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Flash: Finish Line


Things aren’t looking good for young love…

Flash hits the end of his season with “Finish Line,” the season three finale. The heroes need to find a way to defeat the menace of Savitar, which gets harder with Savitar being a future version of Barry Allen. So whatever plan they come up with, Savitar knows about from Barry’s memories. That’s a new wrinkle on time travel I don’t think I’ve run across before. There are some pretty big spoilers here, so be warned. Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it.

At the end of last episode, Savitar killed Iris. Everyone is horror-struck and grief-stricken. Things take a turn when Iris… drops drum sticks? Well, that’s something associated with someone else, and we learn that there was a switch. The dying “Iris” is HR, using his image projector, while the HR up on the roof is revealed to be Iris. Now it’s time for a quick flashback to see how this happened.

Last time, HR accidentally revealed where Iris was hidden, letting Savitar capture her. Overwhelmed with guilt, HR took the piece of Savitar’s armor Barry captured a while back, and used its property of being attracted to the rest of the armor to find their hideout. HR tried to rescue her on his own, and, when they were found out, used his image device to swap places. Fortunately for him, Killer Frost just blasted “HR,” now the disguised Iris, instead of killing her while recapturing Iris/HR.

Back in the very sad now, Tracy Brand rushes up, shocked, tears starting, saying they had just found each other. HR gasps out that he couldn’t be a coward, and that Tracy would be brilliant. He urges them to go stop Savitar and quietly dies. I did not remotely see this coming, but neither did Savitar. They also notice that Savitar took off with the Speed Force bazooka.

Killer Frost and Vibe’s showdown gets interrupted when Savitar shows up. While he was urging her to live up to her name before, now he tells her not to kill Vibe after all. Savitar requires Cisco’s unique genius to build something.

Barry, Iris, and Joe go back to the time vault. The newspaper from the future has changed, the by-line on the column now once again reading Iris West-Allen. The heroes are cautiously optimistic that they have saved Iris’ life. Meanwhile, Savitar gets a flood of confusing new memories as he “remembers” that Iris survived due to HR’s sacrifice.

Back at STAR, Julian is stunned to hear about HR’s death. Tracy wanders off to be alone with her grief. Barry says they need to try and figure out their next move. Savitar is still out there, so is Killer Frost, and Cisco is missing. The time paradox created by Iris’ survival and HR’s death should eventually wipe out Savitar, but they don’t know when. Julian also has news- he and Caitlin’s mother worked together and may have a cure for her Killer Frost issues.

Vibe is not exactly being a model prisoner, mocking Savitar and telling him he better have a plan B. Well, it turns out he does, and it includes Cisco modifying Tracy’s Speed Force bazooka. Savitar, again drawing on Barry’s knowledge and memories, comes up with a great threat to keep Cisco in line.

Barry talks with Iris and muses that there must be something better they can do about Savitar. To that end, he rushes off on his own to meet Savitar Barry makes a surprising offer, although I don’t understand how Savitar is surprised by it if he has all Barry’s memories. Maybe there’s a backwash from changing Iris’ death. Barry really does his best to live up to the heroic ideal in this scene. I’ve said this before, and will again: in the CW-verse, Green Arrow has taken Batman’s place as the Dark Avenger, and Flash occupies Superman’s spot as the Point of Hope.

Barry and Savitar go back to STAR Labs, and the team isn’t exactly happy to see them. There’s a lot of mutual mistrust and war of words. With both Cisco and Caitlin not available, Tracy is their best bet for scientific help, but following HR’s death, she’s not feeling charitable. What comes next is arguably cruel– the team gets Harrison Wells from Earth 2 to talk to her. I mean c’mom, she just lost the man she was falling in love with and his doppleganger comes to chat? Kinda messes with that acceptance stage of grief, I’d argue.

Savitar comments that it’s strange being back at STAR. Once again, things don’t quite make sense to me when he comments on something they haven’t done yet. Is he losing track of his memories, or just screwing with them at this point? Savitar starts asking a lot of biting, sarcastic questions about the deal Barry is trying to offer him, and Barry does the best he can. Savitar finally agrees to return Caitlin and Cisco, and speeds off to do that. In the wake of his departure, something happens that looks bad for STAR.

At Savitar’s hideout, Cisco once again tries to get through to Caitlin, and once again fails. Savitar returns, removing any doubt about what happened at STAR being an accident, and tells Killer Frost to get rid of Cisco. Fortunately, there’s a last minute intervention by Gypsy. While it’s cool she came back to help, I don’t quite get why she needed to save him if they have the same powers. Eventually, they end up at the West home. Amusingly, Cisco calls Savitar Two Face for his scars. I don’t know if that means there’s a Batman on this world after all, or if there are just Batman comics. Savitar, meanwhile, tells Caitlin not to worry about them, and that it’s time now.

Savitar and Killer Frost go on a lovely walk in the park. Just kidding, they are there to enact Savitar’s mad plan. First, they have a complication to deal with, as the Black Flash appears to stop Savitar. Turns out, Black Flash is very vulnerable to cold, which must be why Savitar recruited Killer Frost in the first place. Just as the portal is ready, there are more surprises for Savitar, who really doesn’t seem to know as much about his own past as he should. While Gypsy and Vibe take on Killer Frost, we get a scene that could’ve come right out of the comics as Flash and Kid Flash are joined by Jay Garrick to battle Savitar. We also see someone in the fight change sides, which is a help. There are some cool tricks in the fight, and Barry finally shows himself to be the hero he should be by refusing to go down the dark road. Savitar gets defeated by a really unexpected turn of events.

