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It's been several months since Barry Allen's birthday and big things are in the works for Team Flash, with Chester working on a super-suit for Allegra, Khione mastering her powers, and Iris receiving word of a long-awaited career milestone. But Barry Allen is nowhere to be found, lost in time and about to relieve the worst day of his life from another perspective.
The Flash comics of Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn (character of Cobalt Blue), Flashpoint (the theme of Barry spending time with his parents before their deaths) and The Flash Season One (Barry travels back to the events of the Pilot and the Season 1 finale.)
While the cameo from Professor Stein is funny, by this point in time he would have had multiple encounters with the Legends of Tomorrow as a young man. As such, it is unlikely he'd be so quick to dismiss someone claiming to be a time traveler on the phone.
Due to a combination of archival footage being mixed with new footage, Barry is wearing the wrong Flash costume at several points during the fight with Thawne.
Grant Gustin gives one of his best solo outings as Barry Allen yet, playing up Barry's pain at being powerless to change the past but appreciating the chance he's given to enjoy one last meal with his parents.
Matt Letscher likewise delivers a masterful performance as the original Eobard Thawne that will leave you wishing we had seen more of him in the role over the last nine seasons.
The use of the color blue as a theme in the opening scene is nice, from the flowers in Malcolm's home and his suit, the blueberries he eats, to the fact that he's humming Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."
The subtitle of this episode is Reunions, according to the title card, but the subtitle does not feature in the actual episode title.
This episode introduces the character of Dr. Malcolm Gilmore. His name, and repeated references to the color blue involving him, are nods to The Flash villain Cobalt Blue.
First appearing in Speed Force #1 in 1997, Cobalt Blue was the twin brother of Barry Allen. On the night Barry was born, Nora Allen gave birth to twins. The doctor overseeing the twins birth, Dr. Gilmore, was negligent in his treatment of another patient, Charlene Thawne, who was also giving birth that night. To balance things, Dr. Gilmore gave the Thawnes the second Allen child, whom they named Malcolm.
Unfortunately, the Thawnes were an abusive family of con artists, who commanded a strange mystic blue flame. Everyone in the family had this power, except for Malcolm. His search for answers led him to Dr. Gilmore, whom Malcolm murdered after he confessed to taking Malcolm from his birth parents.
Malcolm later gained access to the blue flame through a talisman crafted by his foster grandmother. Powered by his jealousy for his successful, happy twin brother, Malcom became Cobalt Blue and set out to ruin his brother's reputation by posing as him, having learned Barry Allen was also The Flash.
The colorful patchwork costume Chester crafts for Allegra with a helmet that hinders her ability to see is a reference to the villain Crazy Quilt. Like Allegra, he had light-based powers, though his were based around a helmet.
Barry's parents take him to an Italian restaurant called Zatara's that is said to have the best pizza in Coast City. This is a reference to Giovanni "John" Zatara, who was DC Comics first magic hero and the father of Zatanna.
Barry baby-proofs his loft with proximity-based meta-dampeners, so Nora can't hurt herself by accidentally using her speed.
The C-Net database that allows the police to look up unlisted phone numbers was not developed until 2002.
(Barry has just realized he's in the year 2000.)
Barry: What did I do this time?
Nora Allen: Bart, do you believe in fate? Because I do. That's why I believe that there's a reason that we met, so that even for one day, you don't have to go through all of this alone.
Thawne: Somebody's having a bad day. Unfortunately... ( laughs ) It's only gonna get worse.
Thawne: You can't walk away from what's about to happen, Barry.
Barry: I know. I can walk towards it.
Thawne: You'd actually destroy an entire timeline just to save your own pathetic existence?
Barry: No, Thawne. I'm not here to save myself. I'm here to save you.
Barry: I had no choice.
(Barry is suddenly seized by blue energy and pulled away screaming. Faced with no target to attack and the realization that he's doomed himself and totally failed to ruin Barry Allen's life in a meaningful way, Thawne screams in pure impotent rage.)
The opening scene details the morning of a mystery man named Dr. Malcolm Gilmore, who works at Mercury Labs. The man is the spitting image of Eddie Thawne, who died in 123.
Allegra is still maintaining a secret identity in regards to her light powers.
Chester made Allegra a new costume, which she hates.
Cecile is still commuting to Central City while living with Joe and Jenna elsewhere.
