Flash: Heart of the Matter, Part One

Guys, were we supposed to wear white costumes today?

The end is near… of season seven, anyway. The beginning of the two-part season finale has speedsters at war, two old friends coming back, more nods to the comics, and another attempt at redeeming a supervillain. We also hear a bit more about the future, find out things are different from the last time we saw 2049, and get to see a Flash family fight that could be right out of the comics. There are a lot of things in progress in “Heart of the Matter, Part 1.”

Last episode ended with not only XS returning, but Impulse coming along for the ride. In the comics, XS and Impulse are cousins, not siblings, are from the 30th century (XS is a member of the Legion of Super Heroes), and are actually the grandchildren of Barry and Iris, not their children. But the future of the Legion is a complicated time, and this way they don’t have to deal with the Tornado Twins, Don and Dawn Allen, Barry’s kids.

This episode starts in the year 2049, with XS and Impulse fighting, who else, Godspeed. The siblings disagree on how to do things, and Impulse, AKA Bart Allen, is definitely on the cocky side. We also hear that XS, at least, has a Gideon AI helping her with her crimefighting. Their argument gives Godspeed a chance to get away. They chase him to the Flash Museum where he uses a familiar prop to get away. XS and Impulse worry about what the villain is up to, and how their parents will react to their letting him escape, which is a nice touch.

In the present, the heroes from the future are trying to understand how their enemy Godspeed has become this very lost and confused August Heart. There are some entertaining interactions as the “kids” meet up with people they know from the future. They seem particularly attached to Chester and Cecile. They talk about time travel, rules, ways to beat Godspeed, and a new gadget of Chester’s that might save the day. It’s mentioned in passing no one knows where Allegra is, but considering how many supervillains are in their lives, and the fact that she was last seen with her recently reformed cousin, no one seems really concerned. This isn’t a big plot point or anything, but it really rang false to me. Barry gets some time with the kids that includes family talk, speed eating, and an amusing dynamic between XS and Impulse. They also touch on the XS we saw a few seasons ago, and definitively state this isn’t her. The complications to family life of shifting timelines…

Summoned by more alarms, the heroes rush off to fight the ever-growing number of Godspeeds. Their attempt at divide and conquer doesn’t quite work, as all the enemy speedsters go after Bart. Things don’t go to plan, and Barry tries to get more information from his children about the clear enmity between Bart and Godspeed. After some avoidance, Bart makes a surprising claim that Barry has trouble believing. Tempers flare, and XS suggests they all take a step back. Up in the lounge, Chester finds Allegra, who apparently came back with no one noticing. Ah, that top-flight security system at STAR. Do the doors even have locks? Allegra is not happy, snaps at Chester, and he notices there’s something wrong, but she’s not talking. In Midway City, Kramer gets debriefed by the FBI about the recent clash with Adam, and Joe notices she omits some things. Really, at this point, aside from “the script says so,” I don’t know why Joe is trusting her.

Not sure what else to do, Barry goes to the Time Vault (which looks a lot better than when we last saw it, after Chester tried to hide in there and a Godspeed trashed the place). He consults with Gideon, finds out that Wally West isn’t available, and seems at a loss for allies to call on. Again, shared world problems, but if he’s actively reaching out for help, an explanation about Supergirl, the Legends, or any of the others he’s worked with would be nice. Did all of Team Arrow go into retirement after Oliver’s death? There’s some good news, in the form of Iris suddenly being able to come back after all. They talk about concerns over what they’ve learned about Bart, and what they still don’t know. Over in Keystone City, Jay Garrick suits up again as the Flash, apparently healed and with his powers restored. His comeback is short-lived, as almost the instant his wife Joan leaves the room, he gets ambushed by multiple Godspeeds.

Family dynamics continue to play a big part in things, as XS and Impulse bicker during training. Their joy at seeing Iris back doesn’t last long, as the parents decide they’re grounding their adult son. How this works, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t go well, and XS again tries to be the peacemaker. She speeds off to find her brother, catching up with him in familiar surroundings. They have a heart-to-heart talk, and we learn some of what motivates Impulse in his clash with the Godspeeds. There was certainly a big tragedy in his past, which hasn’t happened yet thanks to time travel. XS seems to get him to listen to reason as she takes off to help their father. At STAR, Caitlin, once again relegated to the medbay, deals with August, who is having a few memory flashes but largely remains confused about who he is and what his life might be like.

Allegra is trying to do what Chester asked of her earlier, but it’s not going well. Chester tries to reach out to her again, gets rebuffed, and then Flash pops up telling them to get on coms to help with another Godspeed outbreak. In passing, Barry does what Allegra hasn’t been able to. Flash and XS set up a new plan, which ends up going badly. Once again, Frost’s timely arrival saves the day and lets the heroes retreat. Just like Caitlin is becoming resident medic, Frost now seems to be “pop up out of nowhere and cover the retreat.” They both seem to have less to do since they split.

Chester finds a morose Allegra sitting at one of the computers, and she finally tells him about Esperanza’s death. It’s a very sad scene, filled with self-blame and probably setting up an ongoing subplot I’m not going to enjoy. Barry and Iris talk about legacies, destiny, and the trials and tribulations of being a speedster with powerful enemies. They decide they need to try and change a few things, and then more alarms go off. Godspeed has hacked the Team Flash coms, and makes a ransom demand, showing he/they (what do you call a group of clones, anyway?) have captured Jay.

Things spiral out of control at this point, with a big argument about what to do, Impulse living up to his name. a series of rescues that don’t actually save anyone, and a different last-minute return to save the day. Once again, the timely arrival of help lets the heroes retreat. It’s a recurring theme. They regroup at STAR and try and figure out what to do. One of them is down and in the medbay, so Caitlin has something to do and dire news to deliver. Finally, the team comes up with a way to possibly get some answers and maybe find a way to stop the Godspeed infestation.

While the team prepares their next attempt to fix all this craziness, Joe and Kramer are coming back from Midway. Joe prods at her about things she’s keeping secret, but she’s not in the mood to share. Their return gets impacted by a mass exodus and another Godspeed fight. Team Flash sends Barry off on a knowledge quest into dangerous territory that recreates the location of their earlier fight. That place, the Zauriel Cathedral on Morrison Avenue, gets in a few nods at once. Zauriel was an angel to came to Earth to fight alongside the Justice League in the comics, and was created by Grant Morrison. Barry gets roughly where he was going, but finds surprises when he gets there, which leaves us a cliffhanger for part two of the finale.

What I liked: It was great to see Jay again, especially with his powers back. The banter between XS and Impulse was fun to watch, and Impulse’s costume looks really good. It was nice to see the other return as well. The Zauriel cathedral was a nice touch.

What I didn’t: I’m really kind of sick of Godspeed, and evil speedsters in general. Flash has a huge Roges Gallery in the comics. They could use some of those for a change. I’m not liking the Allegra side story, or either Frost’s or Caitlin’s reduced roles. I’m hoping they get this Kramer nonsense wrapped up quickly; I wouldn’t mind seeing less of her.

It was an ok episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. It will be interesting to see how the finale wraps up and what kind of cliffhanger we get between seasons.

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