ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 5.2.17
Caitlin has turned evil. But has she? They’ve found the scientist that can stop Savitar. But will she? And Barry figures out Savitar’s identity. But does he?
Big Red vs Big Blue
So the very brief opening scene is Barry confronting Savitar on a lonely road. Barry tells Savitar that he knows who he is. And the rest of the ep is designed to get us to that point, starting 16 hours earlier. Grant said that there was no way we’d see this coming. But everything we’ve seen told us what was happening from the beginning, especially if you read the comics. This is what leads me to believe (and hope) that there is yet a twist to be revealed. There’s a lot more that could happen here. It kind of has to, or the story will have minimum emotional punch.
They now, with this episode, stand on the edge of making this the best season of The Flash (since the incredible Season One I mean) IF, and only if, they tie all these threads together in a satisfying and logical way. We’ll see.
I Love You. But I didn’t mean it.
Yeah whatever Joe and Cecile. I didn’t realize how uninterested I am in this development until they cut to this scene. Cecile confesses her love and Joe reacts like Captain Awkward and the Lost Pimple Brigade. How old is this man, in his fifties or so? He hasn’t learned how to handle a reaction better than that? Plus the biggest, most obvious clue of all is dropped in this scene: either Joe or Cecile or both will be dead by season’s end. I can’t say that we emotionally resonate with Cecile; she’s at best written as “Joe’s love interest.” On this show tho, that means she’s kind of auto-chunked into being a red shirt. I love Jesse L. Martin and his acting is phenomenal, but I don’t need more grief scenes from Joe. The Flashes in the comics are the happiest and most stable of all the DC superheroes, bar none. On the show they’re anything but.
My Branding Strategy
They find Tracy Brand, the doctor that invents the tech that cages Savitar. They have all of her future deeds on the data disc that Emo Barry gave Glee Haircut Barry last episode. So they set off to find her. Know what’s funny? It’s like these heroes have an anti-plan religion. No one stops to think, “How is she going to react to this news? What if she’s not interested? What if she reports us to the police?” Nothing like that. They just charge off.
Foolian throws a mini hissy because he thinks they’re not looking for Caitlin hard enough. Cisco hisses back and lists all the ways that they are. And reminds Malformed that he’s the one who set Frosty Pants loose in the first place. I tell ya, a male cat fight is always hilarious. What’s interesting is how I completely believe in Cisco’s love for Caitlin, and Julian’s voice sounds like the audio equivalent of snot.
Also notice that Wally being gone makes no difference in the episode whatsoever.
Let’s put this down while you still have your eyebrows
I have to say Anne Dudek as Tracy Brand is almost perfect. To my knowledge, she’s a character unique to the show. As I mentioned on Twitter, I knew they were going to pull someone in that we’d never seen before, which is a writing cheat, but oh well. Everything about her awkward, twitchy, super intelligent but under-confident persona works. Tracy is, in fact, who we wish Felicity on Arrow still was. We still liked her then. So this week’s Three Stooges (Cisco, Barry and HR) just kind of storm into her lab and interrupt her. And she puts up like, zero resistance. That struck me as bizarre. Then she just starts answering their every question and telling them her life story. Most women would’ve screamed and called for security. So I just chalked that up to TV social physics.
And then…Killer Frost busts in. I swear she has the best entrances every time. She steals every single scene she’s in. They confront her, and all get blown away by her. Because they’re holding back. And on some level, so is she. This is great built in conflict. This is the storyline I wanted, the Fred/Illyria thing. How do you fight an antagonist that has no qualms in hurting you, but they’re wearing your best friend’s face? Barry finally does something cool and Flash facty and sciencey and chases her away. But the stage is set.
I am also ignoring the fact that if Savitar had really wanted Tracy dead, Killer Frost would’ve been sent sooner. Savitar knew when Barry n’ dem would arrive, right? Then why not send Killer Caity over there two hours earlier? Hmmmmm….
The Jig is Up
SOMEbody on this show actually does some police work. The police sketch artist creates Caitlin’s lovely frost face for Tracy and she identifies her. Seems like there should only be so much Joe could do to keep that info from going public, unless absolutely no one else saw Killer Caity come and go from Tracy’s CCU lab. Then these two police officers destroy evidence by erasing the camera footage of the KF attack. I’m waiting for a crisis of conscience on Barry and Joe’s part to kick in about how they’re breaking the law left and right. Most cops take their jobs more seriously than these two.
