‘The Flash’ Season 9, Episode 5: Recap And Ending, Explained: Has The Threat Of The Red Death Ended?

Team Flash gets their hands busy in their effort to spoil Red Death’s plans in the fifth episode of the final season, as viewers enjoy the return of another fan favorite. In the last episode, we saw Red Death’s identity being revealed to be an alternate Earth’s Ryan Wilder, aka Batwoman, has been entrapped in the prime Earth and, in order to go back to her Earth, needed Barry to create wormholes by running through the cosmic treadmill. Red Death manages to coerce Barry by threatening Iris’ life and almost gets her end of the bargain until Mark Blaine has a change of heart and destroys the cosmic treadmill by making it implode. The end of the previous episode saw Mark presumably getting killed by the Red Death’s team of Rogues, while Barry’s team of reformed Rogues barely escaped while rescuing him. Red Death swore vengeance upon Team Flash.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In Episode 5 Of ‘The Flash’ Season 9?

As the episode begins, we see the skyline of Central City being bombarded with red lightning. The Central City Police Department gets quickly taken over by Red Death and her gang, and although Officer Kramer tries to use her meta-mimic powers, Red Death quickly subdues her. She instructs her Rogues to install some hardware on the building’s roof, which is somehow related to misusing the CCPD’s advanced satellites, which were gifted by Team Flash. Red Death promises to show Officer Kramer a glimpse of true justice.

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At Star Labs, the members of Team Flash argue among themselves about their past action of leaving Mark to his fate. The situation is worsened by Barry losing his speed after depleting himself on the cosmic treadmill, which implies that Team Flash cannot afford to make a loose move by rushing into action. Iris suggests tracking the emotional spectrum of rage and hatred, something Red Death should be filled with after their past interaction, and with her composite metahuman powers, Cecile is just the right person to do so. Cecile gets connected to Red Death psychically and reveals her location to be the CCPD headquarters. Cecile also tracks down another familiar emotional spectrum: Mark Blaine’s, who is still alive and held captive in the hideout of the Red Death. Once again, the Reformed Rogues and Flash argue about what their best course of action could be: saving Mark or pinning down Red Death once and for all. Honestly, I wonder how they could even think of the second option, given how they were treated even when Flash was at his best potential, but I digress. After Khione steps up to save Mark even without having any powers, the reformed rogues agree to help Mark remain their first priority.

In the CCPD, Red Death orders her lackeys to construct a satellite signal amplifier, after which the next stage of the plan is revealed. As the signal amplifier starts functioning, she creates multiple apparitions of Red Death throughout the city to work as her enforcer who will stop crime at its very origin by hard and fast methods. Unlike the speed mirages or afterimages created by other speedsters, this is a mental projection, which suggests the existence of a super-strong psychic source who is helping her. As Chester starts his search regarding the whereabouts of the source, the rest of Team Flash goes to Red Death’s hideout to rescue Mark. Despite Khione’s eagerness, Barry doesn’t allow her to be a part of active field duties due to a lack of experience or metahuman powers. As the group rescues Mark with relative ease, they are left to wonder whether making the mission easier was part of the Red Death’s plan. At once, Red Death strikes, knocking the rest of the Team unconscious and robbing the last remnants of Flash’s speed. All along, her plan had been to lure Flash outside to take away his remaining speed so that he has to stay put when Red Death’s dominion over the city, and eventually over the world, continues. And despite being psychic projections, the numerous Red Deaths scattered around the city are just as deadly. Barry remarks he will find a way to stop her, to which Red retorts that the entire ruckus is due to Barry’s callousness alone. She gives Barry a tour of Psychescape, where he finds Gorilla Grodd stranded in the jungle, where Barry had last seen him years ago. Grodd seems lonely, and no sign of his gorilla tribe can be seen nearby, which prompts Barry to ask what Red has done to him. Red replies that this was all the Flash’s doing, as, after the Crisis event, the reality was changed anew. The gorillas of Gorilla City lost their sentience and got scattered across the globe. As a result, Grodd became extremely lonely, and even Barry could not manage to spare time for him.

