Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 7, Episode 2 - The Speed of Thought

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


The Artificial Speed Force gives Barry a new power in the form of speed-thinking, which he feels may hold the key to saving the captives of the Mirrorverse. Cisco, however, is skeptical, and fears there may be a downside to Barry's new power. Meanwhile, Eva must face a harsh truth about herself.


JLA: Tower of Babel (mention of Babel Protocols and explanation they are plans to disable various superheroes.)


Why didn't Cisco destroy the Artificial Speed Force while Barry and the rest of the team were away during their fight? He was all alone in the Speed Lab and had enough time to do it.


Grant Gustin is unnerving as the completely logical "Spock" Flash.

Carlos Valdes gets some great silent acting moments throughout the episode, as he is seen to be thinking of things and reacting to Gustin's increasingly unstable unemotional state.


The special effects for the Frost vs. Flash high-speed fight are phenomenal. 

Flash Facts

Despite Nash and the Council of Wells dying one episode earlier, they are still included in the title card sequence for this episode.

Cisco makes mention of having expanded the Babel Protocols so they are no longer entirely tech-based. This is a nod to the JLA: Tower of Babel storyline in the comics, which was written by longtime Flash writer Mark Waid. In it, Ra's Al Ghul enacted a plan to cause wide-spread chaos using towers that broadcast a signal which hindered humanity's ability to understand spoken or written language. To ensure the Justice League did not stop him, he utilized a series of plans, formulated by Batman, to disable Earth's greatest heroes. The same storyline was adapted to make the animated movie: Justice League: Doom, but in the movie it was a newly formed Legion of Doom led by Vandal Savage that attacked the Justice League with plans stolen from Batman rather than Ra's Al Ghul and the League of Assassins.


Cisco says he thought he could use Atlantean technology to tackle the problem of perpetual motion and open a portal to the Mirrorverse.

According to Chester, there are two big problems that need to be solved to fix Cisco's Mirrorverse portal. First, they have to find the method to reconfigure the molecular stability of the dimensional barrier that damages organic matter. Next, quantum entanglement from reversed Higgs boson particles disrupts the geospatial algorithm, preventing them from being able to locate people inside the Mirrorverse. This means they have to know precisely where their friends are in order to retrieve them.

Barry determines that Iris' neural pathways have likely achieved an equilibrium with the harmonic frequency of contained within the fractalized dimensional plane and this is why she was able to use the computers in the Mirrorverse to send messages.

According to Cisco, Barry's neurons are now constantly firing at super-speed ever since he became bonded to the Artificial Speed Force, with synaptic connections that are off the charts. Barry is now capable of thinking faster than a quantum computer, resulting in enhanced cognition by way of a Speed Force booster shot. In short, Barry can think faster than ever, in addition to running fast.

Cisco invents a Quantum Ball - a ball which amplified kinetic energy, firing in directions that can only be described as unpredictable. Unpredictable, that is, except to Barry with his new speed-thinking powers.
Bloodwork's unique cells created a polar covalent bond with the molocules in Eva's mirror portal. This is why she needed his blood; to create a bio-friendly skin on the interdimensional barrier.

Barry says they do not need Bloodwork's blood, because it would have bonded with the electro-negative particles and become dark matter photons. These particles would not just stay on the mirror portal - they would have attached themselves to Eva as she passed from the Mirrorverse into the real world.

Cisco says if they could collect those particles from Eva, they could use those to open their Mirrorverse portal, but it would take them years to build a prototype to do it. Barry is able to fast-track the process, by integrating the neural net in the Thinker's chair to synch to a nanite bridge, fed into the Tachyon enhancer's non-reductive loop. 

Factoring in geographic analytics and concealment probability, Barry is able to locate the remaining Black Hole safe-houses in Central City and estimates with a 97.6% certainty which one Mirror Mistress will attack. 

Barry creates a cure for the light attack that injured Frost; a cryogenically fortified paracetamol cocktail that fortified her cellular walls. 

