The Flash Season 3 Recap And Review – Episode 19: ‘The Once And Future Flash’
Have we turned a corner? Could it be that tonight’s episode of the Flash was a signal that things were finally going to improve? In a nutshell? Maybe. “The Once and Future Flash” dived right back into Savitar’s illusive identity. With no help from the Speedforce and no real clues on how to stop the eponymous “God of Speed”, Barry decided to travel to the future in order to get help from Team Flash 2024. The results…well…let’s just say the future wasn’t so bright.
On one hand, the idea of time jumping to 2024 may seem like t a good idea. Barry defeated Savitar by this point in the timeline so he must surely have some words of wisdom to share with his younger self. On the other hand, every problem that Barry’s been forced to endure this season has been a direct result result of his tampering with time. One might suspect this could be a pretty foolhardy idea. Somehow though, the show was able to drive us deeper into the muck and at the same time bring some serious light and levity back into a show that has a premise based on hope.
First though, let’s talk about the future of 2024. I wouldn’t wanna live there. Central City is looking a little worse for wear; crime ridden and run down the city is swarming with villains. In this future Iris is dead, Team Flash is a distant memory, and everyone is in a dark place. To say the episode set the table with a sweep of macabre decoration would be an understatement. Fortunately the stakes were clearly spelled out, finally giving the threat of Savitar a greater weight than what we’ve seen.
At first, things may not be so bad as Cisco enthusiastically shows up, ready to help Barry out. It’s only after a warm reunion that we find out that Caitlin took Cisco’s hands in a Vibe/Killer Frost duel. Even though he was given some amazing T-800 hands from our friends at the Terminator lot, without flesh and bone digits, he can’t vibe. Things only get worse when Barry confronts his future self.
Remember when I called our hero “Emo Barry” a few reviews back? I was wrong. I was so, so wrong. Never has someone been so wrong than I was at that moment. If I only knew that Future Barry would go full on dark clothes with long, dark hair swooping in front of his face, I would have never proclaimed Emo Barry. It’s almost like Bane talking to Batman where he declares that Batman merely adopted the dark whilst he was molded by it. Our Barry merely dabbled in the dark, while Future Barry fully embraced the darkness, roots and all.
Then we have Caitlin’s Killer Frost persona locked up in Iron Heights, fully turned to the dark side. It was nice to see Danielle Panabaker glob onto this role and make it her own. Her journey from season one has been fairly nuanced and to see Caitlin go full on villain is a welcome reward. Julian on the other hand earned some incredible pathos as he has become her watcher. Dedicated to finding a cure, Julian has dedicated his life to Caitlin and to see him still picking away at a problem that may never heal really conveyed how much she means to him.
Then we have Joe and Wally West. Man, did their family get put through the ringer. Not only did Iris die at the hands of Savitar, but Wally was turned into a paraplegic with serious mental damage at the hands of the God of Speed. To make matters worse Barry shut everyone out, which essentially isolated Joe. And that is what broke this superhuman father figure: the loss of his entire family. It was brutal, it was hard, and it set up exactly what was at stake for everyone in Team Flash.
Fortunately there’s a silver lining in every cloud and our bright spot is called H.R. Wells. After the dissolution of Team Flash H.R., moved onto his real passion of storytelling. Not just any stories mind you, a Nicholas Sparks style of meta-human romance novels. The sheer delight he projects as he gleeful reads from his latest work is absolutely hysterical as numerous women in the crowd start texting him lewd and obscene messages. Did I mention he bought Jitters? Yeah, he did. Basically the future for H.R. is the stuff of adolescent male fantasies, and good on him.
Regardless, the grimdark of Season 4 seemed to turn back to hope as Barry tried to get the band back together. After a rather rousing speech, Team Flash kicked off the dust, found the drum sticks and got back to work. It certainly felt like a victory for the fans, and quite frankly was sorely needed. It reminded us how much hope Barry Allen carries with him and how important it is to keep that hope front and center even when the world is falling apart. It was also a huge nod to the enduring status between Cisco and Barry as BFFs. We needed to see it go on, no matter what and that made the journey feel far more positive than it may have been otherwise. Of course, Savitar is still out there, but there seems to be a sense that no matter what happens, the family will survive.
Also, can we talk about the new Flash costume? Bright red, bolder golds, and a slightly more sculpted suit made Barry seem far more sleeker and movie ready than ever before. It’s definitely still in a prototype stage that needs work with fitting, but I hope we see Barry go in this direction soon (Season 4 perhaps?) as he really popped off screen.
So…next week is it – the reveal of Savitar. It’s about time. We all know the thoeries, we all know the facts, but who will it turn out to be? I’m still laying even money on Barry or Wally, though I hope its the former. Finding out you are your own worst enemy is just too juicy to pass up and will finally kick Barry in the pants to go back and fix the events of Flashpoint. Until next week, stay speedy!