Things get dark in The Flash as Barry Allen goes back to the future…
After a whole month’s break, The Flash returned to our screens this week with a cracking, if kind of depressing, episode.
In order to find out Savitar’s true identity, Barry travels to the future – 2024, to be exact. There he finds a world where he failed to save Iris and everything has gone to pot. Central City is the playground of metahumans like Mirror Master and The Top, Cisco has lost his hands and his powers, Wally is paralysed, Caitlin is Killer Frost, Team Flash has broken up and future Barry himself is a shell of his former self.
In regular episodes of The Flash, I have complained that the show has got too obsessed with being dark but in this one the level of bleakness works fine, as it shows us just how low Savitar will bring Team Flash if he wins. It was tough to see Barry so broken (though, come on, that awful emo wig did undercut the drama somewhat) and future Cisco’s delight at meeting his old best friend was touching. Thankfully we had H.R. – Tom Cavanagh also directed this episode – to provide some much needed comic relief: “I was about to check one of the most important boxes a man can check in his life!” At least someone was enjoying themselves in this future…
After all this gloom, the punch-the-air moment comes at the episode’s climax as Barry manages to galvanise the remaining members of Team Flash back into action. Future Barry racing in to save his past self is the highlight. Mostly because of his red and gold outfit. I’ve always wanted this show to give Barry something brighter to wear and this goes a long way towards doing that. It needs a few tweaks here and there, but mostly I would be happy if Barry started wearing this suit next season.
In other news, we are closer to finding out who Savitar is than ever. After becoming Killer Frost in the previous episode, regular timeline Caitlin didn’t have a major role this episode but the final scene did raise lots of questions. Once she sees Savitar’s face, KF is completely on his side. Who would Caitlin immediately trust like that? Of the current Flash team, I would say only Julian or Barry himself. Meanwhile, future Wally presumably saw Savitar and went into a catatonic state. Whose face would cause such a severe reaction? His own, most likely, but then would Caitlin immediately trust Wally if it turned out he was Savitar?
‘The Once and Future Flash’ managed to reignite this viewer’s interest in a story arc that has had some real ups and downs over this season. Hopefully, this quality will remain throughout the rest of the run so that season three can go out on a high.