Title: The Flash: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 1” Review
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
In these CW reviews, I tend to get a little hyperbolic at times. You can attribute it to writing these up so quickly after the episode airs or maybe the DC Comics fan in me creeps out more during these reviews. Either way, let me tell you that I’m not exaggerating when I say that The Flash has been outstanding this season. And this first part of “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen” may have been its best episode so far.
For fans of both Arrow and The Flash, it feels that you are getting a similar story each week with these back-to-back episodes but that’s not a bad thing. Oliver Queen and Barry Allen’s fates are tied to Crisis and both shows have done a brilliant job in presenting it as the most important thing we’ll ever see in the Arrowverse. Not only that but we are seeing Oliver and Barry both struggle with the notion of dying, even if it is for the good of the multiverse.
Seeing these flaws, mistakes, doubt, and stubbornness to accept fate makes these characters more compelling in the process and it is one of the many reasons why this episode worked so well. With such a ridiculous and unrealistic premise, it’s crazy to think that this is probably one of the deeper episodes The Flash has ever aired. Essentially, Ramsey was able to infect Barry and was trying to turn him into one of his zombies using immortality as his pitch. In turn, the Speed Force had to play the role of the angel on Barry’s shoulders. Oh, and the Speed Force was under the guise of Barry’s dead mom because, you know, why not make your audience feel terrible?
The inner battle with Ramsey and Barry was executed to perfection. Sendhil Ramamurthy has gotten a ton of praise in these reviews for his portrayal of Ramsey Rosso aka Bloodwork, deservingly so, and he’ll continue to get praise now. His character is so disturbing and insane but somehow, you sympathize with his intentions. The whole time when Ramsey was pitching his plan to Barry, I couldn’t help but think to myself that this Venom cosplayer made a few good points.
Then we get to Grant Gustin. One day, The Flash is going to end. Probably long after the quality drops off the face of the Earth. But eventually, this show will end and if Gustin doesn’t end up becoming a bigger star, I would be shocked. On a dime, Gustin will have you in tears over a fantastic performance that makes you feel for the character’s struggles. There are so many scenes in Barry’s inner turmoil with Ramsey that you can break down and dissect. The main ones that stuck out to me were probably baby Nora, the headstones, and Barry losing it on the Speed Force. The creepy family dinner scene was really cool as well but it’s not worth diving into.
Starting with baby Nora, we kinda went over this last season. Barry dies in Crisis and never gets to raise his daughter. The part where Barry was just trying to hold baby Nora but just kept phasing through was an awesome way to bring that back. Ramsey blamed the Scarlet Speedster for Barry not being able to pick up Nora. That’s because Barry chooses to die instead of finding a way to cheat his death. And then, later in the episode when Barry is finally starting to give in to Ramsey’s offer of immortality, he is allowed to hold his daughter (Something he never thought he would be able to do). It’s a subtle detail that I thought was worth pointing out.
The graveyard in Star Labs was far more simple. This was just to show that a lot of people have died because of Barry’s powers. It’s not much outside of that but reading off names like Martin Stein, Eddie Thawne, and Nora West-Allen really makes your heart drop because you start to get the feeling that Bloodwork may actually win this fight.
Finally, we got to the most human part of the episode where Barry just verbally bashes the Speed Force and admits that he doesn’t want to die. Don’t get me wrong, a part of me did enjoy how Barry just sort of accepted his fate earlier in the season but it didn’t feel right (If that makes any sense). It felt like we were missing something in the trip from point A (Barry moping after seeing a million timelines where everyone dies) to point B (After one epic pep talk from Joe, Barry is able to 100% accept that he is going to die with zero doubts). This was what we were missing. We saw that there were doubts about the Speed Force, The Monitor, and his death. And that’s what leads to Ramsey eventually beating Barry. It’s also true that, if not for Barry getting his powers, people like Eddie, Ronnie, and Stein would still be alive.
Again, this was an absolutely stellar episode and that was just the main storyline.
Our other storylines included Iris accepting that her husband will die soon and Nash discovering a secret message on The Monitor’s door. The Iris stuff was pretty good. Every character from Cisco to Joe has had to deal with The Flash dying in Crisis. It’s fitting that Iris would be the last person to have to totally come to terms with that. Unfortunately, it was just poorly timed because of the incredible main storyline that it kept interrupting. Even though it was entertaining, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed when we were taken away from the main story. That’s probably more of me problem opposed to Iris’ arc itself and when an episode is this good, I try to find a few minor nitpicks.
As for the Nash scene, I’m not sure where it’s going so it is hard to judge. From the brief glimpse we got, it seems that the drawing on the wall was the Arrowverse heroes’ emblems but I couldn’t be sure and I was unable to rewind. We’ll definitely see more next week and hopefully, we get some answers going into Crisis.
The ending to “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 1” was just the cherry on top. You couldn’t help but have this feeling in the pit of your stomach that Barry didn’t overcome the infection. Every second of those evil Barry scenes were uneasy and filled with tension. It was also an excellent decision to have Iris be the one to immediately figure out what really happened. Next week it looks like we’re getting Negative Flash (This is what some people are calling him on the internet, not sure if that’s official) and Ramsey against Team Flash. At least all that work Barry put into training his team is going to be put to good use.
Verdict: “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 1” was a stellar episode filled with excellent performances and a deeper look into Barry’s psyche going into the crossover. Bloodwork has been a tremendous foe for The Flash. This guy has some downright creepy moments that were definitely memorable. Hopefully, they don’t drop the ball next week and we can end this Bloodwork arc nicely.
- The inner turmoil in Barry's mind was perfectly executed
- This episode is worth watching twice because of how deep they went with it
- Grant Gustin crushed it
- As did Sendhil Ramamurthy
- Iris' arc was great
- That ending
- It's a minor nitpick but Frost's side-arc felt overshadowed by Barry and Iris' storylines
- Really not sure where we are going with Nash but I thought we would get more this week
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.