REVIEW: The Flash – Season 9, Episode 11, “A New World Part 2”

Remember the finale of Arrow, where Oliver Queen was gone till the last five seconds? That sucked pretty hard. “A New World Part 2” is that episode for The Flash, and while it isn’t nearly as bad as whatever that awful Arrow finale was called, Barry’s absence is felt. Fortunately, the damage is mitigated by this not being the finale and the writers doing their best to make up for the missing title character.

After Barry disappears, Team Flash assembles to find him. Blaine returns, eager to help and to catch up with Khione. Iris’ pregnancy is nearing its end, but being part of the team puts her and the baby in danger. Malcolm Gilmore looks for clues about his accident and why he’s suddenly getting memories of a man named Eddie Thawne.

“A New World Part 2” takes place at the same time as “Part 1” and follows Barry’s friends in the present while he’s caught in the past. It’s an interesting way to tackle the story, and by necessity, the Barryless episode falters. Aside from not having The Flash in the picture, the supporting cast has gotten much worse over the years, with nobody of interest around anymore outside of Iris and occasionally Chester. They even got rid of Caitlin and are forcing the grating hippie Khione on Danielle Panabaker, and as good as she is, she can’t make this awful character palatable. It’s a bumpy ride, but it was probably the right decision because it made last week’s episode possible. That was all about Barry reliving his past, and it benefited from being so streamlined; intercutting it with scenes of his friends searching for him would have stopped his story cold. This is the salad, the required vegetables after a tasty appetizer, but at least the dressing isn’t bad.


“A New World Part 2” works as well as it does because it’s constantly moving. There isn’t a lot of talk about relationships or interpersonal nonsense, and when there is, it’s with a purpose greater than a junior high school discussion about emotional cripples being in like with each other. The action starts immediately after Barry is sucked into the past; his friends mobilize to find him, and they’re joined by a returning Blaine, who visited Corto Maltese to find himself or something. The explanation about why he’s back is clunky and annoying (he and Cecile were pen pals), but whatever; he’s here, just in time to be a cheerleader and rally everyone. Initially, this scene annoyed me because, while I liked his reasoning for not giving up on Barry, I don’t appreciate a nobody like Blaine suddenly acting like he’s in charge. But, regardless, Chester is tasking the STAR Labs satellites to look for cobalt, and everyone else is… doing stuff.

But there’s a reason for Blaine’s swagger and gumption: he’s possessed by The Negative Speed Force the way Joe was last week. And one by one, he eliminates each member of the team: he shoots Allegra with a blue cobalt laser beam thing; he tries to gas Iris at her office; he gets Chester to chase down a phony lead while pinky-swearing to watch the satellites for him; he breaks Cecile’s arm off-screen; and he hurts Khione’s feelings, which is all it takes to stop her because she has the mentality of a child. His plan in the present is to kill Iris and, consequently, her child, and he would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for that meddling Speed Force. Once again in the form of Nora Allen, The Speed Force blasts The Negative Speed Force with lightning and chases it away, then collapses, explaining to Iris that the other Negative Forces are at war with her, and she’s fighting them on another plane. This appears to be their final power play, an attempt to eliminate The Speed Force and its avatar, The Flash. Getting rid of Barry’s child would ensure that no replacement avatar is ever born.

The Flash A New World Part 2

I’m not sure how I feel about this being the final battle. The Negative Speed Force makes sense, I guess, but haven’t we had this fight already? Last season was Barry taking The Negative Forces on with Eobard Thawne as their avatar. He finally vanquished his arch-nemesis for good, and The Negative Forces were defeated. It feels a little anticlimactic that he has to fight them again for the grand finale. Without Thawne, they’re not all that interesting, and this feels more like a rerun than the fight of Barry’s life. Don’t get me wrong; it’s much better than having Barry face Evil Speedster Batwoman for all the marbles. And if things are going the way they appear to be, they could have a decent avatar waiting in the wings, one who will make up for the relative lameness of The Negative Forces. But for now, it’s hard to get excited about these guys again.

So, who’s the key to stopping The Negative Speed Force (which I’m going to start calling NSF)? No points for guessing that it’s Khione. NSF’s insults were intended to make her afraid to use her powers because she’s strong enough to fight it. At Iris’ office, two of the reporters are suffocating from inhaling the gas, and Khione changes their bodies to make them part plant so they can expel the gas from their lungs. She has the ability to remove unnatural contagions but can’t interfere with the natural world (God, even her powers are hippie-ish), but NSF argues that she took the choice away from those people and forced her plant power on them, that she’s an abomination rather than a hero. But The Speed Force tells her that’s bunk, and she’s their only hope of facing NSF. So Khione stares down NFS, we prepare for a huge fight, and then she defeats him in about ten seconds by turning Blaine into mulch, removing the cobalt rod that seems to power the possessed NSF bodies, then rebuilds Blaine like nothing happened. This is the problem with introducing characters like Khione so late in the game: you’ve got to fast-track their character development, so you end up doing silly, anticlimactic things like this to show everyone how cool we’re supposed to think they are. It never works, and we’re left wondering why you bothered.

The Flash A New World Part 2

But that’s the end of that, at least for this week. NSF is momentarily defeated, Barry is back, and Iris immediately goes into labor. See what I mean about “A New World Part 2” moving fast? While waiting at the hospital, Khione promises to go away, but not till the season is over, and Barry disappears once again. It’s kind of a one-step-forward, two-steps-back episode, and since we’re left pretty much where we started, it’s a little hard to see the point. But the upshot is the subplot about Malcolm Gilmore, the mysterious character Rick Cosnett is playing. He goes to the police station and talks to someone I had to look up to recall if she ever appeared before (she has, but I still don’t remember her), trying to figure out who Eddie Thawne is and why Malcolm looks just like him. This would have been a lot better with Joe in the other cop’s place, but I imagine they want to use what little of Jesse L. Martin they have wisely. It turns out that Eddie’s grave is empty, and Malcolm now understands that he is Eddie Thawne. It’s still unclear what’s going on, but I like how this is unfolding, and I’m glad to have Cosnett back for the last run of episodes.

Did the NSF resurrect Eddie to make him its new avatar? I don’t see how he fits into the story otherwise. It’ll be neat to see how Barry deals with having to fight the man who saved his life and his old romantic rival. And if this is our Eddie, how will he react to Iris being married to Barry and about to have his child? Also, if this is our Eddie, why is he in another universe? This part of the story is much more interesting than the stuff with the NSF, and it’s the hook these episodes need to craft a worthy finale for The Flash.

The Flash – "A New World Part 2"

Plot - 7
Acting - 8
Progression - 7
Production Design - 7
Themes - 6



“A New World Part 2” is another episode without Barry Allen, and while it suffers because of his absence and the mostly lousy supporting cast, it moves fast enough to keep from getting boring, and the subplot about Malcolm Gilmore/Eddie Thawne is compelling.

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