"The Flash" Season 6 "Marathon": Iris Shines, Barry Goes Sappy in Capable Post-"Crisis" Return [SPOILER REVIEW]

The CW's The Flash is back post-"Crisis" and dealing with their new world in an episode focused on Iris (Candice Owens) and her journalistic exploits. Meanwhile, Barry (Grant Gustin) and guest star Diggle (David Ramsey) investigate a final clue left by Oliver.

First, I need to salute the real heroes: the folks at The CW who scheduled tonight's episodes of The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, the only network that didn't carry the State of the Union address. For those of us looking to escape from the supervillain currently occupying the White House, this was an excellent distraction.

The Flash — "Marathon" Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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One other nice break is that the season so far has been so focused on Barry and his supposed destiny of disappearing and dying in Crisis, in this new world we put our other characters front and center. The best scene of the episode may be Cisco freaking out about how all of their worlds are now mashed together, trying to piece together a new timeline that makes sense [note the Easter Egg that his sketchboard says "Timeline 52"], and when he rips open his shirt to reveal a Superman tee underneath:"I don't remember owning this shirt!"

More relevant to the episode's overall plot is that he has also collected a binder of all villains from all earths to try to more easily keep track of them. "When did you have time to do all of this?" a skeptical Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) asks. It's a great scene, and loads of fun.

It also leads directly into our main story, where Iris, Allegra (Kayla Compton) and Kamilla (Victoria Park) team up on a story involving missing tech and international assassins. And, of course, when they dig too deep and publish their story on the front page, they find themselves the targets of "Black Hole," and their top assassin who uses refracted light and a photon gun to disintegrate people. It's pretty cool looking and incredibly brutal to watch as people disintegrate int black and purple ash from the inside out.

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The Flash — "Marathon" — Image Number: FLA610a_0b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Candice Patton as Iris West – Allen, Kayla Compton as Allegra, Victoria Park as Kamilla and Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

But the main thrust of the story is about the power and the responsibility of the press and their duty to the truth. If only our real world were more like theirs in this respect. But it's also great to see Patton lead an episode again, and anytime she teams up with her journo-squad, I'm always in.

Our secondary story is interesting, but maybe a little too predictable. Diggle shows up with a present for Barry: in Oliver's will he left Barry the mask he originally made for him way back in Season 2 of Arrow. But Barry thinks there has to be some deeper, hidden meaning to it.

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The Flash — "Marathon" — Image Number: FLA610b_0032b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): David Ramsey as John Diggle/Spartan and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

When he finds traces of Mirakuru on the mask and other elements that lead him back to Lian Yu, he and Diggle literally run around the world to get there. But in the end, there is no greater mystery. Indeed, the message from Oliver is that life isn't a series of sprints, it's a marathon, and he needs to slow down and enjoy life.

It's sappy, it was fairly predictable from the first introduction of the mcguffin mask, and really only served to sideline Barry from being able to protect Iris and the rest of the team from the mortal danger they were in. Which, by all means, certainly do that so that other characters can have stakes and agency of their own outside of what Barry Allen is doing every week. But it did seem a little cheap.

And then we get to the final scene of the episode. Following clues from her investigation, Iris goes back to the tech giant whose weapon had been stolen. While investigating what appears to be an abandoned office, she looks into a giant mirror as two arms reach out, grab her, and pull her in.

Mirror Master time! Showrunner Eric Wallace promised this would play largely into the overall arc for the second half of the season. Just as Cisco promised, with so many of our iconic villains back and in new forms, we're going to face an entirely new set of challenges.

Next week it sure looks like Iris is back from through the looking glass, but it appears things may have changed? Join us next week for "Love is a Battlefield."

About Andy Wilson

A mild mannered digital strategist working for an environmental nonprofit in Austin, TX roaming the interwebs fighting his nemeses by day, and by night consuming all manner of media. You can find him either on his couch or at the nearest Alamo Drafthouse catching the latest. Don't follow him on Twitter @CitizenAndy.

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