Time travel, time loops, and parental loss are the main focus of season seven episode six of The CW’s The Flash. The episode begins with a young woman walking out of Jitters, talking on her phone, and noticing a T-Rex is walking toward her down the street. Understandably, she screams.
Next up is a flashback to 22 hours prior at S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry (Grant Gustin) is resting and recharging after all the dealings with the newborn Speed Force and the new powerful entities that have been unleashed in Central City. Speed Force Nora (Michelle Harrison) is worried about Barry and her own safety against the entities, but Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is working on a device that will give them a warning if any of the new bad guys get close to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Chester (Brandon McKnight) arrives and geeks out over meeting Nora. He quickly recovers and gets to work with Cisco on finishing the device.
Meanwhile, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) comes home to her apartment to see Frost (also Danielle Panabaker) organizing some of her stuff. That gets on Caitlin’s nerves a little.
Just outside of Central City, Cisco and Chester are about to test their device when they’re hit by a large green energy wave. After a few minutes, they try to call S.T.A.R. Labs to check in but notice their cell phones are gone along with the company van.
Cisco throws a rock and it hits a green force field. He realizes he and Chester are in some sort of power dome. They decide to head to Masonville, the nearest town inside the dome. Chester actually lived there until he was 11. As they enter the town and look around at the buildings (including a Blockbuster), they realize they’ve time traveled to the year 1998.
Chester thinks it’s incredibly cool, but Cisco’s more concerned about getting back to their own time. The two geniuses think about their situation and realize a new power force must be responsible for their situation and that he or she can control or at least manipulate time. Chester and Cisco believe the Time God, as they nickname him, might be at the local high school, so Chester grabs some horrible ’90s clothes so they can blend in. Their plan is to act as though they’re recording a video for the yearbook.
There’s a fairly lame montage of the two questioning students which leads them to the football team’s water boy who they think might be the time-controlling entity. Suddenly they get hit with another green wave. They end up back where they were when they first entered town, but Cisco thinks he’s seven years old and doesn’t recognize Chester.
Chester’s able to snap Cisco out of it by bringing up movies, like The Matrix, and the television show Game of Thrones. They quickly realize Chester was protected by their tech device which was ruined by the wave. That means their most urgent task is to find parts to repair it since they’re trapped in a time loop. Chester shares with Cisco that they’re repeating the day he last saw his dad before he died in a car accident a few days later.
Cisco realizes Chester’s hurting from the memory and asks if he wants to talk to his dad. Chester says he shouldn’t, acknowledging he can’t try to save him because it will alter the timeline. He also confesses he was never close to his father because his dad was always traveling to sell his inventions.
Back in the present day, Iris (Candice Patton) takes Speed Force Nora to her apartment and shows her Barry’s favorite old blanket that he’s had since he was a little boy. Iris shares with SF Nora that there’s still a lot she doesn’t know about Barry’s mom because it still hurts him to talk about her, with the memories always leading him back to the day she was murdered.
Upset by this revelation, SF Nora disappears.
Iris finds SF Nora at Jitters and Speed Force asks if it’s hurting Barry by taking the image of his mother. Iris assures the Speed Force it isn’t and says it’s a gift to Barry.
Back in 1998, Chester changes his mind, visits his dad, and attempts to buy his latest invention – an X76 power converter. Chester’s dad apologizes and says he can’t have it, tossing it into the trash. He reveals his son will be looking for that and he wants him to find it while he’s on his trip. The scene continues with Chester finding out that all the traveling his father did was to support him. Leaving different things for him to find during his childhood was his dad’s way of encouraging Chester to “find treasure where others only see trash.”
Moved, Chester hugs the man who doesn’t realize that adult Chester is his son. It becomes a little awkward.
Chester’s dad offers to help him build what he needs and the two make the device together.
A little later, Cisco and Chester return to the high school and are confronted by Dion, the star football player who it turns out is the Time God. He knows they’ve been messing with his time loop and gets angry, releasing another large green energy wave that this time hits Central City.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Team Flash assembles to work the problem. Frost is dressed like a hippie from the late 1960s. Iris looks like Foxy Brown from the 1970s, Joe (Jesse L. Martin) looks like a detective from the 1950s, and Caitlin’s dressed like a high school principal from the ’80s. Joe asks what’s happening and Caitlin tracks the energy coming from Masonville and says it’s a time wave that’s picking random decades. Iris remembers Cisco and Chester went to Masonville and she hopes they’re handling whatever’s going on.
Back in 1998, Chester talks to Dion who it turns out is bitter about how his life turned out since he didn’t become an All-Star professional football player. Chester explains no matter how many times Dion tries to change it, he won’t be able to alter his past because it has become a fixed point in time. Dion listens and stops building his next energy wave. Chester suggests with his new power he focus on the future and Dion gets a creepy look on his face and says he’ll focus on everyone’s future. With that, he disappears.
Cisco and Chester end up back in present day.
Over at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry’s awake and his vitals are good. Barry tells Team Flash that Dion being able to control time makes him the most powerful force yet. Cisco nicknames him “The Still Force” and names the other two entities “The Strength Force” and “The Sage Force.”
Cisco and Caitlin head off to meet Kamilla at Jitters and Chester goes off to work on his dad’s last project on his own. Iris invites SF Nora to spend the night with her and Barry at their apartment and she happily agrees. As she and Iris leave together, Barry looks on with a concerned look on his face.
In the final scene of the episode, Joe returns to S.T.A.R. Labs looking for Frost. He warns her about Kramer and the Governor hunting for her due to all her past crimes. Frost looks annoyed and says, “I’m not that person anymore.” Joe asks her to lay low until he can convince Kramer of that. Frost tells Joe that she won’t do that and if Kramer wants to come after her she can “bring it on.”
The Flash Season 7 Episode 6 Review
Silly, goofy, and more than a tad ridiculous, season seven episode six – “The One With the Nineties” – has the show bordering on being camp, which it never has been and should never become. The episode also suffers because the main character, The Flash, is asleep during almost the entire episode. Grant only has two scenes and one of those is him sleeping. Whenever the series focuses on a supporting character and moves Gustin’s Barry Allen onto the sidelines, the episode suffers greatly.
Another problem with the episode is that other primary characters – Frost, Caitlin, Joe, and even Iris – are barely in it. They only show up in two or three short scenes reacting to what’s happening over in Masonville.
The time-traveling element and being stuck in the ’90s felt more like an homage to films like Hot Tub Time Machine and Back to the Future rather than a true plot device to move this season’s storyline forward.
After identifying and renaming the new power entities threatening the new Speed Force and Team Flash, we can only hope the show gets back on track while focusing on a way to defeat them as well as how to help Frost with her new enemy, Kramer.
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