“A man often meets his destiny on the very road he takes to avoid it.”
-H.R. Wells, Ep10 “Borrowing Problems from the Past”
**** NEWS FLASH – SPOILERS AHEAD ****
There is something to be said for not writing a weekly recap and waiting till after the season finale to make sense of everything. You discover that things that seemed like fluff or a throw away actually meant something and had a payoff at the end.
Trust me, there was a lot of that in this season of “The Flash.”
The first half of the season we saw Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) creating a Flashpoint Paradox, an alternate universe, in an effort to rewrite the past. Although he was quite content in this world, he discovered if he doesn’t undo it, his former world would cease to exist.
So, he set out to undo what he did, and attempt to put things back to the way they were. In so doing though, he stumbled into the future. What he saw there, set the path for the back half of the season.
After seeing what the future holds Barry goes from lamenting the past, to obsessing about preventing the future. That future being the death of Iris at the hands of Savitar.
Barry’s obsession quickly becomes that of the entire Team. The question is how do you prevent something from happening when you know so little? Especially about the assailant.
The Team decides their best option is to change the future by changing the headlines of that fateful day, one at a time. Their concept is a noble one, but they quickly find out no matter what they do, the end result remains the same.
What they really need is the get some dirt on Savitar, which is easier said than done when they have one crisis after another to tackle.
First it’s a Collector/Time Cop named Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) from Earth 19 who has been hunting HR since he broke their planets ban on inter-dimensional travel. She is hell bent and determined to take him back to Earth 19 to be tried.
Since Gypsy also has the “vibing” power, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) challenges her to a trial by combat, which is the only way HR can be saved.
Cisco is victorious with a little help from Julian (Tom Felton), who has become part of Team Flash. He finally gave in to Caitlyn’s urging.
HR (Tom Cavanagh) is overcome by Cisco putting his life on the line for him. Cisco tells him making investments in each other will one day pay off and he knows one day HR’s crazy thinking will benefit all of them. Sometimes we all have to risk our lives to achieve a greater good.
Remember this point, it has the ultimate payout by the finale.
Next Meta up to deal with is Clive Yorken who has the power to spread a body decaying disease just by touching his victims. His ultimate victims are the cops who arrested him in Flashpoint, which of course include Joe. When he’s “untouchable” he takes the next best thing, Iris. Now it’s a race against the clock to find a cure, one in which involves poor Caitlyn (Danielle Panabaker) forced to use her freeze powers, risking not being able to turn them off and permanently becoming Killer Frost.
Caitlyn’s struggle with her powers, and relationship with Julian are the second point that proves worth tracking.
What would the season be without a Meta from the past appearing?
That Meta being Gorilla Grodd (David Sobolov), who has kidnaped Harry and has him captive in Gorilla City. Grodd’s ultimate end game is to attack Earth and destroy it, but he needs to get Solovar (Keith David), the head of Gorilla City out of the way, and that’s where Team Flash comes into play. By pitting them against Solovar, and them winning, he can take over Gorilla City. The only problem with the plan, Barry won’t kill Solovar. This eventually leads to a battle of gorilla’s on earth, with Solovar winning and Grodd being thrown into ARGUS.
After this escapade, Barry realizes he’s been missing the present by obsessing about the future and in turn missing out on the things that will make memories down the road. He decides it’s finally time to ask Iris to marry him.
At the core of this season is the ever-changing track of Barry and Iris’ relationship, all driven by her possible impending death.
As if the battle with the Gorilla’s wasn’t enough, when Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) starts to have visions of Savitar (Andre Tricoteux), the gang finds out Caitlyn had kept a small piece of the philosopher’s stone in hopes it could be of use in reversing her powers. Instead it’s just a tuning fork for Savitar to get to Wally.
This spurs Wally into coaxing Cisco into vibing them into the future to that fateful night so he can learn more in order to be the one that saves Iris. In so doing he notices Iris is not wearing her engagement ring, which convinces him the only reason Barry asked Iris to marry him was because it would change the future.
This info is enough for Iris to put the engagement on hold. She wants Barry’s actions to be out of love, not fear.
Savitar continues to torment Wally, which pushes him to go after him on his own, using the philosopher’s stone as bait. This is exactly what Savitar wants. When Wally throws the stone into the portal he created, Savitar is released from his prison in the Speed Force and Wally is sucked in, taking his place in the Speed Force.
Barry is too late to save Wally, but during a battle with Savitar is able to cut off one of his blades, which will play a huge role in the battle against Savitar.