Later, the team gathers for HR’s funeral. I wonder if he had anyone back on his Earth they should tell? The gravestone has a great quote from Twain, and Barry shares Wells’ final worlds with Cisco, that Cisco gave him the strength to be a hero. At the end of the funeral, Caitlin makes a surprising decision to start setting up the cliffhangers for the big off-season break.

Barry and Iris finally go home and start making progress on their wedding. So all’s well that ends well, right? Of course not, how often do we get happy season finales? A huge storm starts outside, and it’s not normal. The multi-colored lightning is a big clue there. The storm gets accompanied by a small earthquake, further damaging poor STAR Labs. The team figures out that the energy disturbance is from the now-vacant speed force prison that Jay left to help out. Someone needs to go back. So someone does, in a huge surprise that suggests to me next season is going to at least start off by trying to save that person.

What I liked: I think we’re finally done with Savitar. I won’t miss him at all. It was great to see Gypsy and Jay both come back. The way that HR saved Iris was pretty clever. The big fight near the end was really well done. I’m so glad Barry is heeding Snart’s (of all people) advice to stay a hero.

What I didn’t: Savitar had some weird memory glitches which didn’t all make sense to me. I’m not sure why Gypsy needed to port Vibe away if he can do that, too. I’m saddened by HR’s death, and I don’t really like the big cliffhanger at the end. I’m really not sure how I feel about Caitlin’s decision.

It was a good episode. I’ll go a low 4 out of 5 for it. I really hope next season we get something that doesn’t involve an evil speedster. Flash has a lot of other foes.

Flash: Infantino St.


Hey, Barry, I thought you weren’t supposed to time travel any more?

The penultimate episode of Flash for the season is here with “Infantino Street.” Carmine Infantino is a legendary DC Comics writer. Among his many credits is creating the Silver Age version of the Flash, Barry Allen. So it was a really nice nod to Barry’s own creator, although I’m not sure how he’d feel about the street where Iris is supposed to die being named after him.

The episode start with a countdown: 24 Hours Until Iris West Dies. On that cheery note, we bounce between the different characters who are working on things and watching the clock. Tracy Bond and HR are working on her formula and fueling up on coffee. Cisco is at his computer, and gets a text from Felicity that she hasn’t found anything for him (nice touch there), and Joe and Wally are looking at pictures of Iris. Iris herself is in the loft with Barry. She sends him off to hunt for caviar, which I thought at the time was just a distraction. It was, and she starts recording a video message for him once he’s gone.

Later, Barry and Iris are getting dressed when Barry gets an excited call from Cisco, saying he has good news. Barry and Cisco meet with Lyla Diggle, director of ARGUS. They end up meeting outside, Lyla sighting concerns about the building being bugged. Cisco tells her they have found a unique power source they desperately need, and it’s in the ARGUS building. Lyla is annoyed that they’ve been spying on her, and then tells them the device is from the Dominator invasion back during the big crossover of all the shows. She also tells them that, with Barry’s record of unintentionally changing history and other such mistakes, she’s not giving the device to them. Barry, desperate, tells her about Iris’ impending death. Lyla feels badly, but won’t change her mind and tells them to find another way. Boy, do they take that advice to heart.

Barry tells the STAR team what’s going on, and that Lyla won’t cooperate. I salute both the writers and the characters that they don’t try to get to John Diggle to appeal to her. Barry talks about going in to steal the device, which is when Cisco points out all the security systems, including a series of power dampers that negate all meta-human powers. So, no phasing through the walls and just grabbing the gizmo. They wonder about hiding Iris somewhere, and Barry says there’s nowhere Savitar wouldn’t find her. Desperate, Barry decides on a new course of action.

Cut to, 1892 Siberia. Can’t use powers and need to steal something? In Barry’s world, that means one man: Leonard Snart, A.K.A. Captain Cold. Barry catches up with him away from the other Legends, before his death in their timeline (time travel is confusing). Cold demands to know why Barry needs his particular help, and Barry finally tells him. “True love? That’s your pitch?” asks the ever-sardonic Captain. He tells Barry there’s one condition: work by his rules.

At STAR, HR spins a very outlandish plan based on movies more than possibility. Then Barry comes in, Captain Cold in tow, and surprises everyone. Snart goes down to the lab to get what he needs, while Barry tries to explain what’s going on to everyone. He promises to put Cold back where he got him after all this is over.

Savitar is tinkering with his armor wherever the big hideout is. Killer Frost struts in, impressed with the armor. She questions Savitar’s willingness to kill Iris, since Savitar is a version of Barry, after all. He wonders if she’s having second thoughts, and then Savitar gets memory flashes of Barry and the team’s new plan, then laughs it off.

Snart lays out his four rules for every job. 1) Make the plan, 2) execute the plan, 3) expect it go off the rails, and 4) throw away the plan. He makes a joke about not being put at the singles’ table at Barry and Iris’ reception. When HR brings Tracy up the main room and tries to cover her face, because Barry is once again in costume with no mask, Barry tells him not to worry about it. Yep, the CW heroes suck at the secret identity thing. Barry tells Joe and Wally to take Iris someplace far away and not tell him where. Iris warns Barry to not lose himself in his big “do whatever it takes” push.

They do find a good place to hide Iris: Harrison Wells’ lab on Earth 2. I admit that should throw off even Savitar. While they go there, Barry keeps glancing at his watch. Snart asks what the countdown is, and Barry tells him it’s how long they have until they lose.

