The Flash season 6 episode 16, “Liberation” aired on 28 April 2020.
Let me start by saying that I haven’t cried during an episode of television since the series finale of Big Time Rush. And back then I was an emotional teen.
That scene at the end there? Oh wow.
Here’s what you really need to know about tonight’s episode: the song in THAT scene is “Still Have You” by Freya Ridings and has been added to our ‘Fastest Man Alive’ playlist.
Alright, NOW we can recap.
(By the way, is anyone else forming any COVID-19 references from The Flash lately? Last week, it was the whole “stay away from your family to protect them” thing. This week, the title seems to echo all those “liberate” hashtags from people wanting their states reopened.)
(ALSO, is it just me or was this episode very dark? Like, Teen Wolf and Game of Thrones testing-the-limits-of-my-screen-brightness type dark?)
A quick word about Caitlin…
This episode barely spent any time on the B-plot. We saw Cisco and Ralph check in on Caitlin, only to discover her body has gone into a freezing-temperature hibernation mode. Cisco does some MacGyvering to (literally) jumpstart her.
Apparently Ralph’s stretchiness means he can act as a living wire while he himself is insulated from the electric shock. How does that work?? If rubber is an insulator, it can’t conduct!! Anyway, it was nice to see him agree to act as a human jumper cable without hesitation. Remember self-serving Ralph from his first season who whined about throwing himself in harm’s way for people?
I wish we had more of a bonding moment between Caitlin, Cisco, and Ralph. At times it feels like The Flash has so much it wants to squeeze into this season that it is chugging along with plot points at the expense of its characters’ emotional development. You’ll hear me say this again further down this article.
Caitlin believes her body shut down because it could not heal her metahuman-induced injuries. This sets up a future meeting with her mother.
Iris through the looking glass
The main story this week is, of course, Barry’s quest to find Iris. But first, he has to convince the others that Mirror Iris isn’t Real Iris. His first attempt goes something like this:
Barry and Cecile manage to recover the deleted photo from Kamilla’s camera, in which Iris’ figure was prismatized. Now that he knows Mirror Iris comes from a different dimension, he plans to reveal her nature using a prism ray lamp thing. It is so fascinating to watch how cold Barry is to Mirror Iris, knowing she’s not Iris. However, Mirror Iris and Eva McCulloch catch on to his plan and swap the prism ray with a mirrored version that makes Barry look like the mirror duplicate!
Nash and Cecile put Barry in the pipeline, freeing Mirror Iris to join Mirror Singh and Mirror Kamilla for their next mission: Bloodwork. Apparently, his blood can help Eva re-enter the real dimension.
Mirror Kamilla sacrifices herself without hesitation at “Eva’s will” to free Bloodwork. This disturbs Mirror Iris, and Bloodwork notices, forcing Mirror Iris to admit it while Singh is incapacitated.
Inside the mirrorverse, Real Iris discovers a vault where she sees/experiences what Eva and Mirror Iris have been doing. The ruse is up. Of course, the visions weaken Iris and Eva apprehends her.
Love across dimensions
Back at Star Labs, Cecile follows her gut and releases Barry from the pipeline. I really wanted a Cecile-Barry bonding moment in this episode, given that they were working together for parts of it. She is sort of his stepmother now. Once again the episode had too much it needed to get through.
Barry races to confront Mirror Iris at their apartment, which is now set up with mirrors everywhere. Mirror Iris battles Barry, who is trying not to use his speed. Ultimately, the placement of the mirrors plus Barry’s speed weakness allows Mirror Iris to severely wound him.
However, Iris realises that the mirror dupes are extensions of Eva, so she taunts the older woman. So Eva still has feelings for Joseph but hates that he didn’t try to get her out of the mirror dimension. At least that’s how it seems. That couple confuses me.
While Eva is emotionally distraught, Mirror Iris loses control. Barry takes advantage and appeals to her pathos, coaxing her into admitting that she wants to be her own person, free of Eva’s will. At the admission, Eva destroys the mirror duplicate. And, even though we’ve well established that she isn’t Iris, it still hurts to see Mirror Iris literally shatter in Barry’s arms.
Eva finally leaves the mirrorverse and warns a weakened Barry not to get in her way. Barry passes out but eventually heals with whatever speedforce he has left. He talks to the remaining intact mirror while Iris is on the other side, doing the same. They cannot see or hear each other but swear to find each other again. And this is where I break down.
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