REVIEW: The Flash – Season 9, Episode 9, “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To”

Never let it be said that Barry Allen can’t pull off a miracle. “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” (the URL for this review is gonna be huge) is not only a return to form after two-thirds of a disappointing final season; it’s a sensational episode, packed with character development, fan service (the good kind), and what feels like a mandate to correct some of the show’s mistakes, and not just from this season. It’s a reminder of why we love The Flash just before the show says goodbye, and it’s as welcome as an old friend we thought we’d never see again.

It’s Barry’s thirtieth birthday, and (some of) his friends and family gather at STAR Labs to throw him a party. But an old enemy returns with a brand new evil plan, and soon the entire multiverse is in peril unless Barry can pull it together and save the day.

When “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” begins, it makes you think this will be another throwaway episode, which this year has had way too many of for a final season. It’s Barry’s birthday, so, of course, there’s got to be a party. The guests include some familiar faces, and it’s terrific to see them again, especially Diggle. David Ramsey is so good in this role, and whenever Diggle shows up, he reminds you of the heart he brings to every Arrowverse show in which he appears. Joe’s absence is glaring, though. I understand it’s because Jesse L. Martin was only available for a limited number of episodes, and coordinating some of these other actors was probably a hassle, but it feels like Joe should be here. However, the scene works very well regardless; while everyone else is having a good time, Barry is being a good superhero and staring into the night, taking stock of his life so far, those he lost, and whether it was all worth it. Then, the bad guy shows up, and things get really good.


Ramsey Rosso is back! This immediately made me happy because he was one of The Flash’s biggest wastes. Rosso was an excellent villain, one who challenged Barry’s moral code in a different way than anyone had before. So, of course, they shoved his arc into too few episodes, turned him into a mustache-twirler, and got rid of him in favor of that female version of Mirror Master who was one of the most boring antagonists the show’s ever had. But as soon as he shows up in “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To,” he brings all the promise and gravitas of his initial episodes, much of that due to actor Sendhil Ramamurthy and his perfect performance. Ramamurthy’s Ramsey Rosso reinforces why superhero shows and movies need a good villain; the past few seasons have suffered from weak opponents for Barry, aside from whenever Reverse-Flash returned. With just his presence, Rosso blows them all out of the water.

Remember how I said “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” fixes a lot of the problems in the show’s past? It starts by explaining Rosso’s long absence. He’s been biding his time, waiting and planning for a big power move that eclipses his goals from his first arc. Now, Rosso wants to spread his blood mind control powers not just through our world but through the entire multiverse, turning everyone in every world into one of his zombies. It’s the ultimate conquest of death, eradicating it in every reality, with the trade-off that we all become his slaves. But didn’t the multiverse get destroyed in the God-awful “Crisis on Infinite Earths”? That’s another point of stupidity this episode corrects; the multiverse was not so much destroyed as recreated, with infinite universes still existing, albeit in secret and less detectable. That’s how all those inconsistencies over the years (which no one questioned till now, but they have to work with what they’ve got) were possible, like Red Death coming from another world this year. And now that the multiverse is back, it’s about to be destroyed by Rosso, or at least enslaved.

The Flash It's My Party

This seems ripe for another immediate good vs. greater good dilemma for Barry, but “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” goes in a different direction. Barry has already had that conflict with Rosso, bungled though it was. This time, he’s wondering if it’s his fault. Barry is so sullen at his birthday party because he’s thinking of all the people he’s lost and wondering why he’s still alive. He understands from an intellectual perspective that The Flash can save people, save the world, and make a difference. But Barry is all about the individual, the immediate good, and he doesn’t believe it was worth losing his parents or Caitlin. (There you go! This episode finally makes Barry miss – and even mourn – his dead best friend!) Now, he’s faced with a villain who wants to eliminate death entirely, to never force someone to question their existence in the face of loss again. It’s excellent writing; Barry is facing the embodiment of his doubts and regrets, his perfect world made manifest.

