Monday, March 21, 2022

The Flash Episode Guide: Season 8, Episode 6 - Impulsive Excessive Disorder

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


Returning home to 2049, Nora and Bart West-Allen are surprised to find Jay Garrick alive and well. They are even more surprised when he mentions his wife, Rose, rather than the "Aunt Joan" they grew up with. The trail back in time to find out where things changed leads the siblings to 2013 and the very first metahuman crime spree in Central City after STAR Labs' particle accelerator exploded. Can the siblings save the day without creating a plethora of new paradoxes?


The Flash comics of Mark Waid, Back to the Future (children travel back in time and risk changing their parents past) and Doctor Who.


The interplay between Jordan Fisher and Jessica Parker Kennedy is pitch-perfect. The two have great chemistry together.


The static lightning effects for XS and Impulse look unique and memorable.

Flash Facts

The episode title is a play on the mental health condition "obsessive compulsive disorder."

This episode marked the first appearance of Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne since 316.. Coincidentally, these episodes also almost aired exactly five years apart.

In the revised future timeline, Jay Garrick says that he's married to a woman named Rose who is at a botany club meeting. This may be a clever nod to Rose Canton, aka Thorn - a villainess with plant control powers who first appeared in Flash Comics #89 in November 1947. In the comics, Rose later went on to become the first wife of Green Lantern Alan Scott and gave birth to his children Jade and Obsidian. 

This episode features a cameo by Booster Gold in one newspaper article. This episode originally aired one week after Booster Gold made his Arrowverse premiere in L713.

This episode identifies the Queen of the Royal Flush Gang as a metahuman telepath named Mona Taylor.

In the comics, Monya Taylor was a washed up actress who was recruited to be the Queen of a new incarnation of the Royal Flush Gang in Justice League of America #203 in June 1982. A drunk and a gambling addict, she often came into conflict with her more competent underling, Ten.

The credits for the episode identify Ten as a woman named Wanda Wayland.

In the comics, Wanda Wayland was a skilled test pilot who was fired after she refused the advances of her boss. She was later recruited as the Ten of a new incarnation of the Royal Flush Gang in Justice League of America #203 in June 1982.

The credits for the episode also identify Jack as Jake Fox. This does not match any previous version of Jack from the comics, but his last name may be a tribute to writer Gardner Fox, who created the Royal Flush Gang.

The King, curiously, does not get a real name in the episode or the credits.

This is the first episode of The Flash to take place entirely in flashback,as the events of this episode predate 801.

Eddie and Iris' first interaction as depicted in this episode matches Iris' description of how they met and started dating in 101.

Jay Garrick makes reference to traveling back in time to fight Nazis and spending 16 years living on and off in the past. Beyond possibly being a reference to a Post-Crisis Justice Society of America (which existed without Jay Garrick in the Pre-Crisis Earth-1 of the Arrowverse) this mimics what happened to the Amazon Queen Hippolyta in the Post-Crisis Wonder Woman comics, where she briefly replaced her daughter as Wonder Woman and traveled back in time to World War II, becoming the Golden Age Wonder Woman and making those stories canon once again.

When Bart and Nora pose as CSI interns in the past, they give the aliases Bart Waid and Nora Moy. This is a tribute to writer Mark Waid (who co-created Impulse) and artist Jeff Noy (who co-created XS.)

At the end of the episode, Jay Garrick makes a joke about Lex Luthor being President of the United States. This actually did happen in the Post-Crisis DC Comics Universe and in various adaptations, such as the Earth of Smallville (Earth-167) and almost happened on Earth-38 during Supergirl Season 4.

Avery, the intern who helps XS and Impulse fix the timeline, may be an adaptation of Avery Ho, aka The Flash of China who was introduced into the DC Comics Multiverse in The Flash: Rebirth in 2016.

In the final scene of the episode, Iris is revealed to have dyed her hair red. In the original Flash comics, Iris West was a natural redhead. 