At ARGUS, Lyla flies off to a meeting. Just after she leaves, Lyla brings in Captain Cold as a prisoner. The somewhat confused guard walks her through the security check in, which she really should know, and then part of the “go off the rails” kicks in when there’s a password and counter-phrase they didn’t know about. Lyla vaults over the security counter and drops all the guards. Finally, she straightens up and turns off the image projector HR has used in the past, back before they apparently forgot about the issue with him being confused with a murderer. “Lyla” of course was Barry, although I’ve never seen him fight like that before. Inside the building, in theory, Barry isn’t supposed to have his powers, so couldn’t use his speed in the fight. Cold mocks him for being so violent at his age.

There’s a much slower, more emotional scene over on Earth 2. Joe is cleaning his gun (how he knows he isn’t about to need it, I’m not sure) while Iris watches. They talk about her childhood, each confessing a few things they did wrong, then sing and dance sweetly together. Iris brings the mood down by taking off Barry’s grandmother’s ring and asking Joe to return it to him, just in case.

The Cold/Flash caper continues as they pass by various cells, including Grodd, Cheetah, and Cupid. Barry muses this must be where Waller kept her Suicide Squad. With the way DC’s been cracking down on that, I’m surprised they allowed the reference. Eventually, they find the vault with the power source in it. The vault has a really impressive lock on it that Cisco babbles about being uncrackable, while it takes Cold all of 37 seconds to open it. The lock, it turns out, isn’t really the issue. The huge and angry King Shark behind the door is. I’m not sure how this is working. King Shark registered on Cisco’s metahuman ap when he first appeared, but now he’s apparently fine in the middle of a building that has metahuman dampers all over it. Either King Shark should be reverting to human (or a shark, I suppose), or Barry should have his powers.

Cold and The Flash debate what to do next, and end up going off a plan devised by Cold’s love of Shark Week. Sounds like a sound basis to risk your lives on to me. They drop the temperature in King Shark’s vault, creating a lot of fog, dropping King Shark into a coma, and disabling Cold’s gun. They also get a shot of the King Shark’s fin moving through the fog ala Jaws.

While Tracy and HR rhapsodize about coffee and working together, Cold and Flash get into the vault. Although the Dominator tech looks like a huge thing, Barry just pulls the core out of it, which is apparently good enough. King Shark recovers, and Barry makes it out as the door closes. Cold doesn’t. Barry could just take off, but of course stays to save Snart. He gets the good Captain out, after a joke about Snart putting in a good word for Cisco with his sister, but they get surrounded by ARGUS agents, because once again, Barry is powerless even though King Shark just regrew a hand. Snart’s sister, Lisa, is a villainess who has had an on again, off again thing with Cisco.

Lyla berates Barry for breaking in, and then gives him the device. Barry impressed her by staying to save Snart. At that point, I’d be wondering why she hadn’t just given me the damn thing in the first place. Barry returns Snart to the right time, and Snart shows that occasional sentimental side. He has a decent theory about why he and Barry get along, and then tells him that the Flash should remain a hero.

Savitar ends up capturing Iris after some particularly brilliant trickery on his part. He blows through the resistance of Kid Flash, Harrison Wells, and Joe West. They really seem to have a thing for stabbing speedsters in the legs on this show. HR blames himself, and he has some call to, in my opinion.

After reassuring everyone, Barry Flashes off for his date with destiny. HR looks like he’s about to go do something drastic, and Cisco goes off to fight Killer Frost. Hopefully this goes better than what we learned about in the future. Barry waits on Infantino Street, and then Savitar shows up with Iris and does his villain monologue about how she has to die. Flash surprises him with Tracy’s weapon… and it fails. The episode ends on an ugly note as we hear Iris’ earlier video message. It’d be a fine place for a season finale cliffhanger, but there’s one more episode to go.

What I liked: I always applaud any time they bring back Captain Cold. Wentworth Miller does an amazing job with him. He and Flash working together was great. I liked Cold’s parting words to Barry. Bringing Iris to Earth 2 was a great idea that probably should have worked. Tracy and HR amuse me as a couple. I’m glad Cisco got into costume this episode. I hope he fares better than in the future we saw a bit ago. I liked that they used the Dominator tech as the power source, that was a nice callback to an earlier story.

What I didn’t: Joe cleaning his gun was a weird choice. “Someone is going to try and kill my daughter, let me make it so I can’t use my weapon.” I mentioned the issues with Barry and King Shark’s powers above. I’m not sure when we’re supposed to believe Barry became a master fighter. We’ve never seen him train in that. I get Joe’s gun not working on Savitar’s armor, but I expected better of Harrison’s gadgets.

This episode had some great ideas and some odd fails. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. What are they doing for a finale?

Flash: Cause and Effect


I don’t want to know what kind of dentists he goes to…


“Cause and Effect” begins where “I Know Who You Are” stopped. The Flash confronts Savitar, who has been revealed as a future, evil, scarred Barry Allen. They talk about Savitar’s origin, which, to no great surprise, revolves around Iris’ death. Savitar is also a time remnant, so he has the additional strain of not quite being real. They end up in a big confrontation, and we learn that Savitar has a few really cool tricks that Flash doesn’t.

Back at STAR, Barry shares what he has learned with the team. Cisco, of course, starts riffing on old Star Trek episodes. They also figure out what the message from Barry of the future was about back during the Alien Crossover. Cisco maps out a somewhat confusing timeline of Savitar’s history as they now know it. They send HR to go check on Tracy’s progress on the speed trap, and Wally comes up with a great question.

