Flash: Death Falls

Why am I a guest star on my own show this week?

It’s been a rough few episodes for Team Flash. They had a big disagreement amongst themselves on how to handle the apparent return of Ronnie Raymond, Caitlin’s husband and the original Firestorm, got a major shock when this being turned out to be Deathstorm, and everything they’ve tried against it has failed. Add in a rising body count throughout the city and the “grief ghosts” Deathstorm is sending to torment everyone, as well as Iris’ worsening condition, and things aren’t looking great as we head into “Death Falls.”

Last episode ended with the surprising return of Eddie Thawne, Iris’ original love interest who died helping stop Reverse Flash way back in season one. Between this and “Ronnie,” it’s like dead fiancé reunion week. Eddie seems very solicitous of Iris, and Sue, waking up from her nap, gets in another great line as she tries to figure out what’s going on. Under a voiceover from the news about the CCPD curfew in the city, Flash zips around and then returns to STAR Labs, where most of the team is working on the latest gadget to try and stop Deathstorm. As they go over the idea again, even Allegra says it’s the “craziest plan we’ve ever had.” Frost, getting desperate as Caitlin’s condition worsens, makes a call I think should have been made a while back, while the rest of the team tries and fails to figure out a way to trace Deathstorm.

Clearly having never seen a horror movie, with a vengeful spirit stalking them, the team splits up. To no surprise at all, Allegra, Chester, and now even Barry are plagued by the ghosts of those they’ve lost. Team Flash has an impressive array of powers and abilities, but they are overall lacking in mental/psychic defenses, and that really shows here. Deathstorm itself, wearing Ronnie’s body again, drops by to torment Frost in a different way. The villain says a lot of hurtful things while Chester and Allegra are herded where the bad guy wants them, and Barry goes through his own version of hell. Deathstorm is either able to create independent manifestations, or he’s an excellent multitasker.

Back at the loft, Eddie continues to be creepily cordial, and offhandedly foils an escape attempt by Sue and Iris. Cecile frets over Caitlin in the medlab, while Frost paces and realizes she can’t help. Finally, they get some help who shows up with a gadget they need and some much higher spirits than the others have of late. Chester and Allegra continue to be tortured by their pasts, and some real physical danger is added just to make things worse. STAR Labs, in addition to their useless/nonexistent security system, needs some better emergency exits. Just sayin’. Barry stands up to his tormentor reasonably well, and they turn up the volume, which just feels like cheating somehow.

Rotating through the various scenes of nastiness, we see Eddie laying a guilt trip on Iris, Sue managing to get some backup which ends up backfiring, while Frost and her assistance get some more good lines and an unexpected result to their work. The outcome throws Frost into a crisis, and she lays out a lot of doubts and fears. Not willing to let her suffer and put herself down, her backup makes some excellent counterpoints and gets an idea of what to try next.

While Eddie torments Iris, Sue, and their would-be cavalry, Allegra and Chester’s situation gets much worse. Barry is also put through the wringer as Frost confronts some of her big fears and worries, which is finally the trigger they need to jumpstart their newest plan for defeating Deathstorm. The rest of the team gets free, and everyone unites in the Cortex while Frost takes on a new look and name. Armed with new abilities, Frost takes off to confront Deathstorm while everyone else waits and worries. Why Flash didn’t at least go along as backup/emergency escape isn’t clear. There’s finally a big battle royale between the augmented Frost and Deathstorm, and they probably blew a lot of their CGI budget here. After some fighting back and forth, and a good bit of property damage, there’s finally a victor and the threat appears to be over. However, there are some side effects to what’s been done before, and things shift quickly from celebratory to intensely worried.

Back in the medbay, Caitlin, having recovered from her earlier problems, works frantically to save one of her teammates. There’s a long and valiant struggle and things take a very unexpected turn. The rest of the team is gathered in the lounge and going through their usual upbeat, optimistic reassurance that things will be ok. This time, they’re wrong. The episode ends on a very somber note, and, while it’s a cliché, things will never be the same for the team.

What I Liked: As best I can tell, we’re done with Deathstorm. It was an interesting idea and they did some visually great things, but I’m ok with this story being over. I’m glad they finally called in some help, which was overdue. Frost showed the very resolute, heroic side of herself which we rarely see. As always, I enjoyed Sue being around. It was even kind of nice to see Eddie, creepy phantom version notwithstanding.

What I Didn’t: There are some other allies they really should have reached out to (not even from other shows, from this one). Whoever on staff has recently discovered the electronic voice modulator needs to stop. Some lines of dialogue were impossible to understand, and I didn’t need eerily echoing sobs in the final scene. I do not like the choice they made at the end of the show, and it makes me worry about one of the real-world rumors I’ve been hearing about some of the cast.

Parts of this recent saga worked well, parts really didn’t. I’ll give this episode a 3.5 out of 5, and the Deathstorm saga as a whole a 3 out of 5. Next episode appears to be an epilogue to this story, and we’ll see what comes out of it.

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