While Impulse may be an energetic addition to the Arrowverse, the teenage speedster has a hated nemesis in the form of a familiar foe.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Flash Season 7, Episode 17, “Heart of the Matter, Part 1,” which aired Tuesday on The CW.
Barry Allen and Iris West-Allen’s intent to have a family of their own was upended towards the end of The Flash Season 7 by the return of Godspeed, the villainous speedster traveling back to Central City from the Year 2049. As multiple Godspeed drones begin battling each other throughout the city for the fate of their time-displaced progenitor August Heart, it eventually became clear that Team Flash was outnumbered and outgunned. And just as hope seemed lost, Barry and Iris’ superhero speedster children Nora and Bart joined their parents in the Arrowverse’s relative present to combat the mutual threat, with Bart making an emotional revelation: Godspeed is his own personal arch-nemesis.
With Barry concerned with how recklessly his son is battling the Godspeeds — especially with the villainous speedsters singling him out for pursuit after his arrival — Bart refers to Godspeed as his own personal “Thawne.” Barry chafes at the comparison, reminding his children that Eobard Thawne is his most hated enemy for a reason, with the Reverse-Flash murdering Barry’s mother when he was just a child. Frustrated that his own feelings are being overlooked by his father, Bart snaps back at Barry that he is well aware of what Thawne cost the West-Allen family, and that Godspeed has exacted a similar personal toll on him, before storming out of the room to prepare for the inevitable rematch with the army of supervillains.
Sidelined from the action until he can get a better handle on his emotions, Bart tearfully recounts with his sister how exactly Godspeed became his arch-nemesis in their timeline. While Bart certainly got along with his father and his uncle Wally West, he found that Jay Garrick was the man and mentor who understood him the best. Getting his Impulse superhero moniker from Jay, Bart looked up to the elder statesman superhero as something of a surrogate uncle who helped raise him. However, this dynamic would end in tragedy as Godspeed murdered Jay, with the teenage Bart vowing to avenge his mentor’s death.
This feud apparently goes both ways, with the Godspeed drones referring to Bart simply as “the adversary,” clearly seeing Impulse as a threat to their activities in Central City. Similarly recognizing Bart’s connection to Jay as a weak point to exploit, a detachment of Godspeeds ambush Jay in his own home and kidnap him to use as bait to lure Bart out of the safety of S.T.A.R. Labs. Bart plays right into this trap, lured to the Godspeeds’ hideout in a local church where the villains feed off his connection to the Speed Force, nearly killing him.
As happy-go-lucky and overeager as Bart can appear with his superhero activities, underneath his cheerful exterior lies a young man still grieving a close loss at the hands of a time-traveling supervillain. Mirroring Barry’s own experiences with the Reverse-Flash, Godspeed and Impulse’s feud is one of the Arrowverse’s most personal and linked to the death of a longtime hero. Godspeed has always sought to add to his power by feeding off other speedsters and, in Impulse and his reckless behavior, the supervillain has singled out the teenage superhero as something of a predictable target.
The Flash stars Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, Danielle Panabaker, Kayla Compton and Brandon McKnight. New episodes air Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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