The Flash: Forgetting the Past

Title: “The Flash Season 3 Episode 21: Cause and Effect
Genre: Superhero fiction, Drama, Action
Platform: TV – The CW
Director: David McWhirter
Writer: Judalina Neira & Lauren Certo
Rating: TV-MA 
Release: May 9, 2017
Cast: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker
Feature image: Source


“Gods do not feel pain.” Savitar —The Flash

The action picks up immediately where episode 20 ended. Savitar-Barry explains how he came into existence. The future Flash we met in “The Once and Future Flash” created several time remnants to battle Savitar. Savitar-Barry is the time remnant that survived. After future Team Flash defeated Savitar, they rejected him. Broken and alone, he realized that “Gods do not feel pain”. He needs two things, kill Iris (Candice Patton) to lead Barry (Grant Gustin) down the dark path to create him and the second thing…he’ll keep to himself.

The Flash puts his vibrating hand against himself and asks what is keeping him from killing himself ensuring Savitar-Barry never exists. Savitar-Barry answers that Barry can’t kill himself because of cause and effect. They have screwed with time so much that there is no telling what might happen. Eddie killing himself didn’t actually prevent the Reverse-Flash from still wreaking havoc. Frustrated, the Flash attacks Savitar-Barry who isn’t in the suit. The suit works by remote control and saves Savitar-Barry from the Flash. “I forgot to tell you. My suit’s cooler than yours.”

“If Savitar is a version of Barry from the future and he remembers everything Barry does, how are we ever going to come up with a plan to stop him?” Wally —The Flash

Cisco (Carlos Valdes) using a blackboard tries to explain to Team Flash (and the audience) what Barry has just told them about his time remnant being Savitar. It is a close loop. Savitar traveled back in time, dubbed himself the first speedster, and gathered acolytes. It explains the message the Legends found on the Waverider from the future Flash telling them not to trust him, why Caitlin trusts him, and how Savitar always knows what their plans are. Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale) asks, “If Savitar is a version of Barry from the future and he remembers everything Barry does, how are we ever going to come up with a plan to stop him?

Iris goes over to Barry who has separated himself from the group. They discuss the latest events. Savitar-Barry is operating on loss. Barry could see it in his eyes. He has seen it in his own eyes when he thinks about his parents’ deaths.  Iris is relieved that at least Savitar isn’t a god. Barry thinks that all speedsters have it within them to become gods if they are without love. Cisco runs in and interrupts them; he has an idea. He and Julian (Tom Felton) will mess with Barry’s memories so Savitar won’t know their plans. This would normally be Caitlin’s expertise, but since she isn’t there, they will have to do. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) is skeptical, but Barry’s desperate, so he agrees to the plan. They put him in a chair and try to alter his short-term memory. One little problem, they’ve wiped out all of Barry’s memories.

Barry doesn’t know who he is and he thinks Julian and Cisco could be experimenting on his brain or after his kidneys; he checks to see if his kidneys are still there. Iris shows him photos of him and her and it calms him down. He looks at his driver’s license; he sees his full name and doesn’t like it. He thinks he’d like to be called Bart. Joe, Iris, Cisco, and Julian go to discuss what to do, leaving Wally with Barry. He asks Wally who Wally is to him, and Wally answers your brother. Barry quickly checks his skin. Cecile (Danielle Nicolet) calls, they need him back at the police station. Iris and Joe will take Barry, and leave Cisco and Julian to fix this. One other thing, Barry doesn’t remember he is the Flash and can’t use his powers.

Cecile informs them that Barry has to testify at an evidentiary hearing against Lucious Coolidge (Richard Zeman) aka Heat Monger for Judge Hankerson (Ken Camroux-Taylor) today. Barry introduces himself to Cecile as Barry Allen but she can call him Bart. Cecile knows something is wrong. Joe tells her Barry has suffered memory lost, but he assures her they have it under control. After Cecile leaves, Joe tells Iris he is going to contact some friends at the courthouse to have the hearing postponed. Barry sees her wedding ring and is happy to hear they are getting married. He asks her about wedding prep. She says they are busy. He then asks where they are going for their honeymoon. Iris gets a sad look in her eyes but doesn’t tell him the real reason they haven’t done any wedding prep.

Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) asks Savitar about their plans. He grabs her by the neck and slams her against the wall. He doesn’t know who she is. Barry’s memory lost has made him lose his memory too.

