‘The Flash’ Season 9, Episode 4: Recap And Ending, Explained: What’s Red Death’s Endgame?

Long-time CW Flash fans might throw their minds back to the first two seasons when the series reached its peak with proper utilization of dramatic, investigative, and moral ambiguity elements added to the superheroic routine. The fourth episode of the ongoing season of “The Flash” has managed to bring back that old charm by creating a compelling character-driven narrative. Erstwhile, we saw the new mysterious speedster Red Death was recruiting a number of Flash’s nefarious rogues, which included Captain Boomerang, Murmur, Fiddler, and later Mark Blaine, aka Chillblaine, who decided to betray Team Flash in the previous episode. Similarly, Flash formed a team of his own, consisting of reformed rogues—Pied Piper, aka Hartley Rathaway, Goldface, and Hotness. Red Death’s identity was revealed at the end of the last episode, and it turned out to be Ryan Wilder, the current Batwoman. She wanted to create the cosmic treadmill, the ultimate equipment for speedsters to perform multiversal journeys by breaking the time and space barrier, but her motives remained unknown, which gained the central focus in this episode.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In Episode 4 Of ‘The Flash’ Season 9?

We see Mark Blaine at Red Death’s hideout, finishing up assembling the cosmic treadmill as the episode begins. Speak of the Devil, and Red Death, aka Ryan, appears to threaten and rush him. Mark states that in order to even power up the treadmill, immense energy input will be required, even more than the combined output of the entire eastern seaboard. Ryan mocks him and utters the classic quote of Batman—about criminals being a superstitious and cowardly lot—and rushes elsewhere to recruit another to her ranks.


Barry and his wife Iris speculate about the identity of the Red Death and consider the possibility of negative speed force confounding the sanity of the person underneath the mask, just like had happened with Meena Dhawan, aka Fast Track, in the last season. Barry wishes to help the person if that turns out to be the scenario in this situation too.

Joe and Cecile once again argue over Joe’s decision to leave Central City with the family. Joe states that he is worried about their little daughter, Jenna, having a normal childhood, which, as we know, his other two children, Isis and Wally, couldn’t have. (As their mother, Joe’s former partner Francine, was a drug addict.)


Barry locates Red Death in a public space and offers his help and a chance to make a truce. It is revealed that Roy Bivolo, aka Rainbow Raider, has been recruited into the new Rogues’ gang, and he startles Flash using his threat stare powers and eventually knocks him out. Ryan uses her powers to release an EMP blast, which puts the entire city in a blackout and accumulates the energy needed to power up the cosmic treadmill. Barry is held captive by Red Death, and back in STAR Labs, Team Flash decides to use the help of the newly formed team to rescue him.

After conversing with Red Death, Barry gets to know that his suspicions about the negative speed force being involved are wrong and that the speed of the evil speedster is generated artificially. For that reason, it cannot utilize the speed force to move through multiverses or timelines and needs Barry to run across the cosmic treadmill to open up a wormhole. Ryan Wilder reaches Barry and Iris’ place and keeps pretending to be her usual self until a perceptive Iris detects discrepancies in her statements and deduces her to be the Red Death. Ryan reveals that she is from a different timeline, where Flash is the biggest menace in the world. Ryan narrates that in her timeline, the Waynes adopted her, and after their deaths, she swore to seek justice by becoming Batwoman—a departure from her main earth counterpart, who was inspired by Batman to take up the mantle. In an alternate Gotham, criminals used to ransack the city time and again. Ryan decided to upgrade her capability by integrating the countermeasures for her villains’ powers using technology and later replicating the powers of her timeline’s Flash to create the Red Death Suit. This gave her an extreme edge over criminals, and she gradually became drunk with power, which led her into conflict with her timeline’s Flash. Unable to cope with the might of the alternate Flash and his rogues, Ryan tried to use the speed force, but as the origins of her speed were not organic, she was thrown out and got stranded on this prime earth.


In Red Death’s hideout, Mark feels guilty about betraying Team Flash and tries to make amends with Barry. Despite his consideration of him being irredeemable, Flash still chooses to trust him to make the right decision. Ryan arrives at the hideout with Iris and demands Flash comply with her command to run on the treadmill in exchange for Iris’ life. Barry starts running, and as he paces up the city, it starts getting struck by lightning. A window break at West House almost injures Jenna, but Cecile saves her in the nick of time using her metahuman powers. Cecil goes on to save her neighborhood right after. Mark finally makes up his mind and proceeds to double-cross Red Death’s team by sabotaging the treadmill, which throws a wave of energy into Red Death and leaves her unconscious. A depowered Flash faces the new Rogues, and almost at the same time, Flash’s own team of Rogues appears in the hideout. Seeing Ryan’s suit almost fully powered, the team decides to take Barry back to STAR Labs, and ditches Mark unwillingly. Barry becomes livid with the fact that they had to leave Mark to his fate, as he feels they could have tried to save him. After seeing Cecile take the lead as a protective mother and a superhero simultaneously, Joe regains his confidence in living in Central City. Seeing the Cosmic Treadmill completely destroyed, Ryan swears to take revenge upon Team Flash.


Allegra chose a bad time to confess her feelings to Chester, and for the team, it will definitely take a while to recover after Mark’s apparent death. Speaking of Mark, it was nice to see Flash’s greatest superpower: his ability to try and appeal to the goodness in people, even the worst. Mark wanted to bring Killer Frost back to the timeline, which Team Flash ultimately refused to do. No wonder he started detesting the group and saw his only hope for bringing Frost back lying in helping Red Death. As was predictable, a deal with the Red Death was always going to cost a lot, and in this case, Mark had to sacrifice his life to save Barry.


Cecile and Joe’s moments together really stand out, partly due to the chemistry between them. After seeing many of his close ones suffer from the burden of a superhero career, Joe doesn’t want to make the same mistake with Cecile, and his concern is totally valid. However, Cecile proves herself to be capable enough to defend her family and others, and the incredibly powerful moment helps Joe see her in a new light.

Red Death, aka Ryan, totally owned the Batman likeness with a number of iconic catchphrases, notable ones like the BTAS (Batman the Animated Series) “I am Vengeance, I am the Night, I am Red Death,” Keaton’s “Wanna get nuts?” quote. Her non-threatening approach to trying to coerce Iris into her case came as a pleasant surprise, and Iris using her journalist background to “red team” Ryan’s story was something even better than the makers offered. Unlike some fans who feared shoehorning the character into CW Flash would lessen its importance, Red Death seems to fit right in place with a commentary on how the Caped Crusader’s paranoia can lead to a wrong turn when pushed to its extremities. The energy emitted from the cosmic treadmill, which was the accumulation of Flash’s speed, has hit Ryan, which may or may not boost up her already enhanced speed. Now that Flash has promptly blocked any way for her to exit the prime timeline, Ryan vows to bring the war to his front. With two sets of rogue groups running in the city, the Rogue Wars will make this season even more interesting.


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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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