You know how it goes. If a character gets sucked into a mirror in a sci-fi story, one of two things happens. Either they enter a freaky mirror world, or they get replaced by a mirror person. Last week left us off with Iris getting sucked into a mirror by some terrifying mirror hands, and this week’s episode has her coming back out. Is Iris in a mirror world, or she the mirror person? Spoilers follow for The Flash, Season 6, Episode 11, “Love is a Battlefield.”
“Love is a Battlefield”
This week picks up right where last week left off. Iris stumbles out of the mirror dazed and in pain. Cut to the next morning, and Iris is cooking pancakes for a confused Barry. If you’ve been paying attention, Iris can’t cook. It’s a whole thing. Barry bites into the pancakes and becomes even more confused; they taste like normal pancakes.
I’m going to spoil the twist right away just in case you haven’t figured it out just from that clue: Iris is the mirror person. Reverse-Iris. Bizarro Iris. The Iris Who Laughs.
The show takes a quick ad-placement moment to have Barry put something on his calendar using Alexa. It’s not intrusive or anything, I promise.
Frost > Caitlin
Meanwhile, over at the Central City Citizen, Frost is making Valentine’s decorations in an effort to be more human. Each Arrowverse show has a character or two that it struggles to give purpose. For Supergirl, it was James Olsen. On Black Lightning, it’s Khalil. The Flash has struggled with Caitlin Snow for some time. It pushed her around between tragic boyfriends and has frequently made her The Lady Who Talks Sense into her Men.
We saw a different side of Danielle Panabaker with Killer Frost, and the show has slowly developed her into a bigger and bigger part of Caitlin’s personality. This is giving Panabaker a chance to do some character development on her own and to play a character who both gets to have moments of real emotion and gets to seriously ham it up when the fight goes down.
Frost and Allegra talk about how clingy Nash is. We know there’s something there after last week’s reveal of Nash and Allegra together in a photo, suggesting that he’s her father from his own Earth or something like that. Allegra is pining over a guy and Frost, who is a child in an adult’s body, tries to give her advice.
Meanwhile, Barry and The Iris Who Laughs try to have a nice pre-Valentine’s Day date. Barry finds out that Iris can speak Italian, which seems weird to him, but apparently not weird enough, somehow. This episode also addresses the long-running question posed by the very serious site Clickhole: “Why doesn’t Flash run to Italy for pasta every meal?” It’s because Central City has its own authentic Italian restaurant.
Their meal is interrupted by Amunet Black (played by the returning Katee Sackhoff), who shows up to steal a plot device from a guy. Barry tries to stop her, but she makes it clear that their previous alliance doesn’t factor in here, and that she’ll happily reveal he and his friends’ secret identities if they show up in their “onesies.”
Barry is frustrated by this, and Reverse-Iris suggests they take a more stealthy approach to stopping her. For her, that means putting on a very metal outfit and black lipstick and going into a bar that acts as a known hangout for Central City’s lowlifes. She breaks a bottle over a guy’s head to show that she’s a cool criminal and then doesn’t even pay for her drink before leaving.
The two follow the lead to find Amunet stealing the next part of her device. Before they can do anything, though, Goldface shows up, and the two start arguing over… music? Right – this is a Valentine’s Day episode. We find out that Goldface is super into vinyl records and that Amunet Black introduced him to the lyrical stylings of rap group NWA.
With Amunet’s threat hanging over them, Barry is patrolling the city fast enough to remain invisible to Amunet and her cronies, and it’s taking a toll on him. He and Iris argue about him respecting her and giving her freedom. She mentions that Ryan Choi–the Paragon of Humanity from the Crisis–gave her some information about what Amunet might be trying for.
Iris asserts herself
Bizarro Iris tells Barry that she doesn’t need him to save her, that she wants to be more active. That’s Iris speaking aloud a longtime complaint from fans of the show and likely Patton herself. Iris says she doesn’t want to be Barry’s ‘damsel’ anymore and leaves.
Iris ends up at Amunet’s place and convinces her that she wants the same thing Amunet does. The flower she’s seeking–again, V-Day–allows direct but honest psychic communication between two parties and she wants to use that on Barry.
Barry, meanwhile, talks to Joe about his relationship, and Joe talks some sense into Barry.
Flash tries to get Amunet and Goldface to talk to each other at the crime scene and gets beat up in the process. Iris suggests burning the flower they’re after, causing it to release its chemical. Iris and Barry don’t get the benefit of it, but Amunet and Goldface make telepathic peace while Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” plays in the background.
A new Dewellopment
While all this was going on, Frost had a heart-to-heart with Nash where he offered some advice, and she passed that advice onto Allegra. Frost suspects something is going on with Nash and Allegra, and then Nash sees or hallucinates an image of Harry from Earth-2. We know from Supergirl and Batwoman that duplicates and remnants can end up back on Earth-Prime following the Crisis, so it’s very possible that we could have a Double Wells situation.
Back at the West-Allen apartment, Barry and Iris make up and the two hug. Behind them is a mirror, with actual Iris banging away at the mirror from the other side.
Here’s the thing. The Iris Who Laughs is pretty boring. She seems to know everything Iris knows and to behave in ways that Iris should be behaving. She’s asserting herself and acting confidently. Reverse-Iris is actually just cool Iris.
With that said, this certainly isn’t the end of this storyline. The show has plenty of time to do cool stuff with this character, and I hope it doesn’t miss out. Like I said last week, it’s not often a show gets a chance to re-do a villain like Flash seems to be doing with Mirror Master. Maybe Bizarro Iris thinks she’s doing Iris a favor and fixing her marriage–it’s anyone’s guess at this point. I have my fingers crossed. I’m especially appreciating right now the Flash writers’ decision to break the season into two storylines. Definitely keep this up next year, y’all.