When asked why he allowed Frost to get shot, Barry says there was a .0002% chance that the Tachyon Enhancer would be damaged by his attempting to save Frost, while the odds that he would fail to find a way to heal her injuries were much smaller. Logically, the best thing to do was allow her to be injured and then trust that he would be able to heal her.

Barry says Frost should recuperate from her injuries for 14.2 minutes. 

McCulloch Technologies' black box servers run a hybrid theorem-proving system with model checking. 

Gideon says it will take 18.4 hours to run the quantum computations needed to analyze all the temporal-spatial data behind the Mirrorverse portal. Barry suggests the data can be processed more quickly by inverting the Feynman shortcut and applying it to one-half mass times velocity squared, compensating for tachyon decay. This allows the numbers to be processed in seconds.

According to Barry, the longer someone is in the Mirrorverse, the more dark matter photons are rquired to pull them back to reality. Unfortunately, the quantity that they have limits them to being able to retrieve Kamilla and Singh or Iris.

People brought into the Mirrorverse using the mirror gun develop a condition similar to neural dissonance, which causes them to feel intense physical pain. Iris somehow knows this, for no apparent reason.

Eobard Thawne used negative emotions to stabilize his Negative Speed Force machine. To avoid the same mistakes he made, Cisco used an inert substance - an argon-xenon hybrid - that would generate no emotional fallout in constructing their Artificial Speed Force. Unfortunately, in doing this, Cisco accidentally wound up making it so that the ASF increased Barry Allen's cognitive function by a factor of 1000, but his emotional responses have decreased by the same factor.

The anti-speedster gun Cisco built releases a charge of what he calls Velocity-Zero, which temporarily dampens a speedster's speed.

Dialogue Triumphs

Barry: (voice-over) He was the most brilliant mind I ever met. They all were. Whatever the problem, you could count on a Wells - a council of them - to have the answers. Now, they're all gone. And we've got to find the answers ourselves.

Cisco: Why does it always feel like for us to win some of us have to lose?

(Barry has explained his plan to build a jerry-rigged device to absorb the particles they need from Mirror Mistress herself, using two blackboards worth of formulas.)
But isn't Eva still holed up behind McCulloch Tech's forcefield? We'll never get close to her!
(Barry's jaw drops and he gestures with his marker.)
Allegra: (sighs) You're going to bring out another board?
(There is a woosh as Barry runs off to get another blackboard.)

(Cisco explains that the Artificial Speed Force has enhanced Barry's intelligence, but is repressing his emotions by an equal factor.)
I am better this way. The team is safer this way.
Cisco: (putting a hand on Barry's shoulder) Look, man. I know you think your heart has been used against you. But's not a weakness. It's makes you human. I mean, without it...
(Cisco glances to one side and sees the targeting screen for the Mirrorverse portal. There is a long pause as the significance of it hits him. Still, he hesitates to ask what he already knows.)
Why is the portal target set to Iris?
(Barry does not respond.)
What about saving the others?!
Barry: We do not have enough dark matter photons to save all three of them.
(There s another long pause as Cisco mulls this other, blinking.)
Cisco: So... instead of consulting your team, you just decided on your own?
Barry: I've already seen the outcome of this debate. You eventually vote to save Kamilla and Singh.
Cisco: Like hell! I would never vote on something like that! If you had come to me,  would've told you we'll find another way. That's what we always do!
Barry: Your emotions are making you irrational. 
Cisco: And your lack of them are making you wrong! 

(Frost has just landed on a car after being sent flying several blocks by a super speed punch.)
The Flash:
Your defeat is inevitable. The Velocity-X in your system is nearly depleted. Your time as a Speedster is coming to an end.
Frost: (panting) Maybe. But I'm not only a Speedster.
(Frost suddenly spins around in imitation of Barry preparing to throw lightning. As she does so, a ice blue bolt mixed with lightning jumps from her fingers, racing toward Barry. He is unable to dodge as the thunder shower blows him back off his feet. As he goes flying, Allegra runs out from behind a car and hits him with a smoke bomb. Suddenly he is on the floor in the Speed Lab, where Cisco Ramon is waiting and shoots him again with the Zelocity-Zero gun.)


