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The Flash- The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt.1 - Reviews



"The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt.1" painted an anguished portrait of what it's truly like for a hero when he knows his days are numbered. We learned that even The Fastest Man Alive can't outrun his deepest fears. Let's discuss!


Barry Allen

Loss. Pain. Sacrifice. Love. Rinse and repeat. That could be the story of many of our favorite heroes; it is especially true of The Flash. He has endured trauma after trauma but somehow always found his way back to himself, to those he loves and those who love him. Well, not quite this time. And to be honest, I'm kinda glad. Barry has taken baby steps toward the full on rage fest he displayed in this episode, though getting Hulk type angry usually takes a little push from the outside. Remember way back in the first season when Rainbow Raider (Roy G. Biv) possessed Barry for a short time. He lashed out at Eddie and Oliver, questioning why he couldn't have the life he wanted-AKA why he couldn't have Iris. Zoom saw the possibilities of that inner turmoil too. He taunted Barry about being the good little boy when he understood full well that Barry had every reason to hate the world. Wanting to murder Grodd, Savitar- all glimpses into the darker side of being The Flash.

Enter Bloodwork. Whew. Now that's a villain for your a**. One who doesn't need to force Barry to do anything except confront his own feelings then sit back and watch the show. And boy did he do that. "I just wanna talk" "Seems like you WANT to make Iris a widow" "It lies" (The Speedforce). Not since The Reverse Flash and Zoom has The Flash had a formidable foe- an antagonist that makes him question his choices, his strength. A big bad that has truly broken him. And break he did, but not before Barry gave us the trademark dewy eyed looks that we came to know at the beginning of the series- heartbroken Barry. The Barry that buckles at the sight of his mother no matter how old he is. The one that longs for a life with his love Iris and his daughter Nora. The one who blames himself for the deaths of all the people he has lost. The one that's afraid to die, but will go along with the plan anyway.

Enter the Speedforce. Just like in "Runaway Dinosaur", the Speedforce attempts to help Barry connect with the hero he was chosen to be. In it's favorite form, Nora Allen, it tries to reassure Barry that his sacrifice is courageous and needed for the greater good. But, it made a mistake in throwing that curve ball called the truth. And Bloodwork was all too happy to exploit it. Not that he really needed to. Upon hearing that he could indeed save everyone and himself, the fury was unleashed. All of the sadness and resignation about Crisis disappeared-replaced by a storm of anger. Barry begins to question why he always has to give up what he wants at the request of the Speedforce. Why he can never have peace. Why he was chosen in the first place.

Sad Barry no more, angry Barry was having NONE of the Speedforce explanations. And who was loving every minute of this epic breakdown? Our new favorite villain of course. Egging Barry on by reminding him that "it feels no pain or real emotions, Bloodwork was prepping his new host for the ultimate take over. No take over of Barry Allen could be complete without turning on his mom. The person he has never stopped mourning. He could never, right? Oh, yes he did. He Reverse Flashed her! ( I was so pained to see this. Nora had the exact same expression on her face as she did when she was truly killed- how is that freaking possible??)

It's not hard to see why Barry did this, as foul as it was. Plain and simple, he's hurting. He's expressing every bit of swallowed misgiving that he's had about being The Flash. He FINALLY gets the girl, the marriage, and the guarantee of at least one child (if we're lucky we get the twins) and poof, he has to give it up. Not just give it up, but die on top of it. If that isn't enough to push you to the dark side, then you're better than most.


Iris and Team Citizen

So, not gonna lie. This wasn't my favorite use of Iris' time, but I won't go hard on her. Maybe she's trying to stay distracted. She knows that if she breaks down, Barry will go down with her. He admitted as much when he told her that's why he never talked about giving himself up to the Speedforce a few seasons back; he wouldn't have done it if she objected-world be damned.

If my instincts are correct, like in seasons past, Iris will be Barry's way back home. It is their timeless, multidimensional love and her belief in his strength that has saved him from mind compulsion before. Though this is bit more like soul compulsion, but who's mincing words? She's brought him back from Grodd, The Music Meister and the brain scramble of The Speedforce itself (twice), so I'll place my bets on Barry making it back to his wife. Though I take solace in this, I look forward to seeing how she brings him back and hope that along the way she makes it very clear to him that she is just as angry about losing him as he is about having to be lost.

That being said, there's a slight problem with Allegra. I get it. She's a plucky little reporter looking to make a name for herself and oh golly gee whiz, she looks up to Iris. Does that give her the right to give Iris advice about how to spend her time, and when to call for Barry to help out? I think sometimes the show forgets that women are watching. Her snoop fest and entitled attitude towards Iris' private life being disguised as concern doesn't work. Try a new angle, please. I would hate for her to get the Nora West-Allen treatment.


Killer Frost/Caitlin Snow

All I can say is why and WTF?


Bloodwork

Smug, condescending, formidable, winning. Love to see it!


Other Things I Was Thinking as I Watched

*Grant Gustin and Michelle Harrison have so much on screen chemistry as mother and son/Speedforce and The Flash. They are able to make you feel the pain of her loss every time she is on the screen. The pain she carries for not being there and the pain he carries missing her. Ugh!

*This episode reminds me so much of "Runaway Dinosaur". I hope that Iris and Cisco team up to get Barry back this time too. Will he get his Vibe powers back for his friend?

*Iris and Barry have barely been in the same room together, soooo it's a little hard for us to believe that there will even be a Nora, twins, or any West-Allen baby. Now, I get there's no need to be gratuitous, BUT there are ways to tastefully imply that they are intimate.

*Will Cecile's useless powers come in handy for Iris to reach Barry? If that's the case, I'll stop hating on her- maybe.

*Did I say Allegra annoys me?

*What will Team Citizen's investigation lead to? I hope it's good.

*Ramsey was sooooo creepy. But he told no lies. (And so fine too!)

*That black goo in the Thanksgiving dinner scene was so disgusting, but then again, so was the dinner itself. What in the entire world were they eating? Mashed potatoes and baked beans? EEEWW!

*Grant's dissent into anger was stunning. His perfect Flash hair turned into a spiked out mess. His looks were a direct line to his feelings.

*Not since early seasons has Grant Gustin put on such an emotionally charged performance from start to finish. I got Henry in jail vibes. He killed it!

*Didn't Frost sound like Caitlin the entire episode?

*Now Frost is falling out? And not being knocked out- freaking fainting. I could not have imagined a worse character journey.

*Bloodwork's shadow looming as Negative Flash bowed to his master-OMG!

"The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt.1" is the kind of episode that keeps us Flash fans coming back. A chilling villain, a conflicted hero and the hope that love will save the day is the content we root for. Here's hoping the conclusion is even better. What did you think of the episode?

The Flash airs on the CW on Tuesday nights. As always, thanks for reading!







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