As the team goes to do various things, Barry sits on the prop that looks like the comic’s Cosmic Treadmill. Iris comes to talk, and asks what the other Barry was like. They talk about what kind of person Barry is, and what may have made him Savitar. Barry also muses on the difference between a speedster and a god. Cisco comes in and says he has either the best or worst idea ever.

They’ve built a very fancy set up around a chair, and Barry jokes they’re going to give him a perm. Cisco’s brainstorm is that, if Savitar’s being a step ahead all the time is based on his memories being Barry’s, to stop Barry forming new memories. Unfortunately, as they point out, their bio-sciences expert was Caitlin, who’s currently giving them all the cold shoulder. The machine works… just a bit too well. Barry gets completely mind wiped. He doesn’t know anyone on the team, or his own name. Remember that best/worst idea thing? I know which way I’m voting.

The series of reactions to Barry not knowing anything was priceless, and a good acting job by Grant Gustin. From not knowing his team, or why he was at STAR Labs, to the reaction on hearing Wally was his brother, it was several great comedic takes. On a more serious note, Cisco and Joe try and figure out what happened and how to fix it. Cecile then calls and says she urgently needs to speak with Barry, just to make things more tense.

For an indication as to how well Tracy’s work is going, she’s yelling at her tools when HR comes in to check on her. Amid awkward scenes, they agree to name the device the Speed Force Bazooka (again, stepping on Cisco’s toes as naming guy). They also realize the depth of their mutual attraction and do their best to ignore it.

At the CCPD, Barry introduces himself as Bart, apparently the name his new self prefers. Cecile looks a bit surprised. That gets worse when they give her a rough explanation about what happened, leaving “Bart” totally confused. The emergency she needed Barry for was an emergency hearing for an arsonist going by Heat Monger. Great, now they’re being named after kids’ cartoons. Clearly, Barry is in no shape to testify. In the real world, that would be cause for a continuance. Here, it leads to low comedy and bad ideas.

After everyone else leaves, Barry sits on the couch worried that everyone is upset, even if he doesn’t quite get why. He and Iris talk for a bit, and we get a hint that Barry’s powers are at least buzzing away in the background. As all this goes on, Killer Frost finds out that Savitar has changed, too.

Iris tries to catch Barry up on what his life has been like before today. Bart is not impressed with Barry’s choices in high school. Iris notices that Bart is a lot lighter and happier than Barry. Then, they find out the hearing can’t be rescheduled and make the brilliant choice to have Bart go testify. He went by himself, which makes me wonder how the amnesiac Bart knew how to get there. They end up pulling a Cyrano de Bergerac style trick that works out like you’d expect on a bad sitcom. Heat Monger goes free.

Back at STAR, there are more problems. Apparently in some sort of time paradox, Savitar’s not having any memory means he never did most of the things he did, including giving Wally his speed, so Central City is fresh out of speedsters with Jesse being away on Earth 3. While this chaos goes on, Barry and Iris have gone back to their loft, and Barry asks something I’ve been wondering about for a while. They kiss, and his powers kick in, with no real hint of control whatever.

Barry is very excited about his powers, and they go back to STAR, where Killer Frost has turned up. She’s willing to help the team, since it will restore Savitar and she’s sure Savitar will eventually win. Reluctantly, the team agrees.

HR and Tracy continue being awkward until she just goes ahead and kisses him. He babbles in the aftermath, which is no surprise, as he’s usually babbling. Must be all the coffee. But this time, it’s useful, and gives her an idea to finish the bazooka.

Killer Frost agrees to help the others, but with a fair amount of mocking and scorn. Not at all subtly, Cisco tries to remind her of the good times she’d had in the building as Caitlin. He does get her to finish one of his stories for him, but aside from that, there’s not a lot of headway. Meanwhile, down in the Speed Lab, Barry is very excited about his powers and zipping around the track while Joe and Iris talk about the odd situation.

Things get more tense when the recently-freed Heat Monger strikes again. He was out what, a few whole hours? He lights a high-rise on fire, and Barry decides he has to go, even as inexperienced as he suddenly is. Finally, due to a combination of guilt about the people in danger and Iris talking him through some painful memories, Barry gets his memories back, and, as the effects ripple up the timestream, Savitar remembers and Wally gets his powers restored. The two heroic speedsters easily best Heat Monger, who the system will hopefully not spring on another technicality in a few more days. Killer Frost takes her leave with some ugly parting words, but we get a hint that Cisco was getting to her.

The episode ends oddly. After the expected mushy reunion between Barry and Iris, they get interrupted by HR. He and Tracy have a classic good news/bad news situation. Tracy finally got her stuff together and has designed the Speed Force bazooka. Unfortunately, it needs a power source beyond anything they’ve ever seen. We get a hint at what’s coming next episode, but it’s really, really weird and seems to come from nowhere.

What I liked: Grant Gustin played amnesia Barry wonderfully. There was a lot of comedy, especially in the first few minutes. There were some really sweet Iris/Barry moments in here as well. I’m hoping the elevator scene with Killer Frost was a good omen. The HR/Tracy scenes were nicely done, too. The reveal of Barry’s full name, just like it is in the comics, was a nice Easter Egg for obsessive comic book readers like me. Savitar is right as far as him having a cooler suit than Flash’s.

What I didn’t: Having Barry go to court with no memory was ridiculous. It just plain made no sense. I’m not sure I buy Kid Flash losing his powers the way he did. The ending made no sense at all, and the preview for next episode even less.

Mostly for mind-wipe Barry, I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5. We’re almost at the season finale, and I’m really, really hoping that’s the end of Savitar. Maybe next season we could have a non-speedster as a bad guy? Flash does have other enemies.

