker through the whole episode and Sue gets angry when Ralph thinks the worst of her parents (which considering everything Sue’s done to him to this point, she’s got that coming) but that’s about all there is to this plot.  Though it was nice seeing Cisco and Ralph buddy up in this episode.  It felt genuine and fun.

After that, it’s time for a nighttime drive with Joe West and some smooth jazz… followed by an assassination attempt!  Joe’s car suddenly starts speeding up and the brakes won’t work.  After several near misses Joe jumps out of the car right before it crashes into a cement wall at over one hundred miles an hour which destroys in the obligatory fireball.  Since Joe wasn’t with us watch Carver get his evil day started off right he, Cecile, Not-Iris Barry and Singh are baffled at how this could happen so Singh suggests Joe goes into Federal Witness Protection.

Joe is not running, not when he’s got Carver on the ropes.  So the next day Joe pulls in Sunshine for an interrogation at the Police Station while Barry does his actual job of forensic science over at STAR Labs (I might have been annoyed at him looking over the wreckage there but it could be argued that he has access to better equipment so it’s understandable.) Not-Iris is hovering over his shoulder and the pair are worried when they find one of Ragdoll’s hairs in the vent.

Meanwhile, Ragdoll does his typical “enter the scene from somewhere creepy in an even creepier way” and tries to get the jump on Joe.  Joe passes his perception check and pulls his gun on Ragdoll, but when he fires on the meta Ragdoll spins like a top and turns the bullets back on Joe.  That’s when the Flash shows up and it’s clear Barry burns up a lot of energy running from STAR Labs to the Station and trying to catch the bullets so he doesn’t quite succeed.  Which leaves Joe shot in the arm and Barry exhausted.

After Joe’s patched up, Barry tries to convince him to listen to Singh and the two argue because Barry’s worried he won’t be able to protect Joe (which means he’s worried he’s not going to be able to protect anyone he loves) and Joe’s just as worried that he won’t be able to protect Cecile and the baby (which means Joe’s worried about the same thing) and Joe thinks the only way this stops is if they bring down Carver.  It’s going to get worse now, that’s pretty much a given.

Speaking of things getting worse, Not-Iris confronts Barry next. She proceeds to stick a big knife in Barry’s guilt complex and twist, all the while seeming like regular old Iris.  Which means we end up with two guys frustrated and scared that can’t protect the people they love so who’s going to crack first?

Turns out it’s Joe, he leaves his badge behind to go confront Carver man-to-man. They have a pretty nice “Hero Cop vs Powerful villain” confrontation where Carver accidently outs himself as hiring Ragdoll, but when Joe reveals he’s recorded their conversation Carver whips out a personal EMP and erases the recording. So Joe goes with Plan B: a right cross.

Joe returns to STAR Labs and he and Barry revisit their argument. Only with added energy of all the stress Carver and Not-Iris have heaped on them.  Which means it’s time for Ragdoll to make his move.

He goes after Cecile at her office and despite Nash and Allegra trying to help he abducts her then he sits her down on a bomb for Barry and Joe to find.

They track her phone and Barry tries to fight Ragdoll while Joe comes after Cecile but he accidentally starts a five minute timer.  Joe tries to get defusing help from Nash but unfortunately Ragdoll has masked the wiring so he decides to pull sandbag trick from Raiders of the Lost Ark and it works about as well as it did for Indy costing them a minute on the timer so when Barry subdues Ragdoll and checks with them they have less than a minute.  Joe orders Barry to get Cecile to safety.  Barry is clearly fatigued and noticeably slower but he agrees then tries to get back and save Joe before Barry can come back for him he pulls the wire and stops the bomb on his own.

Joe decides it would be best if he went into Witness Protection.  Singh calls the Feds and they take him on the spot, leaving without Cecile or his daughter or even saying goodbye to Not-Iris.  Barry tries to call her and he even contemplates using his speed but his speed monitor has been running red most of the episode so Joe tells him just to keep Iris safe.

After Joe leaves, Singh gets in his car and looks into his rear view mirror… then reveals he was working for Eva!  Singh is Not-Singh!  How many Not-people are running around at this point?

Back where we started the episode, at Carver’s house. Someone’s delivered a mirror to him, when Eva appears in the mirror he’s not surprised.  The two posture at each other for a while until he breaks the mirror and walks away with Eva glaring at him from the shards.

But that’s not the end… Oh how I wish it was because this next part hurt.

Barry returns home and Not-Iris is pissed and she lets Barry have it.  She demands he tell her where Joe is. Barry doesn’t know so she demands he take her and find Joe!  She uses Barry’s dead parents against him by implying that she’ll never see Joe again.  She calls into question his decisions such as Flashpoint or sending Nora back to the future.

Barry finally lets out that he’s coming apart physically: Tremors, shortness of breath, pain.  He also leaves the unspoken implication that when his speed runs out he’s not going to be just a normal guy again. Losing his speed is killing him, literally.  Not-Iris doesn’t care, she throws him out of their home then slams the door in his face and that’s where we end…

Talk about a hammer blow at the end.  This episode went from fine to brutal in the last five minutes and I mean that in a good way.  This episode was an exploration on just how damaging an abuse of trust can become and how those we love can destroy us far more easily than our enemies.  We’ve been seeing it for weeks, every time Barry talks with Not-Iris she’s pointed him subtly in the wrong direction especially after learning of the death of the Speed Force.  She created a vulnerability in Barry that was becoming harder and harder to miss.  This week she finally attacked that vulnerability with brutality that hurt to watch. 

Especially since Candice Patton has been playing this as justifiable thinking even after the reveal was made.  You could almost believe Iris would feel this way.  That’s the big reason the scene worked despite knowing that Barry would never leave Barry in such a cruel fashion.

Now, with the knowledge that Singh has also been replaced we have to go back and try to determine how long ago this happened.  Did Eva change him out this week in response Eva learning that Iris might have discovered a way to escape? Or was he replaced weeks ago when Joe first started to investigate Black Hole or when Eva first started to plan her counter-attack on Carver?  Either is possible and would explain why Singh’s been subtly chipping away at Joe and his investigation.

At the center of it was Jesse Martin and Grant Gustin both playing frustrated and frightened men growing increasingly desperate with their situations and each other.  I think you know how much I enjoy episodes anchored by these two by now. 

The Ralph/Cisco/Sue stuff was fine but I’m still not fond of this interpretation of Sue’s character or the 90s sitcom-style chemistry between Ralph and Sue.  Still, it was nice to see Hartley Sawyer still worked here.

Things We Learned:

  1. Iris has adjusted to the mirror dimension and may have discovered away out.
  2. Carver is aware of Eva and her working against him.
  3. Singh has been replaced by a mirror clone.
  4. Joe has gone into protective custody.
  5. Not-Iris has thrown Barry out of their house and essentially ended their marriage.
  6. Barry’s loss of Speed Force energy is taking a noticeable physical toll on Barry.

Questions:

  1. How long has Singh been under Eva’s control and for what purpose?
  2. How much energy does Barry have left?
  3. Will Carver continue to go after Joe while he is in custody?
  4. Is Barry dying?
  5. Is it possible that, in his desperation and emotional distress, Barry will attempt to connect to the Negative Speed Force?
  6. Has Not-Iris done too much damage to Barry and Iris’ relationship for them to overcome?
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