Joe West makes a big dinner for Cecile whenever she stays the weekend with him and Jenna.
Khione is keeping a journal, where she writes letters to Caitlin and Frost, whom she considers her sisters.
Khione says it has been "nine months since she started her journey." Presuming that 909 took place on March 12. 2023, this would place the events of this episode sometime in the middle of November 2023. This matches up with the presumed date that Iris' pregnancy would come to a close, since she discovered she was pregnant in February 2023 in 905.
Khione refroze a lake for a group of school kids so they could ice skate.
ARGUS has been helping Khione catalog her powers. She says she is discovering a new power every day.
Khione has not talked to Mark in nine months, suggesting he has kept his distance since 907. Despite everything that happened between them, she does miss him and wants to talk to him.
Iris' article about the Red Death from 907, Nightmare Under Red Skies, is nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Barry disappears in a flash of blue energy. He finds himself, in pain, on the streets of Central City.
Barry figures out he is in the past when he sees a woman walking by wearing a portable CD player.
Barry figures out it is the year 2000 based on a license plate.
Barry tries to run back to 2023, but something blocks him from the wormhole portal. He crashes into the back of a Gambi's Cleaners van, just like when he first used his speed by accident while running in 101.
Barry goes to CCPD HQ and tries to talk to Joe West.
Barry confuses David Singh by addressing him as Captain, when he is only a Detective in 2000.
Barry runs off before telling Joe anything more about the past.
Barry tries to call Professor Martin Stein, who hangs up on him, thinking his talk about being a time-traveler he hasn't met yet is a crank call.
Barry sees his parents while using a pay phone. He walks to talk to them, not paying attention, and is knocked unconscious by a streak of red lightning and nearly hit by a car. He is saved by his father running out into traffic to stop the car to treat him.
Barry wakes up in the hospital with his father, Dr. Henry Allen, watching over him.
Barry gives his name as Bart, when asked who he is.
Barry's parents treat him to a meal when he says his blood sugar is low. They take him to Zatara's, which was his favorite pizza place as a kid.
Joe hears a voice calling his name. This takes him to a blue crystal, which he picks up. This causes him to be possessed by some dark influence.
Barry's parents offer to let him stay with them, but he runs off and has an anxiety attack.
Barry is discovered by Eobard Thawne, in his original body. This is a younger version of Thawne, who has just learned The Flash's secret identity.
Thawne denies having anything to do with bringing Barry to the past. He thinks Barry showing up there may be the universe giving him one more chance to torture Barry before erasing him from existence completely.
Thawne takes Barry to O'Shaughnessy's Bar to have a drink and taunt him further.
Thawne admits he came to that point in time to kill Barry as a child. He says the only ways Barry can stop him are to kill him or to lock him up in Iron Heights. He says Barry won't do the former because of his moral code and he won't do the latter because it would cause a paradox.
Henry and Nora talk about looking for "Bart" and both admit to feeling an odd connection with him.
Barry is confronted by Joe West, who attacks him with a blue energy that saps his speed.
One doctor takes the initiative in evacuating people as the Negative Speed Force knocks out the power ot the hospital. This doctor is Dr. Rachel Rosso, the mother of Ramsey Rosso, AKA Bloodwork.
Barry is able to knock Joe West out. This causes the blue crystal he is carrying to disappear.
Barry goes to his childhood home to confront Thawne. This leads to the battle seen in 101 and 123, with 2023 Barry in the place of the future version of himself that stopped 2015 Barry from saving his mother.
Thawne is left powerless and trapped in 2000, as in the flashback scene from 117.
Cemtral City in November 2023, based on the date in Khione's journal.
Central City on March 18, 2000.
Keystone City on March 18, 2000 in O'Shaughnessy's Bar,
While it is not clear in this episode, Dr. Malcolm Gilmore's scenes take place in the future of 2049.
Reference is made to the first time Thawne and Barry met, from Thawne's perspective, in the year 2170. This meeting has never been shown on camera, though Thawne made reference to it as the reason he hated Barry so much in 805.
The Bottom Line
A solid start to the finale, which builts perfectly on the Season 1 battles with The Reverse Flash. The only problem is everything else involving the supporting cast feels tacked on, especially the bits setting up Cobalt Blue. Still, Grant Gustin and Matt Letscher sell it.