XS guesses that she and Impulse accidentally created massive temporal fissures when they used the Cosmic Treadmill right after Godspeed, as it wasn't built to withstand the energy of three speedsters at once.

Avery's thesis involves temporal dynamics and quantum divergence, proving that time travel is possible. She's trying to prove that Tolman's paradox can give rise to quantum superposition and that tachyon exchanges between two particles can generate superposition and entangle molecular pairs.

By moving Joe West instead of the bullet that was going to wound him, Bart created a new series of events leading to more changes in the timeline.

Nora's gauntlet, which utilizes integrated quantum circuitry, can measure temporal particles in flux.

The Royal Flush Gang's heist becomes a fixed point in time that cannot be changed. However, the casualties reported in the article about it keep changing because the deaths aren't casually entangled. This means it may be possible to prevent all the deaths, so long as the heist itself still occurs.

Dialogue Triumphs

Bart: Okay, okay. Why don't we just go back in time minutes, and see for ourselves - what we did wrong?
Nora: (sarcastically) Oh, okay. So you wanna fix our time-travel screwups by traveling back in time. Again!
Bart: Well, when you say it like that... 

(Bart and Nora finishing telling Jay what happened.)
So you... you're not mad?
Jay: I'm alive. Right? My Joan is back. (chuckling) Why would I be mad? Bart, you're on a journey... Both of you. You're gonna make mistakes, and sometimes... they can't be undone. But you can always try to make things better. Right? And that's what you did today. (turns around to leave) Now, I gotta get out of here. I got an important meeting with President Luthor.
Nora and Bart: President Luthor?
Jay: (grinning) Gotcha!


The first scene replays the ending of 718, with XS and Impulse returning to their own time after attending the ceremony where Barry and Iris renew their wedding vows.

Barry claims that Gideon told him there were no changes to the timeline caused by XS and Impulse coming back in time.

When XS and Impulse return to their time, there is a green wave of energy signaling a temporal change, similar to the ones caused by the Still Force.

Bart immediately notices that a trophy case holding Jay Garrick's helmet has vanished.

A moment later, Jay Garrick arrives carrying multiple Big Belly Burger bags, having just made a food run. This astonishes Bart and Nora, as Jay had originally died fighting Godspeed in their timeline.

Barry and Iris are said to be in Milan celebrating the anniversary of their wedding renewal vow.

Jay says the rest of Team Flash are all kind of busy, but does not elaborate why, saying Nora and Bart already know why. 

In the revised future, Jay Garrick wasn't killed by Godspeed several months before Nora and Bart followed him back in time. Instead, Impulse saved him from Godspeed. However, Jay also never met Dr. Joan Allen and instead married a woman named Rose.

Using the computer at the Flash Museum, Nora and Bart trace back through several records and uncover several cases that they don't remember. These include one version of the Trickster invading Tibet and a corruption scandal involving the son of Anthony Bellows Jr. who apparently became Mayor of Central City just like his father (Anthony Bellows Sr. was arrested by Flash and Elongated Man in 404.)

Bart and Nora also see a newspaper article from November 12, 2032, discussing a man named Booster Gold being honored at the White House. They dismiss this as unimportant but, strangely enough, neither has any idea who Booster Gold is. This suggests that their time travel may have elevated Booster Gold out of obscurity. 

A newspaper article from May 3, 2016 describes Police Chief Joe West being attacked by the villain Zoom. Nora and Bart note that, in their original timeline, Joe West didn't become Chief of Police until much later. (At the time of this episode, Joe West was retired from the CCPD and had never served as Police Chief.)

Nora eventually determines that all the changes date back to December 31, 2013, when Joe West was shot during a jewelry store robbery. They decide to go back and stop Joe from getting shot, figuring that will fix everything else.

To blend in at the CCPD, Nora and Bart pretend to be CSI interns. Nora also has the foresight to make them fake IDs, which is fortunate because they are almost immediately caught by Eddie Thawne.