Savitar and Jack Frost’s sister are in their villain’s lair. You know it’s all villainy because it’s dark, shadowy, and sparsely furnished. Comic book villain code decor n’ thangs. So Savitar challenges Killer Caity to live up to her name and actually kill Tracy. Yeah their relationship is twisted. They seem to respond to the worst in each other. Which makes it a mirror image of the other relationship that it’s based on. Imagine that. Savitar is clearly trying to push her into being more evil. And Future Frost told us that he succeeds, and that they made a great team. So Savitar and Pencil Skirt Icee are a sort of metahuman Bonnie and Clyde. This says something that I’ll address later on in the review.
Mocha-choca-lata ya ya
HR finds Tracy again at the Crack Coffee Can also known as Jitters. Cisco is in his ear making him sound smarter than he is. He gets his flirt on with Tracy Beans. They talk speedsters. Peanut Malfoy calls Cisco out again about not really attacking Caitlin. This is the only significant conversation. Joe and Barry pontificate about telling the truth, and it’s the exact same conversation Clark and Lana had for ten years on Smallville.? It’s all kind of filler until Killer Frost attacks Tracy again.
Frosty Fangs shows up again and shows out. She does one of the coolest things we’ve ever seen on this show. She travels on an ice bridge like Iceman from X-Men. It’s awesome beyond words. (I’m ignoring how she could’ve possibly frozen HR’s coffee without he or Tracy noticing because comic book show.) It also shows how they have completely retarded Barry’s growth as a hero. Caitlin is Killer Frost for two days and she’s making bombastically cool ice bridges. Barry’s been The Flash for three years and still can’t figure out how to move people out of the way instead of taking Caitlin’s ice blasts head on. I keep telling you, they write this man as slow in the head for some ridiculous reason. But they do it for every MALE protagonist on the CW: Clark Kent, Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, Rip Hunter. The villains and the women are always twenty-umpteen steps ahead.
Caitlin chases Tracy and Team Flash on her ice bridge and for some reason she’s….faster than Barry? Also Barry doesn’t capture her like he did Abra Kadabra two episodes ago. I thought he was prepping for an off the building phase jump takedown, but alas, not so. Cisco has a chance to stop her and freezes (no pun intended) yet again. Caitlin just laughs right in his face. Also, Barry is standing right there. Why doesn’t he do a super speed funnel with his arms to knock her off the bridge? Yeah nope. He just takes her ice blast full on instead of moving Cisco. Then Caitlin stabs him in his leg again, because somehow the fastest man alive isn’t fast enough to, oh I don’t know, move out of the way or phase or vibrate or I just can’t with Barry’s incompetence.
No Fate but what we Make
Tracy learns she’s Sarah Connor, or more accurately, Myles Dyson. They show her her future hologram. At last, she actually feels a real emotion someone should feel. She’s overwhelmed. Julian goes at Cisco yet aGAIN. And Cisco finally has his Rocky III moment and admits that he’s afraid. Afraid he’ll kill Caitlin if he lets loose with his powers. Now remember, Cisco’s powers had been honed to an almost Gypsy like level just a few episodes ago. But now he’s afraid of losing control. Okay then. Tracy leaves. Again, a normal reaction given this craziness she’s been caught up in. Also, HR’s book Alls Wells that Ends Wells, that title is freaking hilarious! I still don’t like him but I do have to admit he’s gotten funnier. Human Refuse tracks down Tracy and tries to be charming. It kind of works because he and Tracy are kindred souls. Except that Tracy’s an actual genius.
Blah blah blah, more Joe and Cecile. Scene doesn’t get exciting until Killer Caity shows up and takes Lil’ CC captive. After Joe ridiculously broke up with her. I have seen that “I did it to protect you” scene on every CW superhero show I’ve ever watched, so I’m burnt out on it.
