If you have a favorite speedster from the CW’s The Flash, there’s a good chance they appear in this episode. With the exception of a couple extremely dead villains from the past, just about everyone who trails lightning behind them is around for the season 7 finale. Spoilers follow for The Flash Season 7, Episode 18, “Heart of the Matter, Part 2.”
“Heart of the Matter, Part 2”
If there’s one thing The Flash is consistently good at, it’s coming up with cool ideas and then undercutting them. Having Flash meet, battle, and make peace with the other Forces of Nature was a cool idea, but making it into a teary drama with some weird incest vibes didn’t do it any favors. Having Flash battle Godspeed is a great idea–he’s a dynamic-looking speedster variant that can hassle Flash in a very different way from the other ones we’ve encountered thus far. But then they drag it out for three seasons, but not in a way that’s going to catch our attention, only to end things the way they end here.
The plot is, honestly, pretty straightforward. Godspeed is getting more powerful, more and more quickly, and the team has to figure out a solution. The speedsters assemble–Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Nora West-Allen are all there. Bart is comatose after his tussle with Godspeed. The Speed Force shows up, though, to help the team out. She not only juices up the active speedsters, but heals Bart and temporarily imbues Iris with the same speedster abilities she had a couple of seasons ago.
The team battles Godspeed first in Godspeed’s mind, then in the city as a team, ending up soundly beaten each time.
The story hits its climax when Barry asks the other heroes to sit out–he has a plan.
Oh I was so hopeful.
It was me, Barry!
Angry helicopter noises. You know who it is. My boy Eobard Thawne joins the fray to help Flash fight Godspeed. A foe so fearsome that he needs to ally with his arch-enemy. Yes, how cool is that?
Then they have a fight with lightning swords. Godspeed makes a Darth Maul-style bo-staff light(ning)saber, and then Flash and Reverse-Flash look at each other and make red and yellow ones like that’s just a thing they can do? And then ketchup and mustard have a sword fight with onion.
Sword fights are supposed to be Arrow‘s purview.
The whole sequence is really silly and sapped out so much of the enjoyment of the reappearance of Flash’s arch-nemesis. Bringing back Reverse-Flash to fight Godspeed was a great idea in theory because it really hits home just how hopeless the situation is and how creative the team is having to get to resolve it. It also let the show bring back Tom Cavanaugh for the 150th episode in a way that doesn’t feel deeply offensive. Even if there will never be–and should never be–another Wells, there will always be a Reverse-Flash as long as there is a Flash.
One more fight
More satisfying, though, is the battle between those two once Godspeed is down. Barry’s assertion that Thawne was a good ally for this battle because he would never let anyone else kill Barry was a smart one, and as inevitable as Thawne’s betrayal was, it was fun to watch. But all of it was undercut by that silly swordfight.
After resolving the Kristen Kramer story by revealing that she’s a metahuman who can temporarily mimic other superpowers, the episode finishes with Barry and Iris renewing their vows and having a mini-wedding at the West home. In some ways this works. Oliver and Felicity crashed Barry and Iris’ wedding, so they never got their own. And the whole thesis of this season has been, unfortunately, “run toward love.”
But also, that’s a stupid thesis that boiled every storyline down into people holding hands as a nonsensical resolution to a given situation. Oh, and Bart sings a song. For some reason.
I liked these Godspeed-heavy episodes more than most of the rest of the season. It was great to see Godspeed become a true threat rather than an occasional annoyance. It’s always fun to see John Wesley Shipp step back into the speedster boots, and I’m never going to say no to a visit from Reverse-Flash, one of the very best Arrowverse villains. But those happy moments were surrounded by some of the weirdest writing in this already incredibly bumpy show, and I’m left feeling cold even with those moments.