Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 6, Episode 10 - Marathon

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here


The Crisis has been averted but things will never be the same. As John Diggle and Barry Allen explore what seems to be one final mission left for them by Oliver Queen, Cisco contemplates a new role for himself in a new universe without his Vibe powers. Meanwhile, Iris and the rest of the Central City Citizen staff continue investigating the mysterious organization behind Ultraviolet and their connection to McCulloch Technologies.


The Brave and The Bold: Flash and Green Lantern (Oliver and Diggle tackling a mission together) and The Flash comics of Joshua Williamson (The Black Hole organization.)


The civilians The Flash picks up and saves at CC Jitters are clearly mannequins meant to stand in for the CGI still actors during the shot before he saves the waitress.

Cisco claims to have no memory of owning a Superman t-shirt. It was previously established in Crisis on Infinite Earths that everyone on Earth-Prime had a new set of memories and only those heroes who fought the Anti-Monitor during Crisis had their memories of the previous timeline restored by Martian Manhunter.  (It's possible Cisco's memories are different due to his connection to the multiverse as a breacher.)

Barry identifies Lian Yu as being in the North China Sea. This is incorrect (particularly in regards to Cisco's map) unless the East China Sea is called the North China Sea on Earth-Prime. (He could be referring to the North part of the East China Sea, which is sometimes grouped with the South China Sea to just be the larger China Sea on some maps.)

Wouldn't Iris West and her source both dying of mysterious laser-related injuries after Iris West accused a major company of sponsoring a laser-related assassin attract even more bad publicity and suspicion than her article by itself?

How can Cisco have a recording of Harry Wells on Earth-2 when Earth-2 never existed in the post-Crisis timeline? (Presumably something of Earth-2's memory survived since Black Siren is still around so maybe Oliver Queen restored artifacts from other Earths that existed before Earth-1 was destroyed?)

Frost is apparently capable of freezing photons, as she is able to pull a glowing mass from her wound after being shot by Dr. Light. However, this is impossible as we understand physics, as photons have no mass and do not produce visible light.

What happened to Chester?  Shouldn't he be hanging around STAR Labs in some capacity now?


Carlos Valdez gives a great performance as Cisco, perfectly capturing his torment over the needless destruction caused by Crisis and the loss of life.


The new intro title card for the show looks amazing.

Flash Facts

This is the first episode to feature a new animated title card showing off all the main cast in action.

This episode takes place before the events of A810, as John Diggle says he's planning to start the move to Meteropolis next week.

Cisco's map of Earth-Prime lists several locations along with the major cities where the various Arrowverse shows are set. These locations include the Fortress of Solitude, Star City, National City, Gotham City, Happy Harbor, Metropolis, Freeland, Santa Prisca, Corto Maltese, San Monte, Zambesi, Tinasha, Gorilla City, Qurac, Bialya, Tokyo, Kasnia, Markovia, Nanda Parbat, Lian Yu, Dinosaur Island and Kooey Kooey and  Kooey Kooey Island.

Star City is located in the Pacific Northwest and appears to be close to Seattle. This makes sense, as Green Arrow's hometown in the Rebirth reality is Seattle and Oliver Queen lived in Seattle during the Mike Grell run on Green Arrow. Several episode of Arrow also made use of real-world Seattle ZIP codes in mailing addresses.

National City is located somewhere in California, perhaps in the same general area as Los Angeles. The first season of Supergirl was filmed in Los Angeles and some of the exterior shots were of buildings in Los Angeles.

Gotham City appears to be located close to Chicago, on the west shore of Lake Michigan. In the DC Comics universe, Gotham is usually located somewhere in New England, typically in New Jersey where it lies opposite Metropolis on Delaware Bay. Exterior shots for Batwoman were filmed in Chicago.

In the comics, Happy Harbor is located in the state of Rhode Island. It was home to the Justice League's first hideout, the Secret Sanctuary, which was hidden in a sea cave.

Metropolis is located somewhere south of Happy Harbor and north of Freeland and appears to be in Delaware, as in the comics.

Freeland appears to be in Georgia, close to Atlanta. Black Lightning is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.

Santa Prisca is an island prison best known as the birthplace of Bane in the comics. It was previously mentioned in A305 and A710On Cisco's map, it appears to lie east of Trinidad, off the coat of Venezuela.