Flash: I Know Who You Are


Guess Who’s Coming To The Lab…

In a very dramatic nighttime scene, the Flash confronts Savitar. Pointing his finger at the hulking metal shape, Flash gives us this week’s title as he proclaims, “I Know Who You Are.” Then, of course, we get the narrative trick that’s been working its way to same level of cliche as evil twins and lovers fighting over a mistake. We jump back in time to see how we got here, in this case, sixteen hours back

In the morning, Joe and Cecile are returning to the West’s house after a run. She’s training for a marathon, and he’s clearly regretting agreeing to do it with her. He makes an in-joke about running not being as easy for him as some members of his family. They end up on the couch together, and then Cecile blurts out the potentially relationship-changing words, “I love you.” Both of them are kind of freaked by this, and it’s made worse when Joe’s phone rings and calls him away.

Barry is, quite literally, back from the future, and comes bearing news of Tracy Rand, the brilliant woman who is supposed to invent the device to trap Savitar in the Speed Force. Their next desperate move is to get her to create it earlier than in the original timeline, and save Iris’ life. Because nothing bad has ever happened from messing with time on this show, right? Barry, Joe, and HR go to find her, armed with her future resume. After they leave, Cisco and Julian bicker about not doing more to find Caitlin. Cisco rattles off everything he’s been doing, which is a lot. Julian grumbles about Wally being off on Earth 3 visiting Jesse. I don’t much like Julian, but he has a point this time. It’s a weird time to leave the planet.

The Three Wise Men find Miss Rand, and it doesn’t do a lot to encourage them. She’s in her lab at Central City University, burning all her notes, saying her work was a waste, and ranting about going to get a job at Big Belly Burger. Barry ends up trying to give her a pep talk after Cisco and HR end up caught in yet another digression about the weird phrasing and vocabulary from HR’s world. Things go from bad to worse as Killer Frost waltzes in, making a quip about admission here being so easy. Frost does her best to kill Rand, and Barry and Cisco manage to hold her off. The fight ends with Barry doing some weird, undefined trick that involves snapping his fingers and making a lab burner turn into a flamethrower. The group sadly realizes that Killer Frost is working with Savitar to kill Tracy.

After Frost gets away, they relocate to the police department. Tracy, naturally, has worked with the sketch artist to get a pretty good picture of Killer Frost. The team isn’t thrilled with this, as they’re still trying to protect Caitlin from herself, and law enforcement in general. Cecile pops up, wondering why the college campus doesn’t have video of the attack. I don’t know how likely it is that they’d have video in a lab, but apparently Barry erased it all anyway. Cecile and Joe have a murmured conversational aside about the I love you thing, which makes Barry’s head snap up. Tracy takes off, getting in some good lines about Jack Frost’s sister and witness overprotection.

Killer Frost has a tense scene with Savitar. When she reports her failure, the so-called God of Speed wonders if she has more Caitlin in her than she wants to admit. He also points out that, despite her name, she’s never actually killed anyone. He tells her, a lot more forcefully, to go kill Tracy.

Tracy herself has gone to Jitters, because each show gets just one hang-out spot. I guess it cuts down on the set budget. HR finds her here, and partially flirts with her, partially science-babbles. Of course, since he’s not the really technically skilled type, Cisco is feeding him details via ear-piece like an updated Cyrano de Bergerac. Julian gets on Cisco for hesitating when he had a chance to stop Killer Frost, and they bicker some more. Julian is really getting out of control about his feelings for Caitlin. Elsewhere, Barry urges Joe to tell Cecile the truth. That’s Barry, always protecting his secret identity.

Tracy talks about her work to HR, and is thrilled when he shares the name “Speed Force.” She’s on the track to building her speed trap, but gets interrupted when HR notices what’s happened to his drink. They make a break for it, and Killer Frost shows up. Flash and the team show up for another fight. Cisco hesitates again, and Barry pays the price. In a replay of an earlier encounter between them, Killer Frost hamstrings Barry again. At least they acknowledge it’s happened before.

As usual when the team is at a loss, they meet up back at STAR. Tracy and Cisco techno-babble at each other, and Tracy gets another good name off, dubbing Killer Frost the White Witch. After an aside about Terminator jokes, Tracy is stunned when she find out her theories are right. They put some pressure on her about stopping Savitar, and she runs away. HR takes the unusual step of being the one to go do “the talk.”

Cisco and Julian argue more, which honestly is getting old. I get it. He’s worried. Ease off on the drama flakes, guys. Barry and Joe talk more about Cecile, and Joe shares one of the reasons he hasn’t told her about everything. It makes a sort of sense, although I think it’s a bad idea. HR then reports that Tracy has taken off.

HR is puzzled that she left, saying he gave her a pep talk and everything. Cisco snarks that that must be why she left. HR uses their future hologram to figure out where she might be, and finds her at the statue of Galileo in the park. They talk some more and get a few more good lines. He actually manages to do a good job of reassuring her.

Joe and Cecile have a talk at the West house. He makes a really dumb decision, but then gets interrupted when Killer Frost pops up again. She kidnaps Cecile and issues villain threats on the way out. Just for good measure, she gives Joe a parting shot.

The team frets collectively and then comes up with a plan. Julian actually says some good things to Cisco, which is a nice change, and HR fills Tracy in on her role in the plan. They get underway with Joe going to the swap point to see Cecile. Killer Frost tries to make herself sound more reasonable in the exchange. I’m not sure if she’s still being some residual Caitlin or just trying to persuade the others. Killer Frost, Flash, and Cisco get into a fight. The heroes are doing pretty well until Savitar shows up again.

