In order to save Iris, Barry decided to mess with time once again, and headed to the future for answers on this week’s The Flash. All he wanted was for Future Barry to reveal Savitar’s identity, but what he got was something very different.
Disclosure time: I fully expected to hate “The Once and Future Flash.” All season long, Barry has made things worse when he travels through time. Why would an adventure to the future be any different? We still don’t know what the long-term ramifications of his visit will be, but as things stand right now, I’d classify his trek a success. We’ll have to wait and see if his visit does more good than harm or not.
It will be complicated, at least, because the future that Barry traveled to will likely cease to exist now that he’s been there, regardless of whether he’s able to save Iris or not. In the meantime, his presence helped bring lost souls back together again. He didn’t know it, but Barry went on a rescue mission to save Iris, but he also ended up saving the future Team Flash.
In the end, this future quest was different than those before. Barry was able to get information which actually could help save Iris, unlike his vibes to the future which only provided unrelated facts about future events. Now, he has “actionable intel.” What a buzz phrase these days…
In the future, Barry found a dismantled Team Flash with the team members shattered by Iris’ death (except for HR who remained his cheerful, artistic self). Barry abandoned his speedster identity, his family and team to suffer the loss of his true love alone even though he eventually trapped Savitar away.
The West family was left in shambles. Joe drowned in his depression. Kid Flash was no more after a traumatizing battle with Savitar left Wally with a shattered spine. Joe was then responsible for caring for his shell of son, Wally, and continued to visit Iris’ grave without Barry by their sides.
The most shocking revelation was that Caitlin turned against Team Flash in the present day as Killer Frost and partnered with Savitar. It’s unclear if she helped take Iris’ life or not, but at some point, she did destroy Cisco’s hands, eliminating his ability to vibe. But the sting was really that one of their own betrayed them, and continued to in the future. She could have helped Barry by revealing Savitar’s identity, but she was too far gone and instead taunted him.
While it’s odd that Future Barry never figured out Savitar’s identity even though he trapped him, it may not really matter in the quest to save Iris. Barry came back with a promising lead on how to trap Savitar in 2017. He has the speed trap device Future Barry used and the name of the scientist who created it. If he can find Tracy Brand and she has the knowledge to deconstruct it, perhaps Team Flash will be able to save Iris.
But Team Flash also has another team member to save as well: Caitlin. She in a dangerous predicament with her Killer Frost persona taking over her body, and it’s even worse now that she’s with Savitar. This leads back to that important question: Who is Savitar?
The list of possibilities narrowed after this hour. First, it must be someone that Caitlin knows and trusts given her reaction to his reveal. Prior to this episode, Wally was a popular guess, but since he’s in a catatonic state in the future, it’s not him.
My guess has been Ronnie Raymond for a while, and given Caitlin’s now-revealed connection to Savitar, it further cements that theory for me. Ronnie has a legitimate reason to be upset with Barry for his death in the singularity. And, since Ronnie was taken from Caitlin, it would be understandable if he would want to make Barry suffer by taking Iris away.
“The Once and Future Flash” used time travel to show us what a future without Iris would look like, help Barry get information he can use to actually try and save Iris, and further Caitlin’s Killer Frost story. It was emotional and intense. Most importantly, it propels the story forward for the last few episodes of the season.
The longterm ramifications of Barry’s trip could be devastating, but in the short term, he was able to accomplish more than he possibly imagined.
Rating: ★★★★★ Excellent
— Julian: “2017. The year it all began.”
— Killer Frost: “I’m not your friend, Flash.”
— Killer Frost: “I’ll never tell. You’re gonna be so surprised when you find out.”
–Barry: “I wasn’t there for you?”
Joe: “Why start now? I need you to leave. Please.”
–Cisco really wanted Barry to stick around. Could the technology he used to keep Barry in the future be used to slow down Savitar in the past?
— Future Barry: “It will break you. She’s the love of your life, Barry. She was the love of my life.”
— Team Flash!
— The metas, Mirror Master and Top, causing problems in the future seemed a little out of place in the hour, but it brought future Team Flash back together again, so it worked.
— Cisco: “Weird, it feels just like ‘Back to the Future — which would make me Doc Brown.”
— Cisco: “Hey, you know you’re my BFF, right?”
Barry: “You too, man.”
— Killer Frost: “What do you need me to do?”
— What did you think of Future Barry’s suit?