The Flash: The Once and Future Flash
April 25, 2017 7:44 PM - Season 3, Episode 19 - Subscribe

Barry travels to 2024 to find out Savitar's still unknown identity in the hopes of saving Iris, and encounters future versions of his Team Flash friends who, following the death of Iris, have become very different people. (Directed by Tom Cavanagh)
posted by oh yeah! (27 comments total)
 
Well, Killer Frost was fun in this one.

Apart from that, not much use for it - I was particularly annoyed with Current-Barry's plan to just stand there and let Top and Mirror Master chump him at the end, followed by Future-Cisco just making a device to completely nullify both of their powers.

Also, further teases about Savitar's identity are super irritating.
posted by mordax at 12:15 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, further teases about Savitar's identity are super irritating.

This season's storyline cannot move forward until we know who Savitar is. Everything until then is just spinning wheels.

Remember when this slow used to move at a breakneck pace in Season 1? Good times.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:07 AM on April 26, 2017


This season's storyline cannot move forward until we know who Savitar is.

They could do lots of other stuff, they just won't:

* Fun filler episodes. A lot of shows don't really move their arc a lot between season premiere and season finale but they try to populate the intervening space with episodes that are fun to watch on their own. The Flash isn't really even trying for that right now - they're spinning their wheels deliberately instead, with dumb stuff like that seance episode that draws attention to how they have nothing going on.

(S1 Buffy would be a good example of this done correctly, IMO: lots of monsters of the week instead of constant flailing attempts to locate the Master.)

* Future-Barry just proved the Savitar arc could be resolved without ever knowing who Savitar is, because he never figured it out. I mean, that makes sense anyway: Savitar goes into the Speed Force in his armor in the first place. There's nothing to say they need to know who's underneath it to just dump him there again. (Barry's plan in this episode comes across as another instance of Barry Allen: Dumbest Man Alive, since he was willing to go home without even pursuing that angle. He just went, 'welp, my first idea didn't work, better go home.')

Remember when this slow used to move at a breakneck pace in Season 1?

I really do. This is likely to be my last season with the show, and I'm mostly finishing it out to see how badly they screw up. (Not hate-watching, more analyze-watching.)
posted by mordax at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I hear that Season 4's villain will not be another evil speedster, so maybe that's what this show needs. Twice now the show has set its evil speedster up as essentially a godlike force of nature which ends up being a dead end. Reverse Flash had a whole season of gradual build-up behind his personality and his plan. Zoom didn't get a real motive/backstory up until the end. Savitar presumably will suffer the same fate.

If you bail out on this show, mordax, I understand, but I will miss your comments here on Fanfare about it. You're always on top of analysis and observations.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:36 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


If you bail out on this show, mordax, I understand, but I will miss your comments here on Fanfare about it. You're always on top of analysis and observations.

Thanks! :)

I hear that Season 4's villain will not be another evil speedster, so maybe that's what this show needs.

Darnit. Yeah, if they're changing the formula, I might have to stick it out a little longer. I'm mostly frustrated because all they seem to be able to do at this point is repeat S1 in increasingly contrived and awful ways.
posted by mordax at 9:44 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I am coming around to the conclusion that the writers are aware that, used even remotely effectively, Barry's speed makes it almost impossible for there to be a typical threat. Unfortunately they seem to only be able to come up with two ways to deal with this problem: Have Barry be completely ineffectual (9 times out of 10 done by having him just stand there like a dope) or have him face someone else with speed. And there they only seem able to imagine him being thwarted by that person be faster than him, rather than just better at using speed. Probably because they seem unable to think of ways to use speed effectively.

It's really frustrating and hard to believe. There's fifty years worth of Flash comics to mine for tidbits. Even with Sturgeons law that's a lot of good stuff to liberate. I am torn between believing that they can't manage to pull those things off within their budget on the one hand or them not even being able to recognize stuff that is good on the other.

Oh and I'll do the requisite holy cow why is the CW so bad at wigs mention for this post.
posted by phearlez at 10:21 AM on April 26, 2017 [3 favorites]


I just figured it out. I can't believe I didn't realize it sooner. The Flash is about the wrong speedster. The Flash needs to be the Eobard Thawne show!
posted by Servo5678 at 10:26 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Barry's plan in this episode comes across as another instance of Barry Allen: Dumbest Man Alive, since he was willing to go home without even pursuing that angle. He just went, 'welp, my first idea didn't work, better go home.'

Also, I just want to mention my head-desk moment of the episode: Not just Barry going "whelp, guess I'll just go home then" but then he fails at going home because future-Cisco casually made a device which drains his speed force so that Barry can't go as fast.