Cortol Maltese is a banana republic that has been mentioned several times on Arrow. It figured prominently in A303 which revealed that Corto Maltese was where Malcolm Merlyn and Thea Queen traveled after Arrow's season 2 finale. It is located off the coast of Brazil, close to Rio de Janeiro. It was also said to be the site of a genocide arranged by John Corben in S201.

San Monte is a new location to the Arrowverse, but has a notable role in comic history as the site of a revolution which Clark Kent was sent to cover as a war correspondent in his first appearance in Action Comics #1. On Cisco's map, it is located on the northwestern coast of South America, near Columbia and Ecuador.

Zambesi, the home of Vixen, is revealed to be in central Africa. It is immediately to the north of the city of Tinasha - the hometown of Batwing in the New 52 DC Comics universe.

Gorilla City, formerly located on Earth-2, is now located just inland off the western coast of Africa,

Qurac is a fictional Middle Eastern country, located between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Diggle and Lyla Michaels went on a mission there together in A714.

Bialya is another fictional Middle Eastern country, located roughly in the same area as Turkey and Iran. It is usually depicted as a haven for terrorists and mercenaries, particularly metahumans. Roy Harper and John Diggle traveled there in A805.

Kasnia was a key part of Supergirl's season 4 storyline and is located in Easter Europe, on the border of Russia. It was also the setting of several Arrow episodes, including A605.

Markovia first appeared in A216. It is currently a major part of the storyline for Season 3 of Black Lightning and appears to be located in western Russia. (Curiously, the comic book version of Markovia is located in Western Europe, between Belgium and France.)

Nanda Parbat, the home of the League of Assassins in the Arrowverse, is somewhere in the mountains between Nepal and Tibet. While it has a similar location in the comics, it is home to a peaceful brotherhood of monks rather than the League of Assasins in the comics.

Lian Yu, the island Oliver Queen was trapped on for the better part of five years, is located in the East China Sea between Japan and Taiwan.

Dinosaur Island first appeared in Star Spangled War Stories #90. The site of what became known as The War That Time Forgot, it is located in the South Pacific and is, as the name suggests, home to dinosaurs as well as groups of American and Japanese soldiers who became lost in time during World War II.

Kooey Kooey Kooey Island first appeared in Justice League International #3 in 1989. Fearful of being taken over by the USSR or USA during the Cold War, the natives of Kooey Kooey Kooey offered their land to the Justice League as an embassy. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold took advantage of the situation to create a casino resort with a superhero theme: Club JLI.

Cisco creates a binder full of supervillain information, organized into self-designed collector cards., titled Cisco's Who's Who? Binder. This seems to be a not do Who's Who In The DC Universe - a comic book series published after Crisis on Infinite Earths which revealed the new histories of various superheroes and villains.

Cisco's timeline of Post-Crisis Earth-Prime, in a nod to the importance of 52 in the DC Comics multiverse, is labeled Version 5.2.

The organization behind Ultraviolet is revealed to be called The Black Hole in this episode. First appearing in The Flash #1 in 2016 (as part of the DC Rebirth revival), The Black Hole was a sinister cabal of scientists who had begun studying the Speed Force with the intention of tapping its power for the benefit of mankind and their own enrichment.They were led by Dr. Joseph Carver - a former STAR Lab scientist who formed the Black Hole after Dr. Carver approached The Flash about studying the Speed Force and being refused.

The Black Hole in the Arrowverse is also run by a Dr. Joseph Carver, out of McCulloch Technologies. This organization, however, seems to be more corporate than scientific and is more involved in activities like metahuman trafficking and weapons manufacturing than scientific research. They also haven't shown an interest in tapping the Speed Force. Yet.

Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi was introduced into the DC Comics' universe in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4. An arrogant Japanese astronomer, Dr Hoshi was empowered by The Monitor with the ability to generate energy equivalent to the heart of a star. Given a costumed modeled on that of the villainous Dr. Light, Kimiyo was a reluctant hero, at best, and her attitude invited comparison to that of a villain from even the charitable Superman. She was later inspired to true heroism by the sacrifice of Supergirl, though she remained difficult to work with even when she joined the Justice League years later and she often resisted actively working as a hero, reserving her metahuman abilities for when the world was truly endangered. Still, she assumed the moniker of Dr. Light and tried to be a hero.

