In the beginning, there was Harrison Wells. And then, Flash willed the multiverse into being, and countless Wells appeared. Each year has had its own Wells. Harrison, Harry, Sherloque, Nash, and H.R. have all left impacts on Team Flash. Whether it’s Harry bonding with Cisco, H.R. sacrificing himself for Iris, or Eobard Thawne being Eobard, there’s always a Wells and he’s always a big deal. This year’s Wells, Nash, played a crucial role in saving the multiverse. Now, the team has to save Nash. Spoilers follow for The Flash Season 6, Episode 15, “The Exorcism of Nash Wells.”
“The Exorcism of Nash Wells”
Despite having played so many different Wells characters, Tom Cavanaugh continues to bring heart and gravitas to them. Even the sillier ones like H.R. and Sherloque end up having something to bring to the team for their stay. This week is all about Nash, and Tom Cavanaugh’s performance sits at the center of it.
For weeks, Nash has been seeing specters of other Wells. Last week, that culminated in Eobard Thawne taking his body over. We finally get the skinny on what’s going on with Nash and these hallucinations, as well as the history behind Nash and the Allegra doppelganger in the photo he carries.
The always-clever Eobard Thawne manipulates his way out of his cell, and Barry nearly kills him with his phasing speedster hand before Caitlin puts Thawne back down.
The Power of Barry Compels You
The centerpiece of this episode is the titular exorcism. The team discovers that Nash isn’t just seeing other Wells, but that they’re all in his head. His brain pattern shows countless synced-up Wells. Apparently, when the multiverse collapsed, the multiversal traveler became a nexus point for the other Wells, each of whom had a greater connection to the multiverse than really any other characters in the Arrowverse. It seems like this confluence of Wells and the absence of the Speed Force gave Thawne his way in.
Thawne tries to feed off of Nash’s guilt and shame as a takeover vector. Nash’s Allegra was named Maya. An orphan when Nash met her, Maya became an explorer in Nash’s own image and died during a mission. Thawne, having access to all of Nash’s thoughts, seizes on this and traps Nash in his memory of Maya’s death.
With help from Cecile, Barry and Cisco step into Nash’s head to stand up to Thawne and help Nash stand up to his grief.
Tom Cavanaugh is a gift
Cavanaugh is essentially playing three different characters in this episode, each with their own look and tone, and he pulls them off swimmingly. He’s incredibly charismatic as Thawne, which is why I’m always so excited to see Reverse-Flash return. I like Matt Letscher as Thawne, but he’s no Tom Cavanaugh. And Cavanaugh brings a humanity and rawness to Nash that we’ve never really seen with these characters. They’re subtle, usually, and Nash is anything but this week. When Nash comes out on the other side, you can see how scarred he is, even if he’s in one piece.
Elsewhere in Central City, Mirror Iris was forced to recruit Kamila to her cause when Kamila accidentally found out about her true form. Kamila is apparently ‘no longer a problem,’ and Eva tasks her minions with finding another mirror-based device for her plan. The scene is creepy; when Eva scratches her arm, Iris and Kamila can’t help but scratch theirs. It’s not a one-to-one movement, though. There’s some hesitation, almost like these mirror clones have a free will but feel a drive to mirror her.
Together, Reverse Kamila and The Iris Who Laughs–she’s now recruiting evil versions of other Flash characters, so this actually kind of works–try to recover the mirror MacGuffin, but another light-based meta shows up, this one calling herself Sunshine. Snow tries to fight her, when Barry, jazzed up on Velocity-X, shows up and immediately glitches out.
Joe West and his team show up, and thanks to Wally West’s warning last week, he finally is starting to notice that something is up with Iris. Iris throws a wrench in the works by giving Barry a genuinely good pep talk about being the hero even without his powers, but the damage is done. I’m eager to see this plotline start moving. Iris and Kamila deliver the sparkleball to Eva.
Barry’s contributions to the episode are a mixed bag. Early in the episode, Caitlin gives him a mood-watch that lights up based on his speed usage to help him retain what speed he has left. Barry is absolutely frantic about even the smallest crime happening in Central City, though, and it’s frustrating to watch. And I don’t mean sympathetically frustrating. Frustrating in that Barry should know better. He has other heroes to help him and we spent literally the first 10 episodes of the season with Barry accepting that other people can save people when he can’t.
Run, Barry, Run
But then later, after Bizarro Iris’ pep talk, we see Barry use his brain to take down his enemy. One of The Flash‘s greatest weaknesses is that Barry has a tendency to run at his enemies head-on. That’s not even a pun. He just runs at his enemies. I want to see him think through some of his enemies. Watching him and Joe take Sunshine down is satisfying.
While I’m still enjoying the Arrowverse this year, I’m admittedly a little frustrated with The Flash. I love Legends of Tomorrow and Black Lightning this year, and Batwoman is still keeping my attention. Arrow was surprisingly great. But The Flash, like Supergirl, feels like it’s struggling to find interesting stories for its main character.
With that said, I dig so much of the concept of what they’re doing with Mirror Master this time around that I’m willing to be patient. The original Mirror Master was kind of a snooze. This one is creepy and mysterious. It just feels like it’s moving too slowly.