Nora and Bart watch Joe try to approach Cecile Horton to ask her out to a New Year's Eve party, but she shoots him down immediately, saying she's busy and thinks all men are scum.

Apparently Cecile only finalized her divorce one week earlier and Joe did not know this.

Eddie confides in Bart and Nora that he's having trouble fitting in and his new partner barely speaks to him. At their suggestion, he decides to buy coffee for the rest of bullpen. 

While waiting in line to get coffee, Bart bumps into an intern at Fast Track Labs named Avery. The two hit it off immediately after Bart sees her thesis.

Bart moves Joe just enough that the bullet at the robbery doesn't touch him, instead of allowing Nora time to figure out the best way to change the past without touching anything. As they are arguing about how inconsequential the robber was, not even "a metahuman with powers", their talk is overheard by a woman named Mona Taylor - the Queen of the Royal Flush gang from 801.

After rejecting the idea of time-traveling back further, Nora and Bart fixate on the idea of getting a hold of the security footage of the robbery. Unfortunately, Eddie Thawne won't just give it to them.

In the new timeline, Mona Taylor realizes she is not alone and begins looking for other confused metahumans earlier than she did in the original timeline. This leads to the changes outlined in 801, where the Royal Flush Gang was said to have launched their first casino heist on New Year's Eve 2013.

Ten's powers are confirmed to be enhanced agility.

Nora and Bart approach Joe to get the security footage. They distract him by talking about how he got shot down by Cecile Horton and suggest lilacs and crumb cake to get her attention - her favorite flowers and desert respectively. This leads Joe to have lilacs sent to her office.

After watching the heist footage, Nora and Bart recognize The Queen and figure out that she must have learned about metahumans sooner than in the original timeline because of them.

Bart feels depressed after learning how he messed up and visits a comatose Barry in the hospital.

Nora comforts Bart by saying that she made mistakes starting out as a hero too.

Nora and Bart go to Avery, figuring they need an expert on time travel theory to help them fix things. At first Avery is skeptical of their story of being time travelers, even after they somehow get into Fast Track Labs despite a high-tech security system.

Avery is convinced after Nora reluctantly tries to use her gauntlet to show her something about her future. However, seeing the gauntlet is enough to convince her, given that it is far more advanced than anything that could possibly exist in 2013.

Bart slowly evacuates people from the casino at super speed as Nora searches for a bomb planted by the Royal Flush Gang.

Nora is able to throw the bomb out of the casino and hide it among the fireworks at New Years Eve.

Iris shows up at the station and meets Eddie Thawne for the first time, as he and Joe are facing an all-nighter dealing with the aftermath of the casino heist.

Cecile approaches Joe and tells him she is not ready to start dating again, but when she is he will be the first to know.

Bart and Nora pose for a photo of all the cops at the party before going back to 2049.

Bart says goodbye to Avery and they kiss. He promises to come back and see her again.

Jay tells Bart that his father screwed up the timeline all the time when he was first starting and talks a little bit about his own misadventures in time.

The final scene takes place sometime after the end of 805. The caption says Present Day, but it is apparently New Year's Day based on Chester's asking everyone if they have any resolutions.

According to Frost, she's forgiven Chillblaine for his criminal past and he's reformed and resolved to go completely straight.

Caitlin is said to have a new boyfriend named Marcus, but nobody has met him yet.

Allegra resolves to party less, apparently being hung over from a New Year's Eve Party the night before.

Iris has dyed her hair red.

As everyone leaves Joe's house to go to brunch, Iris' hair brush fades away in a flash of green temporal particles.


Central City - 2049
Central City - December 31, 2013
Central City - January, 1 2022

Untelevised Adventures

Jay Garrick makes reference to living in the past on and off for 16 years and fighting Nazis during World War II after time traveling for the first time.

The Bottom Line

A welcome return to form and a solid argument for a spin-off centered around Barry's kids.

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