The new Arrowverse version of Dr. Light is profiled in Cisco's Who's Who Binder. He says that Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi disappeared four years earlier. Described as an astronomer from Tokyo with the metahuman power to "fuel starlight" she lacked the ability to focus her powers in an applicable fashion. Cisco eventually hits on the idea that the Black Hole gave the stolen photon rifle to Dr. Hoshi, as she could use herself as a fuel source for the gun and it would allow her to fire focused energy blasts. Cisco dubbed her the all-new, more-powerful, murder-happy Dr. Light.


Cisco put Nash Wells to work repairing broken pipes in STAR Labs in exchange for a crypto-circuit.

The smudge on Ollie's mask is made up of a mixture of sediment unique to islands in the North China Sea and Mirakuru.

The new security systems at McCulloch Tech are state-of-the-art, using new badges and new cameras.

According to Cisco, the physics behind breaching have changed in the Post-Crisis universe. He confirms that the extrapolators no longer work, which is why he can't instantly teleport to Lian Yu to get Barry. Presumably his powers don't work either, but it is unclear if Cisco is actually powerless (i.e. his powers went away again after The Monitor restored them during Crisis) or effectively powerless due to the changes in how breaching works.

In the last message he sent Cisco Ramon, Harry Wells claimed that he had discovered a process for restoring his intelligence that was proving promising. His neurons were firing 120 times a second and he and Jesse believed they could get that to 200. (This is the average speed for humans.)

The ID Cards at McCulloch Technologies use microchips that reflects ultraviolet radiation. The same microchips are used inside the company's reflector gun and their ID badges.

Frost is apparently capable of freezing photons, as she is able to pull a glowing mass from her wound after being shot by Dr. Light. However, this is impossible as we understand physics, as photons have no mass and do not produce visible light.

Dialogue Triumphs

Diggle: Look, man, if Oliver really wanted you to look into something, don't you think he would've left you a note instead of some secret code?
Barry: (snarky) Oh, because Oliver never kept a secret from you before?
(Diggle opens his mouth as if about to protest and then closes it.)

(Barry thinks he and Diggle need to go to Lian Yu to find a lost shipment of Mirakuru.)
Barry: Look, I know you don't want me to run you there, but it's a 20-hour plane ride.
(Without a word, Diggle reaches into his pocket and pulls out some motion sickness pills. He begins pouring them into his hand and swallows them.)
Barry: That's too much.
Diggle: (in challenge) What you got?

Diggle: It wasn't a warning at all. You're searching for a mission that doesn't exist, Barry. But no amount of searching is gonna bring Oliver back. (sighs) That man sprinted from crusade to crusade. But, Barry, life is more than just the mission, and unfortunately Oliver learned that too late. And he wouldn't want you going down that same path.
Barry: Oliver died so this Earth could live, Dig. I have to do everything I possibly can to protect it.
Diggle: Oliver died for more than this Earth's survival. Oliver laid down his life so the people he loved could live theirs. That includes you. Life's a marathon, not a sprint, Barry. Slow down and enjoy it.

(Cisco is watching a recording of Harry Wells with Caitlin.)
Cisco: He was regaining his intelligence. All of Earth-2. Wiped out. And he doesn't even know it.
Caitlin: But that wasn't your fault.
Cisco: Wasn't it? When the Monitor gave me my powers back, for Crisis, I remembered how powerful I used to be. I can't help thinking that if I hadn't stopped being Vibe, maybe I could have sensed that first anti-matter wave. Maybe I could have saved them.
Caitlin: And that's why you've become so obsessed with all the new threats. You want to protect everyone who did survive on Earth Prime. Cisco, do you regret taking the meta-human cure?
Cisco: No.
Caitlin: Do you miss being Vibe?
Cisco:  (exasperated) Caitlin, it's not that simple. (pauses and thinks) I don't know. I don't know.
Caitlin: You know I think you might be onto something over here. With all these new threats, changes to our reality, we need someone whose job it is to compile all of them. Somebody who remembers the difference between the way it was and the way it is.
Cisco: Yeah, but what you're talking about, that can't just be done in a day. And it certainly can't be done in some room in the middle of Central City.
Caitlin: I know. But I still think you're the man for the job. Besides, maybe some time away from Central City will allow you to figure out who you want to be in this post-Crisis world.
Cisco: (quietly) Yeah. Maybe.


