The Flash Review: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Part 1”
By Justin Carter
The Flash wants to make sure you’re aware the Crisis, and by extension the big crossover alluded to all season, is just around the corner. The hyper-accelerated timeline of the season thus far means it’s only two days time before everything shakes out, and that involves turning what would normally be 22 episodes worth of character development and plot into just a scant nine. In many ways, the potential end to Bloodwork’s time on the show feels rushed. As a character, I think the show has utilized him to just the right degree. However, it he needs a few more scenes to truly let loose with his powers.
The episode’s start, where he gets into a fist fight with Ralph, is perhaps the most hands-on action he’s had this season, while putting Barry in a Bloodwork-induced coma and giving him nightmares while tempting him towards accepting freaky Blood powers is pretty neat. It lets Sendhil Ramamurthy just ham it up and tempt Barry in the goofiest ways. Yeah, they do the graves of everyone important who has died in the show, they do him not being able to hold Baby Nora. Ramsey even gets to say, “It’s a wonderful life,” just in case you thought the writers were being subtle about this.
After preparing the rest of Team Flash for his upcoming death, the one who needs to accept this now is Barry himself. When the Speed Force — again taking the form of his mom — reveals that Ramsey could technically save him from his Crisis death, Barry flips out and unleashes about five seasons worth of emotional trauma. Torn between the Speed Force and a future where he could actually raise Nora, Barry opts to go with the latter, ending the episode with the creepy visual of his blood covered mouth grinning alongside an equally bloody and grinning Bloodwork.
The only other members of Team Flash to really get anything to do this week besides fret about Barry and a comatose Ralph are Iris and her team of Kamilla and Esperanza, now dubbed “Team Citizen.” They have the task of setting up what is likely the next antagonist for the season, an organization of criminals using metahumans as hired guns I suspect will end up being called Black Hole. (Like Bloodwork, they’re a recent addition to the Flash mythos in the comics.) It’s a fine diversion, but the main meat of the episode is appropriately focused on Barry and his internal struggle, and in that respect, the episode certainly succeeds.
- This episode really leans into the horror angle, like the Flash family’s mouths being bloody, but the most interesting was seeing both Ramsey and the Speed Force try to wrap themselves around Barry.
- Covering the title card with blood there at the end was very good.
- Boy, Team Flash really doesn’t care who knows their secret identities anymore, huh.