Does EITHER ONE of them go "hey could you modify that thing to make it so it slows Savitar down?" No, no, the fact that Cisco made a pocket-sized speedster-slowing-device goes completely unremarked upon for the entire rest of the episode until Cisco decides that the appropriate thing to do with it is use it on neutralizing the (minor, insignificant) baddies-of-the-week.

And then, after proving that little doohicky can not only mess with Barry but can, with a moment's modification, also mess with two completely different supervillains...they promptly forget all about Cisco's pocket Deus Ex Machina. Barry goes home with some unreadable future-tech cryptic notes from a character we've never met, instead.

ARRGH
posted by mstokes650 at 11:26 AM on April 26, 2017 [4 favorites]


Does EITHER ONE of them go "hey could you modify that thing to make it so it slows Savitar down?"

Oh my god. I'd thought of this when Cisco first revealed the device, "Oh, clearly he's going to give this to Barry to take back to the past to use against Savitar," and it was such an obvious thing to do that I forgot all about it when it didn't happen.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also, I just want to mention my head-desk moment of the episode: Not just Barry going "whelp, guess I'll just go home then" but then he fails at going home because future-Cisco casually made a device which drains his speed force so that Barry can't go as fast.

*facepalms*

In my defense, the reason I didn't think of that is that I thought it was a pretty minor effect for Barry, something he didn't even notice until his time jump failed. But that's a very good point. They can probably turn up the gain or something and make Savitar more vulnerable to conventional attack.

The Flash is about the wrong speedster. The Flash needs to be the Eobard Thawne show!

I'd watch that. Say what you will about Eobard Thawne: he's never a downer. I mean, he was still comparatively upbeat when he was literally dead. That's a huge part of my personal enjoyment of adventure stories - I want protagonists that either like what they do, (see Supergirl), or can maintain professional stoicism about it, (see Melinda May). My biggest complaint about Barry Allen isn't even that he's dumb, it's that he's such a drag lately.
posted by mordax at 2:04 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


This season has certainly not been well constructed to say the least. I do have a tiny bit of hope in that 2024 Barry was the mopiest Barry ever, which could be interpreted as the writers saying that 2017 Barry will change the future and not stay mopey.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:02 PM on April 26, 2017


That's a huge part of my personal enjoyment of adventure stories - I want protagonists that either like what they do, (see Supergirl), or can maintain professional stoicism about it, (see Melinda May).

Yes, absolutely this. Barry Allen used to be a lot more enjoyable to watch back in season 1, and to be honest he was just as dumb but A.) you could believe some of his stupidity was just learning curve cuz he was new and he'd wise up over time and B.) he was actually having fun being insanely fast.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:54 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


In my defense, the reason I didn't think of that is that I thought it was a pretty minor effect for Barry, something he didn't even notice until his time jump failed. But that's a very good point. They can probably turn up the gain or something and make Savitar more vulnerable to conventional attack.

I mean yeah, it did seem to be a relatively minor effect, but it's not like you need to slow Savitar down to normal-speed; you just have to slow him down enough so that Barry is faster than he is and has the advantage when they fight.

Also it took like, what, 12 seconds for Cisco to turn it into an anti-Mirror-Master-and-Top device? He could spend a little more time on it and whip it into anti-Savitar shape.

Of course if I think too much about this stuff, the whole time-travel-is-nonsense issue will start to rear its ugly head. Like, Cisco could spend literally 50 years making that pocket device into a foolproof anti-Savitar device, Barry could just zip 50 years into the future to pick it up, run back with it to the moment he left, and there you go. Of course, then couldn't Savitar just time travel and....yeah and next thing we're down the rabbit hole.

Legends worked this season because they were having fun and moving things along quickly enough that you didn't want to dwell on or pick apart the nonsense that is time travel in the Arrowverse, but this show has done nothing but dwell on it all season.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:03 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Legends worked this season because they were having fun and moving things along quickly enough that you didn't want to dwell on or pick apart the nonsense that is time travel in the Arrowverse, but this show has done nothing but dwell on it all season.

I think this is the most important element in genre fiction - audiences are willing to forgive almost anything if it's entertaining. I mean, it's not called the willing suspension of disbelief for nothing.
posted by mordax at 8:16 PM on April 26, 2017


At this point Savitar had better be Joe. No one else would be worth all this build up.

But no. It's going to be Future-Barry. They don't have any significant spare characters that could be Savitar.

Also: If Savitar is Eobard I'll be soooooo happy.
posted by FallowKing at 9:15 PM on April 26, 2017


At this point Savitar had better be Joe.

I might forgive them for Joevitar, because it would flip the season from 'unnecessary failure' to 'crazy trolling.'

Oh, no, I can do one better: Savitar should clearly be Iris rocking voice distortion tech, killing a copy of herself the way Zoom liked to do, in the most elaborate breakup in the CWDC-verse.
posted by mordax at 9:22 PM on April 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's going to be Future-Barry.

