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Barry starts creating a "map book" based on what he's learned of his future and trying to build the best possible life for himself and Iris. Unfortunately, the future isn't what it used to be and the two quickly become trapped in a time loop, repeating February 1, 2023 over and over.
The movie Groundhog Day (Specially evoked by Cecile. Ironically, it takes place the day before the American holiday of Groundhog Day, which is celebrated on February 2nd.) and Legends of Tomorrow, particularly the Here I Go Again episode.(Being trapped in a comedic time loop.)
Candice Patton has a far more subdued response than the rest of the cast to the red lightning death in Barry's nightmare sequence. They all scream and shake while she just slumps over into his arms.
Allegra is awfully free about discussing her secret identity in the open office of CCC Media.
The Rosewood Hotel Georgia, a notable hotel in Vancouver, is prominently featured in the background shots of downtown Central City.
The episode concludes with the dramatic reveal of a bat-shaped emblem made of red lighting, revealing the mysterious figure backing Captain Boomerang as the Red Death. However, the episode says nothing about this and the symbol only has meaning if you read the Dark Nights: Metal comics featuring the character or heard the news about the character being played by Batwoman actor Javicia Leslie.
Richard Scott Harmon is engaging as the new Captain Boomerang.
The new Captain Boomerang costume is a nice mix of elements from the classic costume (scarf and cap) and the more militarized costume favored by Owen Mercer in the comics.
This is the first episode where Jesse L. Martin is not part of the opening scroll of recurring characters before the title card and is credited as a Guest Star.
The title card sequence now features Jon Corr's Mark "Chillblaine" Blaine as a series regular, but he does not appear in this episode.
This is the first episode to feature Richard Scott Harmon as Owen Mercer, AKA Captain Boomerang II.
First appearing in Identity Crisis #3 in 2004, Owen Mercer was the illegitimate son of George "Digger" Harkness, the first Captain Boomerang. Owen grew to young adulthood ignorant of his heritage, until his father tracked him down with the assistance of the Calculator. The two bonded briefly just before Digger's death at the hands of Jack Drake. Owen was recruited into the Rogues as the new Captain Boomerang by Captain Cold, but ultimately left them to join Nightwing's Outsiders and Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad. Ironically, he was later killed by the Rogues during the Blackest Night event for killing innocent women and children at the direction of his father's zombie, in a misguided effort to resurrect him.
The Arrowverse version of Owen Mercer is said to be a career criminal who has been in and out of Iron Heights since he was 19. He does not have any known connection to Digger Harkness. He also lacks the limited superspeed that Owen Mercer had in the comics, which enabled him to throw boomerangs fast enough to tag The Flash.
Iris is said to win a Pulitzer for an article titled "Nightmare Under Red Skies." This seems to be a clear nod to how Crisis events in DC Comics always have skies turning red.
The episode ends with the revelation that the brains behind the new Captain Boomerang is an evil speedster whose symbol resembles the Bat-Symbol made of red-lightning. This is the symbol of the Red Death, who first appeared in Dark Days: The Casting #1 - a tie-in to the Dark Nights: Metal event.
The Red Death was an evil version of Bruce Wayne, from the dark universe dubbed Earth -52. In this world, Bruce Wayne merged with his world's version of Barry Allen, stealing his speed and going insane, killing his enemies while Barry Allen's soul, trapped in the Speed Force, was powerless to do anything but watch.
The Omega Maneuvers apparently involve all of Team Flash ganging up on a single villain.
Chester uses a portable force-field to protect a box full of explosives Tar Pit is trying to destroy.
The new Captain Boomerang is armed with exploding boomerangs, electric boomerangs, a force-field and a teleporter.
Chester detects composite temporal particles surrounding both Iris and Barry. He says this confirms they've been exposed to a tachyon feedback loop.
Chester determines that the device Captain Boomerang keeps stealing is the battery of a Roemer Accelerator, which is a compact and portable version of the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator. He says that Barry's speed interacting with such a device could be create the temporal loop.
The battery Captain Boomerang stole as being made of quantum-based micro circuitry.
On Day 3, Chester tries to reverse engineer the photon relays of the battery.
Chester detects a fusion signature inside the Roemer Accelerator, determining that Captain Boomerang planted a tactile nuke inside the device.
The Flash: (To Tar Pit) Welcome back. Let's do this. One last time.
The Flash: Hey there! You must be new in town! I'm The Flash. And you are?
Captain Boomerang: Your worst nightmare, dumbass. And please - you can call me Captain.
(Mercer holds his coat open too show off the rows of boomerangs.)
(Iris just realized that the timeline is messed up.)
