The Flash: 6.15 The Exorcism of Nash Wells
Each season of The Flash guarantees at least three things: the introduction of a new Wells, a complicated villain whose backstory and motivations become a challenge to execute, and more B-stories than the season can handle. These are always accomplished in very different ways, allowing each season to stand out (some better than others), with the execution determining its success. So far, season six has been teetering between excellence and meh for too long. The Exorcism of Nash Wells felt uninspired, full of lots of technobabble and frustrating in parts, but it managed to pull it together by the close out.
The Death of the Speedforce set the expectation bar high by teasing the return of Eobard Thawne’s Reverse Flash and Kamilla being hit by a Mirror gun. Surprisingly, the focus surrounded Eobard and his trapped consciences rather than Eva’s motivations and how the mirror duplicates work. This was frustrating; for too long we have waited for an Eva-centric episode that delves into her psyche. Instead the decision to further develop on Nash, while not bad (as it delivered heart wrenching dramatic tension) felt misplaced at this stage.
It was painful to see Eva McCulloch for such a short period of time; watching her 90 seconds of airtime used to set her minions on a mission to find a McGuffin that she needs, for an undisclosed, reason didn’t feel worthy of her supposed stature this season. This week’s villain didn’t fare much better either. Sunshine, another light-based villain was simply horrid, adding nothing to the overall narrative which was part of possibly the worst action sequence thus far, and involved equally bad dialogue. Arguably she served to help Barry with his loss of speed, but otherwise, a useless addition.
Before this episode, Nash had just been another Wells with emotional issues, dealing with his past with Allegra’s doppelganger. It never seemed necessary to build upon it, and while this episode helped humanise and bring a new found love for this Wells iteration, it still felt redundant. The drama, tension and warmth helped the episode move along steadily, and while blindly obvious, closed the chapter nicely.
The idea that a multiverse worth of Wells’ now exist inside Nash is interesting and one that could be further built upon, certainly now Barry needs to create his own Speedforce. The bigger issue here is the familiar, overused tropes both in this series and the genre in general. The hero losing his powers and the merging of consciousness’, while effective, feel unnecessary and are not really helping move the narrative along. Thawne once again being used to raise tension levels and develop situations, feels false and a bit of a cop-out.
The loss of the Speedforce last episode should’ve been more significant; it’s what makes the Flash who he is after all. But rather than delve into its loss or how it affects Barry, another doohickey is injected to monitor how much unidentified reserved speed is being used. It’s another example of a story that screams for more development, being overshadowed by others, proving that less is most certainly more.
The Exorcism of Nash Wells was, in parts superb, developing on characters emotionally and generating some genuinely good tension. The character growth for most was excellent (at least if we look past that Barry doesn’t think Metas are people) and having someone other than Wally notice something adrift with Iris was a relief. The issue now, with the episode run this season being cut to only 19 is, will four episodes be enough to showcase Eva effectively?…time will tell.