Retraction: Savitar is Ronnie. That's why Caitlin's so willing to join him and refused to tell Savitar's identity to Past-Barry.

And it looks like I'm not the only one to think that. Some articles agree with me. Now I'm not sure. It's difficult to imagine the thought process of a group of writers who clearly aren't concerned with logic or entertainment. I feel it's quite possible that the identity of Savitar has changed several times in their screenplays and may change again.
posted by FallowKing at 9:35 PM on April 26, 2017 [2 favorites]


I thought the little doohicky wasn't slowing Barry down, just tapped into his "resonance field" and dampened his ability to create portals. In terms of the show's science, it seemed like it mostly deals with portals and space bending, so it could affect Top and Mirror Master's powers, but wouldn't affect Savitar's speed.

Depressingly, Savitar is probably someone super disappointing.
posted by numaner at 12:58 AM on April 27, 2017


Maybe we're overthinking this whole Savitar thing. Is there anyone named Rativas on the show? 'cause that's who it will turn out to be.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:27 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]


That's why Caitlin's so willing to join him and refused to tell Savitar's identity to Past-Barry.

I figured it was probably Julian, for the same reason.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:05 AM on April 27, 2017


That's why Caitlin's so willing to join him and refused to tell Savitar's identity to Past-Barry.

I figured it was probably Julian, for the same reason.


Ha! I immediately thought it was Caitlin in the suit for the same reason.

Since I think the only actual clue to Savitar's identity is really, really, really caring about joining up with Killer Frost, it is a guessing game of Caitlin related characters. Maybe Hunter Zolomon from their reality? Or Cisco only discovering the true extent of his powers post hands?
posted by humans are superior! at 12:23 AM on April 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Ooh, I like the Caitlin is Savitar theory. That would explain the immediate trust Killer Frost has in Savitar and why Savitar would want to team with KF. It also explains why future Killer Frost wouldn't reveal Savitar's identity to Barry. I doubt it's Ronnie or Julian as the former has barely been mentioned this season, and I don't think Caitlin-Julian are in the immediate and complete trust stage of their relationship.
posted by plastic_animals at 5:02 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It was the first person to pop into my head as the armor came off. Thinking about it a bit more, it does work in a couple of ways:

- Explains why Julian was important to Savitar. She was creating herself by awakening Caitlin's flashpoint metagene via Julian.

- Great reason why Savitar screws with but doesn't finish off Barry. Making him suffer for his selfish decision with flashpoint. Heck, turning it from a throwaway barry-is-so-dumb moment to the driving force of the season.

- gives a clear end game for the season; prevent the creation of Savitar by preventing caitlin from having her metagene activated. This also bring caitlin back into the fold for future seasons.
posted by humans are superior! at 2:36 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


It totally looked to me like a male body in the Savitar suit as it was coming apart. I'm going with Ronnie.
posted by cooker girl at 8:36 AM on April 30, 2017


I know it's pretty much pointless to point at something in this show and say "that makes no sense," but I'm going to do it anyway.

In order for Barry to make the leap into the timestream, he needs Wally to give him a boost. (Although given that Barry is still faster than Wally, I don't really see how much adding Wally's speed would help, but I'm not a physicist, so I'll assume it's just some sort of F=ma extrapolation where Wally's extra energy amplifies Barry's.)

Okay, that's all well and good, but that leaves us with the question of how Barry gets back. He doesn't have Wally to jump start his time jump. Instead he just runs really fast. (Runs faster?) Why does it work now when it didn't work earlier in the episode? Why didn't he ask 2024 Barry for assistance? Is there some catch that because he's out of his own time, he's still tethered to it somehow, which makes it easier to slip back to where he belongs? I don't know, and apparently the writers don't either.

Of course these are the same writers who have been cautioning characters all along against learning too much about their futures as that's disruptive to time and to their own evolution. Which, is fine, except for the fact that the first thing Barry does is trot along to everybody he knows to find out every little detail about his future and theirs.

They really need somebody to come in and be the time cop/Department of Temporal Investigations and enforce the rules of how time travel works in this universe. It needs to be somebody ruthless and tough--somebody willing to slap the ruler across the knuckles of these errant writers. I'm sure anybody posting here would be more than up for the job.
posted by sardonyx at 9:01 PM on April 30, 2017


Seems like it's generally harder to run into the future than the past for some reason in this show.
posted by willnot at 8:51 AM on May 1, 2017


Is there some catch that because he's out of his own time, he's still tethered to it somehow, which makes it easier to slip back to where he belongs?

I've never seen this floated as an official explanation but it is one I've always liked - a person out of time is stretching it like someone at the end of a rubber band, and to get back they just mostly have to stop resisting.
posted by mikepop at 10:49 AM on May 12, 2017


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