CC Jitters is reopened after being closed since 601. An unfortunate mugger tries to rob it almost immediately and is stopped by The Flash.

Cisco has begun mapping Earth-Prime, building a new timeline of the history of superheroes in this world and creating a binder full of super-villains who exist in the new reality.

Cisco's Binder includes the following villains, who first appeared in the noted episodes.
Abra Kadabra (318)
Amunet Black (405)
Block (502)
Bug-Eyed Bandit (118)
The Dominators (S308)
Girder (106)
Grodd (121)
The Hotness (416)
King Shark (204)
Magenta (303)
The Mist (103)
Null (417)
Trickster (117)
Ultraviolet (602)
Weather Witch (507)
Weather Wizard (115)

Cisco further makes mention of The Top (304), The Eden Corps (415) and Rainbow Raider (108).

The binder features four new villains, not based on previously established comic characters. They are Arielle Mcaplin, Dr. Derek Stricker, Dan Fisk an Emily Palizzi.

Cisco's Timeline includes the following events.
2000: Nora Allen Murdered
2003: Kara Zor-El's Pod Arrives On Earth
2005: J'onn J'onnz Takes Over Hank Henshaw's Identity
2007: The Queen's Gambit sinks off the coast of Lian Yu.
2008: Slade Wilson injected with Mirakuru.
2009: Hong Kong hit by Alpha-Omega virus. Black Lightning retires from vigilantism.
2011: Damien Darkh gains control of his magical idol.
2012: The Hood first appears in Star City.
2013: The Undertaking occurs.
2014: The STAR Labs particle accelerator explodes, Slade Wilson attacks Starling City as Deathstroke, Barry Allen awakes from a 9-month coma and becomes The Flash, John Diggle Jr. and Sara Diggle are born.
2015: Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham City. Supergirl appears for the first time in National City. Rip Hunter recruits the Legends of Tomorrow.
2016: Flash and Supergirl team-up for the first time, Zoom and his army invade Central city, The Ray debuts and the Dominators invade Earth.
2017: Barry Allen and Iris West marry.
2018: Batwoman appears for the first time. Black Lightning comes out of retirement. Thunder debuts. President Marsdin is exposed as an alien.
2019: Crisis Begins.
2020: The heroes return and defeat the Anti-Monitor.

Cisco now owns a Superman T-shirt he knows he didn't have before Crisis.

According to Cisco, none of the alternate-earth superheroes apart from Black Lightning and the Super Friends have been reborn on Earth-Prime. By contrast, the supervillains of various Earths seem to have come to Earth-Prime and previously dead villains on Earth-1 are now alive on Earth-Prime.

Killer Frost is now officially going by just Frost.

According to Nash Wells, the gorillas of Gorilla City are all atheists.

Nash intends to run tests to make sure the path to the anti-matter universe can never be opened again.

Route 119 passes through Central City.

Oliver Queen's last will and testament left Barry Allen the mask that Barry made for Oliver in A209.

Barry sees a smudge mark on the mask and concludes that Oliver left him the mask as a sign of something he was supposed to do in the post-Crisis world.

Iris is approached by a man named Gene Huskk who worked for McCulloch Technologies for 20 years. He tells her about how a photon rifle was stolen from the R&D department by a man he knew as Malcolm Strombard, who was placed in their division despite having no scientific or technical training.

Huskk claims he was fired by McCulloch Technologies after he began investigating Strombard on how own and found he was connected to another group called The Black Hole who used a spiral symbol to identify themselves - the same spiral image on the pin worn by the Maelstrom Couriers man in 607.

Barry and Diggle travel to Lian Yu after Barry finds traces of Mirakuru and dirt unique to that region of islands on Oliver's mask.

It's a 20 hour plane ride from Central City to Lian Yu.

McCulloch Technologies was founded by Joseph Carner and Eva McCulloch with 3 other employees. Today it employs 3000 people in Central City.

Joseph Carver says that his wife died but he tries to run their company according to her wishes.

