NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Flash”, including a major character death, are present in this review

 

 

Central City is now fully engulfed in the ‘Godspeed War’, but fortunately, Team Flash receives some unexpected help in The Flash’s latest episode! “P.O.W.” sees Arrow veteran, John Diggle make a trip to Central City, following his brief appearance on Batwoman a few weeks ago (and actor, David Ramsey’s separate bit part as Bass Reeves on Legends of Tomorrow shortly afterward), and he just so happens to be carrying an Entropy Trap, which will allow Barry and friends to capture one of the Godspeeds currently wreaking havoc on the city. At the same time, Joe and Kramer struggle to avoid the wrath of Adam Creyke, while Allegra impotently tries to stop her cousin from immediately taking the fight to the remnants of Black Hole again.

This is a pretty busy episode of The Flash, and it’s no wonder, considering that it has to juggle Diggle’s guest appearance with leading in to the two-part season finale that’s set to unfold over the next couple of weeks. This unfortunately leaves The Flash staying on this season’s usual uneven gear, though this episode does still manage to slightly elevate the show’s formerly tedious Godspeed storyline, while also managing to effectively capitalize on Diggle’s latest re-appearance in the Arrowverse. It’s Team Flash themselves that tend to drag the storyline down most in this case, specifically Barry and Allegra, as both of them are saddled with thankless storylines that yet again recycle the same tired drama.

Barry’s core plot not only has him being a frustrated, self-centered, short-sighted dick to his teammates for the umpteenth time (mainly to Chester, of course), but it also somehow involves him failing to notice that his own wife has started to phase uncontrollably through the timeline over the past few weeks! How in the bluest of hells did Barry miss that not-so-little detail about his own damn spouse?! Fortunately, after Barry decides to screw timeline caution and run to 2049 to check on his future daughter (because God forbid Barry put his insecurities aside while his city is in peril, right?), Deon sets him straight after some Godspeed clones knock Barry out of the Speed Force. It turns out that Deon has conveniently taken it upon himself to look after Iris, while also filling Barry in that the Godspeed clones are leeching energy from the Speed Force, setting up an interesting new angle on the Godspeed conflict that we won’t see a payoff for quite yet.

Before this though, Barry also gets some of this information by using Diggle’s Entropy Trap, allowing Team Flash to throw a Godspeed clone in the Pipeline. This is another rather cool sequence that unfortunately doesn’t get that much focus in such a stuffed episode, as the clone toys with Barry and his friends, appearing to be a prisoner, when in reality, it’s interrogating the heroes. Barry’s own short-sightedness gives this Godspeed clone all the intel it needs before it abruptly makes an escape, since the Pipeline somehow can’t de-power artificial metahumans (I don’t remember that rule being established on this show beforehand, but whatever), though this at least puts Team Flash on the trail of original Godspeed mastermind, August Heart, who is apparently in present-day 2021. Again, this prisoner scene is a very cool narrative angle, but it’s undermined by the fact that it yet again makes Team Flash look like incompetent buffoons, and especially Barry, who gets one cool sequence with the clone before it runs off, simply because Allegra blasted it one time. Not very threatening, I have to say.

Oh, and speaking of Allegra, she gets arguably this episode’s worst storyline, and one that negates the past few weeks’ worth of Allegra’s story material in several respects. After Esperanza is fully fixed up by Caitlin, she decides to immediately go fight some Black Hole scientists, while Allegra does the mature thing and stays with Team Flash to help Central City. This eventually leads to Esperanza being fatally wounded while attacking Black Hole, which Allegra discovers simply because she overhears Diggle talking about how much he loves his family. Yes, Esperanza has been suddenly killed off, after the show made such a big hullaballoo about fixing/redeeming her, and the writing even has the gall to make Allegra out as the bad guy for letting this happen! Uh, what the hell?! No! Esperanza is an idiot, and she did this to herself! Allegra is completely in the right for wanting to stay and help innocent people in Central City, not help her self-destructive cousin pursue a short-sighted vendetta! Why in the world would the story take Esperanza’s side here?! Allegra absolutely did the right thing, and this makes Esperanza’s death impossible to care about!