The team meets up and questions how they survived. They also speculate on how Savitar seemed to know exactly what was going to happen. They do at least get to what I was wondering about, why Savitar didn’t just kill Tracy himself.

Tracy and HR talk about everything they’ve just been through. She shows how bright she is by switching from “Oh my God I can’t believe that happened” to theorizing about why Savitar wears the armor. They also talk about the future in several different ways.

Cecile and Joe talk, about her abduction and his feelings. That ends up better than things did earlier at least, not that that’s a really high bar. The Wests have a talk when Wally comes back, and rehash what happened. Barry comes to a jolting realization, and slips away. He speeds off to confront Savitar, although how Barry knew where to find him I’m not sure. We finally get the reveal of who Savitar is. Ok, every theory I had was wrong. I’ll admit it.

What I liked: Tracy was a fun addition to the team and got some great lines. I kind of hope she sticks around. I liked her with HR. I liked the good talk Cisco and Julian had in the middle there. I’m glad the mystery of Savitar’s identity is revealed. Don’t see how it helps, but glad they know so they can stop obsessing.

What I didn’t: The Julian/Cisco bickering is getting old. Joe made some amazingly stupid decisions for a smart guy. It seemed like a really bizarrely unlikely time for Wally to leave the planet. I don’t think the writers know what to do with Iris, she just sort of keeps hanging around as damsel in distress/plot point.

It was an uneven episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

Flash: The Once And Future Flash


I like future Flash’s costume better

“The Once and Future Flash” proves that, while Barry is quite bright, he doesn’t learn very well. He has endangered his entire reality several times by going to the past and changing things in various ways, like retroactively killing Cisco’s brother, activating Caitlin’s latent Killer Frost powers, or changing the gender of Diggle’s baby over on Arrow. So now, his brilliant idea is to go to the future and learn Savitar’s identity then. I have to admit, since neither Barry nor any of his friends are magicians as far as I know, I’m not entirely sure what learning the villain’s name is going to accomplish. Barry figures out his target is 2024. Iris is worrying about a more immediate future, and makes Barry promise to look out for Joe and Wally if Savitar kills her. He does, although he’s pinning a lot of hope on his “Back to the Future” idea.

This somewhat maudlin talk of the future is interrupted when they get an alarm from STAR Labs. As we saw last time, Caitlin has shifted to her evil form once again, and is rampaging through the lab, while Cisco, HR, and Julian dive for cover. Julian fails to either talk her down or grab her power-damping necklace. Frost hunts the three throughout the lab, doing a really good job of playing the crazy stalker type. Barry finally arrives as Flash, and she tries to kill him, too. At least she doesn’t play favorites. She manages to get away, delaying the others with a wall of ice before she goes out into what appears to be a raging blizzard that I didn’t notice through the windows of Barry and Iris’ loft.

Cisco and Julian bicker over Julian’s role in Caitlin’s current predicament. Barry, for reasons best known only to him and his occasionally obsessive brain, decides this is the perfect time to take his trip to Tomorrow Land. Even Joe, as much as he wants to save Iris, questions the timing of this. But Barry is determined, and works out a way to combine his and Kid-Flash’s powers to propel him where (and when) he wants to go.

Flash gets there and runs into the typical time travel cliche of conveniently blowing newspaper to determine the date. Really, when was the last time you walked down the street and saw a newspaper blowing around? The future doesn’t look great for Central City, with a general air of things being run down. The news gets worse as Flash is confronted by Top and Mirror Master, who beat on him pretty well until he runs away.

Flash runs back to the loft, and the place is trashed. He picks through the debris and then Cisco walks in, looking older and worn. Anyone ever notice the future is almost never a good place for superheroes? Cisco studies the costume for a moment and determines Barry is from 2017, and deduces he wants to know about Savitar. Flash decides that what he needs to do now is quite literally talk to himself, and asks for Cisco’s help to do that.

The future continues to be a dark place (shades of Tiny Tim!) as Barry learns that STAR has been shut down, and Team Flash disbanded, by his future self. STAR is neglected and dirty as they walk through the trashed hallways. Cisco won’t go inside the shuttered building, but asks Barry not to leave without saying goodbye. Barry goes on alone and meets his future self. Future Barry has clearly given up, with unkept hair and a defeated bearing. They argue for a bit, and future Barry is no help at all, giving some unwelcome news about Savitar’s identity. Barry changes from the civilian clothes he’s been wearing (I guess he stole them from himself?) into his costume (where was he keeping that?) and tries to go home, only to find out he can’t.

Cisco isn’t as worried as Barry about the speedster being stuck for a while. Cisco explains that, no matter how much time he spends here, he can return home at the moment he left. Hopefully that works out better for him than for Doctor Who. Cisco then shares some news about what’s happened to him and his powers in the future. It isn’t good. They go to see Julian, who instantly recognizes this is the Flash from the past. Julian’s future revolves around trying to cure Caitlin, who, as Killer Frost, is trapped in a modified cell based on the Pipeline design. Frost taunts Barry about what’s coming for him, and says he should visit Wally.

Suffice to say, there is no good news there, either. Wally’s future is darker than the others. He was broken by some fight he had, alone, against Savitar. One could make the argument Wally is the worst off of the team in this future. Barry leaves, to find Joe tending Iris’ grave. Joe won’t even look at him, never realizing he’s from the past, and tells him to go away. The future is bleak for Team Flash.