Iris: Barry, what did you do this time?
The Flash: Captain Boomerang, right? Didn't we do this already?
Captain Boomerang: Nope. And since you know who I am, I'm sure you're aware that I'm your worst nightmare.
(Mercer holds his coat open too show off the rows of boomerangs.)
The Flash: You said the same thing yesterday.
Captain Boomerang: Dumbass, we just met. Just now. Let's skip to the fighting part so I can cut that stupid look off your face.
(Mercer throws his boomerangs at The Flash, who easily dodges them. In the middle of all this, Iris calls him on his cowl radio.)
Iris: Barry, did you time-travel us?
The Flash: If I did, it wasn't on purpose!
Captain Boomerang: There is one thing you don't know about me - I always have a comeback!
This episode takes place on Wednesday February 1, 2023. It is said to be one week after the events of 820.
The opening sequence finds Team Flash fighting Tar Pit, who last appeared in 212. Frost, Chester, Allegra, Cecile, Joe and Iris all join Barry in the fight.
Barry realizes the opening fight sequence is a dream after noticing that Frost is still alive. This confirms that whatever happened to Caitlin in 820 did not bring Frost back.
Everyone except Barry dies of apparent brain hemorrhages after red lighting sparks in their eyes.
Barry tells Iris to "just say yes" before going to work.
Joe and Chester are training Cecile in using her telepathy by throwing footballs through a tire. Cecile has the strength to manage this task easily, but lacks fine control.
Cecile's telekinesis is strong enough to a glass beer mug with a thrown football.
Cecile senses something wrong when she tells Joe she's excited about being the muscle of Team Flash.
Allegra tells Iris about the events of 817 - specifically, how Taylor, Vanya and Aariz now know about her powers and how she and Taylor are no longer fighting.
Taylor is working on an ad-free portal for the CCC Media website, but complains to Iris about the filing system needing to be fixed.
Allegra surprises Iris with the news that she had a meeting with Cat Grant, who wants to buy CCC Media and turn it into a subsidiary of CatCo Worldwide Media. Cat Grant reportedly offered them a blank check and said all Iris had to do was "just say yes."
Allegra notes that Nora and Bart said Iris would eventually build her own giant media empire and win a Pulitzer Prize. She thinks this may be what sets her on that path.
Iris says she will get back to Allegra and that she left her phone at home, clearly nervous about the deal.
Barry is called into the office of Captain Kramer. He immediately puts his name up for the recently vacated position of Director of CCPD's CSI department. Kramer is stunned by this, as the position literally just became open. She is concerned, however, that Barry won't be able to balance the work load and being The Flash. Barry convinces her it won't be a problem and she agrees to recommend him to the mayor.
The Flash is summoned to deal with the robbery of a Kord Industries truck.
The robber reveals himself to be the new Captain Boomerang. Chester and Allegra identify him as an ex-con named Owen Mercer.
Mercer makes his escape after putting up a forcefield that Barry runs into and teleporting away with a component stolen from the device inside the Kord Industries truck.
Barry is oddly undisturbed about Captain Boomerang escaping and tells Chester and Allegra than can deal with him tomorrow. It is later revealed that this is because he knew he didn't catch the new Captain Boomerang the first day they fought him.
The device Captain Boomerang disassembled sparks after Barry leaves the crime scene.
As they are getting ready for bed, Iris asks Barry if he knew about the CatCo offer. Barry says that he did and reveals his map book charting the future that leads to XS and Impulse being the way they are.
The map book says that Sue Dearbon will become the richest woman in the world in 2024 after buying Big Belly Burger and forcing them to shift to a plant-based menu.
The map book also says that Iris wins her first Pulitzer in 2023 for an article titled "Nightmare Under Red Skies." This could foreshadow a coming Crisis event.
Iris is upset by Barry trying to map out the future and not letting their future together be a surprise.
Barry tells Iris about how he keeps having nightmares about failing to keep her and their family and friends safe and the map book is his way of making sure they get the future they are meant to have.
Barry tells Iris that she is going to get pregnant with Nora in three months (May 2023) and will go on to win two Pulitzers.
Barry makes reference to the Mirror Dimension from The Flash season 7 and the battle with Despero and Iris' time sickness from The Flash season 8.
Pink particles float around Iris and Barry as they go to sleep that night.
When Barry and Iris wake up, it is still February 1, 2023. Neither of them notice this, however.
Iris does not notice that Allegra is repeating the same news she gave her "yesterday" until she starts talking about the blank check from Cat Grant. Allegra is confused by Iris knowing what she is going to say before she says it.
