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Spoilers ahead for the April 21 episode of The Flash Season 6, called "So Long and Goodnight."
The Flash returned from a five-week hiatus with "So Long and Goodnight," which continued Barry's efforts to save the day as the Scarlet Speedster while also conserving his dwindling supply of super-speed. While superpowers were rarely a problem on The Flash's parent series, Arrow had some habits that I'm beginning to see in Season 6. Namely: a superhero fighting crime without superpowers without a quick reset.
Barry has had to try and do his superhero work in Central City without having the easy access to superpowers that usually lets him save the day. Admittedly, The Flash has forced Barry to try and fight the good fight without powers in the past, but never quite like this. The efforts to find a way to restore his powers have been sidelined by more immediate threats.
In fact, Joe and Cecile were lucky to survive the events of "So Long and Goodnight," and next week's episode looks like Barry will be more concerned with getting the real Iris back than restoring his speed. Of course, Iris' realization that Barry could potentially use his phasing ability to pass through the mirror could mean that Barry will double down his efforts to get his speed back so he can do the phasing.
Still, whether or not the Scarlet Speedster is able to speed around as usual as soon as next week, I for one have enjoyed the ride of The Flash forcing the heroes to rely less on superpowers this season since the "Crisis" crossover.
Barry's inability to super-save everybody has forced everybody to be more resourceful, fulfill their own potential, and remind Barry (and viewers) that they can get by without having The Flash speed in to save the day. Joe was a cop before Barry became The Flash, so for all that getting shot probably wasn't his favorite thing that's ever happened to him, Joe accepted it where Barry couldn't. Joe was a hero in "So Long and Goodnight" without Barry's speed.
Ralph and Cisco tackled their Sue Dearbon investigation without needing Barry's speed or even much in the way of superpowers. They had to investigate with boots on the ground rather than sending Barry zooming through an area in a few seconds to check every nook and cranny.
Barry and Team Flash are dealing with challenges that Oliver and Team Arrow over on Arrow were more than a little familiar with. In fact, I was feeling the Flash/Arrow parallels so strongly in "So Long and Goodnight" that I half expected Cisco to suggest Ralph call Felicity when Ralph started rattling off reasons why he needed a hacker.
Arrow certainly wasn't perfect, but The Flash showing some Arrow shades at this point isn't a bad thing. After all, The Flash is getting a little long in the tooth as it heads toward the end of its shortened sixth season and into its seventh.
It needs a little reinvention, and while the "Crisis on Infinite Earth" reset was good for the show, exploring a non-superpowered speedster for more than just an episode or two with the potential for long-term consequences raises the stakes, especially with Iris still stuck behind the mirror and Joe now heading to witness protection.
Unfortunately for fans, The Flash is indeed ending a few episodes shy of its original order for Season 6, but it's not out of episodes yet. The next new episode, called "Liberation," will see some developments on the Iris front. Check out the official description:
After recent events, Barry (Grant Gustin) takes a closer look at his life with Iris (Candice Patton). Eva (guest star Efrat Dor) makes a bold move.
The next new episode of The Flash airs Tuesday, April 28 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. Only one of the currently ongoing Arrow-verse series was able to complete filming on the spring season, so fans can at least count on Legends of Tomorrow ending as intended. Another superhero series is coming to The CW for the summer season, though!