THE FLASH Season 6 Episode 10 Review: Marathon

After spending the months leading up to Crisis having us picture a world without the Flash, the second half of season six picks up Barry alive and well, and yet his world having somehow moved on anyways. Apart from stopping a heist during a lighthearted cold open, Barry’s out of costume the whole episode. Most of his time was instead spent with guest star David Ramsey on scouring Lian Yu for a hidden message from the late Oliver Queen (and for those wondering... no, sadly there's no follow up from Digg’s celestial discovery in the Arrow series finale’s big cliffhanger). While it felt a little repetitive to have another story about Barry mourning Ollie after he already spent a lot of time doing so in the crossover, I did appreciate that his grief-induced road trip was more of a subplot and didn't monopolize the episode-- in many ways, its main purpose was to take Barry away from the action in Central City, not spend more time picking at his guilty conscience.

In Barry’s absence, his team stepped up to face new challenges without him by their side, as they were trained to, with Iris leading the charge. It takes a while for the Blackhole conspiracy she unravels with her investigative journalistic skills (which the writers are finally putting to good use) to really heat up, but once it becomes clear who the ultimate mastermind is, it's clear there's enough juice to power the rest of the season. Mirror Master is a classic member of the Rogues, a group the series never handled well after Snart and Rory were shipped off to Legends of Tomorrow. It's an exciting prospect to think there's a now a second chance for her and other iconic Flash villains who didn't take off in their first incarnation in a way that actually fits into the show’s main storyline. In almost every season there's a new batch of metas introduced to serve as a round of forgettable one-off villains, but now we have the possibility of revisiting more significant baddies than the D-listers Barry’s faced lately as a significant shakeup. 

Still, there are plenty of losses that come with the introduction of Earth-Prime; it stings that vital characters like Harry and Jesse were killed offscreen, but Cisco’s quiet heartbreak helps it feel like the destruction of their world isn't being swept under the rug. Cisco has to also grapple with whether he truly wants to be Vibe again or if he is simply feeling guilty for not being able to prevent Crisis. I’m glad his character is being given the space to figure out what he wants; while I’ve always felt Cisco taking the cure was a mistake, it would have felt false if he were suddenly to ready to jump back into the fray after spending so long convinced he didn't want powers. 

But even so, having Cisco take a leave of absence from the team so soon after a major turning point for his character is disappointing. There were persistent rumors last season that Carlos Valdes was planning to leave the show, and his break is sure to revive the gossip mill. That said, part of the new strategy for this season seems to be no longer trying to force all the main cast into every episode of the show — Ralph, for example, is nowhere to be found in this whole episode. 

Hopefully, Cisco going out of town is just a way of giving the lackluster Nash Wells a chance to find his place in the team and not a repeat of what happened to Wally. If we’re getting a classic Flash villain to fight, we should get to see the series’ classic Team Flash be the ones to take her on.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer