The Flash Season 3 Episode 20 Review: I Know Who You Are
We learn the true identity of Savitar in The Flash Season 3 Episode 20, "I Know Who You Are."
This The Flash review contains spoilers.
There are three episodes left. There is now pretty much a zero chance that The Flash screws this up. I’m not even gonna talk about that bonkers final shot yet. Why? Because while it’s certainly the biggest moment of “I Know Who You Are” it isn’t the most important. And this was an episode that was positively packed with important moments, many of which affect the series as a whole, not just this season.
For starters, this is basically a Killer Frost episode. And if you’ve been reading me since season one, I have consistently preached patience with Killer Frost. And it was just last week that I indicated that now that they’ve pulled the trigger for real this time, it has to be for real. I’m pretty sure it is.
There’s no bringing Caitlin Snow back. At the very least, there’s no bringing Caitlin Snow back to Team Flash. When Caitlin says that this is who she is now, well, I’m inclined to believe her. I still think the show is going to find a way to twist the knife on us a little about her fall and the lost friendship between Caitlin and Cisco before the season is out. I’m not sure how, but I feel like they owe us one more punch in the gut on this story. It’s really impressive that they’ve managed to balance the big Killer Frost story with the second best big bad the show has ever had (and one with considerably more mystery around him), without things feeling overstuffed.
Aside from the fact that the whole Killer Frost look is pretty great, Danielle Panabaker has struck that balance I’ve been waiting for. I always felt that Earth-2 Killer Frost veered a little close to 1966 Batman TV show villain territory (um, I am an enormous fan of that show, but you know what I mean), but that wasn’t the case tonight. Even though Caitlin’s heel turn is complete, you could still sense a little of that inner conflict there, and it didn’t have to be overplayed. If anything, the only weak moment came from the “stabbing Barry in the leg” bit, and that wasn’t her fault. That was an awkward transition to STAR Labs afterwards. Yes, we know Barry heals fast, but…I dunno. It felt lazy. It would have made more sense that he was just out like a light after that nasty tumble down the steps.
So yeah, I have to say, they earned it with Killer Frost. Those showdowns with Cisco were legit, although Carlos Valdez’s best work came when he wasn’t in the vibe costume, and rather trying to figure out who to blame (including himself) and how he could save his friend.
But Caitlin’s impending exit from the team seems to open the door for Tracy Brand (Anne Dudek) to take her place at STAR Labs. I like where they’re going with her, and she has real chemistry with Tom Cavanagh, so she seems like a natural fit for a The Flash Season 4 regular slot.
In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that “I Know Who You Are” might be the best ensemble episode in the show’s history. With the exception of Wally (and I have to confess, his absence here was really puzzling, and a little annoying the more I think about it) and Iris (who was given absolutely zilch to do, although to be fair, how much more can they do with the “brave woman resigned to her fate of apparently dying at the hands of an armored speedster in three weeks”), every member of Team Flash had real moments, and all of them have implications for the finale.
So who croaks, Flash fans? It definitely isn’t going to be Iris or Cisco. It probably isn’t Wally. I’m still betting heavily on poor Joe West, although after his heart to heart with Cecile this week, I’m now throwing her on the pile of potential corpses. Up until that moment, losing Iris was the worst thing that Joe could fathom, but now? There might be more at work. The way he hesitated saving her from Killer Frost could play out again in that finale, too, either because he acts to save Iris (or Cecile) and catches a speed sword himself, or because he hesitates and loses Cecile.
Not that any Flash fan really needed reminding of this, though, but it’s going to hurt no matter who gets put in the ground at the conclusion of episode 23. This was one of those excellent episodes where Barry takes a back seat for most of it, and it’s nothing short of remarkable that everyone else is every bit as compelling as our title character.
Not that Grant Gustin didn’t get his moment. That final Savitar reveal was excellent, and possibly Grant’s best moment all season. Barry can be a frustrating character who often makes puzzling decisions, although I’ve found that to be less and less the case this year. I feel like, much like Oliver in Arrow Season 3, this is the year where Barry really, truly becomes not just a hero, but a leader. The way he confronts Savitar here isn’t the way he went after Zoom, and these don’t feel like the actions of the man who made that ill-advised decision to change the past and create Flashpoint. I think he’s prepared to do whatever it takes this time, especially given the identity of Savitar.
I guess we should talk about that reveal now, huh?
We’re obviously going to find out the real origin of Barry/Savitar next week. I guess my immediate suspicion is that he is somehow a Flashpoint relic, perhaps created in the wake of the splintered timelines. Just as Barry found a happier childhood in Flashpoint, perhaps there’s a Barry who found a more miserable future.
It doesn’t answer the question of why any Barry would want to kill Iris, though. If Savitar is a time remnant gone wrong, or a version of Barry trapped in some endless loop, perhaps he simply knows that the only way to guarantee his virtually all-powerful future is to make sure Iris dies, hence him doing the killing. Look, this is giving me a headache just trying to type it, but I swear it all makes sense in my head. I’m even more certain that I’ll be dead wrong when this is revealed next week.
So how do I feel about this? Well, relieved for one thing. It’s possible I would have thrown my remote through my TV if that armor opened and it was Jay Garrick in there. And not just because of my own feelings about Jay Garrick and John Wesley Shipp, either.
No, The Flash had to prove itself this year. I know I’m harsher on season two than some would like, but I can’t imagine anyone at all was satisfied with the Zoom reveal last year. It very much felt like the writers hit the midway point and realized “oh, shit, we forgot to finish our big bad story” and changed the season’s direction in a hurry. It was, charitably, convoluted.
But while I’ve certainly grown a little weary of the Savitar mystery box this year, I never felt like they were treading water or bullshitting us. I was sure there was a plan in place, and while it would have been perfectly possible to still drop the ball with a cheap ass reveal, I think they knew what they were up against. While the clues about Savitar being Barry have certainly been there for the last few months, it was certainly never my preferred solution. Then again, I’m not sure who my favorite choice was, or what I would have found more suitable. I think this is as good a reveal as we could have hoped for. It’s certainly dramatic enough, and that’s a textbook cliffhanger while we wait for the rest of the story to be told.
That being said, they’d better have a hell of a compelling explanation for this. But why shouldn’t they? This season just refuses to let me down. We’ve got three episodes left, and I’m having a tough time imagining how they can up the stakes even more.
– Of course, this couldn’t possibly be any farther from Savitar’s comic book origin. Not that it matters, as that wasn’t the most memorable story in the world.
– I swear to God, right after I yelled at my TV that they shouldn’t pull a Season 1 Iris on Cecile and make her the only person who doesn’t know what’s up, Barry and Joe came to their senses. Seriously. That would have been inexcusable.
– I loved Cisco and HR’s Cyrano de Bergerac moment.
– Please, please, please let Tracy Brand be an ancestor of Legion of Super-Heroes founder RJ Brande. Please, Greg Berlanti. Please let me have this.
– Killer Frost’s preferred method of transportation? An ice slide! As in, the exact same kind of ice slide that Iceman used to get around on the classic Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series.
Were you as satisfied as I was with “I Know Who You Are?” Let me know in the comments, or just hit me up on Twitter!