” . . . I’m going to be with you for the rest of my life.” Barry  —The Flash

Image source

Barry and Iris are at Jitters looking at their yearbook. He reads all of his activities and realizes he was a big nerd in high school. They laugh at an outfit Barry is wearing in the picture. Iris remarks how light he is without the burden of the world on his shoulder. Iris: “It’s really nice to see you smiling so much.” Barry: “How can I not? I’m going to be with you for the rest of my life.” They get a call for Barry to go to the courthouse. Iris sits and contemplates.

Barry has to testify now. Cisco and Julian give him a pair of glasses to wear and warn him not to let them get wet. The glasses are a pair of smart glasses and Julian is typing the answers for Barry to read. Aside from reading everything Julian types, his testimony is going well until the glasses get wet. He can’t answer any of Cecil’s other questions, so the judge is forced to let the Heat Monger walk. Julian and Cisco go back to the lab discouraged. Wally asks them how it went. As they are telling him about the hearing, Killer Frost walks in, she tells them if they want to help Barry, they will have to do what she says.

Barry and Iris go back to their place. He is surprised at how big and nicely decorated it is; how can they afford it. He sees a photo of his parents but doesn’t know who they are. Iris tells him they passed away but she leaves out the horrifying details. She tells him when they met; he was the happiest kid she ever met. They share a tender kiss, and the speed force kicks up in him.

Iris, Barry and Joe go back to the lab. They are surprised to see Killer Frost there. Barry is thrilled to see a supervillain. Wally doesn’t have his speed because when Barry lost his memory, Savitar lost his. He never gave Wally his speed; it is cause and effect again. She offers to help get Barry’s memory back so that everything will go back to normal. She reminds Team Flash that without any Flashes, the city is in danger.

“We didn’t really have much of a choice now, did we? Also, don’t refer to yourself in the third person. It’s Caitlin. It’s you. It’s the same person. It’s just confusing.” Cisco —The Flash

In his lab, Cisco, Killer Frost, and Julian are working together. She scolds them for trying to fiddle with Barry’s brain without Caitlin. Cisco: “We didn’t really have much of a choice now, did we? Also, don’t refer to yourself in the third person. It’s Caitlin. It’s you. It’s the same person. It’s just confusing.” While working, Cisco reminds Killer Frost of the time, he, she, Ronnie, and Hartley were on a tight deadline, with Dr. Wells riding their asses. Ronnie lost it and started screaming at the reactor. All of his best memories involved Caitlin. Killer Frost’s back is to them but she appears uncomfortable; it seems that Caitlin’s memories and feelings are stirring within her.

“. . . It’s the first time he hasn’t been weighed down by the tragedies of his past, you know. First time he’s actually been free of them.” Iris —The Flash

Barry is happy running, and he describes the sensation to Joe and Iris. After he goes to run some more, Joe and Iris talk. Joe: “I haven’t seen him this happy in a long time.”
Iris: “Try ever. It’s the first time he hasn’t been weighed down by the tragedies of his past, you know. First time he’s actually been free of them.”
Joe: “You don’t want his memory restored, do you?”
Iris: “Dad, I can’t say that seeing him happy and light isn’t something that I have wished for him because yeah, it is.” Joe reminds her that this Barry isn’t there Barry. You can’t remove 28 years of life experiences, some good, and some bad. That is what makes him. Elsewhere, the Heat Monger is setting an office building on fire.

The fire is on TV. The entire building is burning. Even though he doesn’t have his memories back, or knows how to use his powers, Barry can’t allow those people to be in danger without helping. Killer Frost, Cisco, and Julian have devised a way to get Barry’s memories back. They are going to use his suit to shock him. They do it, but his memories don’t return. They have provided the gas, but they need something to ignite the flame. Iris over the com system tells Barry that his mother was murdered. When he first arrived at their house, he wasn’t crying because he was in shock. Later that night young Iris (Sasha Rojen) heard a noise. Young Barry (Liam Hughes) was crying alone. She joined him on the couch where he laid his heap on her lap. That’s when they fell in love. Barry remembers! His memories flood back and he remembers how to use his powers. Savitar remembers too! Kid Flash gets his powers back and runs over to the scene of the fire to help the Flash put it out and capture Heat Monger.