Barry doesn't notice that time is looping until he is called into Captain Kramer's office. However, his confusion over thinking she was already recommending him for the CSI Director job causes her to reconsider the recommendation since he is clearly overworked.
Barry tries throwing lightning at Captain Boomerang the second time they fight, which triggers an explosion that seems to kill Barry... until he wakes up in bed next to Iris. This causes them to figure out they are stuck in a time loop.
Chester figures out that the Kord Industries tech interacting with Barry's speed is what is causing the time loop.
Barry borrows the key component Captain Boomerang stole so Chester can analyze it.
Chester's efforts to test the component on Day 3 causes an explosion that kills him and Barry.
Chester blows himself and Barry up again on Day 4.
By Day 18, Barry has Chester wearing an armored suit and tells him not to touch the battery at all. This time, Barry blows them up with a Speed Force spark accidentally starts the explosion.
On Day 19, Iris is up before Barry wakes and is drinking wine for breakfast. She tells Barry that she's decided to enjoy herself since it probably won't matter.
Iris reveals that she's refused to say yes to the CatCo deal every single day since they got stuck in the loop.
Barry suggests that Iris defying the map book is what caused the time loop instead of the Roemer Accelerator theft. Iris doesn't care , however, saying that if the choice is doing what some book tells her to do or just having fun being trapped in the same day with no consequences, she'll happily be stuck in the same day forever.
Iris tells Barry that being bounced around in time was her worst nightmare and that is why she's come to love being able to live in time normally over the past week and is afraid to let anything control what she does, good or bad.
Barry winds up running around the entire city with his map book trying to clear his head. He winds up at Joe's house, just as he and Cecile are getting ready to have dinner.
Barry shows Joe the map book. He reads an entry which says that Barry and Iris will eventually move into his house. Nora will chip a tooth on the staircase and Bart will say his first word on the same couch they are sitting on.
Joe tells Barry that Iris may be safe in the future he is creating, but it says nothing about if she is happy with it or how it comes about.
Barry decides to burn the map book, agreeing with Iris they should let the future come as it will and just trust that things will work out.
On Day 20, Iris and Barry decide to spend the day together and just have fun with the loop. This leads to Barry going with Iris to work and handing out bagels.
Iris decides that, rather than take the offer from Cat Grant, she is going to get a loan from Sue Dearbon, buy the Coast City Gazette, and use that to start her empire on her own terms rather than as part of Cat Grant's network.
Iris and Barry spend the next few hours enjoying a pool and tropical drinks somewhere.
Iris goes with Barry to his meeting with Captain Kramer and helps convince her to give him the recommendation for the Director job.
This time, Iris goes with Barry to fight Captain Boomerang, shooting him with an energy gun while he's distracted by Barry making fun of him.
Captain Boomerang still escapes by teleporting.
Rather than try to move the accelerator, Barry uses his powers to phase the nuclear explosion through the city until it dissipates.
Allegra and Chester kiss for the first time in sheer joy that they didn't get blown up.
Barry says they went through the time loop 58 times.
Iris takes a phone call from Sue Dearbon. She confirms that Iris now owns the Coast City Gazette and it is part of her company.
Allegra asks how a thug like Mercer is suddenly a tech genius and where he got access to a teleporter and high-tech boomerangs. Joe says Mercer must be working with someone who is the brains to his brawn.
Barry and Iris decide to take a "baby-moon adventure" since they never really got to have the classic newlywed phase.
Cecile successful throws a football through a tire with her mind for the first time.
Cecile asks Joe why he feels anxious and he says he's feeling the need to get out of Central City.
Barry runs to STAR Labs after receiving a signal from Caitlin's cell phone. He is greeted by a strange woman who looks like Caitlin, but with dark blue streaks in her hair. She apologizes for scaring Barry, but says she is not Frost or Caitlin.
In the post-credits scene, Captain Boomerang delivers the battery to a mysterious figure and trades it for a case full of more trick boomerangs. The figure, who looks like a living shadow with red lightning sparks inside it, is a speedster who leaves red lightning behind as they run. The episode ends with a bat emblem made of red lightning - the symbol of the Red Death.
Central City - February 1, 2023 and February 2, 2023.
It is said that Barry and Iris have been on vacation for the past week.
Allegra has an off-camera meeting with Cat Grant regarding selling CCC Media.
The Boomerang Factor
Averted with style by the new Captain Boomerang, who is competent and capable.
The Bottom Line
A welcome return to form in most respects. The Red Death reveal doesn't work that well, thanks to all the spoilers about who they will eventually turn out to be, but it is more than made up for by the shock of Danielle Panabaker's new role.
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