TV Review: ‘The Flash’ Season 9, Episode 4

by Frank Martin

The Red Death was always going to be a problematic character to adapt from the comic page to the TV screen. The character actually doesn’t exist in isolation; it’s part of the larger Metal crossover and is a member of the alternate Batmen from the Dark Multiverse. He’s not even alone as there are other versions of the character that are all spins on Aquaman, Cyborg, and other League heroes. So to give the character a backstory that not only fits in the Arrowverse but is separate from Metal is going to be tough. This week’s episode of The Flash shined some light on how and why Red Death is here — and it did a surprisingly decent job — even though the episode itself didn’t deliver.

Red Death (Javicia Leslie) finally reveals herself to Central City and dares the Flash (Grant Gustin) to confront her. The result: he is immediately captured. Later, Batwoman Ryan Wilder (also Leslie) shows up at Iris’s (Candice Patton) apartment asking for her help. Iris sees through the ruse and connects the dots. Ryan is actually Red Death. At this point, Ryan tells her story. She is from an alternate timeline, seemingly the one from the “Armageddon” storyline, and is just trying to get back. When she convinces the Flash to power up her cosmic treadmill, Mark (John Cor) has a change of heart and sabotages it. Now that she can’t get home, Red Death vows revenge.

The reason the end of the episode felt a bit unsatisfying is probably because it is just the first part of a two-parter. There’s still more to come, so there’s plenty of opportunity for the Red Death to shine. Nevertheless, this also might have fans feeling apprehensive. At the beginning of last season, Death Storm was revealed as a main villain early on. This unfortunately led to his storyline losing steam way too early and he vanished from the second half of the season. It would be a shame if Red Death suffered a similar fate. She is a good villain and deserves to have a lot of time to develop her character and torture the Flash. Only time will tell if she will stick around long enough to do that.

The Flash airs Wednesdays on the CW.

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