What to Watch Verdict
"The One with the Nineties" is plenty fun, but it does lack a traditional story structure.
⚡️Amazing costumes all around.
⚡️Iris'. Afro. 🧡
⚡️No real episode climax.
This post contains spoilers for The Flash "The One with the Nineties".
Check out our last review here.
"The One with the Nineties" may be exactly what it says on the tin, but that doesn't mean the episode doesn't have a few surprises in store. Cisco Ramon and Chester Runk attempt to put a system in place that will successfully track the super-powered Metas that are hunting down the Speedforce and The Flash. Instead, they cross paths with a brand new Meta with the ability to control time and find themselves basted back — you guessed it — to the nineties. Bonus: it's also Groundhog Day, (or Mystery Spot, for those who want to keep it in the CW fam), and a fully grown Cisco starts to believe he's only 7 before long.
With Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) still in a coma, the Speedforce (Michelle Harrison) and Team Flash do their best to ensure his safety while the new god-tier level Metas run around Central City. When she notices that the Speedforce feels a little distant from Barry, Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton) shows her the comfort blanket that Nora made for him when he was a child. The Speedforce worries that her presence in the form of his mother is causing Barry pain, but Iris reminds her that her presence is just as much a comfort as the blanket he curls up in when he's sick or sad. "I may be his lightning rod, but you are his lightning," she reminds the entity.
December 4th 1998 ends up being rougher than the fun aesthetic of the episode may imply, but the juxtaposition works in favor of "The One with the Nineties." While trying to find parts to fix the converter, Chester (Brandon McKnight) and Cisco (Carlos Valdez) happen across Mr. Runk Sr. on the last day of his life. During their meeting, Chester realizes that the neglect he felt wasn't because his father didn't love him. Rather, his dad was gone all the time to ensure his son had a good life and learned to see treasure where others saw trash.
Turns out this new Meta is Deon (Christian Magby) — Chester's cousin. Rather than win the game and take the team to victory, Deon got hurt. "I came back to the past because I have no future," he insists. Chester helps him realize that his decisions affect more than just him, but that does more to convince him he's a god than it does stop him from messing with timelines.
The only real struggle in "The One with the Nineties" is that there's no climax in the episode. Chester has an admirable monologue, and then Deon simply disappears. These new "Force" stories aren't expected to wrap up in their episodes — there's way more going on here than just villains of the week — but each one of these chapters is still expected to meet a story structure, and this week kinda skipped over that in favor of time travel fanfare. Still fun, though!
Things close out with Iris, Barry and the Speedforce returning to the West-Allen house for a sleepover. Iris and "Nora" couldn't be more thrilled, but Barry's reaction hints at the idea that he may not be as stoked to have someone waltzing around in his mom's body running around with him again. Next week's promo gives some hints at those problems, but we'll just have to check 'em out then!
Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.