Season Three, Episodes 19 & 20 — “The Once and Future Flash”, “I Know Who You Are”
By Jarrod Jones. Things have gone pear-shaped for Team Flash: Caitlin Snow has succumbed to Killer Frost.
We should have seen this coming — certainly Cisco did, when Julian decided to remove the snowflake debilitator from around Caitlin’s neck two weeks ago. Julian just wanted to save Caitlin’s life, but he’s never been to Earth-2. He didn’t realize the extent of the danger at hand and, well, now Killer Frost is here, at the absolute worst time for Team Flash.
But there are other pressing matters to deal with. Don’t forget, only three episodes remain in this all-over-the-place third season. This whole Savitar business needs to get settled, so while Caitlin is off making lethal snowmen (or whatever), Barry decided to travel into the future to get answers about Savitar from his future self. Hey, he’ll be right back, right?
Barry’s trip to 2025 definitely revealed a few things, none of them what he was looking for. Chief among them is that Killer Frost allied herself with Savitar and helped the speed demon run amok all over Barry’s family, leaving its few survivors struggling with severe regret.
In fact, the future Barry enters from the point he left behind is about as bad as it can get. Consider this timeline the worst case scenario, and then have a truck already in flames crash into it, and then maybe have a bunch of spiders lay a million eggs in it, and that’s still not even close: Iris is dead, Wally has been handicapped and put in a catatonic state; ditto Cisco, only his tragedy isn’t just losing both his hands to Killer Frost — it’s that he’s the one person who has to relate all this back to Barry.
What’s more, The Flash has been missing for some time, Barry and Iris’ pad has been ripped apart, and The Top and Mirror Master have taken control over Central City. So Barry goes looking for Future Barry.
And find Future Barry he does. (If you’ve been on the internet in the last two weeks, you already know that #EmoBarry is a hilarious thing.) And guess what: he don’t know a durn thing about Savitar. But since Barry is stuck in the future, and time is generally on his side (just don’t go citing examples to the contrary), our present-day Flash decides to stick around and set things right — instead of, say, going back home and setting things right there. (That’s how future timelines work, yes?)
This is the trajectory that leads to “I Know Who You Are”, an episode that is only slightly more engaging than its title. The entire fate of Team Flash hinges on the acumen of Tracy Brand, a physicist of particular renown… in the future. (Today? Oh, she’s a lovely mess.) Team Flash move in on her life, as they often do to strangers, so that they might inspire her to innovate a trap for Savitar… and so that H.R. can finally have somebody to mack on. (It’s like Inception, only creepier.)
Meanwhile, Savitar made serious moves this week and so did Cecile — on Det. Joe. In fact, the entire Cecile/Joe dichotomy finally got some room to breathe. That’s odd timing, considering that Caitlin and Savitar have put Tracy in their crosshairs. (Shouldn’t Joe, y’know, put her in protective custody?) But that seems to be the entire function of “I Know Who You Are”: cram in as much character work before the rug gets tugged out from under us.
This week’s episode took time to superficially explore the dynamics of Team Flash, and in a strange way it worked. I mean, the Julian/Cisco stuff was just padding, likewise the Det. Joe romance angle. But the Vibe/Killer Frost stuff knocked me on my ass — this is something that’s been building ever since Season One.
It did, however, gloss over a few people — Iris West didn’t have much to say for the majority of the hour, which is curious considering that it’s her death that kicks off the worst future timeline in the history of future timelines. Wally got kicked to the side too — he’s “off visiting his Earth-2 girlfriend”, which is peculiar timing, considering that friggin‘ Savitar and Killer Frost are kicking around on a vendetta spree, and good help is hard to come by.
Oh, and Savitar is Barry from the future. Bet you didn’t see that coming. (You totally saw that coming.)
Julian articulated the absurdity of Wally’s absence, but the rest of Team Flash was all “eh?” about it. “All hands on deck”? That, I suppose, will have to wait until the finale.
“Secrets always were our thing.” – Killer Frost.
“You know people with some really scary names.” – Tracy.
BEST MOMENT: The Earth-1 versions of Killer Frost and Vibe go head-to-head, which was about as painful as you’d imagine.
EPISODE’S MVP: Caitlin vamped about as Killer Frost to wonderful effect, and her Bobby Drake icecapades during her battle with The Flash were worthy of applause.
– Hey, The Top and Mirror Master are back! Who let them in here.
– Cisco is so distraught in this future that he doesn’t even have it in him to make a “Terminator hands” joke.
– It’s pretty sad in a way that Julian lives out his future life taking care of a seething, hateful Caitlin. Not sure he deserved that.
– Didn’t it occur to anyone that Barry could “fix” the future by going back in time.
– Barry’s Future Flash suit is adorably reminiscent of the John Wesley Shipp Flash uniform, and vaguely reminiscent of the Ezra Miller Flash suit from Justice League. (But that’s none of my business.)
– Tracy Brand seems to be a entirely new character for The Flash, but if she makes it to Season Four, here’s hopin’ she has a dead acrobatic uncle floating around somewhere.
– I hope Cisco gets a damn haircut next season.
– I appreciate the scientific Cyrano de Bergerac thing that Cisco and Wells-19 had going on in wooing Tracy.
– I’m glad that Det. Joe finally has something to do, and Cecile seems great, but does that mean yet another person has to know who The Flash actually is?
– So what do you think, Flash Fans? Did Joe’s reveal to Cecile have to take place offscreen? Did you see the reveal of Savitar coming from lightyears away? Should Cisco get a haircut?
6.5 out of 10
Next: “Cause and Effect”, “Infantino Street”, in two weeks.
Before: “Duet”, here.