Ramsey and Elongated Man plummet toward the street after Ramsey knocks Elongated Man off the balcony. In the alley below, the two men face each other and fight. Several blood darts hit Elongated Man and he collapses. As Ramsey moves in on Elongated Man, he elongates one arm through a sewer grate and hits Ramsey from behind. Recovering, Ramsey pulls the blood darts out of Elongated Man into his hand, and says that Team Flash can't be allowed to stop him from saving everyone's laugh. He stretches away with Elongated Man's powers, and Frost arrives and runs to Elongated Man.
Frost takes Ralph Man to STAR Labs, and Cisco tends to the hero as he goes into convulsions. Barry runs in, and Frost summons Caitlin to help Ralph. She discovers that Ralph's cells aren't healing, and tells Barry to give Ralph his speed healing by making a blood transfusion. Barry agrees and phases a needle into Ralph's elastic skin.
The next morning, Iris wakes a dozing Barry and says that Ralph is stable thanks to Barry. ARGUS is going to move Ralph to a secure facility, and Barry wonders what would have happened if he hadn't been there. Crisis is only two days away, and Barry worries that he hasn't prepared the team for going on without him. Iris assures him that he's ready for whatever comes next.
Barry returns home and collapses on the couch. He realizes that Ramsey is there, and gives Ramsey one chance to turn himself in. Ramsey tells Barry that he just wants to talk and calls Barry "Flash". He works out that Barry was struck by lightning, and Barry tries to punch Ramsey and discovers that he's intangible. Ramsey tells him that Crisis is coming and asks Barry what role he plays in Barry's future death. Barry says that he wasn't there, and Ramsey tells him that he looks scared and should be because it's the end of the world.
A red wave of anti-matter spreads across Central City and Barry stares out the window at it... and wakes up from his nightmare. They sky is clear and there's no sign of Ramsey.
At the Citizen, Allegra complains to herself about Iris not telling her Barry is Flash. She finds a computer mockup of a Citizen layout of Flash's death in Crisis on Iris' computer. Iris and Kamila come in with photos of the gala, and Iris points out that one of them shows the man who hired Ultraviolet. Allegra asks her if there are any more stories, and Iris says that some other secret organization is using Esperanza. The intern asks if it's what really matters to Iris, and Iris says that it is and she and Allegra are going on a stakeout.
At STAR Labs, Frost checks Barry and notices that his EKG is normal but there's a small spike in his cortisol. She figures that Barry had a nightmare, but Barry doesn't believe it.
The mystery man is getting out of his car when Iris and Allegra confront him. He refuses to talk them, and Iris shows him the photo they have of him. The man takes out a business card and says that he's with Maelstrom Couriers, transporting specialty items for the wealthy. He's delivering jewels in a case, and leaves. Allegra tells Iris that they have time for other stories, and Iris figures that there's something that they missed.
Barry returns home and tests his speed, then pours himself a glass of water. His mother Nora appears in the apartment and tells him that it's much worse than a nightmare. Barry realizes that she's the Speed Force, and "Nora" explains that a small amount of Ramsey's cells entered Barry through the transfusion. Ramsey's sentience is in his cells, and he knows about Flash and Crisis. Nora explains that when Barry came home, the infection took hold and is spreading through his body and mind. Barry's speed-healing is trying to hold off the disease, but Barry has to resist him. Ramsey plans to take control of Barry and bend him to his will.
Iris tries to work out what happened at the gala, and Allegra suggests that they talk about how Barry is Flash. She brings up the newspaper layout, and Iris says that it's not time to deal with it yet. Allegra figures that Iris doesn't ever plan to write the story, and explains that Iris' story about the Streak inspired her to become a reporter like Iris and gave her hope. She tells Iris that she'll never forgive herself if she doesn't write the article.
Barry wakes up at the West house and hears laughter around him. The team is eating dinner at the table, and Ramsey comes in with homemade lasagna. The others applaud, and Ramsey cuts open the lasagna to reveal black blood. The plates fill with black blood but no one notices except Barry. Barry figures that it isn't real and says that he won't give in to Ramsey. Ramsey says that he's offering Barry a gift, and the others all say "everything".
Barry finds himself in the time vault, with the newspaper projected on the wall. He collapses and Ramsey tells him that he can't run away from his own mind. Ramsey tells Barry that he's done nothing to change his fate, and suggests Barry wants to make Iris a widow.
The Time Vault changes to the STAR Labs workshop, filled with gravestones. The names of everyone who has died are on the stones, and Ramsey says that none of them have to die. He invites Barry to join him so that Barry will never have to die. A door appears and Barry goes through it to find a nursery. Ramsey is looking down on a crib, and inside it is Barry's daughter Nora. Barry can't touch her, and begs Ramsey to let him hold his baby. Ramsey says that it's all coming from deep within Barry. The lights go out, and the others confront Barry and say that they die and Central City burns. Reverse-Flash tells Barry that everyone is dead, and Ramsey shows Barry a changed newspaper saying that Flash saves the world during Crisis.
