The Flash writers missed the mark on “Cause and Effect.” Last week’s weighty and troublesome reveal that Savitar is a future Barry unveiled far-reaching emotional and actual consequences. Instead of following that up with turmoil and serious action, the show took a humorous direction with a fumbling, memoryless Barry.
In principle, the idea of taking Barry’s memories in order to disrupt Savitar’s plans was a brilliant one. It was the execution that was problematic. The funny shtick route discounted the serious nature of what was going on, and even worse, took us down memory lane. As Barry reminded us at the end of the hour, he already lived this happy, tragedy-less life while he was in “Flashpoint.” Been there, done that, don’t need to do it again.
The amnesic Barry Allen was funny, I’ll give the writers credit for that. The jokes were spot on and if used at a different time for another purpose, it may have worked better. With everything going on, it was the wrong tone with only three episodes left and a major villain to defeat.
In addition, the memory loss effects weren’t universally carried out. Wally lost his powers because the memoryless Savitar never gave him powers. But… if that’s the case, then why was Killer Frost still loyal to Savitar? Wouldn’t her allegiance to him have been erased as well?
Even more frustrating is that nothing changed or was learned due to Barry’s trip down non-memory lane. The two major story points which moved Team Flash closer to defeating Savitar weren’t related to this at all, including: Savitar’s origin story and the Speed Force Bazooka. The existence of Savitar Barry is another problem for The Flash that was made even worse as Future Barry explained his existence and how’s able to maneuver. “The more you do it, the less the rules apply to you,” he proclaimed. This is unfortunate.
Time travel stories work best when there are parameters or universal rules to guide the story. Good example: 12 Monkeys! Without these, the storytelling appears sloppy and it’s very frustrating to follow as a viewer. Cisco’s explanation helped some, but that blatant a scene shouldn’t be necessary. And if it is, then it should be more grounded.
Overall, “Cause and Effect” has some funny and good character moments, but as a whole it wasn’t the right time for a humorous tone and the inconsistencies were frustrating. Perhaps The Flash writers realize the problems they’ve created. Could the appearance of King Shark be their nod to the series jumping the shark this season? Probably not, but it would be a nice wink to the fans.
— Kudos to Grant Gustin for playing evil Future Barry so well. That voice….
— Cisco: “I hate spin-offs.” — HA!
— “Don’t trust Barry Allen.” One answer we got this hour, the Waverider warning was likely referring to Savitar Barry Allen.
— Joe: “Which came first, Savitar or the time remnant?”
Cisco: “It’s a closed loop. No beginning, no end. It’s just one endless cycle.”
HR: “Classic chicken and the egg scenario, I think, eh?”
— Barry: “When the love that we feel in our hearts is drowned in anger… when the bad memories outweigh the good ones, what am I going to have to become to stop him?”
— Wally: “I’m your brother.” — The way Barry looks at his skin and the responding look from Wally was hilarious.
— HR and Tracy’s flirting and blossoming romance is a positive thing for HR’s character development, but it felt out of place in this episode. Tracy would make a good addition to the team on a recurring basis.
— Barry: “I’m Barry Allen. You can call me Bart.”
— “You’re so different. You’re so light.” – This is a charming and lighthearted Barry. Kind of nice to see, though we also saw that Barry in “Flashpoint.”
— Why didn’t Julian testify since he was Barry’s supervisor?
— Barry: Are you like a super-villain?
— Cisco’s reminiscing about Caitlin showed that Caitlin is still inside Killer Frost. There’s hope.
— Barry: “I think I could be a superhero.”
— Iris’ recounting of the night Barry’s mother died was sad to watch and explained the connection between Iris and Barry, but love is a bit of a stretch.
— Wally: “Looks like you remember how to save the day.”
Barry: “Like riding a bike.”
— Julian: “Caitlin, I love you.”
Killer Frost: “I never loved any of you.”