‘The Flash’ Season 9, Episode 3: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Is Red Death?

The third episode of the final season of CW’s “The Flash” initiates significant development for the future of the series as a number of former Flash Rogues make their return this week, and the identity of the new mysterious speedster is revealed at the end of it. In the previous episode of “The Flash” Season 9, we saw the death of Caitlin Snow’s personality give birth to another dormant personality named Snow, aka Khione, who seems to have an affinity for nature. Despite Caitlin’s partner Mark Blaine’s repeated requests, in the end, Team Flash disagrees with transforming Khione into Killer Frost, which sets an infuriated Blaine off course. Hartley Rathaway, a former rogue, a brilliant scientist, and an original member of Team Flash (since season one), returns, and as he clashes with a new version of supervillain Fiddler, it is indicated that he will serve an important role in this season. The threat of the new speedster looms larger on Team Flash as it is seen that multiple new versions of Rogues like Captain Boomerang and Fiddler are working with him/her, procuring high-tech pieces of machinery. 

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In Episode 3 Of ‘The Flash’ Season 9?

As Episode 3 of “The Flash” Season 9 begins, viewers are introduced to an active crime scene where Fiddler and Captain Boomerang are seen to be stealing a sophisticated piece of technology. They are interrupted by a guard, but just as they are about to take him down, the serial killer metahuman, Murmur, stabs him to death. The metahuman team of the mysterious speedster just got bigger and scarier.

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The scene shifts to track Barry and Iris, who are taking cooking lessons in Paris as a part of their babymoon vacation. A CCPD alert informs Barry about the theft and the murder, and the couple returns to Central City. Upon investigating, Barry deduces that all three metahumans who have been involved in the theft were using advanced technology that might have a similar source, and also from the components they have stolen so far—the Roemer Accelerator, Hartley’s Sonic Gauntlets, and this time the Temporal Scanner—it becomes clear to him that they are going to create a cosmic treadmill. To viewers who don’t know, a cosmic treadmill is essentially like a time machine; it allows speedsters to move to and from any particular time period by creating quantum wormholes in space and time. Barry speculates that if the rogues are able to create it, they can disrupt the timeline by misusing it, and they have to be stopped before they do.

Barry meets with Hartley to ask for help and comes to know that the Rogues are missing one key component though—a quantum vibration engine, the only specimen of which is secured in a DOD (Department of Defense) base nearby, and it is pretty obvious that they are going to hit there next. Hartley proposes that they obtain the machinery before the Rogues do and secure it elsewhere. However, due to multiple past clashes between Team Flash and DOD chief General Eiling, the base is heavily fortified against speedsters, and Barry cannot use his powers inside. Also, the security mechanism in the DOD base demands four power dampeners be turned off at the same time for the engine to be removed from the vault. Team Flash hits upon a plan to ask for help from the reformed rogues, who are on better terms with Barry.

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Barry and Hartley recruit the pyrokinetic goofy meta, Jaco/The Hotness with basically no effort, as he had already aspired to be a hero – to be a role model for his son. The duo reaches out to cryokinetic Mark Blaine, who is still bitter about how Team Flash didn’t allow Killer Frost’s personality to return, and Hartley puts the last nail in the coffin by destroying the personality-altering mechanism in the previous episode of “The Flash” Season 9. After Mark reluctantly agrees to take part in their mission, Hartley and Barry recruit the gold manipulator Goldface, who turns out to be a bibliophile mob boss.

The new team of reformed rogues meet at Star Labs to discuss their plans and soon get into a disagreement over acquiring the engine (which is their mission) for themselves. During the standoff, Barry’s conduct makes the rest of the Rogues feel like he’s untrusting of them, and they shut him off the team (I wonder how that works). Taking time out of the investigation, Barry and Iris catch up and share their miseries, and Iris shares that their preoccupation with superhero life makes her feel ineffectual in her personal life, and she fears that when their baby, Nora, finally arrives, this feeling will engulf her even more. Therefore, Iris has decided to work hard on the ongoing case to get one big scoop to make her feel worthy again. After sharing his bit with Iris, Barry, too, finally feels convinced about trusting his team of reformed Rogues and blitzes out. Meanwhile, Chester, who was tasked with finding a connection with the antagonist Rogue teams’ advanced weaponry – finds their common source to be Waynetech. Chester decides to contact the Wayne household in Gotham City.

