The Flash Season 3 Episode 19: The Once and Future Flash

It is snowing outside and Barry (Grant Gustin) and Iris (Candice Patton) are inside warm and cozy. Barry is working on calculations to determine where he needs to go in the future. Future newspaper articles stop mentioning Savitar in 2024, so he decides that is the year to find out who Savitar is. Iris isn’t paying attention to Barry’s calculations; she has something more important on her mind. She makes Barry promise that if he doesn’t succeed in saving her; that he will make sure that Joe is all right. She needs him to look after both Joe and Wally. Barry doesn’t want to admit to the possibility of his failing to save Iris, but he promises to do what she asks. Barry receives a Meta-human attack notification; the attack is at STAR Labs.

“Catlin, you can fight this.” Killer Frost, “I know, but I don’t want to.”

We pick up right where the last episode ended with Caitlin Snow becoming Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker). Killer Frost is wrecking the lab with a vengeance. Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and H.R. (Tom Cavanagh, who directed this episode) run for cover. Julian (Tom Felton) thinks he can reason with her. She invites him in for a kiss, but before she can deliver her kiss of death, Cisco uses his vibe powers to knock her away. The trio of men run and lock the door behind them. Cowering in fear, H.R. begins singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and Cisco joins him. Julian tells both of them to shut up. The lab door opens and Killer Frost tells them, “Hey dummies, my palm scan still works.” Before she can blast them, the Flash shows up. Flash, “Catlin, you can fight this.” Killer Frost, “I know, but I don’t want to.” Barry knocks her down but she escapes into the snow.

Cisco and Julian argue what they should have done to handle Caitlin. Barry decides this is a good time to go into the future. Barry needs Wally’s (Keiynan Lonsdale) speed along with his own to not only take him into the future but to get him to the exact year he wants to appear. Barry assures them he’ll be back within seconds after he leaves. He and Wally hit top speeds and Barry is in 2024. His welcoming party is none other than Top (Ashley Rickards) and Mirror Master (Grey Damon). They are surprised to see the Flash; no one has seen him in a while. They are happy to see him; they’ll get to kick his ass again. Top makes Barry dizzy and they begin kicking the crap out of him.

Barry is able to escape. He goes to his and Iris’ out apartment. It is abandoned and wrecked. Cisco shows up and gives him a hug. He can tell by his uniform that he is 2017 Barry. Cisco fills him in on what future Barry has done. He closed down STAR Labs, disbanded Team Flash and is living as a recluse in the ruins of STAR Labs. Barry wants to see his future self to find out who Savitar is. Cisco takes him to meet himself. Future Barry has long stringing hair and looks like he is the lead singer for some emo band from the 90s. He isn’t thrilled to see his past self. Even though he imprisoned Savitar in the speed force, he doesn’t know who he is. He tells our Barry he can’t save Iris and should spend quality time with her. He is a bummer. Cisco hopes old school Barry will stay for a while. Emo Flash has checked out and they need a Flash. Barry won’t stay, since Emo Barry wasn’t any help, he is ready to go back home. When he takes off, he can’t open a portal to get back to the past. He is stuck in the future.

“Well secrets always were our thing, weren’t they.”

Cisco can’t open a portal because he has no hands. He shows Barry his mechanical hands (similar to Luke Skywalker’s hand). Killer Frost froze his hands off in battle. “No hands, no vibes.” Barry wants to see her. She is a prisoner in Iron Heights. Julian works there to look after her. He isn’t thrilled to see Barry but soon realizes it’s the 2017 version. Caitlin is in her cell and she makes fun of Barry. She realizes they hadn’t told Barry everything yet. “Well secrets always were our thing, weren’t they.” (Caitlin is speaking for the audience.) She reveals that Killer Frost joined Savitar to battle Team Flash and that she knows who he is. She isn’t telling though; Barry should check on his protégé—Kid Flash took Savitar on by himself.

Cisco and Barry go to Joe’s (Jesse L. Martin) house. A nurse greets them at the door. She knows Cisco, but only knows Barry from old photos. Wally is in a wheelchair. Savitar shattered his spine, and whatever horrors Wally saw put him in a fugue state. He went after Savitar in a rage after Savitar killed Iris and he tried to fight him alone. They leave and go to find Joe, who is at Iris’ gravesite. He doesn’t want to see Barry. Joe has lost his son and daughter and Barry ran off and left him. Barry can’t take any more of this and goes back to STAR Labs to confront Emo Barry for abandoning everyone and breaking his promise to Iris. Emo tries to defend himself by saying he was as broken as Joe, Iris was the love of his life. When Iris died, he pushed everyone away. He had only one goal, to get Savitar. After he locked Savitar away in the speed force, he realized Savitar won. He lost everyone, including himself.

Barry realizes he can’t leave because of Cisco. Cisco had developed a device that interferes with the Flash’s speed. He wants this Barry to stay and bring Team Flash back together. Barry just wants to go back to the past. Cisco bitterly says he should have known that Barry would abandon him again. He isn’t going to try to stop him. Barry is ready to leave but he thinks about it. He tells Cisco he is sorry, it is time to get Team Flash back together again.