Barry goes back to talk to himself some more, now in Well’s old Time Vault at STAR. Future Barry is still defeated and depressed. He even gives himself the exact date of Iris’ death. It’s a really depressing little rant. Cisco talks with “our” Barry, and is saddened to learn that he wants to go back still. We finally learn what happened to prevent Barry from returning to his own time. Barry finally agrees, or is guilted into, sticking around to fix the future and reuniting the team.

Barry speeds around town, gathering up the team. We see what HR has been up to, and I can’t say I’m terribly surprised, although his new business was a twist I didn’t see coming. They are fairly easily persuaded by Barry’s pep talk, and agree to go after Top and Mirror Master. Future Barry is still off sulking somewhere, but the others are all in. “Our” Barry suits up and goes after the two Rogues, and finds himself in trouble. Finally, Future Barry agrees to help, and the two speedsters team up. Future Barry has a costume much more similar to his comic book one than the television show has been to date. The heroes win, the bad guys are beaten, and the news happily reports the first Flash sighting in years. The future team reconciles, and future Barry gives present Barry a hint about how to possibly defeat Savitar… which to me sounds a lot like screwing with the timeline again.

Barry does actually manage to return exactly when he left, leaving Wally at first wondering if Barry had even left. Barry, with a renewed commitment to his friends and teammates, talks to everyone about helping Caitlin and saving Iris. As this goes on, it’s darkly mirrored by Savitar meeting with Caitlin and revealing Savitar’s identity. We don’t see who it is, but a surprised Killer Frost instantly agrees to do whatever Savitar needs.

What I liked: The future Barry’s costume, once he got into action, looked great. I liked it better than both the present Flash’s and a LOT better than the movie version. The future HR made me smile, but he often does, as aggravating as he can be. I liked that, even as bad as things had gotten, Cisco was still devoted to trying to do the right thing.

What I didn’t: I think I’ve had enough dark futures for heroes. This is really getting old, no matter how well it’s done. Even with their powers, I’m not sure I buy Top and Mirror Master managed to dominate the entire city. The future team was a little too easily convinced to get back together (and yes, I realize on some level that at least most of them wanted to).

I’ll give the episode itself a 3 out of 5. I’m very much looking forward to next time, when we supposedly, finally, learn who Savitar is.

Titans Annual 1


Titans Annual 1

Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Minkyu Jung
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Carlos M Mangual
Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, and Andrew Dalhouse

Someone is abducting heroes, and many of the members of both the Titans and their mentors in the Justice League find themselves in a strange maze. Tempest, Aquaman, Donna, Wonder Woman, Wally (who needs a new codename), Flash, Nightwing and Batman are all there. Someone is trying to play them off against each other, and when things calm down, they get recreations of various foes thrown at them, including Parademons and Metallo.

Eventually, we learn who is behind the disappearances, although there is someone behind them, too. It’s interesting watching the different relationships between the Titans and the League. Barry and Wally get on great, of course; Aquaman and Tempest are ruler and subject; and Batman is, well, Batman to Nightwing. The really big surprise here is that they give yet another new origin for Donna Troy. Personally, I don’t like it, but it’s creative at least.

Plot: I’ll give them a 3.5 out of 5 for plot. I’ve seen a lot of these plot elements before, but they did a few clever things with them here.

Art: The art was good. I particularly liked some of the facial expressions. I’ll go 3.5 out of 5 for the art, too.

Positives: They did really well the personalities. Batman wasn’t a jerk for the sake of being a jerk, he was reacting questioningly, if abrasively.  I liked that Nightwing is the one who first mentioned a big clue about what was going on. The new origin for Donna wasn’t needed, but it was clever. I like that they called out the Justice League on not being friends, which they haven’t been really since the infamous reboot.

Negatives: As I said, I’ve seen all these plot elements before. I’m also not wild about “There’s another big secret, but we’re not going to tell you now,” which is how they ended the story, without telling us when we’d find this out.

I’m a huge fan of the Titans and I like seeing them interact with their mentors. It was a good issue for that.

Flash: Abra Kadabra

Abra Kadabra

Abra did all this to go crystal gazing?


After last week’s lighthearted “Duet,” we’re back into seriousness and moral quandaries. The race to save Iris tempts a few of the characters to do the wrong things. A supporting character returns, as does a villain, and we meet another of Flash’s classic comic foes in the appropriately titled, “Abra Kadabra.”

In the comics, Kadabra is a vastly powerful man from the distant future. He’s also pretty insane, which is really bad with someone at his power level. In one of the comics, I recall one of Flash’s Rogues commenting that they never let Abra Kadabra join them because he was too nuts, and this is from a group with a pyromaniac in it. It was recently revealed that the reason for Wally West’s (the original Caucasian one with red hair) disappearance from everyone’s memories was another of Kadabra’s schemes.

The show opens with two security guards at Stagg Industries (home to comic book hero Metamorpho’s chief enemy Simon Stagg) wandering around a warehouse. They run across Abra, who kills them with a stage magician’s flair and an utter lack of conscience. This bodes ill for Team Flash, who have more than enough problems of their own already.

At Jitters, Iris is showing off her ring to her father’s girlfriend, Cecile. Cecile ges the story of Barry signing and then proposing. The lady is impressed and surprised to find out that both Barry and Joe can sing. With musicals on the mind, she invites them to come with her to Hamilton. The invitation is great, but the date casts a pall on things, as it’s after Iris’ predicted death. Barry covers the group’s awkwardness and accepts. That’s a scenario Emily Post just  doesn’t cover.

