The One with the Nineties once again proves the old adage of the great philosopher Ricky Bobby correct — if you’re not first, you’re last.
I can only imagine showrunner Eric Wallace was a little blown watching WandaVision a few months back. Maybe Wallace considered shelving this one as there’s no way audiences wouldn’t immediately draw the comparison. And maybe all would be forgiven if the episode wasn’t so…what’s the 90s equivalent for cringe?
OK, maybe cringe is a bit extreme. How about completely formulaic? That’s not a huge upgrade, but probably fairer for this one.
Grant Gustin gets a break as Barry is sidelined to recuperate. It’s weird how Barry used to run around real quick for brief spurts every episode without needing time to recover in the hibernation chamber. This feels too early in this “new” season for the title character to get benched.
I’m not real clear on the purpose of the Speed Force being Nora Allen and why she’s chilling with Team Flash. Maybe STAR Labs has some weird occupancy setup where it must have at least six people present every three days or it will unleash a black hole? I dunno.
Also, where’s Kamila and Zyrtec this episode? It’s pointless to build all these supporting characters up only to have them randomly disappear for entire blocks of episodes.
Chester and Cisco are trying to track down the latest Force in a small town when a green wave (not red) washes over them and takes them back to the Nineties complete with a barrier preventing them from leaving. Maybe they should call Jimmy Woo, Darcy and Monica? Speaking of Monica, kudos to the episode title crew for going with the FRIENDS style title.
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I wish Chester wasn’t so corny. He’s not the kind of character that would inspire many black kids to want to get into STEM programs at all. You know who was a cool tech guy? Lucius Fox on Gotham. That dude was smooth and didn’t come off like a cornball in every other scene.
Chester and Cisco cobble together some tech to pinpoint the force user, but their first encounter devolves Cisco’s mind to that of a seven-year-old like he would be in the nineties. Gotcha. Somehow Chester calling out some other pop culture references restores Cisco’s memory although why Chester would celebrate The Rains of Castamere left me very confused. That was not a good reception, Chester.
The episode had some other weird moments as well. Who’s dropping a mic in the Nineties? Also, why would Chester dumpster dive when he could just go to Radio Shack or Circuit City?
Ah, it was so Chester could see his father and tell Cisco he was never around as a child. If you’ve literally never seen a CW show you still might be able to predict how this turns out. Chester’s father actually devoted his life to his son and wanted to make him proud. This was way too predictable while also doing a terrible job of redeeming Chester’s father. Being largely absent doesn’t make your son more resourceful, dude.
Chester and Cisco corner the force user, Deon (Christian Magby, One Night in Miami), and Chester manages to help him see that he can’t change his past. Changing everyone else’s future? That’s wide open. I’m not gonna call that a win, Chester. Deon’s time warping slowly started to affect the rest of Central City, which was an excuse for everyone to dress up in period costumes.
It was a fun sight gag, but too quick to really mean anything. And after the chat with Chester, Deon vanishes…or bounces if we’re gonna stick with the nineties theme, and Team Flash regroups. Cisco decides to name the forces: Strength (Fuerza), Still (Deion) and Sage (Psyche). Again, Cisco’s random naming at this point seems odd even if he’s just going with the comic book names.
Barry wakes up in time to congratulate the guys on the big win and Chester keeps working on something his father originated. And Joe warns Frost to lay low while the federal agent is in town. You can imagine how well that went.
The One with the Nineties was goofy and largely harmless though it didn’t do a ton to advance the story especially with The Flash snoozing for most of it.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW
Check out Season 7 of The Flash on Amazon.