The Flash Season 3 Recap And Review – Episode 22: ‘Infantino Street’
Welcome back, Flash! After a pretty uneven season delving into the darkest realms of brooding, it’s refreshing to see The Flash get back on track, albeit right before the season finale. At it’s best, The Flash deftly mixes humor, action and drama into a powerful hour of television that had you excited for next week. “Infantino Street” more than met that lofty goal as the series races towards the inevitable showdown between Barry and Savitar, creating an excellent episode that heralds big changes in the tone of The Flash.
This week started on a pretty somber note, literally, as Aurora’s “Murder Song” played over a montage of Team Flash desperately trying to stop Iris’ death, a scant 24 hours in the future. The soft melody and haunting vocals painted a pretty bleak picture without miring the entire narrative in actors staring sullenly at points in the distance.
In fact, this kind of opening (and reprise at the end of the episode) was far more effective and just goes to show you a little can go a long way. Yet, despite this air of inevitability, the episode didn’t feel weighed down in melodrama. Every beat felt sincere and I have to give the creative staff full points for changing directions. If this is any indicator, Season Four should be a pretty awesome ride.
So why did this episode work when other installments failed to hit the mark? The Rogues. If I’ve had one recurring complaint over the last two years, it’s the neglect of Flash’s Rogue Gallery. These blue collar villains are what make The Flash so memorable. Between their ridiculous powers, or their need to land the next big score, the Rogues have always been an integral part of The Flash mythology. So you can imagine how awesome it was to get Captain Cold back on the show.
Sadly, with Captain Cold’s guest star, it reminded me that the chances of getting an OG Rogues Gallery on The Flash are pretty much nil as Rory has permanently moved to the Legends and Snart paid the ultimate price to save the universe. That said, the writers did find a way to use Captain Cold in a way the befitted his journey from icy master of crime to selfless hero of tomorrow. That journey changed Snart in a number of fundamental ways and seeing that reflected this week was a pretty awesome treat.
The other notable appearance this week was the gnarly King Shark. His inclusion could have been really weird but once events unfolded, it made a perfect kind of sense. A.R.G.U.S. had control of some Dominator tech that Barry needed to stop Savitar. Unfortunately they were unwilling to give it up so Barry recruited Snart, the master thief, to help him nick the oversize bauble from the military installation. Unfortunately for them, A.R.G.U.S. also has a tendency to keep dangerous metahumans at the same facility (should out to the Suicide Squad, Grodd and Cheetah) so it only makes sense that King Shark would be guarding the doohicky.
Even better, the battle with King Shark allowed Snart to go full on movie geek as he narrated the journey, citing the problems of featuring a shark on a small budget. The smooth nod to JAWS explained away any camera tricks used and injected some levity in an episode that was fairly dark. Seriously, the fact that they got away with a shark attack battle in the middle of a jail cell, on dry land no less, was kind of a narrative miracle. It was the height of creative writing and I loved every second of it.
The only real downside to Captain Cold’s appearance was the reminder that Snart is effectively dead in the DCW and this may be the last time we see the fan favorite. However, if this is the final farewell to Snart, it’s a worthy goodbye to a beloved character. Since his introduction Barry has always tried to show Snart there are different paths in life. So it makes all the sense in the world that Snart was able to repay Barry by helping our hero avoid his descent into darkness. The dynamic between these two have always been amazing and their final exchange (to date) highlighted that. There are no strings on me, indeed.
Even with all of this awesome Captain Cold action going on, it still played second fiddle to the Savitar/Iris story. The showdown on Infantino Street loomed over the entire episode and it created fantastic drama between our cast of characters. Nowhere was it more apparent than with Jesse L. Martin protecting Iris. After a brief jaunt to Earth 2 (Hi Harry!) the father and daughter had a sweet moment that slowly turned sour as the duo realized what was just over the horizon. It was touching and a tour de force moment for Jesse L. Martin who sung his heart out, even though it was breaking.
Candice Patton also delivered a stellar performance as a woman who comes face to face with her fate. From the beginning of the episode where she asks for a ridiculous last meal (caviar now, please) to her faltering duet with Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton gave Iris some much needed pathos leading up to her inevitable fate. Well I say inevitable, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Did anyone else notice how much mileage we got out of every one of our characters this week? Not only did the main cast all get a bump but our villains also had some nice moments that fleshed out their motivations. I really wish the writers didn’t wait so long to do it, but man have these last few weeks been making up for lost time. I think Savitar’s reveal really changed the game as it’s obvious that the man inside the armor is a pitiful creature, desperate to save his own existence.
This is a far cry from the God of Speed persona he tries to assert. Even so, outside of the armor, Savitar is far more fragile than one might expect. Ditto for Killer Frost, who continues to fight her inner Caitlin. Over the last two weeks it’s become obvious that the original personality of Caitlin is trying to reassert herself and Frost is losing the fight. My guess is that no matter how next week’s finale plays out, Killer Frost (Caitlin Frost?) will become a central figure in taking down Savitar.
Redemption may come to late for Caitlin as Iris finally caught up with her future this week. No matter what Team Flash tried to accomplish, they couldn’t stop Savitar from executing her on the now notorious “Infantino Street”. It sets up a pretty dark season finale as the tone will definitely shift towards revenge. Even so, I don’t think we have all the info.
For one, where is H.R.? After a pretty sincere and unflattering breakdown of his failure to protect Iris, H.R. just vanished. Did he somehow find a way to save Iris? Maybe by using his holographic disguise? It can’t be a coincidence that his piece of face changing tech popped up again this week. Also consider that Iris was thrown aside for a solid few minutes before Savitar finally killed her. Could H.R. have pulled a switch? Maybe he was in the sewer? I don’t know. But if The Flash is going to continue the tradition of introducing a new Harrison Wells every season, H.R. certainly has to be removed from the board.
However, you might be thinking that’s a bit of a cop out, and I think I would agree. While a last minute switch up of H.R. for Iris would be a cool twist, I think that the writing staff is still playing a long game. They want to make Flashpoint really mean something, and having Barry go back in time one last time to undo all the pain and suffering he’s caused this year would be apropos. Sacrificing his mother, taking that burden and ensuring the world is fixed because of it would certainly be a fitting sacrifice to save the woman he loves.
Regardless, we only have a week to wait before all is revealed. What do you think?