Team Flash have created a memorial space in STAR Labs, which has displays for every friend they've lost in the fight against evil. 

Cisco says the memorial room is nano-engraved with the names of the fallen, so that even if reality is rewritten and the timeline changes they will not be forgotten. 

The displays in the Team Flash memorial room include Captain Cold's goggles, Ronnie Raymond's jacket from his Firestorm costume, XS' costume jacket, Jesse Quick's jacket, and a large display holding Harry Wells' glasses, HR Wells' drum sticks, Sherloque Wells' magnifying glass, and (after Cisco adds it to the mannequin in the center) Nash Wells' bandoleer satchel. 

Allegra still has the picture of her alternate self and Nash, which she took in 701.

Allegra gets the message which Iris sent to Jamilla and Singh, telling them to meet her ni the Speed Lab at STAR Labs at 19:00.

The technology Cisco retrieved from Atlantis (which he left to get in 618) doesn't work like he'd hoped.

Chester is apparently visiting his grandmother, but is continuing to do some science work in between rounds of bingo.

According to Cisco, Eva used Bloodwork's blood to tackle the first problem they have with creating a Mirrorverse gate when opening her portal in 617; they need something to recofigure the portal's natural tendency to destroy organic matter.

Barry begins to have visions of the complicated concepts Cisco is about to explain before he can explain them.

Allegra tells Cisco and Barry about Iris' message.

Sunshine says she thinks Eva looks like she hasn't slept in some time and that she has a look in her eyes similar to the one that her husband had when she was hiding something from his followers. Eva denies that she is hiding anyuthing.

Sunshine refers to herself, Ultraviolet and Dr. Light as The Assassins Three.

Eva elects to go after the next Black Hole safehouse herself.

Cisco invents a quantum ball to test Barry's newfound ability to think quickly. Barry is successfully able to predict exactly where an allegedly unpredictable ball will bounce.

Using his new speed-thinking powers, Barry is able to figure out that the particles they need to open their portal can be taken directly from Mirror Mistress, builds the advanced technology they need to do that and predicts the next Black Hole safehouse she's likely to attack, which can be the setting of an ambush instead.

Iris finds Kamilla outside STAR Labs, spray-painting a message for her on the wall outside the building.

Iris thinks she's been in the Mirrorverse long enough that she's gained the ability to manipulate the realm. 

Kamilla says she wasn't able to find Singh at the hospital.

Kamilla and Iris go off to look for Singh together.

Barry called Frost back earlier, to have her act as a distraction while he absorbed the particles they needed from Mirror Mistress.

Barry's plan works, but he hesitates as Mirror Mistress attacks Frost with another focused light blast. Cisco sees Barry not move as Frost is shot.

Barry creates a cure for Frost's injuries after running 2,371 tests in his head in a span of seconds.

Barry describes superspeed thinking as experiencing a barrage of images flying at him or having a scene play out in his head.

Based on Iris' message and the warning that Eva is watching, Barry says the next step is thinking of a solution to that problem and making sure Eva doesn't try to stop them from rescuing the Mirrorverse captives.

Allegra tells Cecile that she's always rejected father figures in her life, since her dad abandoned her before she could walk. This was why she resisted Nash trying to get close to her.

Cecile's grandfather was the first Black paralegal in Oklahoma. Her mother was the first female independent counsel in the state of Texas. She keeps her grandfather's filling cabinet and mother's briefcase as mementos of them. 

Barry figures out that Eva is a fractal clone of the real Eva McCulloch and how to hack her computers to find the video file Joseph Carver left behind. He did this after overhearing her refer to herself as a phantom, thinking back to Carver's dying words in 619 about Mirror Mistress no really being his wife, and going on to analyze her behavior patterns, body language and graphological handwriting.

Eva appears on a local talks how, The Arielle Atkins show, to talk about her plans to develop fresh water, healthier crops and clean renewable energy.

