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The Flash: Cause and Effect

"It's like looking into a mirror."

After last episode's bombshell, the questions drop — and our heroes seek to frantically defeat the greatest enemies they've ever known — themselves.

So, cats and kittens, this is the bones of the Big Reveal:

It's Barry — kind of. Savitar is actually a time remnant of Barry, who I will call Barritar, which didn't get destroyed and which basically fell into a closed loop of insanity and found a power suit. Barritar's been fighting Barry because Barritar wants to be free of pain. He believes the only way to make this happen is for him to ascend and become a god, beyond pain. This is the reason for the suit, the killing of Iris, the whole season. It's all meant to set things up so that Barritar can become a god. Not a god of speed: a god.

This sort of changes the whole picture, doesn't it? Now it's not about Barry simply running faster, or doing new tricks with his feet. Now Barry has to deal with his own psychological makeup — and as he remarks to Iris later in the episode, he can see Barritar as a possible future Barry. He can see the texture of that remnant in his own psychological makeup, and there are a few scenes where Grant Gustin does a fantastic job looking absolutely terrified at the madness which he's glimpsed. Abyss gazing also into you, and whatnot.

Did Cisco seem extra mad scientist in this episode? Once they realize the truth, he seems to go frantic. Hair, eyes, it's all extra-frizzy. Why? Maybe Cisco is realizing the terrible truth - he is now having to fight two friends and formerly had to fight several. Cisco reacts by, well, he sort of embraces madness, doesn't he? If we can just turn off Barry's brain temporarily, he reasons, Barritar's brain will also turn off, and Bob's your uncle, and they'll have time to figure out a secret plan, involving bazookas, that Barritar won't know about because of aforementioned brain turn off! I mean, it was like foreshadowing except in a bright light. Spotlighting, perhaps?

Barry without his memory is amazing. It was great seeing the character so light, free of the loss of his parents, of all the many losses he's taken over the years. I liked the Heat Monger (and the callback to Heat Wave) because it highlights how Barry is important for the city in both his roles as a CSI expert and as Flash. Flash might catch them, but it's Barry who puts them away.

It was also, interestingly, much easier for me to see him with Iris in this episode. It's gotten more and more easy through the seasons, yes, but tonight it felt like the payoff of many storylines we've watched. These two have earned their relationship, and I'm backing off of any complaints... as long as the show treats that relationship, and Iris, appropriately. I loved her conversation with Joe — and the nuanced result, love for Barry's innocence but determination to bring back the real Barry Allen.

Cisco fighting to save Barry's memory after his idea? Also amazing. He refuses to accept the reality of Killer Frost and looks for deep, meaningful memories to call her back. And he succeeds: her eyes turn to Snow-eyes for a short time before burning back to blue. It parallels Iris calling Barry's memory back by sharing her memory of his grief at his mother's death.

Barry's right: he's earned his pain and the lessons and good memories which have come with it. So what next? Barritar is loose, and has his memory again. Killer Frost has rejected the team, Traci's invented the Savitrap, and all that's left is to find a power source with more energy than the Sun. Which is apparently in the hands of... King Shark?????

The big question in my mind is what happened to Barritar tonight while Barry had his experience and if it affected Barritar's thinking and approach at all. Basically he'd have been pain free too, right? Either way, the next stage in this process isn't going to be easy for Barritar.

Bits and Pieces

So many good moments in this episode!

Loved it when the suit came to life by itself!

While my guess — that Savitar was Eddie — was completely off, I'm more than happy to be wrong. This was a great reveal, and makes the situation that much more complex and meaningful.

It's funny how this season has evolved and how much over the season was clearly planned and built up to this point. Maybe I underestimated the writers! Even the fact that we foreshadowed this reveal by going to the future and seeing two Flashes fight now seems, in hindsight, to be a planned petal-opening in the unveil.

Cisco geek-blocking Julian's attempt to take over the explanatory lecture.

The shout-out to Mick Rory.

Barry during the trial, and sweating on his glasses!

Oh, and Julian's message, with the smiley face.

The HR and Traci dynamic had me smiling like crazy every time they appeared on screen. I should talk more about this, and about how Cecile is fitting in, but the review is long enough already!

When Barry regains his memories and just sort of blinks then starts saving people, and Kid Flash comes along.


Julian: So, it's ready —
Cisco: Ready for zapping!
Joe: Can we not call it zapping?


This was a super episode and it feels like The Flash has started tying up a lot of loose ends that bothered me. I can't wait to see what's next. 5 out of 5.


  1. I have never laughed so hard at this show.
    Barry: "and who are you?"
    Wally: "I'm your brother"
    Barry: ( sneaks a peek at his hand)

    Loved it all.

  2. A strange place to insert a breather episode full of comedy but it was a very wlecome distarction before the big finale.

    I don't know if I still buy the idea of time remnants, but the writers are commited to using them so i'll have to cope. At least they tied up the Legends part of the plotline about not trusting Barry Allen.

    King Shark was in ARGUS custody last time we heard about him. So maybe he got loose during the Helix breakout 2 episodes back on Arrow.


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