Needless to say, Barry blames himself for Wally’s imprisonment. Had he not pushed him to be faster to train to be the one to save Iris, this might not have happened. So he takes it upon himself to go into the Speed Force to save Wally.
While in the Speed Force Barry is reminded that the Speed Force is not happy with him since he created Flashpoint after he was given his speed back. He will have to pay the consequences of his actions.
After a series of tormenting memories and being chased down by time wraths, Barry, with the aid of Jay Garrick (John Wesley Shipp) is able to find Wally. In order to bring Wally back, Jay sacrifices his freedom to take Wally’s place in the Speed Force. The Speed Force always needs a speedster, or will become imbalanced.
Here’s another important point that pays off in the finale.
Back on Earth, Barry realizes he needs time to digest all that he has experienced and that it his responsibility to save Iris, not by changing the future, but by facing it.
He also tells Iris he gets where’s she’s coming from and although he loves her, acknowledges that it’s best they take some time off to give each other some space.
This leads to “The Flash” the musical, in which the end game is to stress that love is all that matters, which ultimately brings Iris and Barry back together again, with Barry proposing the right way, in song.
As a former “Glee” fan, it was fun to see Grant Gustin and Darren Criss singing again.
Now it’s time to deal with another metaling Meta, Abra Kadabra. He’s from the future, and this gives Barry the idea that the best way to fight Savitar is to find out who he is. How better to do that then to head to the future?
One other keynote, a battle with Abra Kadabra seriously injures Caitlyn, and the only way to save her is to remove her anti-meta medallion. Unfortunately, this unleashes Killer Frost, possibly for good.
What Barry finds in the future isn’t quite what he was betting on. After Iris died Barry became consumed by taking down Savitar, and in so doing turns his back on Joe and the rest of the Team. Once the task was accomplished, Barry became a recluse and the Team disbanded. Barry’s presence does however bring the gang out of retirement and although he doesn’t find out who Savitar is, gets the name of the scientist who created the weapon that enabled him to defeat Savitar. That name is Tracy Brand.
Barry also finds out that Caitlyn, as full-blown Killer Frost, has aligned herself with Savitar and becomes his ally.
With name in hand, Team Flash’s next quest is to track down Tracy and hopefully convince her to make the weapon 4 years early then planned.
That is as long as they can keep her safe. Savitar is on to their plan and has sent Killer Frost to eliminate Tracy.
Tracy (Anne Dudek) is a bit overwhelmed by the thought that she is an award-winning scientist in the future, considering her graduate dissertation was shot down. Fortunately HR and her make a connection and with his convincing she moves forward with building the weapon, which they endearingly name the Speed Force Bazooka.
Through all this Team Flash is beginning to wonder how Savitar is continually one step ahead of them. It’s like he’s been in on their planning all along.
Barry however begins to put the pieces together after Joe, who’s been having relationship issues with Cecile, comments that love is all that matters. Who knows what we would become if we didn’t have it.
With this comment, Barry figures out Savitar is him, but how? A meeting with Savitar completes the puzzle.
Savitar is a time remnant of Barry created in the future to fight Savitar, but instead of killing it, Savitar allows it to live so it can become Savitar in the future while he’s trapped in the speed force.
Broken and alone after Team Flash ignores him because he’s not the real Barry, he just wants the pain to end. Remembering that God does not feel pain, he decides he will become a God. Savitar is born and his plans to kill Iris and destroy Barry are set into motion.
Say what, as I found out, this is what’s called a closed loop timeline. It’s the classic, which came first the chicken or the egg? This is your science lesson for this season.
Since Savitar is a duplicate of Barry, sharing all his feelings and memories, he can remain one step ahead of Team Flash. This is truly the bane in Team Flash’s existence.
So, how does the Team attempt to get the upper hand? Stop Barry from making new memories. Really? Problem is, they actually trigger him to have amnesia, as does Savitar.
In an ironic twist, it’s Caitlyn/Killer Frost who comes to the rescue and finds a way to not only get Barry’s memory back, but Savitar too.
Needless to say, Cisco uses this opportunity to try to sway Caitlyn into giving up the bad guy routine and rejoining the Team, but she’s a no go.
On a side note, this episode “Cause and Effect” was a nice diversion from the otherwise heavy-osidy of “The Flash,” not just because it was fun to see a playful side of Barry, but to see HR and Tracy’s budding romance.
Back to the heavy-osidy.
The countdown to Iris’ impending death is on. It is a race against the clock.
Tracy is successful in building the Speed Force Bazooka, but there’s one catch, it needs an exorbitant amount of energy to work. The only thing that fits the bill is the alien rock being stored at the Pentagon-like fortified ARGUS.
