Warning: This article contains major spoilers for The CW’s The Flash Season 9 episode, “A New World, Part One.” Read beyond this point at your own risk.
The episode opens with blue roses and someone getting ready for the day at the West house — but it’s. not Joe West. It’s Dr. Gilmore at Mercury Labs — but he looks exactly like Eddie Thawne. At STAR, Chester has Allegra try on a super suit, but it’s a bit much to say the least and she’s not a fan of it. She tells him that she really wants to be herself and feel comfortable doing it. Out of town, Cecile is at home with Joe who has cooked a massive feast for her. Joe tries to convince her to stay a little longer and just go in late on Monday.
At Khione’s apartment — which was previously Caitlin and Frost’s apartment — she comes home to journal, in letter form to both of them which serves to document her growing powers, but she wishes she could talk to Mark. At Barry and Iris’, Barry is speeding around doing some extra baby proofing and it’s revealed that seven months have passed and Iris is nearing her due date. She gets an alert that she’s been nominated for a Pulitzer, but before they can really celebrate, Barry is pulled away by a mysterious blue energy. He’s dropped out somewhere in Central City, but it’s not the Central City he knows. He quickly discovers that he’s been dragged back to 2000.
Barry goes to the CCPD looking for Joe West and it’s obvious this is 23 years in the past. He finds Joe and asks him for help but can’t tell him his name. He tells him that he’s stranded. He asks for help finding Dr. Tina McGee — he needs access to a specific database, but it’s still two years away. Joe reluctantly agrees to help him and asks Barry to trust him, but before Barry can tell him, he realizes what day it is — March 18th. It’s the day his mom dies. Barry goes to a cell phone and calls Professor Stein, but he hangs up on him because he thinks it is a prank. Barry then sees his parents across the street. Before he can cross the street to talk to them, he’s hit by a speedster and knocked in the path of oncoming traffic. Henry Allen protects him and Nora calls 911 — after noting he looks just like her father.
Barry wakes up in the hospital with Henry treating him. Nora is also there. He tells them his name is Bart. They tell him that he’s not alone and offer to help him. Nora immediately starts mothering him and since “Bart” needs to eat, they decide to take him out for pizza. Meanwhile, Joe is investigating the hit and run and Joe thinks that “Bart” needs their help. However, as he’s investigating, Joe hears his name being growled and then finds a weird blue crystal. He picks it up and his eyes weirdly glow blue.
At pizza, Nora tells “Bart” that she thinks it’s fate that they met and both she and Henry comfort him. They offer him a place to stay for the night, but it freaks him out and he says that he can’t stay. he leaves, racing away. He ends up running into Eobard Thawne. Enraged, Barry moves to kill him and Thawne goads him, but Barry doesn’t. Barry thinks Thawne brought him there, but Thawne says he didn’t. They go to the bar and Thawne is enjoying the situation. He plans to kill Barry as a child and he feels like he has a pretty good chance since Barry has to either arrest him and mess up the timeline or kill him – and Barry won’t do either. Thawne also reveals he orchestrated his accident to cause him pain again. He also goads Barry into admitting that he’s won.
Later, Henry and Nora are worrying over “Bart” when he shows back up at the hospital. He tells them that he always wondered what he’d tell his parents if he had one more day and Nora says that he can tell them, so he does. They show him love and support — like Henry and Nora Allen would. As they leave, Barry hears the weird growling noise call his name. He follows it and finds Joe who now suddenly knows Barry is stuck in the past. Barry opens up to him, but he quickly realizes something is very wrong and Joe’s eyes glow blue. Barry realizes this isn’t Joe. It’s the Negative Speed Force and it wants Barry to pay for what he’s done. He wants to kill Barry and Barry can’t fight back because the real Joe West is in there. They fight — or rather, Barry tries to avoid fighting, but Barry eventually brings Joe down only for NSF Joe to attack him. Barry closes his eyes and thinks of Iris and baby Nora and suddenly a blast of Speed Force energy hits. It knocks the crystal out of Joe, but it vanishes. Barry speeds away with Joe, putting him behind the wheel of his squad car.
Barry races across town and comes face to face with Thawne, telling his foe that he’s there to save him. Thawne thinks it’s a joke, but Barry tells him that he’s sorry for having ruined his life. Thawne isn’t having it, though and races off. Things play out in the Allen home exactly as they did with Nora’s murder. It dawns on Thawne then that this was a fixed point. Barry tells him that this night no longer tortures him. He finally has peace having seen his parents one last time and he’s grateful to Eobard for that. Barry is then pulled away by the blue energy.
In Mercury Labs, Dr. Gilmore is at work when a sudden storm takes out the power. He goes to the window and there is weird red lightning in the sky and, echoing the night Barry got his powers, he’s struck by lightning in his lab and soon crackles with what appears to be Speed Force or Negative Speed Force energy himself. There’s also a mysterious classified CCPD file on the floor of the lab as well — about the death of Eddie Thawne who Dr. Gilmore looks exactly like.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.