‘The Flash’ Season 9, Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Is The New Speedster?

The beloved Scarlet Speedster returns for one last lap with the final ninth season of the television series “The Flash.” After starting off brilliantly in the first couple of seasons and being regarded as among some of the best superhero content on the small screen, the following installments fell off due to redundant, repetitive plotlines and bad character writing. However, as CW Arrowverse has been on the verge of closing down for the last couple of years after the cancellation of multiple DC series, “The Flash” remained the sole survivor. Thus, the ninth season of the series will conclude the decade-long journey of the Arrowverse as well, and despite its flaws, it was the blueprint for having an interconnected superhero universe on the small screen—something that Netflix and later Disney adopted. Needless to say, this season will be emotionally draining for fans, and they will look forward to a memorable run toward the finish line, just like “Arrow” managed to do with its last season.

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Spoilers Ahead


A Quick Recap Of ‘The Flash’

Based on the DC Comics character of the same name, “The Flash” tells the story of Barry Allen, a forensic scientist in the fictional Central City, who gets the power of superhuman speed after lightning strikes him, generated from a particle accelerator accident. Along with his friends in STAR Labs, he tackles several multiversal and metahuman threats. The first season of “The Flash” focuses on Barry hunting down the person responsible for killing his mother—an incident that changes his destiny forever. The killer, Barry’s future archenemy Eobard Thawne, turns out to be the person who mentored him during his superhero career and was part of the reason he became the Flash. In his attempt to alter his reality by going back in time and stopping his mother’s death, Flash created the event “Flashpoint” in season three, which proved to be extremely detrimental to the people around him, and he had to undo the event once again.

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In the ensuing years, Barry has traveled through different realities, past and present, using his superhuman speed and teaming up with other Arrowverse heroes to fend off various otherworldly menaces. In the eighth season of the series, Eobard Thawne makes a return and, after getting defeated, eventually gets erased from the timeline entirely. Team Flash is an important aspect of the series, and as of now, it consists of Barry, his wife Iris, Barry’s surrogate father Joe, Joe’s girlfriend Cecil (allegedly the strongest, multi-powered metahuman), Barry’s oldest STAR Labs teammate and friend Caitlin Snow, aka Killer Frost (cryokinetic powers), and the newcomers Chester (a scientist) and Allegra (a reporter with electromagnetic powers). As all of the major Arrowverse titles have been discontinued, it can be speculated that the ninth season of “The Flash” will be much more self-contained.


What Happens In Episode 1 Of ‘The Flash’ Season 9?

The ninth season begins by showing “Team Flash” in all its glory. The supervillain Tar Pit is stopped in his tracks by the perfect teamwork of Flash and co. It is soon revealed that it was part of a recurring nightmare Barry has been having recently, where he has premonitions of the deaths of his loved ones. In the nightmare, the team members taunt Barry, saying he failed to save them as they die with a red streak of lightning sparking in their eyes. Barry, almost out of breath, wakes up from his nightmare.

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Later the next morning, the happily married couple Barry and Iris wake up. From their conversation, it is known that a week has passed since the incident with Thawne in the season eight finale. Barry tells Iris that she needs to say yes to something during her day at work but doesn’t specify much as he speeds off. At her media office, Iris is quickly brought up to speed by Allegra, who informs her about the recent developments of media tycoon Cat Grant’s willingness to buy CCCMedia (Iris’ media house). Considering this chance to be an opportunity of a lifetime, Allegra urges her to take the offer, matching the request Barry made earlier. Iris avoids answering the question and sees herself out. At CCPD, Barry almost reads Captain Kramer’s mind, who wishes to instate him as director of the CSI department. After assuring Kramer that he can handle the dual job of being a superhero and the additional work as the director, Barry rushes to an ongoing crime scene.

The perp turns out to be a new Captain Boomerang, Owen Mercer, who is stealing a Roemer Accelerator from Kord Industries’ shipment, which acts as a portable particle accelerator. Barry fails to stop him, and Owen teleports away with his loot, but Barry seems unbothered about it as he asks Team Flash to take the day off and says that he will catch the perp later. Iris later asks him whether he knew about Cat Grant’s offer beforehand. Barry answers her by showing a timeline map book he has made using his experience of time travel and Gideon’s (an interactive futuristic AI) records. For him, the purpose of making a timeline map was to keep his close ones, especially Iris, safe from any forthcoming event, as the recurring nightmares have made Barry paranoid. By using the catalog, they can take decisions in the perfect order suggested by it to ensure a prosperous and safe future. Iris isn’t too thrilled about it and avoids discussing the topic. Mysterious energy engulfs them as they sleep.

