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‘The Flash’ recap: 6×18 – “Pay the Piper”

The price of love is loss, and there's no guaranteed refund.

The Flash season 6 episode 18, “Pay the Piper”, aired 5 May 2020. 

If I had to recap this episode in one sentence: Andy Mientus is *chefs kiss*. There, that’s all you need to know.

Our good friend Pied Piper returned this week. Though he definitely does not consider Team Flash good friends. In this post-Crisis timeline, Hartley had a “right-hand man”, Rodrick, though it quickly becomes clear that he means a lot more to Hartley than that. During a fight, The Flash created a blast that destabilized Rodrick’s body. He’s been kept in a special energy chamber since. Hartley blames The Flash, but he also blames himself.

Old friends and old foes

Team Flash aren’t too friendly with each other right now, either. Cisco takes the news Mirror Kamilla really hard and retreats into a cranky shell. Barry throws himself into broodily building the speedforce generator. Allegra still hates Nash. Cecile is still (implicitly) stressed from her Ragdoll encounter without everyone’s negative emotions laying on her. This leaves Ralph the only balanced person on the team, flitting between keeping everyone from imploding and checking on Killer Frost.

Godspeed reappears with a new power: he can create sonic waves and use them to siphon Barry’s speed. Who is Central City’s biggest sound expert? Hartley Rathaway.

Nash proposes they placate Hartley by saving his boyfriend. Except his method to stabilize Rodrick isn’t permanent. A pep talk from Nash makes Barry realise Hartley’s emotional involvement with Rodrick.

Barry and Hartley bond over losing the loves of their respective lives, but are interrupted when Godspeed reappears. The white speedster makes an ultimatum: give him Velocity serum or he’ll start killing random civilians.

Despite Cisco’s concerns, Barry still faces Godspeed. Hartley, moved by the earlier conversation, decides that he can’t be an angry vengeful metavillian forever and jumps in to help. Together, Pied Piper and the Flash combine their sonic blast and lightning, creating the same energy blast that hurt Rodrick and that now defeats Godspeed.

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Frenemies

Godspeed’s “blood” ends up being to solution to saving Rodrick. At least that’s one couple reunited.

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Pied Piper and Team Flash are friends again…sort of. I don’t think Hartley or Cisco would want to admit it. Hartley does reassure Barry that he will find Iris. 

Speaking of, Iris is starting to feel the effects of being in the mirrorverse, getting the same headaches and itch that Eva had. She does find Kamilla in mirrorverse. Even in the mirrorverse, you can get pep talks in the Star Labs hallway. Iris doubts herself after realising Eva tricked her all this time, but Kamilla reminds her to believe in herself.

Rounding out our pep talk trilogy is Cecile, who pulls Cisco out of his funk. The engineer has been feeling rather helpless because he doesn’t have Kamilla to motivate him. Not to mention Hartley reminding him he was not Vibe any more. Eventually, he makes some headway on how to enter the mirrorverse.

We had a bonus pep talk outside of Star Labs. Killer Frost is apprehensive about meeting Caitlin’s mother, stemming from a deeper insecurity. Ralph assures her that she is just as important as Caitlin and graduates her from his Life Coach School. I love their friendship and the way they take this whole coaching thing seriously.

What’s next for The Flash?

Cisco announces he is going to Atlantis to get components for a “perpetual energy machine”. Said machine will help them enter the mirrorverse. It also sounds a lot like the particle accelerator and that makes me VERY wary.

Also you can’t just say this and not give us an Atlantis episode.

There’s also the long-running Godspeed problem. This episode’s Godspeed was yet another drone and not the actual OG meta. The show has not mentioned this very often through the season so I don’t know if it’s something they will resolve or use to set up next season. Bear in mind we still have to get Iris and co out of the universe and figure out what exactly is going on between Eva and Joseph.

Anyway, this episode itself had a pretty good story. I enjoyed Mientus’ presence so much. And Pied Piper is such a wonderfully interesting character, self-assured and villainous, but also – as we saw this week – sensitive. Plus I love how Hartley is the only person who figured out Cisco is Vibe because of the hair.

If you love The Flash make sure to check out our Flash Zone and follow Pure Fandom on social media!

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Ellen Ng

Ellen is a student, writer, professional daydreamer etc. Most likely to be found with green tea, but coffee has been an option as of late. Currently superhero-watching.

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