Title: The Flash: “Marathon” Review
Release Date: February 4th, 2020
Network: The C.W.
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
Why does it feel that nearly every Arrowverse show has handled both the lead-up to Crisis and post-Crisis with more emotional weight than the crossover itself?
The first half of season 6 was all about Barry Allen accepting his role in the coming Crisis and leaving behind a team capable of protecting his city. Unbeknownst to him, there was another version of Barry Allen underneath Central City who was going to take his place and sacrifice himself to save everyone. Whether or not you liked this creative call, that’s where we’re at now. Our Barry Allen has essentially cheated death, and he has actually to keep going. Oh, and Barry has to do this knowing one of his best friends and mentors also sacrificed himself in Crisis.
Man, that’s confusing.
Anyway, the first half of season 6 was probably the show’s best showing since season 2. Its theme of death was compelling to see unravel through our main cast. It also featured this series’ best villain since Zoom with Bloodwork. Suffice to say, the back half of The Flash season 6 has a lot to live up to.
For the most part, “Marathon” did an excellent job of setting up our last batch of episodes. Barry, Iris, and Nash have all been given some intriguing arcs going forward.
Let’s start with Barry and move on from there. Our Scarlet Speedster has a lot of interesting avenues to explore this season. In Crisis, Oliver unlocked Barry’s true potential. Based on that scene where Barry started to lose control over his abilities, it looks like we’ll see The Flash with no training wheels going forward. We also had David Ramsey’s Diggle come to town for a brief guest appearance.
Diggle is the ideal character to follow Barry in this episode. Sure, the character doesn’t have a close friendship with Barry — most likely due to Barry erasing his daughter from existence and causing him to vomit each time Barry visits. Despite that, Diggle is the perfect candidate to tag along with Barry because of his brotherhood with Oliver. He knows what Barry is going through.
That scene between them at Lian Yu is proof of that. Dig gives one of his usual wonderful pep-talks, and Barry seemingly comes to grips with the fact there is no big threat Oliver left for him. Then, we see the two just quietly sit there as the scene slowly transitions out. I don’t know why, but that scene stuck out to me.
Moving on, if this is what Iris’ arc is for the remainder of season 6, count me in. Candice Patton was great here, and each scene with Iris was thrilling and relatively intense.
I don’t necessarily think Black Hole should be the main antagonist going forward, but I’m open to being proven wrong. The group has potential with the cool new
Terminator Doctor Light and Mirror Master at the forefront.
Speaking of Mirror Master, what a great ending! As soon as that mirror was shown, I think we all knew what was coming, but everything about that scene clicked. It felt like something out of a horror movie.
Cisco’s outburst towards Nash was understandable, given the circumstances. Unlike his annoying “character arc” back in season 3 with Barry, his contempt towards Nash felt justified. While you feel bad for Nash, it could be argued that his arrogance and lack of faith in Team Flash caused this whole mess. Cisco’s line about every possible version of Wells being erased and being stuck with the one that killed them was an awesome mic-drop moment too.
So, along with Oliver Queen, Harry and Jesse from Earth-2 did not make it onto Earth-Prime. Even though it sucks, it’s nice to get some closure on their characters finally.
I also enjoyed that Iris, Cisco, and Barry all shared the same theme this week. That being Diggle’s line to Barry on Lian Yu, “Life’s a marathon, not a sprint Barry. Slow down and enjoy it.”. It was another memorable quote in this episode by one of the more memorable Arrowverse characters.
As for Nash Wells. It is a bold move to keep this version around as our final Wells. I’m not saying he’s a bad character or that he doesn’t have potential. Tom Cavanagh can make almost anything work and Nash has a ton of potential to grow into a fantastic character. His relationship with Allegra will obviously play a role in that.
Additionally, Nash has the benefit of being an entertaining personality off-the-bat. So he’s already ahead of characters like Sherloque Wells. It’s just strange that the writers didn’t want Harry back or Earth-1 Wells or even H.R.
The episode was not without its faults, however. At this point, Cecile’s abilities are whatever the plot commands. I have no idea how she could sense Doctor Light in time before the villain killed Iris. Along with that, we had 3 of the series’ patented hallway talks back-to-back-to-back. When the series does this, these scenes start to become a little repetitive and tedious. My final gripe is with Cisco’s departure. I know showrunner Eric Wallace has come out and told E.W. it’s only temporary, and apparently, it was only because of scheduling. Regardless, it feels like this “I need to leave to find out who I am” storyline with Cisco has been done to death.
Verdict: “Marathon” was a great episode of The Flash that expertly sets up the back half of season 6. Most of our main characters have direction going forward, and the ones that didn’t get their turn in the spotlight will surely get their chance soon. Ultimately, the success of season 6b will come down to how enthralling the Black Hole storyline is and how Barry’s character arc is resolved.
- The Flash handled post-Crisis very well and probably with more emotional weight than the actual crossover
- The direction of Barry, Iris, and Nash going forward
- Iris' storyline
- Everything about Barry and Diggle's talk on Lian Yu
- At this point, seeing Diggle on my screen is always going to be a "Pro"
- While I'm still not convinced they should be the primary antagonists for the rest of the season, Black Hole was a really interesting villain
- Cisco's "I need to leave to find out who I am" character arc returns
- 3 hallway talks in a row is a little repetitive
- Cecile's powers are whatever the plot demands at this point