Barry elects to broadcast the hacked security footage of Eva McCulloch's death. This leads Mirror Mistress to have an emotional breakdown on live television, destroying a glass which cuts the face of Arielle Atkins and Eva fleeing the show set, disappearing into a reflection.

Sunshine abandons Mirror Mistress. 

Barry says there were 141 ways to distract Mirror Mistress. Exposing her to the world was the most effective way to ensure she'd be unable to stop them from opening their portal. Barry says making their enemies emotionally upset makes them prone to making mistakes, despite Frost and Cisco saying getting Mirror Mistress upset doesn't seem like a good idea.

Barry determines, and confirms with Gideon, that there are only enough dark photos to safely retrieve either Iris or both Kamilla and Singh. He then runs a simulation to see how the rest of the team would react to this news. Unsurprisingly, they all vote to save the larger number of people and leave Iris in the Mirrorverse. As such, Barry elects not to tell them and tries to open the portal and retrieve Iris on his own.

Cisco determines that the protocols he put into the Artificial Speed Force to prevent Barry's emotions from influencing the device have instead repressed his emotions while enhancing the logic centers of his brain.

Cisco notices, as he is explaining his mistake to Barry, that the portal is set to target Iris and no one else.

Barry denies that his decision to save Iris is based on emotion - it's because Iris has knowledge of Eva they need to fight her. As such, Singh and Kamilla are expendable.  When he uses that word, Cisco pulls a gun from one of the cabinets in the speed lab and calls in Frost and Allegra.

Allegra enters the fight wearing a white bandoleer satchel, similar to Nash's.

Frost injects herself with Velocity-X, temporarily giving her super-speed to combat Barry in a running battle across Central City.

Allegra is able to ambush Barry with one of Nssh's teleporting smoke bombs. This sends him back to STAR Labs, where he falls on the ground and has the wind knocked out of him, giving Cisco time to shoot him with another blast of Velocity-Zero.

Cisco makes mention of the Babel Protocols, which were first mentioned in 402. Originally limited to a self-destruct mode built into The Flash suit, they now consist of multiple plans to take down Barry Allen (and, presumably, other superheroes) in case of an emergency.

The Quantum Ball Barry threw at the start of the fight hits Cisco, knocking him out and causing him to accidentally blast the crystal Allegra is holding - the same one Nash gave her in 619 that causes a person to relieve their worst memories, when Allegra uses her powers on it. This causes Allegra to blast herself, which causes her to blast Frost and knock her out before she passes out from shock.

As Barry opens the portal, Iris is in the middle of trying to get Kamilla and Singh to the medical bay.

Iris refuses to go and leave the injured Singh and Kamilla behind. Shockingly, Barry did not predict this happening. 

Barry forces Iris to come through the portal, but seems to injure her in the process as she passes out once the portal is closed.

The realization of what he's done thanks to his hyper-logic leads Barry do throw lightning into the Artificial Speed Force, destroying it. This also seems to cause a feedback loop, which causes Barry to experience a debilitating electric shock of blue lightning. 

In her office, Mirror Mistress begins muttering to herself that this isn't her world anymore, but it can be.

At CCPD HQ, one of the cops is grabbed by Mirror Mistress, through her reflection, while in an elevator.

The final scene, labeled "Once Upon A Time..." replays the flashback scene from 117 where Eobard Thawne replaced the original Harrison Wells of Earth-1. This time, we also see Thawne burying Wells' remains in a shallow grave. The scene ends with a focus on the grave as green specks of energy appear around the grave, rebuilding the body of the original Harrison Wells, before fading to black and giving us a "To Be Continued..." notice.

The Bottom Line

A step-up over the last few episodes, thanks to a smart script and some solid performances. The opening scene gives the Wells the send-off they should have gotten last week and the last scene suggests Tom Cavanagh isn't quite done with the show yet. Between that, we get some great CGI fights and a reminder of how smart these characters are meant to be... ignoring that Cisco probably could have shut down the ASF while Frost was running around with Barry. 

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