This The Flash review contains spoilers.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 15
It’s hard to think that this show could get any more quintessentially Flash after, in the last two weeks the gang travelled to a parallel earth to fight a gladiator match in a city populated by sentient gorillas, THEN had the gorillas invade our Earth and were fought off by three super speedsters and half of Justice League Detroit. But then you get Barry, Jessie, and Wally training to open this week’s episode. Any combination of the two of them is incredibly fun to watch. Barry and Wally together especially feel so close to the comic pairing that it actually makes both the show and the book (which is EXCELLENT right now – Josh Williamson and Carmine di Giandomenico are in the midst of a classic run) better.
This unity doesn’t really last: we’re about at the point in the season where everything needs to go to shit so the good guys have more to triumph over. And so the episode is titled “The Wrath of Savitar.” This is the one where the season’s big bad comes back. Wally has been seeing flashes (AAH? GET IT? AAH? AAH?) of Savitar; the team tries to figure out how to stop him; the team fails. In the course of that, the show revealed maybe its biggest weakness: far too often on The Flash, otherwise extremely intelligent people (like, rocket scientists) have to be incredibly stupid in order to move the plot forward. Everybody got a bite at this apple tonight. Barry plugs Julian into his Savitar communicator twice, even though I’m sure the quantum observer paradox applies to the speed force, so just talking to Savitar might be what lets him out (AND Barry convinces the team to go along with it by saying “Trust me.” Okay, guy who did Flashpoint). Then we find out that Caitlin was hanging onto a shard of the Philosopher’s Stone to try and get rid of her powers, even though we’ve been over that a billion times and also that’s the thing Savitar needs to get free. And then Wally, who has been hallucinating Savitar for a week, decides he’s going to fix everything and under no circumstances should the rest of the team be looped in on this. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is very frustrating that the show is thisclose to perfect but can’t figure out how to lock the plot in without giving someone temporary idiocy.
But I do mean that they’re remarkably close to perfect. The ensemble cast is working great together – as I said, Wally and Barry are magical together, and you can feel some genuine friendship between the whole cast leak through (the best thing about Tom Felton is how seamlessly he’s integrated with everybody else) but the two who did the most work this week were Jesse Martin and Tom Cavanagh. Neither had a ton of screen time, but they were both the lens through which the rest of the cast’s emotion was focused and amplified. Joe’s reaction to both Iris and Barry’s engagement announcement (which was one of the best moments in this show’s run so far) and its subsequent disintegration (after Wally discovered that Barry only proposed to her to change the future – he vibes into the vision and sees that she’s not wearing a ring) were both moving and felt truly honest, and HR Wells was hilarious but then did some fantastically understated physical acting when Jessie fell into his arms at the end of the episode.
Speaking of, the end of the episode is going to be HUGELY important to the rest of the season, but since it involves rampant speculation based on comics knowledge, I’m going to hold it for Flash Facts with an added spoiler warning: I’m going to get into my endgame theory a little bit, but based on my prior history of prognostication, you will probably want to take it with a grain of salt. And by “prior history,” I mean “I screwed up two different theories in one night today.”
Savitar tells Barry in one of their chats that “one will betray you,” and my immediate response was “Oh dip! Wally’s going to end up being Savitar” and as I was typing “bei” into my notes, Caitlin pulled out her Philosopher’s stone shard. So, yeah.
Overall, this was another good episode of the show and like they have over the first two seasons, it seems like it gets stronger as we get closer to the finish line.
– The billboard in the opening scene welcomes visitors to Central City, “Home of The Flash (And Kid Flash).” We’re getting closer and closer to comic book Central City here, the city that holds an annual Flash Day to celebrate all the times The Flash has saved them. I LOVE it.
– The acolyte of Savitar is hiding out on Mount Buccellato, named for Brian Buccellato, the cowriter and colorist who, along with cowriter and penciller Francis Manapul, rebooted The Flash for the New 52. It was one of the highlights of the reboot.
– Iris is pretty fantastic. When she breaks it off with Barry, she gives a great explanation of why their relationship has been so great in the comics. “You’ll be saving me for all eternity,” when what she wants is an equal partnership.
– When he comes back, Savitar tells Barry “Im going to destroy this city. Like i did in the future.” According to Strunk & White’s future edition, this is grammatically incorrect: he should have said “like i will have did.”
– So that last scene: Wally gets taunted by Savitar until he throws the remaining shard of the Philosopher’s Stone into the Speed Force so he can escape the Speed Force LALALALA IT’S NOT THE SAME PLOT AS THE DRACO LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. Anyway, a few points:
Wally escaping from the Speed Force was a central plot point of last year’s DC Rebirth, the big kickoff to DC’s year long apology for the state of their comics continuity. Nobody tell them that their plan to clear up their Gordian continuity was to introduce a second Kid Flash who was the same age as Barry.
The last chat between Savitar and Barry before their fight is, I think, pretty much a roadmap for how he’s going to be defeated. He says “Wally has taken my place in the Speed Force” and “I love a good myth.” Wally has come back from the Speed Force a thousand times – Rebirth being the most recent one, but the last episode of Season 1 of Justice League Unlimited is another INCREDIBLE example. And Savitar is a figure from mythology: he’s going to give Julian something to do during the endgame. Like get killed, I think (but don’t hope for).
– Next week: Flash dementors, Len Snart, and Eddie Thawne in the Speed Force!