‘The Flash’ Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained

The Flash is in season 9, marking the last season of Barry Allen in Arrowverse. “Rouges of War” brought us many revelations, great dynamics, and shocking moments that only Team Flash can solve. Episode 3 got us back on track with its interesting main story that mostly revolves around “The Benefactor,” finally gaining the name Red Death. We got the confirmation of who was behind the mask, and Team Flash recruited the most unlikely allies in the fight against the hardest opponent we had seen yet. Barry and Iris are doing their best to live as a normal married couple and simultaneously juggle the danger looming over them.

Episode 4, titled “The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1,” brings us more revelations about the Red Death, Joe, and Cecile discussing the possibility of moving to another city and one of the rouges having a change of heart. If you are interested in our review of the new episode of The Flash, stay with us until the end.

The cosmic treadmill is almost finished

Episode 4 of “The Flash” takes us immediately into Red Death’s lair, where traitorous Mark Blaine is constructing the Cosmic Treadmill for the evil speedster. Of course, nothing is fast enough for the Red Death, and she urges Blaine to get on with his work quicker. When Mark says that the Treadmill needs an enormous power source to work, Red Death decides she already has someone in mind and proceeds to find it.

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained
Flash and Red Death encounter.

In the meantime, Barry and Iris discuss why Red Death needs the Cosmic Treadmill in the Allen residence and speculate that Red Death is an avatar of Negative Speed Force. In true Barry Allen fashion, he hopes that whoever is behind that mask could be saved and not end up like Eobard Thawne. Iris reassures her husband that it wasn’t his fault Thawne and the other avatars died and decides to continue the investigation of Ryan Wilder’s disappearance.

In the other location of Central City, Joe West is reading a story to his daughter Jenna when Cecile returns from work and spots a real-estate pamphlet for a new house in Keystone. Let’s just say Cecile isn’t really happy about Joe going about this behind her back and questions his motivation. Joe wants their daughter to be safe, unlike Iris and Wally, who suffered from Joe’s constant absence during their childhood – he wants to do right by Jenna.


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In STAR Labs, Barry joins Chester, still struggling with his feelings towards Allegra, to activate satellites to find Red Death. However, the speedster is already steps ahead and signals to Barry to meet her. Of course, Red Death has reinforcements, and with the help of Ray Bivolo, known as Rainbow Raider, Flash is subdued and kidnapped by Red Death.

Origins of Red Death reveal

Flash is kidnapped and brought to Red Death’s secret lair, where evil Rouges mock the superhero. Red Death makes an appearance and joins the mocking of The Flash, who discovers that Red Death is actually a woman. Moreover, Red Death tells Flash he is the power source that will make her Cosmic Treadmill work, and let’s just say Barry isn’t really happy about it, especially when Red Death leverages Iris as the barging piece in the blackmail.

Cue to Allen’s residence, where Iris is alone in the dark apartment (Red Death caused the power outage all over Central City). All of a sudden, Ryan Wilder, of all people, appears on her doorstep, and Iris is suspicious from the start. Simultaneously, Chester, Allegra, and Khione find a way to contact their new allies from the previous episode, the so-called Team Flash Rouges, and Hartley needs to find a way to track Barry’s whereabouts.

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained
Red Death reveals the source of her power.

Back in the apartment, Ryan Wilder recounts the events of her disappearance, and Iris immediately realizes something is wrong with her. Ryan’s strange behavior makes Iris realize that the woman in her apartment isn’t Ryan Wilder but an alternate version of her called Ryan Wayne. In the Lair, Red Death taunts Barry and reveals that there isn’t anyone inside the armor because Ryan’s alternate version controls the Red Death suit remotely, and her Speed Force is artificial. She needs Flash and his Speed Force to activate the Cosmic Treadmill.

After that, Mark Blaine offers Flash some water, who refuses and expresses disappointment and anger towards the rogue. In usual Barry Allen fashion, he explains to Mark that everyone has the right to a second chance and nothing is lost for him yet.

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained
Red Death is Ryan Wayne, the alternate version of Ryan Wilder, adopted by the Wayne family from another universe.

At the Allen’s, Ryan Wayne recounts the events that led her to this reality – Ryan says that the Wayne family adopted her, and when they died, she decided to be the protector Gotham City needs. She also confirms that there’s no Batman in her reality. Wayne continues her story by saying that she tried her best to protect Gotham from crime, but the foes and enemies started to overwhelm her, which prompted her to study her enemies and allies’ tech and use it against them.

