Welcome to the seventh installment of The Flashback. This week’s theme centers on the impact of doubt and how a worried mind is susceptible to manipulation.
Resuming mid free-fall where the last episode left off, Ramsey and Ralph brawl to the ground before rebounding and hurling cars at one another. Shard-like daggers wound Ralph, so he falls to the ground and uses the sewer as a gateway to throw an extended punch from Ramsey’s blindside. Nevertheless, Ramsey recovers, extracts his shards and flees into the night. Frost–better late than never–jumps out of a portal and takes Ralph back to Star Labs. Panicking to heal Ralph, Frost permits Caitlin to establish a plan where Barry gives Ralph a blood transfusion for speedy healing.
The transfusion stabilizes Ralph, so ARGUS agrees to facilitate his recovery. Barry doubts that he has properly prepared the team to continue without him, but Iris assures him they are ready for whatever comes next. Barry heads home for a nap, but Ramsey awaits his arrival (taunting Barry with his knowledge of the Flash and Crisis). Barry angrily throws a punch that whiffs right through Ramsey and awakens from a nightmare. Caitlin/Frost tells Barry he’s well, but he feels there is more to his nightmare.
Still shaken, Barry returns home and quickly searches for any sign of Ramsey. As a representative of the Speedforce, Barry’s mother appears and tells Barry his delusion is caused by an infection Ramsey sent via Ralph’s blood during the transfusion. Ramsey can see into his mind, and if Barry isn’t able to resist, he will become Ramsey’s minion.
Barry’s next delusion takes place at the West household where Team Flash ravenously eats dinner. Ramsey brainwashes them with food, so they support his claims that he can offer Barry a cure. Stricken with panic, Barry stumbles into the time vault and sees the article of his disappearance. Ridiculing Barry’s cowardice to affect change, Ramsey tells Barry he can’t run from his [own] mind. Barry tries to attack but falls through Ramsey into a cemetery of loved ones. Ramsey then leads Barry to baby Nora, and even further into his deepest fears. He propositions that Barry can save the world from Crisis and [even] revive the dead.
Ramsey’s infection gets stronger as Barry’s strength continues declining, so Mother Nora asks Barry about his doubts. Barry explains that [before] he was driven by his past, but now looks forward to a future. She explains that Ramsey’s life-blood and illusions aren’t lies and they [actually] can save Barry from Crisis. As a result, Barry’s outrage within the nightmare causes his physical blood pressure to rise, dispatching Frost and Cisco to his assistance.
Barry’s rapidly declining condition causes Frost to have a panic attack where she sees Ralph on the bed in Barry’s place. Meanwhile, things are GOING DOWN within the nightmare as Barry’s rage forces him to (Reverse Flash) phase-hand Mother Nora. Cisco injects Barry with a dose of velocity providing temporary strength before the Speed Force and Ramsey engages in a tug-of-war over Barry’s humanity.
Barry emerges from the infection, which he defeats by choosing [the remaining] life worth living. Meanwhile, Iris tearfully begins writing the “Flash Vanishes in Crisis.” Upon completion, she receives word of Barry’s infection and heads to Star Labs. By the time she arrives, Barry diligently runs diagnostics and dismisses her requests to spend quality time. Her intuition feels this isn’t the real Barry, which causes him to reveal a dark-eyed Flash operating under Ramsey’s direction.
Evading the Truth
Thanks to Nash-Wells, Allegra knows that Barry is the Flash and debates confronting Iris before stumbling upon the article where he goes missing in Crisis. Iris enters the office with fresh details on the whereabouts of the man who kidnapped Esperanza. Allegra tries to fish for a more “important” story but gets shot down and dejectedly agrees to a stakeout.
Iris and Allegra ambush a driver in a parking lot for questioning. At first he doesn’t speak, but when pressured with incriminating photos, he reveals that he’s [just] a courier. Seeing that their mission is a bust, Allegra [yet again] creates an alley for Iris to come clean. Iris deflects, so Allegra takes the direct route and asks about Crisis. Iris stalls, so Allegra admits that Iris inspired her journalistic endeavors, and uses that leverage to encourage Iris writing the article.
Joe dispatches Iris, Camila and Allegra (aka Team Citizen) to a crime scene where the courier they questioned was killed in the parking lot. Allegra finds a piece of evidence emitting a high level of ultraviolet, so they plan to further investigate.
Wrapping Things Up
A couple of minor instances occurred…Nash-Wells heads to the sewers and drills through the rock layer protecting the Monitor’s hideout, and due to her inability to help, Frost determines that Caitlin should handle medical emergencies.
Crisis quickly approaches and Barry currently isn’t an asset to Team Flash as he does Ramsey’s bidding of forcing the world into bloodwork. How will Team Flash appeal to the remaining pieces of Barry’s mentality? More importantly, can Frost continue to [keep] stepping aside during emergencies? Let’s hope Nash-Wells has a trick up his sleeve. Be sure to tune in next week to Atlanta’s CW to see the latest developments