Flash: Wednesday Ever After

I’m the Fastest Man Alive and he’s throwing bent sticks. How am I losing this fight?

The Flash begins season nine, which will be the end of the series and, sadly, the Arrowverse. There’s a sci-fi trope, a new villain, and several complications emerging into the lives of Team Flash. The beginning of the end is called “Wednesday Ever After,” and manages a few surprises, as well as a subtle nod to the show moving to Wednesday nights.

The episode begins with the third appearance on the series of D-List villain Tarpit, played by a different actor yet again. Barry quickly realizes he’s dreaming as things take a turn for the nightmarish, and finally manages to wake up. The good news is he wakes up at home, in bed, with Iris. The bad news is they show a calendar prominently, and that’s never a good thing on a sci-fi type show. We learn it’s been a week since last season’s finale, and that Iris (and presumably Barry, but they never specify) has taken a week off. Barry makes a few cryptic comments and takes off for work.

At STAR, Joe and Chester are trying to help Cecile master her newest power, telekinesis. So far, she’s proven to be exceptionally adept at breaking things. Joe keeps looking weird, which is a bit ominous, but not really explained. Iris gets to work and finds a series of surprises, from Allegra and Taylor actually getting along now to a major business decision that apparently everyone knew was coming except for her. They do work in a nice nod to another Arrowverse show.

Barry, for his part, gets his own exciting opportunity at work from foe turned ally Captain Kramer (who I still don’t like). Kramer has a few concerns, Barry reassures her, and that problem is solved so quickly it’s super easy, barely an inconvenience. With that taken care of, it’s once again time for a robbery of an advanced lab, in this case a KORD Industries transport. Kramer tells him to go and thus Flash meets Captain Boomerang II. The fight doesn’t go the hero’s way, but he seems oddly unconcerned and tells Allegra and Chester to take the day off since he has dinner plans. His support team are a bit confused.

Captain Boomerang II has one of those convoluted origins that make non-comic readers even less likely to start reading, and some fans even shake their heads a bit. In the comics, Digger Harkness, the original Captain Boomerang, at one point gets flung into the future after a mishap with Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill. Harkness meets and has an affair with Meloni Thawne, wife of Don Allen, one half of the heroic Tornado Twins and son of Barry Allen (long story). She had a son, Owen, who eventually ended up back in the present. He got to know his father a bit, trained with him, and began showing minor bursts of superspeed, which he mostly used to throw weapons at high velocity. He bounced back and forth from villain to almost-hero a few times, and to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t been seen since the dreaded reboot. This version doesn’t seem to have the speed powers (what, a speedster villain NOT appearing on the show?) but can apparently teleport through as yet unexplained means.

Later, at home, Barry and Iris wind down from their dinner date. He’s very enthusiastic about a new project of his, while Iris has some understandable reservations about it. As they go to bed, strange energy cascades around them, so we know something is off. The next morning, Barry is still optimistic, Iris is worried, and they go off to their days. Veteran sci-fi fans start picking up clues right away that scream “time loop.” Iris and Barry are both confused as they relive the previous day. Flash once again fights the new Captain Boomerang, makes the same mistakes again (come on, Barry, you’re better than that) and things get suddenly worse… and Iris and Barry wake up back in bed. This happens a lot this episode. To their credit, they quickly figure out what’s going on.

Meeting up with the others and thankfully not needlessly keeping secrets (no Smallville syndrome this time around), Chester tries to help figure out what’s happening and why. This kicks off a whole series of failed experiments that reset everything many times, with some amusing visuals. Iris starts developing a unique, but understandable, reaction to all this, leaving Barry worried and puzzled. Upset and lost, Barry takes off and goes to seek his traditional wise counselor: Joe. Joe and Cecile are about to have dinner when Barry arrives and tells them what’s going on. Barry reveals some of what’s going on, gets some advice, goes home, and he and Iris have a good talk. The day resets without explosive deaths, which is a nice change.

Reconciled, the couple make some changes to their day, confusing everyone else who doesn’t remember the reset (points to the writers for letting one of the characters reference Groundhog Day). As a team, they tackle some of the issues that were facing them, and handle most of it pretty well. They call in some favors from a character that makes sense, even if we never actually get to see them. Things go well until the Boomerang fight, when the new villain reveals a big ruthless streak. Barry has to pull off a really impressive trick that I’m still not sure made much sense, but it makes for some neat visuals and provides an excuse for Allegra and Chester to kiss again.

Joe makes some more vague comments as they debrief the team, and Iris goes to handle a business call. They wonder a bit about a theorized partner of Boomerang II’s, and try and figure out who it could be. Cecile gets better with her powers, and then Joe makes a weird pronouncement out of nowhere that is likely the excuse for Jesse Martin reducing his role on the show, which was announced a while back. The writers really didn’t do well with this.

To wrap things up, we get two scenes. Barry goes to a meeting and gets a real big surprise that they were leading up to last season. Boomerang goes to meet his partner, and we never get to see them, but get a few hints about what’s to come. I guess this is the intro for our final big bad.

What I Liked: It made sense that both Barry and Iris figured out the loop relatively quickly. They both have too much experience at this point not to get that worked out. The new Boomerang is interesting, and I’ll be curious to see where they go with him (or if he’ll be back). I’m glad they are making an effort to train Cecile with her new power and not just tossing her into the field. I get Iris’ weird reaction to all this.

What I Didn’t: Barry making the same mistake in back-to-back fights was just bad writing. He’s both experienced and smart. He’s better than this. Joe’s sudden announcement at the end made no real sense. And, once again, a shared universe problem: they’re having time related problems and don’t call on either their resident time god or their friends, the band of time traveling adventurers. And, personally, I’m not happy about the end of the series or the Arrowverse.

It was an ok start for the season, with a few good nods along the way. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5. I guess we’ll see how this final race finishes. 12 more episodes to go.


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