H.R. is a successful romance novelist. He bought Jiggers coffee house and is reading from his latest novel to a roomful of horny women sending him texts for romantic rendezvous. Before H.R. can fulfill his fondest dream of a three way, Barry streaks H.R. out of the room. (Cock blocking SOB!) He does the same to Julian and Joe and brings them all back to STAR Labs. Barry stands before his former friends and apologizes for leaving them. Iris’ death should have drawn them closer. He is going to bring Team Flash back together again. They receive a metahuman alert. With hands on top of each other, they say in three, “TEAM FLASH!”

Yeah I don’t know. It looks a little tacky from over here. But I am old-fashioned.”

Mirror Master and Top rob a jewelry store. Top brags about the jewelry making her look good for her man. The Flash shows up. “Yeah I don’t know. It looks a little tacky from over here. But I am old-fashioned.” Mirror Master and Top combine their powers together to create a “Doctor Strange” effect on Barry. The buildings and his surrounding are twisted and bendy. The device he used to keep Barry in the future, with a few adjustments can help him battle Mirror Master and Top’s effects on him. They just need to get it to him quickly before the two villains kill him. Emo Barry walks in the room. He saw everything going on in his room. He volunteers to take the device to Barry. In a flash, (ha ha) Emo Flash appears with the device. It reverses the effect Mirror Master and Top were having on him. Now there are two Flashes’ to battle them. One of the Flashes chases Mirror Master through a mirror portal he created, he punches Mirror Master and he goes crashing through the other side of the mirror. Team Flash easily wins.

The Future Flash who isn’t quite as emo now, tells Barry a physicist named Tracy Brand helped create the speed trap where he imprisoned Savitar. She created it four years after Iris died. He doesn’t know where she is but he gives him a USB drive that has her research on it. Maybe he can find her in 2017 and they can create it sooner. Future Barry speaks to Team Flash and apologizes to them. It is important they become a family again. He and Joe hug. Future Barry advises Barry to get as many good memories with Iris as possible.

“What do you need me to do?”

A few seconds later Wally is surprised to see Barry back so soon. He gives Joe a big hug. Barry doesn’t tell them everything that happens in the future but he tells them Caitlin will align with Savitar. They have to save her before it is too late. Killer Frost is in the woods, Savitar is waiting on her. He promises her that if she joins him she’ll get salvation. She thinks he means her going back to Caitlin Snow. No, he means her never becoming Caitlin again. Why should she trust him? He takes off his armor and reveals himself. Caitlin asks, “What do you need me to do?”


Grief is powerful; it can be debilitating and it can spread like a plague. After Iris’ death, grief spread through Team Flash with devastating effects. Barry became obsessed with avenging Iris’s death. He broke his promise to Iris and abandoned Joe during his greatest need. Wally’s grief caused him to fight Savitar alone and he ended up physically and mentally destroyed, adding another devastating burden on Joe. Barry distanced himself from his friends and deserted his duties to Central City. Even people who didn’t know Iris felt the pain of her death. Grief is a plague and no one can deal with it alone.

This has been a dark season for “The Flash”. Starting with Barry creating Flashpoint and disrupting so many people’s lives, including members of Team Flash, to Iris’ impending death, the show has mostly been gloomy. Where the show used to be primarily bright and fun, that is an infrequent element of the show now. The unmitigated gloom has tarnished this season. I think everyone hopes next season will go back to the bright, happy show we all fell in love with. This episode was maybe one of the darkest and gloomiest episodes of the season, but to my surprise, I really liked it. Maybe they have beaten me down to the point where I will accept anything now, but this was a well-done episode.

Carlos Valdes and Jesse L. Martin were exceptional this episode. I expect no less from Jesse L. Martin but Carlos Valdes really raised his game. Even though he maintained the Cisco humor, you could see the pain underneath it, which made it more powerful. One best friend took his hands and the other abandoned him. He was looking for present day Barry to bring meaning and purpose back to his life. With Jesse L. Martin, his scene at the graveside was painful to watch. Seeing a man who has lost so much confront the one person he needed the most at this time was heartbreaking. The acting on this show is constantly good, but there are individual performances that really stand out. Having Tom Cavanagh, a cast member, direct the episode might have helped with the performances.

The special effects were good, especially the “Doctor Strange” effects done on a TV budget. I noticed the soundtrack more than usual. The musical cues were well done and I enjoyed the triumphant music once Team Flash got back together and scored a needed win. The fight scene with Killer Frost in the beginning of the episode was exciting and funny. You can tell Danielle Panabaker is having a lot of fun playing Killer Frost.

I hope this episode was Team Flash’s nadir and we will start seeing them achieve some victories. Hopefully, by the end of this season, we will have turned the corner and we’ll be back to Season 1 greatness. Arrow was able to do it this season with their show, so why not The Flash.  If I can borrow from Jimmy Cliff, I think, “It’s gonna be a bright (bright) sunshiny day” for The Flash.

Grade: A-









Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
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