‘The Flash’ Season 6 Episode 18 Recap: “Pay the Piper”

The Flash Season 6 Episode 18
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Tom Cavanagh as Nash Wells and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon in ‘The Flash’ season 6 episode 18 (Photo: Katie Yu © 2020 The CW Network, LLC)

It was all pep talks and self-doubt on The CW’s The Flash this week as season six episode 18 saw the return of an evil speedster as well as a villain from season one.

The episode begins with Barry (Grant Gustin) paying a visit to Joe (Jesse L. Martin) who’s still hiding out in WITSEC. Barry brings Joe up to speed about Mirror Iris (Candice Patton) and the real Iris being trapped in the mirror dimension. Barry admits he’s not sure if he’s going to be able to save her this time, especially with his depleting speed.

The next day at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry brings Team Flash – minus Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) who is still at home healing – into the loop about Iris, Kamilla (Victoria Park), and Singh (Patrick Sabongui) being trapped in the mirror dimension and Eva being faster than The Flash. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) takes the news the hardest, fearing that Kamilla, Iris, and Singh may already be dead. Ralph (Hartley Sawyer) tells him not to think that way but Cisco only becomes more upset. That causes Barry to start yelling at him saying he has no idea how to save them.

It’s Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) who takes charge and gets everyone to stop yelling and fearing the worst and to actually work together to stop Eva and find a way to save Iris, Kamilla, and Singh. Cisco calms down and says he thinks there may be a way to get them out using vibration, while Barry says he’ll go work on the artificial speed force.

In the mirror dimension, Iris makes a video message for Barry in case he doesn’t find her in time. She tells him she will always love him and she is always with him. Iris then goes searching in the dimension to find Kamilla and Singh.

Barry’s working on the artificial speed force when a streak of white lightning starts racing around the room. It makes a powerful noise like thunder, knocking Allegra (Kayla Compton) and Barry off their feet. The speedster Godspeed (voiced by BD Wong) appears and hits Barry with energy from his chest and then tries to take Barry’s speed. Nash (Tom Cavanagh) arrives just in time and blasts Godspeed with a new pulse cannon which causes him to speed off.

Minutes later Team Flash meet up and talk about the attack. Cisco believes that Godspeed reversed vibrations to extract speed from Barry and that was the sound of thunder Allegra heard. Barry says he knows who can help them stop Godspeed and goes off to find Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus), who since Crisis’ new timeline is now an enemy of The Flash.

Cisco explains to the rest of the team that in the new timeline the fight on the bridge against Rathaway also included a partner named Rodrick who ended up getting hit by both lightning from The Flash and a special power energy gun which destabilized Roderick’s molecules. He has been at Mercury Medical Labs ever since.

Meanwhile, Ralph checks on Frost after she sent him an urgent message. Turns out she just wanted to thank him for everything he’s done for her this year as her life coach and says goodbye. Ralph picks up on her tone and fears she may not be coming back to Central City so he tells her that she’s important to him and the team. He also picks up on her fear of meeting Caitlin’s mom and asking for medical help to cure her wound. Ralph gives her a pep talk about how far she has come in a year but Frost points out that Caitlin’s mom is not really her mom. Ralph tells her she’s just as important as Caitlin to everyone and if she can’t see that then she may still have a long way to go to being human.

The Flash finds Hartley who starts fighting him and picks up on his depleted speed. The Flash tells Hartley that he and his team can help Roderick. Hartley doubts him but Nash walks in and explains he has seen Roderick’s condition before and believes he can fix it. Hartley asks what The Flash wants from him and The Flash asks for his help against Godspeed. Hartley tells them to save Roderick and he’ll consider it.

In the mirror dimension, Iris finds Kamilla and quickly brings her up to speed about Eva and what has happened to them. Iris begins to scratch at her arm and suffers from major headaches caused by neuro dissonance from being in the mirror dimension so long. She runs off and Kamilla follows her.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco, Nash, Barry, and Hartley team up to help Roderick. Hartley brags to Cisco and Barry saying he knows that they are Vibe and The Flash, throwing in a few insults targeting Cisco. Nash, Cisco, and Allegra try their experiment to help Roderick’s situation but it only causes him pain and makes Hartley furious. He storms off, declining to help Team Flash.

Godspeed races in and warns Barry he wants his velocity or he’ll start killing citizens. He gives him an hour to decide.

Barry goes to tinker at the artificial speed force and Nash tells him he is wasting time. Barry becomes upset, confessing he should have noticed sooner something was wrong about Iris. Nash tells him he needs to forgive himself so he can trust himself again and save Iris. Barry realizes something about Hartley and heads off to talk to him.

