The Flash (7×06)- “The One with the Nineties”
Written by: Kelly Wheeler & Emily Palizzi
Directed by: Jeff Byrd
The very first line of this episode is a joke about time so this could be an episode fuller of groaners and dad jokes. Prepare yourself.
The episode opens for real with the gang checking on Barry’s vitals while the Speed Force as Nora explains why she showed up last week looking like she joined her local Fight Club. She was reborn in light and love and everything was great before she felt pain… As explanations go it’s a bit lacking.
Chester then shows up and fanboys a bit before Cisco asks about his progress on his Force detection system and as a detection system it’s coming along great and best of all they don’t have to get any special equipment to build so they can start building them as they go which Cisco and Chester head off and the outskirts of a nearby town called Masonville to get started.
After a quick check-in with Frost and Caitlin at their apartment complete with comedic roommate tension we return to Chester and Cisco as they complete the first sensor. Turns out Chest grew up in Masonville until his father died and he moved with his grandmother to Central City. They activate the sensor and, like most Cisco-tech when he first tries it out, it breaks immediately.
However it may not be their fault because shortly thereafter they’re hit by a green energy wave (insert windmill joke here) and their van has disappeared as well as their cell phones. Even better, the energy wave has left some sort of barrier behind so they can’t even walk back to Central City.
Back at STAR Labs, Iris tries to help Nora stop worrying about Barry and she ends up deciding to get her out of STAR Labs so this is either a set up for some character bonding or for Barry to be possessed by something and since Chester and Cisco already seem to have an A-Plot going it’s probably the first option.
Speaking of Chester and Cisco, it took them until morning but they walked the ten miles to Masonville and find out that things are little bit weird. Either they’ve found the world’s last Blockbuster (which I believe is actually in Oregon) or (judging by the cars) they’re in the midst of the time travel shenanigans.
Welcome to 1998, gents! Better figure out what’s going on before someone makes you watch “Chairman of the Board” and by someone I mean Carrot Top. So after quickly ruling out Turtle 2.0, Cisco pulls out their intact scanner and notices the spike in isotopic energy that came when they were hit by the energy wave had a distinct temporal flavor to it so they come to the conclusion that they’re dealing with one of the Forces.
So they need to repair their sensor and Chester goes dumpster diving for the parts they need. The sensor leads them to the High School which is a problem since two guys in their thirties are going to stand out like sore thumbs they need to nineties up their looks.
Okay! So it’s 1998, all you need is some baggy jeans and an nWo T-shirt and you’ll be fine…
So of course they dress like the title sequence from A Different World, then roam the high school asking students questions in the hopes that they’ll reveal themselves. There don’t seem to be any candidates until they run across the equipment manager, Parker. Parker is definitely setting off their sensor and he seems to have some future knowledge but when they press him he panics and asks for help and says “It knows I broke free” before things reset.
To kick up the difficulty, Cisco briefly believes he’s seven again and Chester has to help him remember. Not only that, but their sensor is nuked so if the timeline resets again they’ll both be reset along with it. Stuck forever in December 4th, 1998.
Back in the present, Iris shows Nora a blanket the original Nora made for Barry as a boy that he keeps for comfort and to connect to memories of her and Nora takes it the wrong way before running off. Iris finds her at Jitters and Nora explains that she didn’t know understand that appearing to Barry as Nora might be painful but Iris reassures her stating that Barry considers the Speed Force appearing to him as Nora has always been something he took comfort in.
Returning to Cisco and Chester searching for parts in the not-Radio Shack and it turns out the part they need was just purchased by Chester’s father, Quincy. Even worse, this was the day before Quincy dies in a car accident which leaves all of Chester’s father issues unresolved. Cisco offers to talk with Chester’s father but Chester decides to go to him instead. When Chester tries to buy the part, Quincy explains that he bought the part for his son then throws it in the trash. It seems, he does this to teach Chester to look for the solutions on his own and that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Constantly being on the road, Quincy hasn’t been able to teach Chester things in traditional ways so he had to teach him lessons in other ways. In the end, Quincy comes up with an alternative part for him and the pair build it together. Which is a good thing because they’re confronted by the School Football star, Deon aka their time master.