Barry and Ramsey appear in the city, and Flash speeds up to a woman lying injured in the street. They watch as the imaginary Flash uses Ramsey's blood abilities to heal the woman. Ramsey says that Barry can save the world and live, having all that he wants.
On the couch at home, Iris hands Barry the baby Nora and he holds her. Ramsey tells Barry to confess the truth and admit that he has doubts. He says that all Barry has to do is choose life and extends his hand. Barry speeds away and wakes up in his bed at home. Nora tells him to focus because time is running out.
Joe brings in Iris, Kamila, and Allegra to the lot where Iris met the mystery man earlier. An explosion destroyed the place, but surveillance cameras captured nothing. The man's pin was thrown clear of the blast and is saturated with UV radiation. Allegra and Kamila refuse to walk away despite Iris' warning that it could be dangerous, and they figure they have a new mission.
Nora tells Barry that Ramsey's infection is getting stronger, and Barry admits that he feels doubt. The Speed Force wonders what has changed since the last time he answered their call, and Barry says that he's married and seen the future with Nora. He feels like he's living for himself and doesn't want to leave his family or friends by dying. Barry apologizes for letting her down, and Nora says that no one is immune to fear and doubt. However, Barry has the courage to move forward and that's what makes him a hero. Barry says that he needed to hear it, and Nora tells him that Ramsey never lied and that's what makes Ramsey so dangerous: he manipulates the truth to spread his disease. Shocked, Barry realizes that Nora doesn't want him to save himself using Ramsey's powers.
At STAR Labs, Barry's sleep monitor goes off as his vital spike.
Nora tells Barry to calm down.
Frost and Cisco breech in and find Barry unconscious on the floor. Recognizing the symptoms, Barry realizes that Ramsey is taking Barry over. They take him back to STAR Labs and Frost says that they need to treat Barry medicinally because ice powers don't work against Ramsey.
Flash says that Nora would rather he was Flash than anything he wants. Nora insists that the Speed Force has only ever tried to be a guide. The walls bleed black as Barry yells that what has happened to him was done to him.
Barry's vitals continue to spike, and Frost panics as she imagines Ralph on the table. Cisco tells her to breath.
Nora tells Barry that there are universal forces at stake that must be protected. Ramsey appears and agrees with Nora, and says that she doesn't consider Barry's life among them. Barry wonders how many times he has to suffer because of the Speed Force. He wonders if it feels pain, and Nora admits that she doesn't as Barry knows it. Ramsey says that the Speed Force doesn't know what it means to be alive. Barry tells Nora that she knows nothing about the truth and she's manipulating him to do what she wants. He insists that the Speed Force is the reason he buried the real Nora and phases his hand into her chest. He looks down on her and remembers Reverse-Flash killing the real Nora the same way.
Cisco runs into the workshop and gets a syringe.
Ramsey pins Nora to the door, and tells Barry that others have used him and now he can take command of his life forever. Barry reaches out to take his hand.
Cisco jams the needle into Barry's leg, disrupting Ramsey's control. Nora is freed and tells Barry that his accepting Ramsey's offer can save his body from Crisis but not his soul. Barry would lose the part of him that Iris loves. Ramsey reappears in the wall and grabs Barry's wrist, and the black blood spreads over Barry's hand.
Nora tries to pull Barry away, and says that only Barry can defeat it. Lightning from the Speed Force spreads through Barry's body, and...
...Barry wakes up . Cisco tells him that he beat Ramsey's infection.
Later, Iris is at the office. She looks at a photo of herself and Barry, then writes her story about Flash's death in Crisis saying that he is a beacon of hope who sacrificed himself repeatedly to save them. Iris writes that Flash was a hero and cries. A call comes in and Iris sees who it is, she runs out.
Nash returns to the sewers and uses a tool to blast through the wall. A metal panel with hieroglyphs on it is revealed, and Nash realizes that he's caught up to the Monitor.
Barry tells Cisco and Frost what he experienced, and everything he saw was buried in his mind. He thanks them for bringing him back, and Cisco tells him to get some rest. Barry figures that they have to find Ramsey before Crisis arrives and leaves. Cisco asks Frost if she wants to talk about what happened, and Frost says that she'll take a back seat while Caitlin handles the medical emergencies.
Iris arrives and Barry tells her that he's fine. Cisco says that Barry was infected but they handled it, and Iris promises not to leave Barry for the rest of the night. Barry runs some diagnostics and asks why she has so many questions when she wonders. Surprised, Iris says that she'll let him get back to work and privately tells Cisco and Frost that it isn't Barry. Cisco calls to Barry and when Barry turns around, his eyes are black with Ramsey's infection. He speeds through the lab, knocking them unconscious, and the computer shorts out.
Flash runs through the city and joins Ramsey, who says that he's the world's salvation. He tells Flash that soon the entire world will embrace Bloodwork, and Flash kneels before him.
Written by Gadfly on Nov 27, 2019