The Flash Season 6 Episode 18
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon in ‘The Flash’ season 6 episode 18 (Photo: Katie Yu © 2020 The CW Network, LLC)

Over in his workshop, Cisco’s having no luck with his vibration machine and starts to lose it. He talks to Cecile and admits he misses Kamilla terribly. He sees now that when he was Vibe he never doubted himself and was always willing to find a way to do the impossible. Cecile gives Cisco a pep talk (yes, yet another one in this episode) and reminds him Kamilla fell in love with him – not his powers or his alter ego, Vibe.

Barry finds Hartley in the pipeline and tells him he understands Roderick is someone he cares for. Hartley confesses he’s his boyfriend and that he blames himself for what happened. He placed the fight against The Flash as more important than Roderick’s safety.

Cisco interrupts to tells them there’s an emergency.

In the mirror dimension, Kamilla finds Iris who’s blaming herself for not seeing Eva for what she really was.d It’s Kamilla’s turn to deliver a pep talk about trusting herself. It works. Iris and Kamilla go looking to find Singh in the hopes of escaping the dimension together.

Godspeed is on a news broadcast from downtown Central City holding a citizen. He threatens to kill her if The Flash doesn’t appear in one minute. Barry speeds off to face him leaving Hartley back at S.T.A.R. Labs. Hartley appears conflicted about helping his former enemy.

The Flash speeds downtown and confronts Godspeed who demands his speed. “You’ll have to catch me first,” says The Flash and the speedster race is on.

Glowing yellow and white lightning streak across the city, up buildings, down streets with the white lightning always inching closer to The Flash’s yellow. Finally, Godspeed knocks The Flash off his feet and down on the ground. Godspeed starts to drain The Flash of his speed when The Flash finds the strength to speed off and up a building.

As he continues running, his speed starts to falter and The Flash starts to fall to the ground. Godspeed watches from the roof as the Scarlet Speedster plummets to his death. Hartley arrives at just that moment and uses his meta-powers to slow The Flash’s fall and ease him down to the ground.

Hartley tells The Flash they need to use their powers together to do to Godspeed what they accidentally did to Roderick that night on the bridge – a lightning strike crossed with Hartley’s power vibrations. It works and Godspeed ends up powerless on the street. The Flash notices some blue liquid from Godspeed’s suit which Cisco and Nash realize is his charged sound.

Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash uses the charged sound on Roderick and it regulates his molecules. Hartley tells Roderick that The Flash saved him.

Ralph slips back into Frost’s apartment and apologizes for not being more supportive. He gives her a “Dib-Ploma” for graduating life coach school. He explains being intimidated by a parent is normal and human. He gives her a pep talk (another one!), telling her she’s an awesome human being and that she was afraid that Carla might reject her so she was rejecting her first. Frost takes the “Dib-Ploma,” smiles at it, and reveals she isn’t afraid anymore.

Roderick thanks Barry and says he owes him. Just before he leaves, Hartley tells Barry he gave him his world back and that Barry can get his back to but he needs to believe that his world can change to do it.

Barry delivers a rousing pep speech to Team Flash saying that they have lost so much this year. “Our power, our love…our family,” says Barry, confirming they feel hollow and empty. But then he changes gears and reminds them they still have faith in each other and the will to fight for those they love. “Eva McCulloch has never faced us head-on…and that’s about to change. We’re going to find her, beat her, and get back everyone,” says the Team Leader.

Cisco reveals he has an idea of how to get their loved ones out of the mirror dimension; they need a perpetual motion machine. He tells Team Flash he’s off to Atlantis to get one but he’ll be back as fast as he can.

In the final scene, Eva (Efrat Dor) wakes up in some sort of coffin/pod machine and says, “I’m coming for you, Joseph.”

The Flash Season 6 Episode 18 Review:

Filled with one pep talk after another, episode 18 of season 6 titled “Pay the Piper” is perhaps the weakest episode of the season. It’s very common for one or even two main characters to need a pep talk to help get through some emotional turmoil they’re struggling with in an episode, but the constant delivery of inspirational speeches from at least half the main cast – and even a guest villain – was just too much. It felt like more than half the episode was spent on characters doubting themselves and their choices. This ruined any sense of urgency and real danger being present.

This sadly also falls under the “filler” episode category since nothing to move the main story (defeating Eva) forward was brought up until the very end. In essence, it’s an episode a fan could skip and not really miss anything important or impressive.

With only one episode left due to production of the series being shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Team Flash will most likely not free Iris, Kamilla, and Singh from the mirror dimension and defeat Eva until Season seven. We’ll see.

GRADE: C