The pair anger him and his time energy starts bleeding out of Masonville 1998. It seems Deon suffers a career ending injury in the game the next day and he ends up being a used car salesman in the future so he came back to the past to relive a day he felt was perfect. Cisco tries to use their sensor to separate the time energy from him but he simply erases it from time instead.
In Central City, things start getting quite crazy, in addition to Joe, Frost, Caitlin and Iris each looking like they’re from different points in time the chaos from the episode’s cold open has begun and it looks like time may be breaking down everywhere.
With Barry out of the picture it’s up to Chester to try and talk Deon down from possibly destroying time in his attempts to relive this day. He seems to succeed as Deon breaks the time loop but the way he reacts seems to point to Deon taking the idea of having control of his future differently than what Chester was aiming for.
Back at STAR Labs, the team bring Barry up to speed and talk about how Deon didn’t seem to understand what kind of power he had. Cisco also points out that he didn’t talk about attacking Nora, which causes her to speculate that Deon may not know about the attack on her.
Talking about it leads Cisco to figure out what the Forces they’re dealing with, Deon is the Still Force. Which makes Fuerza the Strength Force and Psych the “Sage Force.” But that’s all they can do with this information for now so the gang breaks up for the night. Iris and Barry invite Nora to stay with them, Cisco and Caitlin head out for coffee and Chester stays behind. He’s pulls out some of his father’s designs and decides to honor the man by finishing his work.
After the title card, Joe finds Frost and explains to her about Kramer from last week. He asks Frost to lay low for a while but Frost isn’t interested, after spending most of her life as Caitlin’s alternate personality she’s not giving up her new found independence. I’m sure nothing bad will result from this attitude.
Let’s just get right to it. The nineties stuff was a nostalgia gimmick so it’s not terrible important to the story. Cisco and Chester could have been stuck in 2003 and besides a couple references being different things would have played out the same. Still the references were fun so they have that going for them.
So what was important? Well, introducing Deon and the Still Force first and foremost. By the time the Forces were being introduced in DC I was starting to dip back out of comics so I’m not completely familiar with them. Introducing them the way they have has worked so far and it seems that each force has picked an avatar (much like Barry is the Speed Force’s avatar) so it seems like Fuerza, Psych and Deon are each at least partially in control of themselves as opposed to being possessed by the Forces.
Nora’s reaction to all this new information is suspicious which makes me wonder if perhaps they’re going to try and make her this story’s big bad. Another thing to consider is last year when Wally and Barry went into the Speed Force as it was dying everything had a green color to it. It could be possible that this attack on the Speed Force may be linked to that.
Next up was Chester’s father issues because at this point it would be the DC/CW-Universe if a character didn’t have parental issues. This was good though, Chester’s understanding of his father would be arrested the way it was and him getting to meet Quincy as an adult gave him a new understanding of all the things his father tried to teach him so I liked this story a lot. Especially since, Chester has basically been Cisco’s sidekick to this point.
Lastly there was a touch of the Frost/Caitlin storyline. The roommate stuff in the beginning was very clear shorthand for the difficulties each woman is having adjusting to their new situation but that was really all there was since there wasn’t a lot of time for it this week. So we’ll have to wait to see how this will all play out.
All said and done, a gimmicky premise didn’t hinder this episode so I enjoyed it more than last week.
Things We Learned:
- Chester’s father was an inventor that died in a car accident when he was a boy.
- Each of the cosmic Forces released the night the Speed Force was reignited seems to have found a person to bond with.
- The Still Force seems to have control over the past.
- The avatars of each of the forces may not fully understand their powers.
- What was Quincy working on when he died and will it have an impact of the situation Team Flash is in? (Seems pretty likely.)
- Is Nora lying to the Team about what happened to her?
- What is Deon’s plan now?