Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The CW’s The Flash Season 9 episode, “The Mask of the Red Death, Part 1.” Read beyond this point at your own risk.
At the Red Death’s lair, Mark works on building the Cosmic Treadmill, though Red Death doesn’t feel he’s working fast enough. It still needs a power source, but Red Death tells him to leave that to her and then dashes off to go recruit another “mouse” — or villain as she sees it — to their cause. At their loft, Barry and Iris are trying to figure out what the Red Death needs to Treadmill for. They still believe that Red Death is a man and that they are the avatar of the Negative Speed Force. Barry thinks that maybe the Red Death can be saved, seeing a chance to save them in a way he couldn’t save Thawne. Iris is continuing to work on Ryan Wilder’s disappearance. Barry leaves to go to STAR.
At the West household, Joe is reading Jenna a bedtime story when Cecile discovers a real estate pamphlet for a house in Keystone. Joe thinks they should buy the house in order to give Jenna a normal life. Cecile is not on board. At STAR, Chester is still dealing with things being awkward with himself and Allegra, but there is no time to really deal with that since they are trying to find Red Death, who shows up in Central City and Flash responds. Red Death has come armed with Roy Bivolo who uses his powers and allows for Red Death to engulf the city in darkness and kidnap Flash.
At the lair, Flash is revealed to be Red Death’s power source and a lot more is revealed as well: Red Death is a woman. Red Death reveals that he is just one part of the plan and that she also needs Iris. At STAR, the team realizes that they don’t have a way to contact or find Barry. Khione comes up with the idea to team up with their team of Rogues to find Barry and Chester realizes they can use low tech to call on them. At Barry and Iris’ loft, Ryan Wilder mysteriously shows up, injured.
Ryan tells Iris that she was coming into the city when she was hit by an EMP which caused her injury. She claims that she was also hit by this same Red Death in Gotham and that they stole her tech, but Iris is skeptical. At STAR, the Rogue Squad shows up. Hartley has an idea of how they can track Barry using different tech, but it doesn’t work because Barry is wearing meta dampeners. Meanwhile, Red Death continues to taunt Barry and lets him know that she isn’t the avatar of the Negative Speed Force. She reveals that there’s actually no one inside the armor — she’s remotely controlling it and she built her own speed. She needs Barry to power the Treadmill because her speed is fake, and she is going to run Barry to death.
Iris figures out that this Ryan is not right and confronts her. Ryan pleads her case, explaining she’s from another timeline where the Flash is the villain. She explains that there was no Batman in her world. The Waynes adopted her as a child, and then they were murdered and she became Gotham’s protector, studying her enemies’ tech and making her own before studying her allies and making her own, including an artificial speed force. She started eliminated crime before it happened. But she claims her Flash turned against her to stop her and she tried to hide in the Speed Force, but it rejected her and spit her out in this world. She’s now just trying to get home so she can stop the Rogue War and she needs Iris’. help.
At the lair, Mark tries to offer Barry water and Barry tells him that he doesn’t have to help Red Death. Mark thinks it is too late for him, but Barry tells him he’s part of Team Flash, even after what he’s done, and that people make mistakes. Barry says it is never too late for second chances. At home, Iris isn’t buying Ryan’s story and Ryan reveals that she accidentally killed her Iris fighting the Flash. Iris believes her story about Iris, but she doesn’t believe the rest of Ryan’s story and it angers her and gets Ryan to reveal she wants to kill her Flash. Ryan gets deranged, calls on her suit, and kidnaps Iris.
Evil Ryan uses Iris as bait to force Barry to run and he does it. He gets on the treadmill and starts, causing lighting to strike all through the city, including at the West house. Cecile is able to use her powers to save Jenna and then takes off to help save the neighbors, too. At STAR, with the meta cuffs off, the team now has a location for Barry, so they make plans to go save Barry because Allegra has a teleporter device while at the lair, Mark remembers Barry’s pep talk and sabotages the treadmill, temporarily taking down Ryan and destroying the device. Barry can’t run because his speed has been drained so Mark goes to fight the evil Rogues to give Barry a chance to escape. The Rogue Squad shows up to rescue and while Barry wants to go save Mark, Red Death is powering up so the team leaves Mark behind and teleports back to STAR. Mark, it would seem, is dead.
The team realizes that Ryan is now stuck in this timeline and whatever she plans next will only get worse. Allegra goes to talk to Chester. Mark’s death has made her ready to deal with the situation between them. However, Chester is now the one who isn’t ready as he doesn’t think now is the right time. At the West house, Joe realizes that maybe moving to Keystone isn’t the best idea because while it would give Jenna normal it would deprive her of seeing her mom be a hero. Jenna gives Cecile a drawing of her as a superhero, complete with costume and mask.
At Red Death’s lair, Red Death has a full meltdown and decides that since she can’t get to her own world, she’s just going to take this one for her own.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.