But “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” doesn’t go for the easy plot, having Barry wonder if Rosso is right. He’s come too far to fall into that trap. Instead, Rosso sets his sights on a less-experienced speedster: Wally West. Wally is now a Zen master or some such (he and Khione would make a good couple, sitting in a drum circle and talking to plants or whatever hippies do on dates), but an early conversation with Barry hints that, as much as he thinks he’s found peace, he’s still searching for relief from the pain he can’t escape. He’s been traveling to different timelines to find other versions of himself so he can see how they’ve mastered their pain, but Barry tells him that he’s just looking for a shortcut rather than doing the work himself. Rosso reinforces that; those timelines were actually other Earths in the multiverse everyone thought was gone, and Wally will never find the peace he wants. But Rosso is also preying on him, convincing Wally that only by helping him consume the multiverse can he finally lay down his burden. He also has to kill Barry, which Rosso forces him to do.

The Flash It's My Party

What’s great about this is that it both is and isn’t a conscious choice on Wally’s part. He doesn’t choose to kill Barry, but he does choose to let Rosso control him, to stop fighting and accept peace from wherever it comes. This is contrasted with Barry, whose life is a constant struggle against evil and temptation. When they first face Rosso together, Wally says that they can find a way to resolve their conflict without violence, while Barry decks Rosso because he knows better. In lesser episodes, Barry would have been wrong, but here, he’s right; Wally’s insistence on peace brings him under the thrall of a monster, while Barry’s will to resist keeps him safe – until Wally does that phase-chop thing that Reverse-Flash loved so much. This is Rosso’s trade-off in action; Wally chooses to lose his will in return for conquering death, so he lives as a mindless drone, fulfilling the wishes of his puppet master and committing great evil. Barry rejects Rosso’s offer and dies, though he retains his freedom and his soul.

That’s what makes Oliver Queen’s return so vital to “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To.” In death, Barry is faced not just with an old friend, not just with the man who helped set him on his path, but with someone who chose death. These two very different men are connected through their hearts because they’re both heroes who would lay down their lives for what’s right. Fittingly, it’s Oliver who guides Barry back to life by getting him to overcome the small doubt gnawing at him – the same one that has consumed Wally. Barry’s lost a lot, and he’s made many mistakes, but he’s still alive (well, not at the moment, but you know what I mean) because he can help. His purpose is what he’s always wanted to do, the thing that drives his every decision. It’s unfair that people have died, but it’s not unfair that Barry still lives, especially since Barry can save so many others – in this case, everyone in every universe. It’s an amazing moment: Barry finally accepts that he’s a hero, that his life matters, and he lives once more to save us all.

“It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” has been sensational so far, but now, it’s action time, and the episode doesn’t disappoint in that regard either. The battle against Ramsey Rosso is full of payoffs, callbacks, and cool stuff. Oliver returns with Barry for one last fight, and the blood pumps seeing the Green Arrow back in action, especially when snippets of his theme music play. They manage to give Oliver a good fight against a possessed SWAT Team, and watching him team up with Diggle in his Spartan costume again is immensely satisfying. Barry bringing Wally back from the darkness, the four of them teaming up against giant skull demon Rosso (with a perfect line from Diggle), and Oliver saying what we’ve been waiting for him to say, all hit the right note.

But perhaps my favorite thing about “It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” is how it ends: with Barry and Oliver in a bar, having a beer together. That was how they used to end the Arrowverse crossovers, and it felt right each time. These guys understand each other in a way no one else can, and their last moments together are spent reminding each other of why they’re heroes. The only bad thing I can say about this episode (aside from Khione continuing to exist) is that it feels like it should be the series finale. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I have no idea how they’ll ever top this.

The Flash – "It's My Party and I'll Die if I Want To""

Plot - 10
Acting - 9
Progression - 9
Production Design - 7
Themes - 10



“It’s My Party and I’ll Die if I Want To” is a sensational episode that brings The Flash back to its best days, focusing on Barry and his growth, his doubts, and what makes him a hero. The villain is terrific, it’s satisfying to see old friends, and the fan service works perfectly.

Comments (2)

April 28, 2023 at 1:57 pm

I wanna watch the Flash; seen first three seasons of Arrow and loved them and started season 4 and was actually pretty entertained despite all the hate. But was distracted and didn’t finish. Sadly, it seems Arrowverse became very convokluted with fusing all the shows together and so many crossovers; I hate when they do that; you shoulnd’t have to watch a seperate show to understand one you are watching…

    April 28, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    The first season is great, seasons 2 and 3 are good, and after that it gets rough. It’s good and even great at times, but it’s really bad at others.

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