Shocked, Iris listens to Ryan talk about studying other heroes’ abilities, including her colleague from Justice League, Flash, and proceeds to recreate his Speed Force.


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In her universe, Ryan Wayne used Speed Force to eliminate crime, meaning she would attack the criminals and imprison them before they did anything. This moment and philosophy correlate strongly with Mark Blaine’s previous conversation with Barry. The Flash, a real hero, always offers people a second chance, while Ryan displays cruelty and a twisted understanding of what it means to be a hero.

Ryan continues in her twisted retelling of what happened in her universe, saying that her Flash recruited Rouges to fight against her and even accidentally killed Iris West. Of course, the alternate version of The Flash was furious and hunted Ryan until she tried to hide in the Speed Force, which brought her to Earth-Prime.

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained
Flash’s Speed Force injured Red Death.

Iris tells Ryan she doesn’t believe her about Flash and Rouges going “agro on her” because they were evil but believes her that she killed Iris West. Also, Iris tells her that everyone is against her in her reality because she is evil and wants to kill her Flash. Ryan is livid and insane and proceeds to kidnap Iris.

The whole sequence, from Barry talking to Chillblaine about second chances to Ryan retelling the story about how criminals are criminals, and won’t ever change, is the episode’s highlight, and both Javica Leslie and Candice Patton did an amazing job keeping the tension of the scene high. It’s also cool to hear Batman’s namedrop and how writers adapted the Red Death comic book version to Arrowverse.

“The Flash won’t let me back to my world, so I’ll take his.”

Iris is kidnapped and taken to Red Death’s lair, where the Cosmic Treadmill awaits activation. Flash immediately agrees to power up the machine so Iris doesn’t get hurt. Barry’s Speed Force activates the cosmic Treadmill, and the darkened Central City is overwhelmed by red lights everywhere. Cecile needs to use her powers to protect her daughter from harm and goes to the city to help the people in need.

At STAR Labs, Team Flash and their rouges are still trying to find a way to locate Flash, but the Treadmill activates Hartley’s locator, which pinpoints the location of Red Death’s lair. Chaos is imminent, but Chillblaine has a “change of heart,” fumbles with the Treadmill’s controls, and hurts Red Death.

'The Flash' Season 9 Episode 4: Recap & Ending Explained
Red Death’s mental state is more imbalanced by the minute.

Flash is exhausted but free, and Red Death is unconscious. The rest of Team Flash teleport to the lair with the help of Allegra, but evil Rouges stop them from leaving. Amidst the chaos on what to do, Mark Blaine steps in front of the group and distracts the Evil Rouges for the Team Flash to escape. Barry cannot fight and begs his teammates to help Chillblaine. However, Red Death starts to wake up, and the group does the opposite of what Flash wants and leaves Chillblaine to “alleged” death.

Back in STAR Labs, Team Flash plus Rouges had a massive discussion about the morals and decisions they had to make for fewer casualties. Even Khione confirms that every life is important, and it’s a shame that someone would want to waste other people’s lives. The loss of Chillblaine prompts Allegra to finally act on her feelings for Chester, but this time, the man himself isn’t ready for that and wants to wait until everything is done for them to start something. In the West household, Joe is reluctant to move now because Jenna wouldn’t see her mother as a hero, despite the young girl being safer in Keystone.

Finally, back in Red Death’s lair, Ryan Wayne is absolutely furious and has a full mental breakdown. She vows to take over Flash’s universe if he doesn’t want to give her hers.


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The episode has great moments, especially scenes that include Red Death and Iris West, where we discover the true identity of the evil speedster and references from the DC comics. The Mask of the Red Death Part 1 left us with a small cliffhanger, where we don’t know if Chillblaine is really dead and what will the insane Red Death do next.

Other storylines in the episode were less convincing than the previous one, with Joe making a silly decision to stay in Central City because his daughter wants to see Cecile in action. Why wouldn’t you want your daughter to be safe somewhere else is for another discussion, but this is a superhero show, and not everything needs to be logical. And the whole “will they, won’t they” situation between Allegra and Chester is boring.

Nevertheless, the episode has strong sides, and the Red Death storyline has much more to offer us, so don’t miss the next week’s episode five, titled “The Mask of the Red Death, Part 2.”

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