When questioned about the Photon Rifle, Joseph Carver says that Gene Huskk was fired for excessive paranoia which interfered with his work. He admits there was a spy who infiltrated their R&D department, but they were from rival firm Obsidian Tech rather than some secret group. Husk was unable to accept that, however, and was fired only when his behavior began disturbing other employees.

Iris runs her story despite Carver's warning and it gets 100,000 hits in the first hour on-line. It also results in an immediate lawsuit against the Central City Citizen for defamation of character.

Shortly after Cecile delivers the legal memo informing them of this, the Central City Citizen is attacked by an assassin wielding a photo rifle.

Frost is said to be out looking for the shooter once Camilla and Allegra arrive at STAR Labs.

Nash seems unusually concerned about Allegra nearly dying.

Cisco blows up at Nash, complaining that they lost Harry Wells, Jesse Wells and every other Harrison Wells in the multiverse because of the Crisis and got stuck with Nash.

Gene Husk is killed by the photon rifle wielding assassin in front of Iris. He says the word "mirror" before dying and gives her a security badge for McCulloch Technologies.

Cisco identifies the assassin as Dr. Kimiyo Hoshi - an astronomer with metahuman energy generation powers who disappeared four years earlier. He names her Dr. Light.

Barry doesn't find any Mirakuru on Lian Yu after running across it and searching a dozen times.

Diggle theorizes that Oliver's mask became soaked with dirt and Mirakuru when Oliver and Thea fought Slade Wilson on Mirakuru in A314.

Cisco blames himself for the Crisis, thinking maybe if he'd still had his powers before it he might have sensed it coming or done something to save everyone.

Caitlin suggests that Cisco is ideally suited to chart the differences between the old Earths and Earth-Prime.

Joe talks with Iris and asks her to be more cautious in dealing with the Black Hole.

Team Citizen set a trap for Dr. Light with Frost, Cisco and Joe West, using STAR Labs' hologram generator to create a fake Iris, as the real Iris confronts Joseph Carver over the Black Hole.

Frost is wounded by the photon rifle but is somehow able to use her powers to freeze the light before it passes through her completely.

Iris threatens to release everything connecting McCullouch Technologies and the Black Hole if Carver doesn't call off the hit on her. He does so, leaving Dr. Light to abandon the fight with Frost.

McCulloch Technologies drops the lawsuit against the Central City Citizen.

Cisco decides to travel the world to figure out just how much has changed. He asks Nash Wells to stay behind and take his place on Team Flash.

Iris becomes inspired after thinking of Gene Husk's last word - mirror - and how he hadn't been referring to the tech powering Black Hole's technology but how AV3 - the room Dr. Carver tried to stop her from entering - looks like EVA in a mirror. As in Eva McCulloch.

Iris explores the AV3 room and finds a disused office with a mirror.  Hands grab Iris and pull her into the mirror in the final scene of the episode.


Lian Yu.

Untelevised Adventures

Apparently the entire history of Earth-Prime may be fundamentally different, with various characters who were dead now being alive or having different powers, along with the villains of other Earths  (such as Abra Kadabra) now existing on Earth-Prime.

It isn't made clear in the episode if Cisco has been left powerless in the post-Crisis timeline or if his powers don't function properly because of the laws of physics changing in regards to the vibrations between universes, though Caitlin asks him if he regrets taking the metahuman cure, indicating he was powerless before the Crisis in the revised timeline.

The Bottom Line

"Marathon" runs through a lot of information and has some powerful emotional moments. Unfortunately, these are all in the filler subplots and most of the episode is focused, not on Cisco's exploring the details of Earth-Prime and how its science works or on Barry and his finding his footing in the new world, but on an idiot plot centered on Iris West being the worst reporter in the world, threatening criminals to their face while writing exposes on them. 

What makes this particularly vexing is how contrived the story to get Barry out of the way so he can't solve all her problems in 2 minutes is. And yet watching Oliver Queen's two oldest friends bond over his death is more interesting than watching the Science Mafia try to bump off Iris West. That's largely due to the strength of Gustin and Ramsey's performance more than any fault of the writing, but if they were hoping to make Iris' adventures as a reporter more exciting, this is the wrong way to go about it.

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