At least Diggle’s own ducking of higher responsibility is portrayed a lot better, and a lot more believably. As most any DC fan could probably piece together at this point, Diggle’s recent health issues, as first teased during his recent appearance on Batwoman, are a direct result of him seemingly rejecting the mysterious green object he found during Arrow’s final episode. This leaves Diggle plagued by agonizing psychic trauma, trauma that’s eventually picked up by Cecile, as a mysterious voice tells him, “Worlds await.” So, this pretty much fully spells out that Diggle found a Green Lantern ring, and that Oa and the Guardians of the Universe are beckoning him to become a Green Lantern. Diggle assisting with the Godspeed conflict, subsequently being forced to confront his growing impotence as an earthbound hero, and then coming to terms with no longer being able to avoid his true destiny, all makes for standout story material, and material that continues to tease exciting developments to come during Diggle’s planned upcoming appearances on Superman & Lois and Supergirl.

The other subplots that feature in this episode are entirely positioned as lead-ins for the two-part season finale to follow this, and they’re fair enough, even if we have yet to get a satisfying result from them. This includes Joe and Kramer being hunted by Creyke, with Kramer eventually drawing Creyke out, at which point Joe learns several big revelations; Creyke believes that Kramer was killed in the explosion that took out her squad, Creyke is an immortal metahuman that can’t be killed, and Kramer is seemingly still hiding something about the dark incident in her past. That’s where things are left for now. Cecile, meanwhile, helps locate an amnesiac man at the future site of Dayton Labs, a familiar location from Nora’s future as XS in the 2040’s, who, unsurprisingly, is eventually revealed to be August Heart. Once Barry learns this as well, Nora rushes back from the future, proving that everything seemingly works out fine for Barry’s family, plus she even brings a previously-unknown brother with her, Bart West-Allen! Bart Allen should be a familiar character to Flash/DC fans, since he’s DC Comics superhero, Impulse, and is normally the grandson of Barry and Iris in the printed panels, though he’s instead their son in the Arrowverse, a small change that nonetheless makes sense.

The West-Allen speedster family fully coming together to avert the Godspeed crisis sets up a very promising foundation for the fast-approaching Season 7 finale storyline, especially with The Flash airing its 150th episode next week. That’s good, because it finally feels like the show’s Godspeed storyline is going to truly interesting territory, considering that this villainous speedster has more or less been stuck in Arrowverse limbo for a couple of seasons now. “P.O.W.” sadly can’t make the most of all of its promising ideas, considering that it has to scramble to set up Season 7’s climax, but it does do right by the ones that count most, especially its obligatory guest stint from Diggle. There are still quite a few big story turns that don’t land though, especially the death of Esperanza, which Allegra is unrealistically blamed for, despite the fact that she can’t possibly be culpable for her cousin’s idiocy.

Everything does nonetheless appear to be nicely teed up for Season 7’s final two episodes though, which will hopefully bring the Godspeed War to a satisfying finish, at least in its current form. I do get the feeling that the menace of August Heart may spill into next season as well, and that’s likely ideal. After all, it would be a waste to bring one of the DC Universe’s most highly dangerous speedsters properly into the Arrowverse, only to neutralize him in just four episodes.

The Flash 7.16: "P.O.W." Review
The Flash delivers another uneven episode with a scattered focus this week, though it does manage to make the most of John Diggle's guest appearance.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Diggle's rewarding guest appearance
  • Standout Godspeed clone interrogation
  • Deon stepping in to protect Iris
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Barry's weapons-grade stupidity and selfishness
  • Esperanza's idiotic death, and Allegra being unrealistically blamed for it
  • No worthwhile payoff to most of the subplots
72%Overall Score
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