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The next day, the couple goes about their usual routine and realizes that the events of the previous day are being repeated. Barry once again confronts Owen Mercer, and an accident with the Roemer accelerator apparently causes Barry to die, only to wake up on the same day once again. Barry and Iris are the only ones to notice that they have been caught inside a time loop. To undo this, Barry and Chester hit upon a plan to bring part of the accelerator beforehand and use it to break the loop. But every time they try to do so, the core part destabilizes, and they end up dying—numerous times even. Iris, on the other hand, doesn’t accept Cat Grant’s offer in any iteration of the day.

After going through all of this multiple times, Iris accepts the situation and wishes to enjoy the day instead by drinking early. Barry realizes that Iris’ unwillingness to say “yes” to the offer might be related to their getting stuck in the time loop. Barry argues with her, saying the map is the most foolproof way of ensuring their safety and happiness, but Iris states that she’d rather spend her life remaining stuck in the loop, where at least she is free, than living a life following mandated decisions. Barry leaves and visits Joe and Cecil. Upon learning about the map, they point out that while it must direct people to the safest or wisest course of action, the map doesn’t take into account a person’s individual will or emotional well-being. They advise Barry to let the future run its own course without being directed by a tool like a map. Barry returns home, decides to live a normal life with Iris, and burns the map.

The next day, the couple accompany each other to their workplaces, where Iris decides to expand her media company on her own terms instead of being sold out—by buying the Coast City Gazette. They enjoy their day as best they can and partner with Isis; Barry manages to beat Owen too. Unfortunately, not before stopping him from stealing the accelerator and from creating a nuclear fission reaction. With the option of moving the equipment out of the question, Barry phases through the nuclear explosion and makes it phase through the surrounding area, pulling off a miraculous rescue. Thrilled to be alive, Chester and Allegra share a kiss.

As the team regroups in STAR labs, they speculate that a small-time crook like Mercer couldn’t possibly have made the teleportation device and couldn’t have needed something as sophisticated as Roemer’s accelerator. They consider the possibility of a partner, acting as the brain to Mercer’s brawn. Later, Joe seems anxious and worried, and as Cecil asks the reason, he shares his wish to leave Central City with her. Barry and Iris decide to take some time out from their daily routine and plan a babymoon. Sometimes later, Barry visits Caitlin, responding to her alert, and finds another of Caitlin’s personae (a non-hostile one) has taken hold of her body. Upon questioning, she responds by saying that she is neither Caitlin nor Frost. In the meantime, Mercer returns to his hideout and asks an unseen character about restocking his boomerangs. His wish is granted, and the unseen speaker appears as a dark warbler emitting red lightning—who says that it wishes to make Flash truly alone, presumably by taking away everyone dear to him. As it flashes forward, a bat symbol conjoined with a lightning bolt symbol appears on the screen.

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Season 9, Episode 1: Ending Explained – Who Is The New Speedster?

The “Groundhog Day” take on repeating the same day in a time loop fits perfectly with the characteristics of the show and Flash lore. But to be honest, we have seen the trope of Barry messing things up by trying to control the future in order to save people close to him played out countless times. However, the theme of free will and determinism being explored was a nice touch. Owen Mercer, aka the new Captain Boomerang, is the son of the first Captain Boomerang, Digger Harkness. With the ending of the series, the first season’s cast will appear in the show to provide closure to some of these characters, which might be the reason for Boomerang Jr.’s appearance to avenge his father’s death.

After numerous times namedropping Kord industries through Arrowverse, we wish this last season would have allowed the appearance of Blue Beetle, Ted Kord’s version. Coming to the ending scene, Boomerang might be the partner of the hellspawn of a speedster Red Death. Although the character’s name has not been mentioned in the episode yet, the red bat symbol is indicative enough. It was its handiwork that Barry was plagued by nightmares. In comics, the character is an alternate-earth amalgamation of Batman and Flash and has made a pretty recent appearance in “Dark Knights Metal.” “The Flash” will also be inspired from the source as they utilize the character. According to showrunner Eric Wallace, they have requested Batwoman’s lead star, Javicia Leslie, to play the character. After multitudes of speedster villains already hell-bent on destroying the Flash family, like Thawne, Zoom, Godspeed, etc., we hope Red Death will bring something unique to the mix.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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