Freezy Girl says give up Tracy or CC Dance Factory is ice toast. And for ONCE….Barry has a plan. But there’s only one reason he has a plan this time. And that’s to show how the villains are a step ahead yet again. But there’s a catch, don’t know if the writers meant to do it that way. Savitar tells Caitlin everything that Barry’s going to say. She mimics his words as he’s speaking them. She even knows that Cisco’s hiding in the rafters. It was great to watch, but it means two clear things:
- Savitar is trying to push Caitlin into becoming evil, not kill Tracy. He could’ve killed her at light speed himself a long time ago. Why does Savitar need Caitlin to go all the way dark?
- This past is a new past. It’s an altered past that Present Barry is creating as he goes. In the original timeline, Future Emo Barry said that Tracy didn’t invent the SpeedForce trap until four years after Iris dies. How then, does Savitar know what Barry will say and do? This is not how things originally happened, so how could Savitar remember it?
There’s yet another thing that becomes obvious in this scene: Killer Caity’s loyalty to Savitar. Why exactly is she so committed to this guy? More on that later. Barry takes yet another ice blast and gets knocked down. And frozen. Killer Frost gets hit from behind which makes no sense if she knew that was coming. Anyway she and Cisco finally fight, and Cisco overcomes his fear. They power lock with vibe and ice blasts, but he wins the day. And takes a blood sample to start working on a cure. Savitar shows up and challenges Barry. But once again, Savitar moves so fast, he could’ve killed Tracy before he left. But he doesn’t. He scoops up Killer Caity and leaves.
Iris, for once, does something on point. She says out loud what I just mentioned above. Why would Savitar choose to rescue Caitlin and not just kill Tracy? (He’s fast enough to have done both but okay.) Barry reasons that it’s because he needs her for something. More on the reason why later. HR again brings his weak game to Tracy. She’s too much of a nerd not to be charmed by his sorry pants tho. Tracy however figures out that Savitar needs his suit to neutralize the charge he builds from his speed, because he moves so fast. Blah blah blah, Joe and Cecile, standard CW “the man realizes he was an idiot and reveals all super identities and smoochy smoochy” fare. Ugh. But then Joe says the key lines of the show:
Hey love’s the only thing we got in this world and without it, nothing really matters. And who knows what we’d become if we didn’t have it.
The Man in the Iron Mask
That line triggers a hero’s montage inside of Barry’s head. And he knows who Savitar is. But he of course runs off to face him by himself. Of course he does.
Savitar shows up. They have a lil’ verbal sparring. And then Savitar reveals himself. And he is, of course…
That was always the main candidate. But there’s now lots of serious flaws in all of this.
Give it to me, Sherlock
They can’t have it both ways. If Savitar is Future Barry, and he remembers everything that happens…that means that the Barry we know in the present is the one that becomes Savitar. But at some point in the future, Barry is there to put Savitar in the Speed Force. Um, how? So the new theories have to do with how all of that happens. And that has to be where Caitlin comes in.
If Savitar remembers everything when he was Present Barry(which again doesn’t make any sense because Future Emo Barry said that Tracy wasn’t in the picture until four years after Savitar kills Iris….so how could Savitar remember them seeking out Tracy earlier, and her being there before he kills Iris? Time travel makes my brain hurt.) But if we’re going with that, that means that clearly at some point Barry splits into two. Maybe a time remnant, or maybe he’s learned how to run between realities. But at some point, an event has to occur to make Barry turn into Savitar.
They’ve been playing it like that event is Iris’ death.
So that means that Future Emo Barry that we saw last week becomes Savitar after his visit from Present Barry. Which again makes no sense. Know why? Because Future Killer Frost talked about their adventures in the past tense. She’d already had those Savitar experiences by the time present Barry bamfed into 2024 and questioned her, remember? So now that means that somewhere between 2017 and 2024, Future Barry becomes Savitar, but not, because by 2024 he’s still Emo Barry. Tracy invents the SpeedForce trap in 2021, but now she’s going to invent it in 2017. Which means there’s no way Savitar should remember it because it didn’t happen that way the first time he lived it as Barry.
One possible option is that Emo Barry was already Savitar in 2024 and just didn’t reveal that fact to Present Barry. Except by the end of the episode, they made it look like Emo Barry was ready to be a hero and Team Flash a family again. Was all of that a ruse, and he turns into Savitar and kills them all right after Present Barry leaves?