This is a payoff from what appeared to be a throw away series of crossover episodes early in the season. Who would have thought?
When Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson), the head of ARGUS, refuses to just hand over the rock, Barry resorts to commissioning Snart (Wentworth Miller) from the past to help. With the aid of HR’s transmogrifier, which optically changes someone to look like someone else, they get into the building, and almost get out without a hitch, except for setting off an alarm, which wakes up the King Shark (David Hayter) who’s guarding the rock.
Barry won’t leave without Snart, and with Cisco’s help, he achieves that.
With the exception of the need for the power source, the bulk of the theft scene seemed unnecessary, but boy was I wrong. Just wait for the finale.
While Barry and Snart are off stealing the energy source, Wally and Joe whisk Iris away to Earth 2, keeping that detail from Barry so Savitar won’t find out.
Or so they think. Savitar, pretending to be Barry, easily gets that info out of HR and off he goes to Earth 2 to claim her.
The stage is set for the inevitable.
Although it appears the Speed Force Bazooka is going to work, Savitar still had the piece of the philosopher stone, which counteracts the weapons effect. With the damage done, Savitar is off, taking the Bazooka with him.
Despite all their trying, Team Flash fails at saving Iris.
Or is it? As Barry cradles Iris in his arms, HR’s drumsticks drop to the ground. Iris is alive. HR had tracked down Savitar’s lair, using the claw Barry claimed during their first battle, and while trying to rescue Iris, was caught by Killer Frost, but before she attacks, HR was able to switch places with Iris.
Multiple payoffs’ come to a head in one scene. Who would have thought HR was meant to be any more than the “comedic” part of this season.
Since Iris is alive, the time paradox has now changed, and when it catches up to Savitar, he will be erased.
This could take a few hours though and Savitar can do a lot of damage in that time.
As with any good bad guy, Savitar has a plan B. He’s going to have Cisco, who was saved from Killer Frosts’ wrath, convert the Bazooka into an inter-dimensional quantum splicer. This will allow Savitar to become fragmented through all time and space. He just needs Killer Frost to shoot him once he opens a portal to the speed force. He will truly be a God then, being in every minute of every day.
Who would have thought the dark side of Barry Allen could be so sinister?
Not knowing what Savitar is up to, but knowing it can’t be good, Barry decides maybe it’s time to try a little “niceness” on him. Barry and Iris’ desire to actually help Savitar find a way to survive and change his evil ways is truly genuine, but Savitar realizes that he will continue to live in Barry’s shadow. Never winning, only watching in the wings. Barry will get the girl and he will be left in the dust again. He’s not going to have that.
In a flash he’s gone, but not without opening a portal to the speed force by pitching the philosophers stone into the breach at Star Labs.
I’m thinking that piece of the philosopher stone may have some significance in Season 4.
Now it’s time for his transformation. As Killer Frost shoots Savitar, it appears the splicer is working, but that would mean Cisco actually did what Savitar wanted. Not Cisco. He would never help the bad guy.
Turns out Cisco turned the bazooka into a Speed Force skeleton key by reversing the polarity of the gun. In so doing, he frees Jay Garrick.
The Speed Force is now without a speedster as prisoner.
A battle suitable for a finale ensues, with Iris actually being the one to kill Savitar. Oh the irony!
After a touching funeral for HR, at which we see Caitlyn has finally taken control of her cold powers, it appears Barry and Iris will finally get their happily ever after. They deserve it right?
Nope, not in the world of “The Flash.”
With no speedster in the Speed Force, it is becoming imbalanced, and the world will pay the price if it doesn’t get a speedster.
Wally and Jay have already served their time; the only one left is Barry. Yup, you got it. He’s reached his finish line, and it’s time for him to pay the penance for all the chaos he created with the Flashpoint. This is his redemption. He has come full circle.
Where they take Season 4 is still filled with speculation, but it has been confirmed that the main villain will not be a speedster this go round, but Clifford Devoe, the Thinker. Based on what I’ve read, he’s some sort of hybrid non-living artificial intelligence, which could mean a lot of mind games will be at play.
It’s all speculation until October 2017 when “The Flash” returns.
About Mariann E. Danko: A single Mom just trying to make it through every day without losing her mind. Fortunately I have a passion for writing, which is why I decided to share my thoughts and somewhat off-beat parenting tactics with all who are willing to read them. You can check them out at https://wakingthewalker.wordpress.com/ or my writers page at www.facebook.com/MariannE.DankoWriter or follow me on twitter @Danko818