Catching Up: The Flash Episode 701, "All's Wells That Ends Wells"

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The Flash 701 All's Wells That Ends Wells

The Flash returns to The CW with its seventh season, and -- for the most part -- it's back to firing on all cylinders.

The concept of Barry being on the precipice of using up his remaining Speed Force had drawn on overly long in season six, so it was a relief that the problem finally gets a resolution in this episode, even if it did come at the sacrifice of a major character. Or... did it? We'll get to that in a little bit.

Speaking of characters sacrificed, though, the writers inserted a plausible excuse for the absence of two of last season's absolute standouts characters: Ralph Dibny and Sue Deerbon, showing Sue's face on a newspaper article showing how the world still believes she killed Carver last season, thus she and Ralph have decided to go off the grid. (The real reason is that Hartley Sawyer got targeted by social justice terrorists and was summarily cancelled.) Since Dibny's power set in the Arrowverse was expanded to include facial reconstruction, I bet a clever writer can find a way to recast him by having him immerse himself long enough in a new identity while he's away that it 'sticks' permanently.

Iris West-Allen is still trapped in the mirrorverse from last season, but at least Barry knows she's captured now. She slowly seems to be losing her grip on reality, though, as we see her having an imagined dinner with Barry (with a "blink and you'll miss it" reference to Superman). We know that Eva is keeping Iris captive, but we still don't really know why, since Eva herself can leave the mirror universe at will, and is faster even than The Flash in his currently diminished state. 

Speaking of mirror villains, the original Mirror Master makes an appearance, with his gal-pal The Top. It's a brief and violent confrontation with Eva McCullough, and one in which we learn an interesting secret about not only Mirror Master, but the capabilities of his mind-mashing girlfriend. We see The Top exercise a new power set when she is grilled by her defense attorney, Cecile Horton, who is offering a plea deal for her if The Top will spill what she knows about Black Hole, the organization of high-tech assassins. It's a battle of wills where Cecile also exhibits an upgrade in her powers in a game of empath vs. empath -- reminding me that we went through all of Crisis last year without a hint of a Psycho Pirate.

Nash Wells has been haunted since the Crisis. His mind contains ever Wells that ever existed in the multiverse. They tell him the only way to get Barry's Artificial Speed Force device to work is to embue it with all the multiversal particles inside him. He's all for this, as it would free him from this multitude of other Wells, until he realizes he, also, would cease to exist. So he hunts for another way to make things work, leaning on Allegra to push the multiversal particles out of him and contain them with her powers. But Allegra isn't strong enough, and the particles escape -- not into the accelerator, but into Barry. Suddenly Barry is Freaky Friday'ed into exhibiting all the personalities of the Counsel of Wells, including Harrison Orson Wells and Wizard Wells. (Sherloq Wells comes out in him to examine the situation later, making a reference to "The King Tut Killer of Earth Soixante-Six" -- that's 66 in French, a hat-tip to the Batman '66 Earth we saw in Crisis.)

Oh, and the multiversal particles are also killing Barry. Only his speed healing is keeping him alive, while draining the last vestiges of his Speed Force.

When Cecile learns from The Top that a bomb is going to go off that could kill hundreds in the city, Nash steps up to do the noble thing. Working with Allegra and Chester Runk (Cisco's scientific stand-in), all the Wells say their goodbyes to Barry, ending with the iconic line that started it all up: "Run, Barry. Run."

The episode concludes with The Flash back to full speed -- and, perhaps, even faster than ever. And while it may be the last we see of Nash Wells, I'm betting it's not the last we see of Tom Cavanagh. Remember, the last Speed Force was sentient and presented itself to Barry as his mother, Nora. Any takers that this new Speed Force will manifest now and again as one Wells or another? But what really made this episode fun was seeing Grant Gustin go through all the Wells personalities that Cavanagh has exhibited for the past seven years.

The hook at the end of the episode: Eva discovers an unsettling truth about herself, which may just put her on a very destructive path.

4.0 / 5.0