Here’s more problems:
2017 – Savitar kills Iris
2021 – Barry traps Savitar in the Speed Force with Tracy’s help
2024 – Present Barry visits broken Emo Barry
So why does Savitar need to kill Iris? To create the event that breaks Barry and thus pushes him into becoming Savitar? That means that Iris didn’t die the first time around. Savitar has to exist to kill her. But if killing her is what makes him exist, how did he come about in the first place?
Which brings us to Caitlin.
Frosty or Not
It’s been suggested on Twitter that Future Emo Barry gets desperate after 2017 Barry leaves 2024. (Again….Future Frost had already met and teamed up with Savitar at that point.) But anyway, he seeks out the dreaded speed drug, V9. He figures that doping with V9 is the only thing that can make him fast enough to save Iris. And who made V9? Dr. Caitlin Snow of course. Maybe that’s why he needs her. The scars on his face are drug damage. The fact that his lightning is blue and that he needs that suit not to completely de-rezz like Trajectory does makes total sense. The question becomes, why would Caitlin help him?
And the answer’s obvious.
Once she saw that Savitar was Dark Barry, she was instantly on board. Know why? Because Caitlin has some kind of twisted love for Barry. She could’ve run off on her own, but she didn’t. She immediately throws in with Savitar. Remember who Killer Frost is…all the feelings that Caitlin suppresses made manifest. Why would the Dark Version of Caitlin immediately cooperate with the Dark Version of Barry? Because deep down inside, she loves him. And is loyal to him. Killer Frost is the persona that makes all of her repressed baggage come to the surface. We have to face the fact that there’s a part of Caitlin that’s very dark, and she’s tried very hard to keep it in check. But it’s out now, and guess what? She likes it. She said that Savitar said she couldn’t kill Present Barry. So she stabs him instead. She also says that “you two are more alike than you realize.” Know what that is? That’s the anger of rejection in a woman that feels that Barry should’ve chosen her over Iris. Sweet Caitlin would never in a million years admit that. Killer Frost lives in it. Feeds off of it. And talks about Savitar with a reverence that she has for no one else. “You’re no match for the god of speed.” “I’m glad you did this to me.” Remember?
In other words, Caitlin is saying in no uncertain terms: “Barry, I tried to be good, and we couldn’t be good together. So why don’t you and I be bad together?”
SO LET ME AGAIN POINT OUT THE PAINFULLY OBVIOUS:
There’s very little Iris or Wally in this episode. And it’s still one of the best eps of the season, maybe of the series. Killer Frost not only stole every scene she was in…but she stole the whole show aGAIN by creating the iconic ice slide. Killer Frost was trending worldwide on Twitter. And even in this twisted version of reality, Caitlin and Barry are still together. I’m not sayin’ anything. I’m just sayin’.
So here’s the other thing. They’ve got a real chance here to max out these last three episodes. Because there is so much subtext now with this reveal it’s painful. We need to know:
- What event creates Savitar? Is it Iris’ death or something else?
- Whose funeral were they all attending?
- Does Vibe lose his hands or no?
- Does Caitlin come back into control of Killer Frost?
- What happens to Tracy Brand?
- Is Savitar inevitable? If Iris lives, will Savitar still exist at some point?
Can you see it? So much good stuff to tackle.
And there’s one more thing.
Future Flash in the comics was Barry from the future full of anger, regret and remorse. Why? Because Wally died. And Iris was crippled in a wheelchair. So he wants to come back to the present day to do one thing: save Wally. But in order to get enough speed to go back in time, he has to kill all his enemies. So instead of jailing them, he begins to kill them. That’s kind of a Anakin Skywalker take. To get enough SpeedForce power to time travel, he has to go dark and become a mass murderer. If they go with that storyline, that’s a whole other angle. What if Savitar wants to kill more people than Iris? What if he murders all of the Rogues? What if Savitar wants to wipe out every aspect of Barry’s old life, and he ends up killing everyone on Team Flash except Caitlin? Just wow.
So I’m intrigued, Flash fans! I hope these last eps truly deliver.