With Barry grappling with the death of the Speed Force and his own weakening powers, his oldest foe returns by taking over Nash’s body — so can Cecile’s ouija board and garlic get Thawne out of there?
Spoilers ahead for “The Exorcism of Nash Wells,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
This episode was good, great even, at least for an episode that doesn’t move the needle all that much on the big story. We learned last week that Nash had been taken over by the Reverse-Flash, aka Eobard Thawne, and this week was all about trying to exorcise that monster out of his head. After doing a bit of MacGuffin science, the team figures out that Thawne’s takeover is seemingly related to all the visions Nash has been having in recent weeks of the (now-dead) multiversal versions of Wells. When the Crisis occurred, all those consciousnesses apparently channeled into Nash, since he was the only “Wells” left once the universes merged.
Exactly how Thawne got in there — since he’s not technically a Wells, and instead just assumed his face and identity years back — is still a bit of a mystery. But it does explain why Nash has been seeing all the former versions of Wells these past few weeks. It also means fan-favorite variants like Harry are apparently still “alive” (so to speak) inside Nash’s mind. So all hope is not lost and they could potentially return somehow down the line.
As for Thawne, he’s feeding on Nash’s fear, sadness, and emotions to take control of his body, and the more he takes control, the closer he gets to tapping into his homemade Speed Force (which isn’t dead). And if he does that, Barry would be almost powerless to stop him. So Barry, Cisco, and Cecile mind-meld with Nash to figure out exactly what dark secret is keeping him trapped in his mind. Turns out it’s the tragic death of his former protege, the doppelganger of Allegra, which explains why he’s been so invested in getting to know her in this new reality. Nash trained her in how to be a treasure hunter like him, but on one of their missions she accidentally falls to her death trying to recover an artifact.
Nash has always blamed himself, and Thawne is holding him hostage as he’s too afraid to face that memory. But Cisco talks Nash down and convinces him he’ll never be able to heal and move forward if he doesn’t face that memory and accept his role in her death. So he does, and finally manages to take back control enough to force Thawne out into a massive red lighting storm. So Thawne is officially “exorcised,” but the looming Big Bad is still out there, seemingly looking for a new body to possess.
As for the Metahuman of the Week case, Team Flash and the CCPD are working to stop a new thief working for Blackhole named Sunshine. Barry’s powers fail him and she escapes, so he has to concoct a plan as Barry Allen to stop her, working with Joe to set a trap. It’s a good arc for Barry, to show he’s grown enough to be confident he can still do some good even if he’s not the Flash. Though, six seasons in, we’ve seen those story beats before (much as fellow super-sibling Arrow reached a point where they were recycling some of those tropes after a while). It’s still good stuff, but it has the potential to get redundant quickly. Thankfully, not there yet.
Looking back to mirror land, the real Iris is still trapped behind the glass, as Mirror Iris steals a piece of tech for Eva. She’s also turned Allegra into a mirror version to serve as a henchman for her. What is Eva’s endgame? We still don’t know at this point. But, thanks to Wally tipping him off, Joe is clearly starting to realize there’s something deeply off about Iris. Her mission to acquire mirror tech is getting in the way of the life priorities of the real Iris. Hopefully they’ll put that together soon, because Iris has been sidelined for a long, long while at this point.
Easter egg alert: When Thawne briefly escapes he makes a run for the old time machine based on Rip Hunter’s designs! Hey, that’s still hanging around in this new Earth Prime!
Looking ahead, Barry also gets a break in his attempt to make his own version of the Speed Force to replace the real one, much as Thawne did (though, you know, hopefully not all evil and stuff). Nora’s journal is still in the archive, and she mentored by Thawne in the future. And during that time, Thawne apparently revealed some of his Speed Force secrets that were chronicled in her journal. So hopefully Nora’s legacy can help get the super-speed back on track.
Next up: In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has delayed virtually every TV and film production, The CW has opted to delay the next new episode of Flash a few weeks. So instead of airing a new installment next week, the series will return on April 7. That episode looks to find Barry in the last gasps of his super-speed.