The second half of The Flash: Season 6 doesn’t seem as fast as the first. It may be that there are more moving parts to juggle after the crisis, or simply that new episodes have been released more sporadically in recent months. Anyway, “Liberation” is a big step in the right direction for the series. This episode helps push the script of Mirror Master into its next phase while connecting even the first half of season 6 and working to tie everything together. Ignoring the inescapable fact that this season will not get the conclusion originally planned, things are going well for the next few weeks. Most of the time, several sons of the current plot turn their heads in “Liberation”, with Eva doing her best to escape the dimension of the mirror and Barry finally accepting the fact that the person he thought was Iris is actually an impostor. Continuing the general theme of Season 6 of finding a balance between humor and tragedy, there is a healthy dose of comedy in the discovery of Barry. The scene where Cecile faces Barry at home is basically Arrowverse’s view of the famous meme Pepe Silvia from It’s Always Sunny.
This moment helps cleanse the palate before things take a much darker turn in the second half of the episode. Eva proves once again how skillful she is at manipulating Team Flash and turning them against each other when they should be facing a common enemy. And even after Cécile freed Barry to face Mirror Iris, we see how ill-equipped he is to face an enemy who can hide behind the faces of those he loves most. Barry’s exhausted speed definitely stacks the game against him, but this episode does a good job of showing how Mirror Master can be a formidable threat even against a speedster at full power. The battle between Barry and Mirror Iris uses the mirror mechanism to its fullest, culminating in this cool moment when Iris breaks the ceiling mirror and hits Barry from countless directions at once. Another great strength of this episode comes from his goal to give mirror look-alikes a clearer sense of personality and motivation. It’s much easier to appreciate these characters, as well as the real characters now. We understand the bond they share with their “mother,” even as we see Mirror Iris begin to develop feelings of independence and the desire for a humanity that she can never achieve. This contributes to giving Mirror Iris’ eventual death a weight and meaning that might otherwise be lacking. Even the sacrifice of Mirror Kamilla has an aura of tragedy, showing us how much Eva will call these creations once they reach their goal.
On that note, it’s great to see Sendhil Ramamurthy return as captive Ramsey Rosso. As innovative as the two-pronged approach of season 6 is, it’s also nice to see some form of additional connective tissue between the two halves. And since Ramsey never seemed to get his due as the main villain of a half-season story arc, the implication that he still has a big role to play in the series is an evolution welcome. I wish there was a clearer idea of why Eva needed Ramsey’s metahuman blood to make her escape successful, other than “because it advances the plot.” But be that as it may, it’s nice to know that we can look forward to the return of Bloodwork, that it means that it will surface again later in Season 6 or that its “long game” will pay off further . If Legends of Tomorrow has proven anything, it’s that there is no reason to dismiss good villains after a season of television.
Also worth noting is the unique approach taken to the closing epilogue scene. These scenes are almost always used as darters – a chance to launch another unexpected plot twist before the credits. But in this case, we are entitled to a sincere moment when Barry and Iris reach out and agree to meet. It’s a pleasantly emotional way to end the episode, as well as remembering what’s at stake when Barry has trouble figuring out how to deal with Eva’s problem.A single subplot is used to drag an otherwise loud episode here. The brief detour into Caitlin’s cold apartment looks like a useless piece of down stuck to an episode that didn’t need it. Sure, the series is clearly setting up something bigger with Caitlin here, but why not record this quick preamble for the main event? Not to mention that it is very difficult to generate enthusiasm for any new plot involving the Caitlin family. The series may have improved a lot this season, but it brings together bad memories from seasons 4 and 5.