Back at STAR Labs, they ask Barry questions to determine if he has all his memories back. He passes the test. Killer Frost is leaving but they ask her to stay. Julian tells her he loves her. Killer Frost: “I don’t love you, Julian. I never did.” Then to Barry and Cisco, “I never loved any of you.” Once she is in the elevator, for a brief second, her eyes turn back to brown. Barry sadly tells Iris Caitlin might be too far-gone. Iris thinks they can save her. Iris discusses how light and happy Barry was. He confides in her he was like that at Flashpoint with his mom and dad. He couldn’t stay there and lose Joe, Cisco, Caitlin, and her. His darkness, his losses fuel him to be a better man and hero. She replies, That’s the man I know and love.

While all of this was going on, Tracy Brand (Anne Dudek) was working on the speed force trap. H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) walks in and tries to find a name for it. They decide on speed force bazooka. He tells her she is tense. Coffee relaxes her; it relaxes H.R. too. They describe the type of piping hot coffee they like and nearly kiss. H.R. stops short and leaves babbling. He comes back later and tells Tracy they have to focus on the tasks ahead instead of kissing. Of course, they kiss. Tracy says, “sparks” and H.R. agrees, but she wasn’t talking about the sparks between them, but a solution to the speed force bazooka. H.R. disturbs Barry and Iris to tell them he has some news. Team Arrow gathers around Tracy and H.R. They inform them the speed force bazooka is ready, but there is one problem. The energy they need to power it is hotter than the sun. We flash to a large crystal guarded by King Shark.


After a gloomy season of heroics, with a few breaks of sunshine here and there, we finally get a fun, sunny episode. The type we regularly got in season one, the season everyone loved. Barry gets amnesia and forgets how to be broody and gloomy. We aren’t the only ones who love this happy, carefree Barry; Iris loves him too. It can’t last though, Barry has experienced a lot of darkness in his life, it and the good things that have happened in his life has made him the man and hero he is. That is true for all of us; we all have had to live through some dark days to become the persons we are. We are a mixture of the light and dark. I hope that the show’s writers will remember that Barry had experienced the death of his mother before the show started, but season one Barry was still a happy person who had a commitment to doing good. Show more of that person next season.

The episode was so good that it highlighted some of the weaknesses of the season. I’ve already discussed the gloomy aspect of the season. This was a great Iris episode. They actually used her! She wasn’t on the sidelines looking at the action happening around her. The main storyline is her impending death, but the focus has been on how it will affect Barry and her family. Maybe being in a grave affects her too. We got to see Barry and Iris really interact as a couple, and they were great. Seeing them happy together really makes me want to see them stop Savitar. Iris should have been more involved this season. I would like to see more of Iris’ interior life. We also got more of Killer Frost interacting with her former colleagues. Cisco just talking to her about the good times they had and how much Caitlin means to him got to Killer Frost. They keep talking about finding a cure for her, but can they not just accept the Killer Frost part of her personality and help the Caitlin part become dominant again. This episode proved it is still there. The question I’ve asked since the Killer Frost storyline began, why did Caitlin become evil when her Meta powers emerged. What we have seen so far in this universe, if you are a good person, you will use your power for good, if you were already a bad person, you will use your power for ill. Why would a good person like Caitlin become Killer Frost? Earth 2 Killer Frost was evil, so was Ronnie’s Firestorm, and Cisco’s Vibe. In Earth 1, none of these guys is evil except Caitlin. It bothers me because they don’t bother to explain it. I know she is evil in the comics, but the TV series hasn’t written Caitlin that way. A mixture of Killer Frost and Caitlin would make for an interesting character.

Grant Gustin was great in this episode. Aside from his singing skills, he brought all of his acting skills to his performance. He was hysterically funny. I laughed throughout the scene when he first lost his memory. Another highlight was Wally saying they were brothers and Barry checking his skin. This Barry Allen was very personable. He also communicated Barry’s innate goodness and bravery. All the attributes that has made the Flash a fan favorite. His scenes with Iris were fun and romantic. Grant Gustin and Candice Patton have great chemistry, and the show should do more to highlight it.

It was my favorite episode of the season. It was a light and funny episode, but it carried a nice emotional wallop. The scene with young Iris and Barry was very touching. I hope this episode gets the type of reception that will point the writers and producers of this show to a more lighthearted, optimistic tone for next season.

Grade: A





Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief
Latest posts by Anthony (Kbear!) Nichols | Editor-in-Chief (see all)