Catching Up: The Flash Episode 602, "A Flash of the Lightning"

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A Flash of the Lightning

With all the news coming out about who was going to be appearing in this December's CW crossover event, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, I've been persistently saying that to cram it all into four episodes would require them to start building hard during these leadup chapters. And so far, at least with THE FLASH and ARROW, it appears that is exactly what the CW showrunners are doing.

In "A Flash of the Lightning," Barry (GRANT GUSTIN) finds himself despondent over the knowledge of his impending death. But IRIS (CANDICE PATTON) isn't one to let him give up so easily. The future has been changed before, and she's not going to quit believing it can't change again just because of some ominous message from The Monitor: "For billions to live, The Flash must die."

Barry agrees and decides to time-travel into the future, one day past the impending crisis, to see what can be learned about it so they can prevent it. But as he approaches the date, he finds himself blocked, knocked back, and with an injury that doesn't heal as quickly as it should, given his metahuman hypermetabolism. Which should make him question how he's been able to go into the future past that date before, because we know he has.

However, there's another option, one that requires a little multiverse traversing to Earth 3 and a visit to that world's Flash, Jay Garrick (JOHN WESLEY SHIPP). We all know that Garrick is the Earth 3 doppelganger for Barry's dad, but fate has decided to throw Barry yet another curveball: Jay has found himself a good woman, Joan Williams -- who, perhaps not coincidentally, is that world's doppelganger for his mother, Nora Allen (MICHELLE HARRISON). Jay has a device that may help Barry see what he needs to see, a device that helps him project his consciousness into the future -- but it only works for speedsters.

Taking the risk, Barry looks forward in time, experiencing billions of collapsing timelines all at once. Yeah, it's a little Stephen Strange from AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, but we'll allow it. Through this vision, we get to see brought to life the iconic moment of The Flash's death in COIE, racing at top speed until he becomes energy and loses his physical form. Upon his return to consciousness, Barry knows: For billions to live, The Flash must die.

Sidelong to all this, we have the usual subplots for the rest of the ensemble. Ralph (HARTLEY SAWYER) helps Killer Frost (DANIELLE PANABAKER) come to terms with expressing herself through art, and Cecile (DANIELLE NICOLET) pursues evidence to prove the innocence of a metahuman (KAYLA COMPTON) she is meant to be prosecuting as the city District Attorney. And the seasons candidate for Big Bad, Dr. Rosso (SENDHIL RAMAMURTHY) may have just gained the metahuman ability to create the walking dead.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0