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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews The Flash Season 9 Episode 4: Mask Of The Red Death Part 1

March 2nd, 2023 by Todd Black Comments

It would appear that tonight’s episode was sponsored by people who thought, “let’s drop every Batman reference possible and think it’ll be cool!” So allow me to drop a reference, “Oh sh*t…” this was a bad episode.

Yeah, “Mask of the Red Death took what could’ve been an at least salvageable premise for Ryan Wilder being a speedster and…made it the most basic thing possible. Remember, last week we were told that our Ryan was the new Avatar of the Negative Speed Force. A bit on the nose, but it could’ve worked if handled properly. Instead, we find out that it’s NOT our Ryan Wilder, it’s a Ryan from another timeline…where she turns Rogue, pun intended, and somehow got thrown into the Earth Prime timeline because…reasons? She said the Speed Force threw her there, but why would it do that? We don’t know.

Also, this doesn’t clear up what happened to the REAL Ryan Wilder…and I’m starting to wonder if she’ll just randomly show up to help save the day. Because that’s how basic things are now. Case in point, how Ryan/Red Death acted this episode was so over the top, it was just…painful. Punctuated by ALL the Batman references that the writers felt would “send the point home” that she’s a different world’s Batman…or something…it was just bad. I literally groaned in agony when she did the “lets get nuts!” set from Keaton’s Batman. What’s more, her version of the Red Death was a very basic, “Flash tried to stop me, so I want to kill him!” …that’s it? That’s the whole motivation?

One of the FEW good points of this episode was Iris figuring out the truth thanks to her reporter instincts. And I’m glad she didn’t fall for the story because it would’ve been yet another regression for Team Flash. Which we had yet again with Barry and Iris refusing to think that the new speedster was anything but a guy. Or, if this was a “Negative Speed Force Avatar” situation, why it wouldn’t be Ryan Wilder when she suddenly disappeared AFTER the Negative Speed Force was released?

As for Mark, his story of redemption was equally as basic. All it took was one pep talk from Barry to make him stop Red Death’s plan, and now she’s…just going to try and take over Flash’s world…ok…sure.

The other “subplot” was the continued conundrum of Joe wanting to move away from Central City. But…PLOT TWIST…it wasn’t because of Cecil as he said before, it was because of Jenna!  How so? He felt she deserved to live a “normal life” and that she couldn’t do that in Central City. To which I say…how can you guarantee that she’d live a normal life anywhere else? He mentioned Wally, but a metahuman didn’t hurt his life. It was his ex that moved him away and told him a life about Joe. That’s a normal person problem right there. Plus, they live in a WORLD where superbeings, aliens, and dimensional entities could appear at any given moment…so how could moving anywhere ensure that one of them wouldn’t randomly show up in the city they live in and hurt Jenna? Or, that just a random life event could traumatize her? Joe’s a former cop, he should know better!

And then, for him to change his mind simply because Jenna was happy to have a superhero mom? …what? It was just…weird, and a dumb subplot for a character who hasn’t had a focus since he quit his job…which he shouldn’t have done in the first place.

And no, I’m not talking about “Challegra,” this review already has enough negativity.

In the end, “Mask Of The Red Death” did nothing to elevate anything in this final season. And if the next episode goes the way I think it will, it’ll be the end of Red Death and…onto whatever comes next. Yay…


Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!