The Flash – A New World: Part 3 – Changes review S9 E12

Despite a promising start for this final arc, The Flash keeps falling back to its familiar beats and narrative crutches. That’s especially discouraging since Changes is the penultimate episode of the series. Maybe The Flash writers hate change too and are fine sticking with what works they’re comfortable writing?

Capt. Korber is still at the empty grave with Malcolm Gilmore/Eddie Thawne. For some reason she gets sucked into a singularity after questioning if Eddie is really her old co-worker.

Back at STAR Labs, Kihone talked to Allegra for an update on Iris. Why wouldn’t Iris’ stepmother Cecile be there instead? Or better yet her father? This would be an ideal time to name drop Joe without showing him, but that requires more forethought than the writing crew wants to put in at this point of the series. 

In case we weren’t confused enough, Speed Force Nora is back warning of the Negative Speed Force. This show needs a roadmap and pop-ups to keep up with all the wonky physics and science-y talk. Bottom line is if the Negative Speed Force can kill Barry this timeline will be over. So basically, the Negative Speed Force is a CW exec?

Fast forward to 2049 where Chester, Allegra and Cecile don’t look like they’ve aged that much in 26 years. Was the aged-up makeup artist busy? That feels pretty lazy but is consistent with the show in general. 

Nora, the XS version — I swear they make this more confusing than they need to — is leading Team Flash now while Barry’s at the Watchtower. The series has lost too much goodwill to get any excitement for a comic book reference. Weirdly Allegra still doesn’t have a costume while Cecile does…

Eddie is at The Flash Museum and encounters a Negative Speed Force illusion of his daughter Nora before XS arrives to track the energy surge. XS is definitely Barry’s kid, unmasking when that would do absolutely no good. Goodness, we just saw Eddie meet evil Nora, did we need a flashback clip to remind us?

Now there’s another flashback from when Bart and Nora met Eddie a few seasons ago. Yes, that happened, but it seems odd this was included as if we’d doubt anything the writers come up with at this point. The childlike Kihone from the beginning of the season is now a goddess so everything is fair game. Nora tries a pep talk but she’s not her grandfather…


Chester suggests Cecile go Days of Future Past and leap into her 2049 self’s body so she can help Flash. Porting over to her future self where Cecile should be in her late 60s unless Joe was seriously robbing the cradle, Cecile is upset to learn she’s not spending that much time with Joe and Jenna. First, Jenna should be in her 30s. It might be a little weird for her to still be waiting on Mom to make her pancakes. And secondly, this just shows why this arc was such a waste of time for Cecile. There were better ways to take Joe off the show instead of making both Joe and Cecile come off like they suddenly don’t value their family unit.

This time it’s on Chester to give the pep talk when Cecile returns distraught at the state of her family. It feels like we’re getting 10 pep talks an episode now and they’ve been at a diminishing returns state for a while now.

Back in 2049, the gem possesses Nora and her eyes flash blue to helpfully inform us she’s possessed. This storyline desperately needed more build up to the Negative Speed Force. This doesn’t feel like a vendetta or rivalry worth devoting the final four episodes on. Exploring a returning Eddie Thawne slowly regaining his memory after being set up as a pawn of the NSF would have made for a strong final arc story. Instead, it just feels like cramming a worthy 13-episode story into four episodes. 

Barry arrives at the 28-minute mark of the episode. Grant Gustin’s season 9 contract must have a certain amount of minutes and he’s desperately close to maxing out. Ever the scientist unless the rest of Team Flash needs some reason for their existence, Barry deduces the NSF set up a fake reality for Eddie in order to make him its new avatar. It seems like just going to another time period and using Reverse Flash would be less work. 

While Barry tries to convince Eddie that Iris and Nora isn’t his wife and daughter, it takes a conversation with Iris — with some effort put into her age with a grey-tinted wig — for it to set in for Eddie. This sets up off the edge, which again would feel more earned if it wasn’t so rushed. 

At least the fight with XS is cool, but The Flash can’t bring himself to hurt his daughter. Cecile doesn’t have any issue as she’s returned to her future self’s body and pulls a Doctor Strange in separating the gem from Nora. She tells Barry to call her Virtue for the remaining…checks notes…final episode?? Yep, that makes sense to introduce a new identity and costume for Cecile in the penultimate episode. And what does Allegra have to do to get a costume in this show?

Eddie goes into full hammy villain mode promising that Iris and Barry are going to regret it. The biggest regret (for the writers) has to be not establishing this Eddie storyline at the start of the season, it’s so rushed now it’s not making any impact.

After an encouraging chat with future Iris, Barry gets whisked away…as Eddie accepts the gem’s power to be the final Big Bad for The Flash.

I wanted to like this episode more than I did, but the writers refuse to change so many of the mistakes that has plagued this season even as the series nears the final lap.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW