Last week gave us a glimpse of a cold, calculating version of Barry Allen. “Mother,” the concluding episode of the Mirrorverse arc, goes out of its way to reassure us that Barry is still all heart. The result is a weirdly unsatisfying wrap-up that clumsily tugs at our heartstrings and serves up a handful of head-scratching moments.
As the hour begins, Eva’s army of mirror duplicates is growing, the Flash is without his speed yet again, and Iris is comatose back in the real world. Restored to his not-so-smart self, Barry turns to the teammates he just battled for help. Caitlin and Cisco determine that Iris is suffering from a molecular anomaly that has left her brain scrambled. Once they figure out what Eva is doing, they arrange for a blackout in Central City to limit her use of reflective surfaces, but Barry (as a reminder, no longer super-smart) stares into a window and gets sucked into the Mirrorverse.
Eva reveals her plan to become mother to a newer, better world, and urges the Flash to join her. She makes some good points, too—mainly that she can use her reflective tech to make the world a better place in ways the Flash and his team have never been able to do (and, honestly, never really tried to do). When he refuses, she lets him return to the real world, where he informs the rest of the team they can’t possibly win. That’s the spirit!
Cue Harrison Wells—in this case, the original Wells, who we saw resurrected at the end of last week’s episode. It seems the universe always needs a Wells, so when all the others were removed from the timeline, he was returned. It’s another Crisis aftershock, and the rest of the Wellses have left an imprint on him, so he remembers pretty much everything. It’s an anticlimactic return considering the grand Wells farewell in the season premiere, and becomes even more so later in the episode.
Wells isn’t the only returning member of Team Flash this week. There’s also Ralph, who gets what must be one of the most inelegant sendoffs in television history. With actor Hartley Sawyer out of the picture, we get a melted Elongated Man, the result of getting caught in the explosion at McCulloch Tech while securing the evidence that clears Sue Dearbon’s name. In his last appearance, Ralph wears a Daft Punk mask and speaks in an electronically distorted voice as he and Sue announce they’re off to wander the globe and have adventures. It’s even more awkward than it sounds, and I congratulate the rest of the cast on getting through it with straight faces.
I couldn’t manage that feat during the grand finale, as OG Wells tells Barry to follow his heart and we get the most literal interpretation of that possible. (His exact words: “Run, Barry, run...toward love!” Again, my hat’s off to Tom Cavanagh for delivering those words in as convincing a fashion as possible.) Barry feels a spark when he touches Iris’ hand...and it’s the spark of the Speed Force! It’s still alive in Iris because the love they share is as strong as a lightning bolt. Barry reminds us that he’s the Paragon of Love (and again I have to wonder if he outranks the Pompatus of Love), and therefore the secret of re-powering the Artificial Speed Force is to tap into that love rather than the artificial source that turned Barry into an unfeeling Brainiac.
It works. Barry’s speed is restored, and he, Cisco, and Frost set out to do battle with Eva. (I guess Cisco is still Vibe, just an unpowered version who relies on tech.) Eva splits into multiple mirror duplicates and a rather incoherent battle follows. Iris arrives on the scene, and it turns out she’s absorbed some mirror powers of her own. She battles Eva to a standstill, but it’s love that saves the day. Eva realizes that her good intentions have failed; she isn’t bringing about a better world by filling it with mirror people motivated by hate. Team Flash joins hands with her to give her enough power to shatter her “children.”
I’ll give the creative team a little bit of credit for trying to find a way to conclude the storyline other than “they beat the bad guy,” but at the same time I couldn’t help but cringe through much of this. Matters don’t improve when we get yet another Wells farewell at episode’s end. It seems Harrison Wells can visit any point during his life on earth, so he’s chosen to spend all of it during the four years he was married before both he and his wife were killed. Certainly this fits in with the whole love theme this week, and good for him, but...how pointless is this? The decks are clear for a new storyline to launch next week, but the resolution of this one left a lot to be desired.
- So Eva’s official supervillain moniker was Mirror Monarch? Did we ever hear that before tonight?
- When the Speed Force fired back up, a bolt of yellow lighting burst into the sky above STAR Labs. More speedsters on the horizon, one might surmise.
- I’m sure this still isn’t the end of Wells, but how many farewells does this guy get?
- I still can’t get over what they did with Ralph in this episode. It’s up there with CGI Livia Soprano and Bela Lugosi’s double with a cape over his face in Plan 9 From Outer Space.