REVIEW: The Flash, S6E7 – The Last Temptation of Barry Allen Pt. 1

flash 607 last temptation ramsey

The Flash trots the Speed Force out for another tearjerker episode that serves as a battle for our hero’s soul in “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen Pt. 1.” The biblical reference in the title is no accident, as Barry (Grant Gustin) is very much being tempted by Ramsey (Sendhil Ramamurthy) to reject his impending sacrifice and instead choose a so-called life under Bloodwork’s command. While Barry is fighting off his demons, Iris (Candice Patton) is ignoring hers until her intern finally forces her to face the fact that her husband is dying. In both cases, I was awed, moved, and had a whole lot of questions.

flash 607 last temptation nora

Don’t stab your Speed Force mommy!

Right off the bat, Grant Gustin’s performance must be commended. “The Last Temptation” hinges entirely on the actor conveying every nuance of Barry’s doubt, his reluctance to leave his family as well as his conviction that dying is for the best. He not only captures those conflicting emotions perfectly, he also creates a stark difference between the pure of heart hero we all love and the fallible man grasping for a chance at life. And best of all, both sides feel natural for Barry. The Flash and Ramsey play dirty by introducing an adorable baby Nora and creating an illusion in which Barry and Iris can raise her together, which is really the killer blow.

It doesn’t help that the Speed Force, as comforting as it may appear in Nora Allen’s form, cannot say that Ramsey’s claims are lies. This is where “The Last Temptation” falls apart for me, if only a little bit. I have no problem believing that Barry is merely conjuring up the Speed Force as a weapon with which to save his soul, but I do have a problem with the concept of Ramsey’s blood holding the key to stopping Crisis. Unless Barry links up with his entire Earth in a Hands Across America style chain of contact, how is blood going to stop disintegration? Perhaps Ramsey is bluffing and the Speed Force can’t correct him because its just in Barry’s head, but either way it’s silly to imagine.

Nitpicks aside, “The Last Temptation” plays out like a dark companion piece to “Runaway Dinosaur.” Instead of watching Barry find the light, we’re forced to watch him give into the darkness. It’s fascinating either way, and the Negative Flash cliffhanger is well worth a Part 2. On the flipside, Iris is in the real world trying to avoid dealing with her pain. It’s a defined character trait of hers at this point, but the tragedy comes in the fact that The Flash never writes anyone checking up on her. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) hasn’t even though to ask his daughter how she’s handling her loss, though a tweet from Patton suggests a scene was discarded. The task then falls to young Allegra this week, who worries that Iris putting off her infamous article will only make it more painful in the long run.

flash 607 last temptation joe

This scene didn’t happen, either.

The ladies are joined by Kamila in Team Citizen excursion that will eventually tie back to Sue (and mostly likely the villain of the back half), which is a nice distraction from the gloom. But it is just a distraction, and the meat of the story comes when Allegra admits that Iris was her inspiration for pursuing journalism. With the bolstering from a friend and the memory of her first article about the Streak, Iris gets to work on the most heartbreaking thing she’ll ever write.

Of course, I can’t just leave it at that, because there’s still Frost (Danielle Panabaker) to contend with. The Flash still doesn’t seem to know which way it wants to go with her. Caitlin took a step back so Frost could live, but Frost is then forced to perform emergency medical procedures that she clearly doesn’t know how to do. Understandably, she has a panic attack and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) soon learns that she and Caitlin decided offscreen that the latter would come in for the doctoring. If the show and the characters were serious about giving Frost a chance to live, why wouldn’t they hire a temporary doctor?

Once again, these are all minor quibbles in the fact of what was finally a great episode of The Flash. “The Last Temptation of Barry Allen, Pt. 1” proved the show still has what it takes to pull heartstrings and elicit gasps of shock, and I’m hopeful that the back half of the season will have more episodes like this one.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.