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The Flash: Surprise returns, Barry goes full-blown Vulcan and Eva’s plan for world domination

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Mar 9, 2021, 11:55 PM EST

Eva’s big endgame is finally coming into view, as the kickoff to this new season of The Flash finally sets up what should’ve been last season’s finale. Thankfully, this twisty Mirrorverse saga looks to be well worth the wait.

Spoilers ahead for “The Speed of Thought,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash, which aired Tuesday, March 9, 2021.

It’s no secret that Barry Allen’s heart can get him into trouble from time to time, but it’s also what has set him apart from the jump — dating all the way back to when The Flash was just a backdoor pilot being seeded on Arrow (R.I.P.). Barry Allen was the hero with a heart, who wore his emotions on his sleeve, and was earnest oftentimes to a fault. Now more than half-a-decade into his solo adventures, though, and Barry is starting to question if all that “heart” might be doing more harm that good. Especially after a few recent big bads have used it against him.

And it’s that idea that sets up this week’s story, which finds Barry basically turned into a Star Trek-style Vulcan after his mental processing is super-charged thanks to the new Artificial Speed Force. Basically, Barry is able to think just as fast as he runs, meaning his brain is effectively a quantum computer that’s so advanced he can game out reality itself through probabilities and reasoning. It comes in handy at first, as he quickly cracks a way to open a portal to the Mirrorverse to save Iris, but before long it becomes clear to Cisco and Frost (both of whom have returned early from their breaks last season!) that something is deeply wrong with Barry.

It seems all that extra mental processing power came with a price: Barry has lost his emotional center as part of the sacrifice for all that mental super-speed. For every degree to which he gained super-thought, he lost his regular ol’ Barry Allen emotion. It turns out a Flash with all brains and no heart is… well, kind of heartless. Barry sacrifices Frost and lets her get shot by Eva, because he knows he can save her later. Then he figures out they can’t save everyone trapped in the Mirrorverse, so he doesn’t hesitate to abandon Kamilla and Singh to the Mirrorverse forever in an effort to rescue Iris.

The worst part, though? He doesn’t even want to save Iris out of a sense of love. Instead, she’s the most valuable strategically, since she’s been around Eva longer and would be the most likely to have key intel on how to beat her. That is just ice cold.

Cisco, Frost and Allegra confront Barry and try to shut him down, but of course all that processing power puts Barry more than a few steps ahead of their plan. But thanks to some Velocity X we do get to see Killer Frost briefly gain some super-speed to take on Barry, as the team makes their play to stop Barry. It’s not until Barry stops himself, after opening a portal and pulling Iris out of the Mirrorverse against her will (yes, she’s back!) that he finally shuts down the Artificial Speed Force after Iris collapses and he finally realizes what he’s given up for that super-brain. Hopefully it's not too late.

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OG Wells?! What was up with that wild Wells flashback and set-up for next week? As a quick refresher, the “Wells” the team knew in Season 1 was actually a face-swapped Reverse-Flash, who stole the original version of Wells’ face way back before the events of The Flash’s first season. The Wells we’ve met in the years since were all multiversal versions of Wells, but we never really got to know the OG Earth-1 version of Wells. But now? He seems to be back… somehow. 

The episode flashed back to when Reverse-Flash killed and buried the original Wells, then we flash forward and it seems he’s been reconstructed atop his grave? Or something? Was it the residual Wells multiversal energy release when Barry shut down the Artificial Speed Force? Something else? … and does this mean our new “Wells” this season will be the original one returned from the grave?! So many questions.

Eva goes wild: Part of Barry’s super smart plan also gave us a major step forward in Eva’s story, and it doesn’t seem to be a great one for the good guys. Barry manipulates Eva to goad her into exposing her powers on live TV, just as she’s prepared to announce plans for her philanthropic endeavors. So instead of saving the world, the world now sees her as a monster — and she has no problem living up to that billing. She basically snaps and decides to use her mirror powers to body-snatch seemingly everyone in Central City. This twist looks to set up a full-on face off with her mirror army next week, in what would’ve been last season’s big finale before production was halted due to the pandemic.

Mirroverse update: Kamilla and Singh are still alive and kicking! Well, last we saw them they’d collapsed in the Mirrorverse, but still — Iris reconnects with them and hopefully a restored Barry Allen and Team Flash can find a way to pull them out. Of course, Iris is now already out, though she’s collapsed and seems to be much worse for the wear after leaving the Mirrorverse.

Next week: Eva looks to be building an army of evil mirror bodysnatchers, while Iris is still in bad shape after getting forced out of the Mirrorverse. Can they save the rest of the folks trapped inside? Can they stop Eva? So many questions! Answers are coming!