The Flash – Mask of The Red Death Part 2 review S9 E5

My head hurts trying to go along with all of the baffling choices and questionable decisions in Mask of The Red Death Part 2.

I probably should take the cue from my departing guy Joe West and bail on the series now, but I’m too far in now to quit with the finish line in sight.

Seriously, this show is not even recognizable from its glory days. Now it’s just relying on the same tired plots even if they make zero sense for a final season.

Red Death and her Rogues invade CCPD by removing all the potential hostages and just keeping Kramer around. Yep that doesn’t seem productive. Good thing Red Death has the ability to almost immediately counter Kramer’s power mimic skills…

Since Flash has no power and thus absolutely no value on his show, it’s up to everyone else to make the big save possible.

Right now Cecile is up using her empath powers to find Red Death’s hate presuming she’s the greatest source of hate in the city. Good thing Cecile’s powers don’t extend to the multiverse or else she’d discover a far greater source of hate — the audience still sticking around with this show.

the flash - the mask of the red death part two review - Cecile

Turns out the more Cecile uses her powers the stronger she gets. Seems like a plot device that should have been developed before the final season if it was actually needed at all.

The measures this show takes to not let Flash be the hero are astonishing. Naturally, Red Death can fight back against Cecile tracking her as well.

This wasn’t the scene to showcase Javica Leslie or Danielle Nicolet’s dramatic acting chops. Hopefully neither includes this on their highlight reel for any future gigs.

Mark’s still alive, which should surprise no one since he made this season’s credit roll.

Barry has to try and convince his Anti-Rogues, who want to go after Red Death. Barry’s logic is all over the place. Thankfully, Kihone shames the Anti-Rogues to help. It’s also a perfect time for Kihone to get a prop up moment because we need a refresher that Caitlin in all her forms is a very special snowflake.

Why does the CCPD need a satellite again? Ah it’s so Red Death can set up the show’s bootleg version of Brother Eye. Yeesh, you know I’m starting to think Javicia Leslie is not the best choice for an over the top big bad.

Kihone now feels obligated to help Mark, the lone guy who was fine seeing her get killed. I’m so confused. Barry reminds her that she’s part of this family. Huh? “We already lost Frost and Caitlin. We can’t lose you too.” Well, I’d be just fine with it.

Trying to find character development moments for Kihone might be the second dumbest idea this series had after completely wasting The Rogues at every turn. To which the writers of this episode dust off the hold my beer meme later on…

Joe needs a pep talk from Barry, who insists he’s been the hero to every new hero that’s come around. That’s probably true since Flash is useless.

It’s hilarious Flash needed Pied Piper to tell him Mark was literally around the corner. What would Barry do without so much help? Actually become a better hero?

Ha-ha, once again this was all a trap sprung by Red Death, who apparently has flashback triggering abilities now? Oh, no, she’s just been in collaboration with Grodd. This episode is terrible and a reminder that the show wasted and neutered Grodd too.

Red Death tries to explain how Grodd was Flash’s greatest failure. I’d argue that was launching Flashpoint, letting Felicity anywhere near his wedding, letting his future daughter (Take 1) get killed or completely forgetting the Justice League’s number anytime a major crisis occurs. But that’s just off the top of my head…

Again why does every Rogue need to be a hero on this show? It’s like the writers only want Thawne to be the villain. So basically Flash struck out with his first attempt at massive face turns and has to go “poison” another Rogue by convincing Grodd to help him.

And in case y’all forgot that ridiculous throwaway moment when Flash lent Grodd some of his speed, we get some helpful flashbacks to explain how a Barry is ready for the rematch.

Leslie has turned in the worst performance in the history of this series and I’m sure 95% of it is a result of spectacularly crappy direction. It’s like she was told to go obnoxiously over the top. This was a terrible call.

the flash - the mask of the red death part two review - The flash

At least this clash with Flash and Red Death is cool as she incorporates some Batman style fighting tactics — throwing batarangs and rappelling off Speed Force lightning — but Flash still has to take the loss. How else could the Anti-Rogues be of any use? They hold Red Death off long enough for the main hero of this arc to finally arrive.

It seems very clear the writers and director wanted to get viewers hyped against reason with the dramatic Batman silhouette only for the reveal that it’s Batwoman. She beats down Red Death after one (!) batarang to her armor. You know who else could have come up with a neutralizing device? Chester or Cisco or Ray or…Barry Allen himself. Sigh.

Meanwhile, back at STAR Labs, Kihone encourages the beaten down Mark back to life with an icy kiss. This needs a more extensive breakdown of everything wrong but I’ll save it for next week — mostly. Let’s go with some modern gripes: did Kihone ask Mark for permission to kiss him? Why would this eggplant Khione who’s only days old decide a kiss was the revival formula? Frost liked Mark, not Caitlin so why would she have feelings for the dude who was happy to sacrifice her? And did we need to start another romance?

Now they’re at the debriefing stage, Batwoman and Team Flash compare notes. The writers missed the obvious Chester should meet Luke so they can have a geeky black dude nerd out moment. Ryan tells Iris that she should hang out with her as she does a monthly brunch with Kara, Alex and Nia. You’d think Kara would have already invited her fellow journalist to a hang out… but the effort was appreciated.

Joe finally thinks he’s got a good solution for Cecile — he’s going to move to that awesomely affordable house in the country and take Jenna with him so she can have a normal childhood. And Cecile can visit on the weekends. What.In.The.Blue (Cobalt). Hell, Flash writers?

That’s absurd on multiple levels and further insulting by how quickly Cecile acts like this is such a great compromise. So Cecile is fine playing hero, being a lawyer when the writers remember and being a weekend wife and mother? It’s hard to see many/any black women signing off on that plan.

And worse, how awful does this make Joe look? Yeah honey I know just last episode I said Jemma needs to see her mom being a hero, but I was wrong. She needs to be safe. Make up your mind (writers) Joe!

This sure seemed like this is Jesse L. Martin’s final episode. He should’ve pulled a Cisco before they killed his character off in this manner. It’s not like Joe couldn’t be around and just off camera whenever stuff happened. Cecile could just call Joe (at home) or Barry could say he just got back from getting a pep talk from Joe. This was some serious character assassination for no good reason.

the flash - the mask of the red death part two review - iris

At Joe’s farewell party, Chuck and Allegra talk about the kiss — it was the best she ever had — leading to another panoramic slow-no kiss. Iris wondered why it took so long before getting lightheaded.

Kihone of course knows that Iris is lightheaded because she’s pregnant. Again, Kihone is a barely functional blank slate. She shouldn’t know anything let alone when a woman is pregnant.

There’s been some bad episodes of this series — lightning sabers immediately comes to mind — but The Flash always did right by its characters in the midst of abominable storylines. How the writers just trampled on the show’s father figure for no reason in addition to the hammiest villain ever who gets stopped by a batarang eliminates any competition. This was the worst episode of the series.

Rating: 1 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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