‘The Flash’: Oh hey, Iris, what are you doing in the fridge?
Season Three, Episodes Twenty-One and Twenty-Two — “Cause and Effect”, “Infantino Street”
By Jarrod Jones. For better and worse, we all know who Savitar is. And not a damn thing about him makes a bit of sense.
Let’s see if I can get this straight. Whenever Barry Allen needs to save the multiverse, he creates time remnants of himself that can be sacrificed if the mission calls for it. One particular remnant, made by The Flash of the future, survives. He’s cast aside by future Team Flash, so he travels through the Speed Force to murder every single time remnant of The Flash — past, present, and future — out of anger. When present-day Barry mucks with the timeline and creates Flashpoint, this rogue remnant grows bold enough to arrive to today for the purposes of killing Iris, so that present Barry will go to the dark side and create the embittered time remnant in the first place. I got that right?
And I didn’t even mention the whole Savitar cult and Alchemy thing. Oh, I’m so glad Captain Cold came by to take the piss out of everything.
Yes, “Cause and Effect” went the long way around in explaining Savitar’s origin to The Flash, and by extension, to us. It wasn’t enough that the scarred Barry remnant had just spelled it all out; lovely Cisco Ramon attempted to clarify all that mess with one of his patented Flash Exposition Charts. What he illustrated on those glass boards was a time loop, but it may as well have been a logic loop.
Iris and Barry would later distill Savitar down to one simple exchange: “What was he like?” Ms. West asked our rattled hero. “Broken,” was all he had.
That would have been enough. Broken Remnant Barry’s explanation and Present-Day Barry’s exchange with Iris definitely oriented us enough to at least understand the otherwise aloof supervillain’s intentions. But The Flash has never been eager to make things easy — or coherent — for us.
Or Iris for that matter. This entire season has been devoted to ostensibly fridging Iris West so that Barry could add another patch to his Tragedy Quilt, and it certainly has done everything it can to rob her of any agency as far as destiny is concerned. “I want to make someone hurt as much as I do. That’s in me. That’s where Savitar comes from — from loss,” Barry said as the clock continued to tick towards Iris’ doom. Well, great.
It goes without saying that The Flash needed to lighten the mood a bit before the sticky stuff really hit the fan, but with Barry glowering every minute of every hour, what was to be done?
Why, wipe Barry’s memory clean, of course! Savitar’s from the future, right? So he knows exactly what Team Flash is up to at all times. Get rid of Barry’s ability to hold memories, and boom — Savitar is ripe for the thrashing. Only thing is, Team Flash did the math, came up short, and went through with their brain-melting tomfoolery anyway. No Caitlin Snow means Cisco and Julian were ill-equipped to go playing around with Barry’s brain, so for almost an entire hour, Barry had amnesia.
For an episode of The Flash that virtually ran in place, it definitely kept its energy up. Barry came to grips with his amnesia and provided some much-needed levity to the show in the process. (Watching the CSI fumble through a court hearing was a highlight.) Wells-19 and Tracy Brand got to share their feelings for each other, while working overtime to create a Speed Force cannon/bazooka thing to take out Savitar. Their meet-cute manifested into a full-blown romance, though who really thought that Wells-19 — or Tracy, for that matter — needed the added baggage of a relationship? Aren’t there Nobel prizes to be won here?
“Infantino Street” began on a somber note, turned things around in a very pleasant way, and then proceeded to break all of our hearts. It’s not like the episode was being subtle about it: “Twenty-Four Hours Until Iris West Dies” was screamed across the screen, and then it gave us another head’s up when the hour was nigh. It would have been a surprise if Iris hadn’t died, but I don’t think anybody was prepared to watch it happen in this penultimate episode.
Before Savitar made good on his promise to off the love of Barry’s life, Cisco and Barry found the power source they desperately needed for Tracy’s Speed Force Bazooka. And wouldn’t you know it? The energy source turned out to be tech from the Dominator’s invasion earlier this season, and it was being held in ARGUS’ vaults. (For the uninitiated, ARGUS is, um… very well protected. They even have word-association pass codes. Who does that?)
“Infantino Street” took Barry the long way around in procuring this particular McGuffin, as it so often does. Agent Lyla Michaels (Arrow cameo!) refused to hand it over until she miraculously changed her mind later on in the episode, but at least the interim was entertaining enough: The Flash decided to wrangle Captain Cold from the past to help him break into the black ops facility. Team-up!
Leonard Snart’s brief return to The Flash illustrated what the show has been missing quite succinctly. For two seasons we’ve watched the series attempt to recreate the overall success of Season One, while systematically marginalizing some of its best villains in the process. If the Reverse-Flash storyarc was an unqualified success, his successors, Zoom and Savitar, are merely unqualified.
Let’s hope the Rogues reunite for a boffo fourth season of The Flash. Leonard, Mick, James and the rest… those cretins have one thing neither Zoom nor Savitar could ever boast: some damned heart.
“I forgot to tell you… my suit’s cooler than yours.” – Future Time Remnant Barry, to Barry.
“If Cisco saves my life, tell him I’ll put in a good word with my sister.” – Leonard, to Barry.
BEST MOMENT: Barry goes back in time to recruit Captain Cold. They break into ARGUS to steal Dominator technology and find out it’s being guarded by King Shark. Captain Cold and The Flash bicker their way to victory. The Flash hasn’t been this comic book-y since Barry went to Gorilla City.
EPISODES’ MVP: Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold. Surely there could be no other.
– Barry’s brain chair looks like a cross against Cerebro and whatever that thing was Arnold Schwarzenegger sat in in Total Recall.
– Of course the name “Bart” feels more natural to you, Barry — HE’S YOUR DING-DANG GREAT GRANDSON.
– “Lucius Coolidge, The Heat Monger, the worst arsonist in Central City since Mick Rory went off the grid.” – Cecile. Oh, he went “off the grid” all right.
– Speaking of Heat Monger, in the comics HM is a female white supremacist who fights the Justice League Task Force as a member the Aryan Brigade. Charming. (Though I suppose that’s a reason why the TV male equivalent was as bald as a cue ball.)
– Barry, upon entering his conspicuously over-furnished loft: “This is our place? How do we afford to live here?” Also, Barry, why does it look like a Pottery Barn threw up in here?
– Makes sense that Cisco would hit up Felicity Smoak in a time of duress. Just wish she’d had time to pop by for a cameo.
– To my knowledge, the Legends of Tomorrow were never in Siberia during 1892. Perhaps this is a tease for Captain Cold’s inevitable return? And also that something important will go down in Siberia? Perhaps in 1892?
– Anyone else think it was super weird that Wells-19 and Tracy walked into a scene just for Tracy to discover Barry’s true identity, and then walk off as though nothing had happened?
– The ARGUS word association password is “Elvis Banana”? What were they looking for? “Sammich”?
– The ARGUS vaults are a treasure trove of Easter Eggs: Grodd’s stashed away there, and so is Cupid from Arrow. But perhaps most tantalizing of all is the cell with the name “Cheetah” on it. Supergirl stashed a serious Batman reveal recently — is The Flash paving the way for a certain princess from Themyscira?
– “No strings on me.” Those just happen to be Leonard’s last words before he died in the Season One finale of Legends of Tomorrow. And no, I’m not crying. *sniff*
– So what say you, Flash Fans? Is Iris dead for good? Does any of that “ancient god” Savitar crap make any sense to you? Is Barry doomed to a shaggy-haired fate? Let me know in the comments below.
6 out of 10
Next: “Finish Line”, in one week.
Before: ““The Once and Future Flash”, “I Know Who You Are”, here.