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As the Team is reunited once again at the STAR Labs, reformed Rogues lose their patience over Barry’s decisions and move away to their families or loved ones, fearing their demise at the hands of Red Death. Barry talks with Joe, who affirms Barry’s belief in seeing goodness in the worst of us, and in turn, Joe gets reminded by Barry of his contribution to parenting generations of superheroes (Barry, Iris, and Wally, to name a few). Chester finds out the location of the source to be Serengeti and warns Flash about facing an infuriated Grodd without his metahuman powers. Nevertheless, Barry teleported to the place to face Grodd, who at first gets infuriated at Barry’s presence but later calms down after Barry apologizes and affirms his trust in the world’s strongest psychic’s (Grodd) capacity to be a hero. Barry promises Grodd to help him in his efforts to find a tribe, although it remains to be seen how he can make them sentient once again. Grodd helps Flash by surging stronger psychic signals and frying out the signal amplifier, thereby foiling Red’s plan.

An enraged Red goads Flash into a final battle and Barry races to the location. She becomes dumbfounded as to how he already got his speed back when we learn that the portion of speed Barry gave to Grodd years ago during the latter’s quest to become a hero was returned during their recent interaction. In the battle, Red overpowers Flash and gets interrupted by the reformed Rogues, who get beaten too. Finally, Prime Earth’s Ryan Wilder, aka Batwoman, makes a surprise appearance and hits her evil doppelganger, Red Death, with a speed-dampener Batarang. They engage in melee combat, and Red soon gets the upper hand, but this gives Barry enough time to take away Red’s armor and cowl and handcuff her.

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Prime Earth Ryan Wilder catches up with Team Flash members before leaving for Gotham City. Joe lets Cecile know that Barry’s acknowledgment has made him realize how important it is to provide Jenna with the upbringing he gave to his children through the years, all the while not hampering Cecile’s superhero career. So he makes a plan to move to the countryside with Jenna, where Cecile can meet the two on weekends. Two weeks later, a house party is held in the West household, where Joe receives an emotional farewell and delivers a parting speech acknowledging the life with Team Flash he has been a part of since the very beginning. Mark feels himself to be out of place and retires separated from others; he later gets comforted by Barry, who remarks that he’s as much a part of his family as anyone else. Chester and Allegra make their relationship official, and at the final moment of the episode, Khione lets everyone know that she has detected Iris to be pregnant.


Thoughts

A major part of Barry’s life and career, both before and after the manifestation of metahuman abilities, was shaped by the ideals he was taught by Joe. From rearing Barry to helping him seek justice for his parents, Joe played an integral role in every step of Barry’s journey to becoming a hero, and no amount of appreciation can do justice to his importance. It was good to see the character get a befitting send-off, but it will make long-time fans wish that Wally could have been presented in this emotional farewell. The episode also saw the return of Grodd, the complex sentient gorilla who has come a long way from his villainous days and is trying to do good by becoming a hero. I’m really hoping that this is not the last time we see him in this season.

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The prime earth Batwoman, aka Ryan Wilder, makes her appearance in a batsuit, and this season will be the final time Javicia Leslie will don the bat-moniker. Red Death’s ideology of turning to hyper-surveillance to ensure the safety of the earth matches with Batman’s idea, which enabled the creation of Brother Eye, and Chester gives a cheeky nod to that, mentioning Red’s version of Sister Eye taking over the world. Although by the end of the episode, Red has been trapped in Iron Heights, escaping from that prison has been a routine affair for most Flash Rogues, so there is a chance that Flash will meet her soon in the next phase of the season as well. We definitely need to see her earth’s equivalent of Flash and other characters, being a character deeply associated with the Dark Multiverse in comics; as we speculated earlier, Red Death may also be the key to the upcoming reunion of the Flash Family and evil speedsters of the past.


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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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