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Barry rejoins and apologizes to his team of Rogues for his previous mistrust, and although accidentally, Goldface comes to know about his secret identity as Flash, which works well for Barry in his effort to regain their trust (although, except Goldface, the others were already aware of it). Barry’s team of rogues succeeds in dampening the security for long enough to let Barry acquire the engine, but as they are about to leave the facility, Mark betrays and incapacitates Barry, taking the quantum engine with him. The two factions of rogues clash, and the antagonists manage to get away, but the teams again confront each other outside the facility, where Barry can use his powers once again. All of a sudden, the mysterious speedster arrives and takes care of Barry’s team with relative ease, and in it presence, Barry seems unable to use his speed. After returning to STAR Labs, Barry states that the mystery speedster was using negative speed force, which hampered Barry’s powers momentarily. Chester remarks that his inquiries to the Wayne family have revealed that the weaponry used by the antagonistic Rogues matches Waynetech prototypes but is far more advanced and isn’t part of Wayne’s inventory. He also mentions that the current Batwoman, Ryan Wilder, had been missing for months prior, and Barry gets concerned that he noticed the speedster’s (whom they are now calling Red Death) symbol resembling a bat. Flash’s team of reformed Rogues agrees to help him in future missions, as they seem willing to turn a new page in their lives.

Back at Red Death’s hideout, Mark Blaine demands that his end of the bargain be taken care of, i.e., reviving Killer Frost. Red Death arrives and intimidates him, saying that that will happen only after the completion of their primary objective. A terrified Mark asks how they are supposed to trust a person whose identity is a mystery, to which the Red Death answers by removing its armored mask. We see a grizzled Ryan Wilder, looking scarier than ever, who utters the catchphrase “I am Vengeance.”

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Thoughts

Barry’s decision to give the former Rogues, who were formerly criminals, a chance at redemption by playing a hero adds to the character’s hopeful, optimistic disposition and makes a solid argument for the progressive rehabilitation of the metahumans and, in general, for convicts as well. This is not the first time Barry has decided to join hands with former Rogues, but it is definitely the first time he has trusted them enough to reveal his secret identity. Also, Barry getting betrayed by the people closest to him has become an age-old trope, and Mark’s backstabbing should come as no surprise to the viewers, given how driven and over the edge he was in the last episode of “The Flash” Season 9. Frost, the only person who had ever cared for and loved the hot-rod villain, had sacrificed her life in the last season, and Team Flash’s decision not to revive her, back then and even now, justifiably alienated Mark from them. After all, Barry himself should be aware of that, as his own concerns about people close to him have led him to take actions that resulted in terrible consequences. Unfortunately for Mark, Red Death has no regard for his allegiance or motives.

Speaking of Red Death, her identity as the former Batwoman Ryan Wilder connects her to the comics’ lore in a subverted way. In comics, the Earth-52 version of Bruce Wayne went senile and fused himself with that earth’s Flash to become the supervillain Red Death, Red Death made his comic-book debut during the “Dark Knight: Metal” storyline in 2017, and even CW’s “The Flash” had teased her appearance in the fifth season of the series as a future antagonist of Flash. The first thing Flash utters upon seeing Red Death’s negative speed energy is “Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse Flash,” and as we know, the last season ended with Eobard Thawne returning to terrorize Team Flash by becoming the avatar of Negative Speed Force and disappearing from existence after getting defeated by the Scarlet Speedster. How did the same negative speed force affect Ryan Wilder and what her personal motive is behind hurting Flash remains to be seen. The famous catchphrase will, however, excite the fans immensely as they get a callback of “Batman the Animated Series” or even of “The Batman” released last year, both of which saw Gotham’s Caped Crusader striking fear in the heart of criminals by announcing his presence in most badass, confident way imaginable. What I am most excited about is the prospect of seeing the cosmic treadmill in action once again, which can open up numerous possibilities. It has already been rumored that a number of fan favorites from “The Flash,” like Jay Garrick, Wally West, Eddie Thawne (the ancestor of Eobard), and even the Arrow, played by Stephen Amell, will return in the final season to make a heartwarming conclusion to the Arrowverse, and the time-travel mischiefs might just cause that in upcoming episodes of “The Flash” Season 9. Strangely, later this year, we will also see Bats and Flash appearing together on the silver screen, although not on such violent terms but rather teaming up in the movie “The Flash.” I’m really hopeful about seeing a connection teased between the series and the movie in one way or another, as after the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event, Ezra Miller’s DCEU Flash’s cameo with Grant Gustin’s series version of Flash hinted at the multiversal link.

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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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