This is a powerful episode with some necessary filler elements bringing us back up to date after the midwinter hiatus, and setting the stage for the rest of the season as we see our characters grapple with the concept of destiny and how they can make their fates their own.
Last episode we saw Barry slingshot to the future and witness the death of Iris at the hands of Savitar. I liked how this episode's opening sequence summarized that whole event from the first half of the season. What I worried about initially was Barry repeating the mistakes of the past and running off again to try to change the future. Instead, after watching Barry go through some soap-opera self-analysis, we see him decide to come completely clean with Iris. Iris thus finds out about her own death directly from the horse's mouth this time instead of being confronted with yet another secret–and this leads to the team discovering that the future is changeable. There was a fantastic moment here when Barry and Iris are walking down to share information with the team which truly struck me. When Iris and Barry aren't fighting over their being honest with each other, they can truly work.
This episode also showed Wally fully coming out as the Kid Flash. For me this might have been the weakest part of the episode. It seems like Barry doesn't know what to do with him, and neither does the show. Although he's being brought in for support with criminals, his personality and how he reacts to his work and the accolades he receives seems sort of off. I cringed a little bit at Wally's performing for the camera at the end, when he's caught catching Plunder. Somehow it feels like Wally's story has gotten lost; remember when he wanted to help people because he had been helped and on a mission of personal self-redemption and speed racing? I think Wally's going to need a more solid role in the team than just being 'the other fast guy.' Maybe the Red and Gold speedsters should be taking turns being on patrol so each can have something of a life?
The Future Can Be Changed. I did not entirely like how this part played out. Basically, the team vibed their way into memory and saw everything Barry saw in a news story from the future. Their logic is now that changing each of these items in the future will prevent Iris from dying or get them to a place where Iris will not die. Okay — but I saw the rest of the season click into a predictable format, in that one moment, and get the feeling the rest of the season will be a Bag That Meta treasure hunt. And I'm still not convinced that the random events reported on a news story being changed, will have any effect on Savitar killing Iris. Also, this story line fails to address what to me is the big question: how will Savitar get loose? And will they defeat him, or just save Iris?
Barry's storyline, and Caitlin's, are arguably my favorite of the stories in this episode. Caitlin and Julian connect because they both feel like guilty, halved outsiders. Caitlin's rejection of her powers — and the cuffs — is something I think we need to discuss — but her sincerity in bringing Julian into the fold and her rejection of doing evil and harm to her friends is very compelling. Julian is also clearly working through the fact that he is Doctor Alchemy. I wonder if he's a meta, and that's what gives him the ability to be a channel for Savitar? He's needed to be part of this team for a while, with his capabilities and what he can contribute.
Barry's story worked because he's beginning to evolve. He is still fighting almost senseless fights in order to save the people he loves. He is still willing to sacrifice anything. His sincerity and openness when he tells Iris the truth carries the episode. At this point in his story he's still sincere, but also smart enough to learn his lesson, tell the truth, and it's arguable that learning that lesson is what gives him the possibility to succeed.
Catching up after some personal issues made it impossible for me to watch television, so slowly working through the episodes this weekend! Please, no spoilers about future episodes as I catch up, and do enjoy yourselves grinning if I complain about something that you know is going to change...
I don't know why, but I can't really get into the whole sumptuous day thing. It's consistent but way too cutesy.
This story line basically made all the drama about HR and the Adventure of the Museum kind of pointless. It was a weird storyline, anyhow. HR seems less and less beneficial every week. We need a museum to pay our salaries? Why can't they just license some of Cisco's inventions? Why a museum? Why bring innocent bystanders close to a prison for metahumans? And will the hologram-Cisco ever gain independent life?
Oh, and there was a guy named Plunder with a mysterious gun for which we never really got an explanation. Another throwaway villain?
The more I think about it the more I keep returning to Caitlin and her being convinced that her frost powers are going to force her to become evil. Why? Why her, and nobody else? Why not Vibe? Why not Barry? Not every meta is evil, but some are? There must be some logic here that I am missing.
Where will Julian be while they're trying to save Iris from Savitar?
Joe: Remember the best way to teach somebody something is to throw them in the deep end. That's how I taught you how to swim.
Barry: That was – I'm still mad about that.
Joe: You can swim now, can't you?
Iris: "Flash Missing. Vanishes in Crisis". Julie Greer, April 25, 2024. I don't...
Barry: The byline used to read "Iris West-Allen". The future's changed.
Iris: So maybe I quit my job.
Barry: Yeah, that's what I'd hoped at first, too, or something. But, I... look, Iris, I'm sorry I didn't tell you this sooner. When I threw the Philosopher's Stone into the Speed Force, I accidentally ran to the future. I saw Savitar murder you. And I saw myself, and I wasn't fast enough to save you.
In a Flash
Some powerful moments drive this episode, despite being slow in some moments to help people catch up again after a midwinter hiatus. Iris and Barry are really starting to work for me. Five out of five!