The Flash season 7 episode 6, “The One with the Nineties”, aired on 6 April 2021.
You know it’s going to be a good episode when the opening feels like Legends of Tomorrow and references Jurassic Park.
Unlike our funky cousins at LoT however, this wasn’t just a fun 90’s romp. In a different spin on time travel, The Flash finally gave us a deeper dive of our newest member, Chester P. Runk. I’ve enjoyed Chester and his enthusiasm since day 1, so I was so glad this finally happened.
How do you do, fellow kids?
While setting up sensors, to detect Fuerza and Psych, Cisco and Chester (Team Chesco) encounter a time wave and find themselves trapped in a dome where everything is stuck in 1998.
Fortunately, they are in the area where Chester grew up. He leads Cisco to a trash yard where they Macgyver their way to fix their sensor. Then they sneak into the local high school, change into some cool 90s outfits, and go around interviewing students to find the latest Force. “For the yearbook.” Cisco rocks the tie-dye and Chester rocks the bucket hat. By the way, anyone notice one of the students looks like Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You?
Eventually, they encounter one of the football reserves who seems aware that he’s been sent back to 1998. However, their meeting seems to trigger a reset of the time loop. Cisco also gets his memory reset to 1998 when he was seven years old, but Chester helps him remember by listing out nerdy stuff.
“Oh god, please tell me you remember ‘Game of Thrones’!” – Chester to Cisco
Runk and Son
Chester realises his memory stayed intact because the sensor shielded him. However, it got fried, so they go shopping for parts. At the tech store, a man purchases the last available stock of something they need. It’s Chester’s father.
Chester eventually reveals to Cisco that his father was always travelling for work and did not have time for him while he grew up. He lived with his grandma. The time loop also happens to be on the last day Chester sees his father before Papa Runk passes in a fatal car accident.
Chester visits his father to buy the part they need off him. There, he learns that his father bought the part for him. Or rather, Papa Runk bought the part to “throw away” – leave in the trash for young Chester to find and use. It’s such a powerful moment when we just saw Chester scavenging from trash earlier. It was Papa Runk’s way of teaching Chester to be resourceful even when he couldn’t be around. With this revelation that his father did actually care about him – and worked so hard for him – Chester is able to hug his dad and let go of the pain from his past. Then, the two Runks work together to fix the sensor with alternative parts.
P.S. When Papa Runk asked for Chester’s name, Chester panicked and introduced himself as John Boyega.
The perfect date
Cisco and Chester return to the high school, where one of the football starters confronts them. The kid, Dion, is the vessel of the time Force (or Still Force, to be comic-precise). On December 4 1998, he found out an NFL scout was going to watch his upcoming game. Turns out, he gets injured in the game, the reserve was scouted instead, and that became the end of his football career. With his newfound powers, he has been trying desperately to change this day.
In anger, he unleashes a time wave that gives everyone in Central City 90’s outfits. It also throws up several chronic aberrations (to borrow LoT lexicon), such as a Roman soldier and a T-rex.
Chester, speaking from recent experience, convinces Dion to stand down and let go of the past. It works, sort of. Dion resets them to normal time. But he also seems to interpret Chester’s words as he can control the future – as in for himself and everyone – with his newfound powers. Oops.
Back at Star Labs in 2021, Chester digs up an old project of his dad’s, and gets to work.
Cisco notes that Dion/Still Force didn’t seem interested in chasing the Speed Force or the Flash. He didn’t even seem aware of the other Forces. A newly recovered Barry points out that Dion is still dangerous. Plus, he has yet to discover the extent of his abilities.
Outside of the 1998 time dome, Iris had a bonding day with the Entity-that-resembles-her-late-mother-in-law. She brought Nora/Speed Force to the WestAllen loft, showing Nora a blanket that Barry bundles up in when he’s unwell because it was made by his mother. Speed Force Nora learns about the violent nature of Nora Allen’s death, and wonders if she should cease using this form. However, Iris believes it may also bring Barry comfort by reminding him of someone he loved.
Are you sure, Iris? At the end of the hour, she invites Speed Force Nora to crash at their apartment, and Barry looks between them really awkwardly. That turns to suspicion as the two ladies walk away. I wonder what Barry saw in his coma.
It seems like Caitlin and Killer Frost may soon clash as roommates. Already they have different tastes in art and interior decor.
Joe warns to Frost about Kramer, but Frost doesn’t want to lay low. She finally has a chance to live her life and doesn’t want to hide.
It was also really funny how Frost decided she liked 90s fashion even after normal time was restored, and Joe thought for a hot second that they were back in the 90s. Hey Joe, you looked really good in your 90s outfit. Don’t sell yourself short.
Find all our Flash recaps in the Flash Zone.