Cisco vibes Iris’ death again (he must have it memorized by now) and reports back that nothing has changed. They have two more months to come up with some kind of brilliant plan to stop Savitar, and they know virtually nothing about him. Joe, Julian, and Barry get paged to a crime scene after some awkwardness between Julian and Caitlin regarding opera tickets. Once they’re alone, Cisco makes a joke about things with Caitlin and Julian being frosty.

The crime scene is, of course, the guards’ deaths from the opening scene. All three of our investigative heroes are puzzled. Barry comments the last thing they need is another new mystery and/or enemy, but Joe counters the last thing Iris would want is for them to stop protecting people to focus on her. Cisco calls to say there’s a break in at Kord Industries (comic book home of Blue Beetle, and also figuring in this week’s Arrow episode). Barry races off to try to stop this new menace so they can get back to brooding about… err… saving… Iris.

Abra seems happy to see Flash, and comments on how young he is. He also knows Barry’s name, and shares that he’s from the future, taunting Barry about Savitar. A breech suddenly opens, and Gypsy appears, hell-bent on capturing Abra Kadabra. The annoying magician gets away, vanishing in a hail of playing cards that was a really cool effect.

Gypsy briefs the team about Abra Kadabra, a visitor from the 64th century who has a variety of nanotech in his body that lets him pull off his apparent “magic.” He’s also apparently one of the most wanted back on her world, and she clearly has a stake in this capture.

Barry broods about Abra’s hints that he knows a lot about Savitar, and wonders if this is the key to saving Iris. Cisco learns that Abra is invisible to people with powers like his and Gypsy’s, and then goes about finding him another way, with STAR’s array of gadgets. Gypsy has a good case of tech envy seeing Cisco pull off his tricks, and they banter about him coming to visit her and setting up her own equipment. Their romantic tension gets interrupted when Cisco’s program located Kadabra at Mercury Labs, one of STAR’s rivals.

Flash, Kid Flash, Gypsy, and Vibe take off to try and bring in the magical maniac. In keeping with the stage magician theme, this is actually all misdirection. Abra himself pops up at STAR, making life hard for Caitlin, Julian, and Joe. After Abra deals with Joe’s gun, he wanders the lab, leaving chaos in his wake. Flash speeds in at the last minute, managing to capture Kadabra, who pleads for his release and bargains with Savitar’s real name. This is when tension starts building between Team Flash wanting to get more information on Savitar and Gypsy who wants to drag him back to Earth 19. For the moment, the question is settled by Flash punching Abra out.

Down in the Pipeline, Gypsy is furious that they’re still holding Abra. She wants to take him back to be executed for his crimes. The team manages to get her to agree to give them some time, and she stalks off, followed by Cisco. Abra taunts them all, saying Savitar is the first speedster and he’s unstoppable. He then contradicts himself by saying Barry eventually beats him, but not until after Iris’ death. The only way he’ll part with the information is if they let him go.

Gypsy and Cisco have a talk about her grudge against Abra. As was pretty apparent from the start, Abra killed her former partner (both professional and romantic). Gypsy wants her revenge, but also doesn’t want him to hurt anyone else. Caitlin patches up Julian from the go-round with Abra, and asks that he at least forgive her for keeping that piece of the Philosopher’s Stone and not telling him. Julian makes a joke about he only has, “a flesh wound, as the Monty Python boys would say.” Ok, anyone who’s a Python fan can’t be all bad.

Back at their loft, Barry agonizes over the issue with Abra Kadabra. For whatever reason, Barry is sure the man is telling the truth as far as knowing everything about Savitar. Iris, as usual lately, plays conscience, saying that she doesn’t want someone who has hurt so many people going free on her behalf, and she doesn’t think Barry wants that either. While I can see that, what I’m wondering about is the time scale here. If Barry and Iris had time to go home and hang out for a bit, what’s everyone else doing while this goes on? Particularly, what’s Gypsy doing? It’s not like STAR has guest rooms, unless you count the Pipeline.

Speaking of the Pipeline, Joe goes there to visit Abra. That makes sense; you could argue that he and Barry have the most invested in her survival. After taunting and threats, Joe opens the cell, which sets off alarms. Abra gets as far as “Savitar is…” which is when Gypsy shows up, furious again and messing everything up. Abra goes to the Time Vault, using a gadget to trace something. He pulls a crystal of some sort out of a hidden compartment in the wall, “Thank you, Dr, Wells.” Joe tries to confront him about the deal they made, which is why he let him out, and Abra causes some kind of explosion, knocking Joe back and impaling Caitlin with a large piece of shrapnel. Bad timing, Caitlin.

In the aftermath, the team argues what to do. Caitlin refuses to go a hospital since there are records for her as Killer Frost, a wanted criminal. She’s going to talk Julian through the surgery, which is several different kinds of both crazy and tough. Gypsy goes to find Joe and bitches him out, saying he has a messed up sense of justice for a cop. He’s not in the mood. Cisco walks in during the argument, overhearing their argument. Gypsy blames Joe for Abra escaping, very loudly.

The surgery scene for Caitlin is impressive on her end, and full of errors in general. Julian is doing the procedure, with Iris inexplicably assisting. They are both in surgical scrubs, but have their hair uncovered, which makes no sense at all. Killer Frost heals better than Caitlin does, but she says she’d rather die than do that again. When Julian finishes digging shrapnel out of her, Caitlin says he needs to stitch her up because she’s going to pass out now. Cisco, meanwhile, has gone over the gadgets that Abra has been stealing, and figures out Abra is building a time machine. Evidently, he wants to go home.

The team works out they can track him when he opens the portal to go home. It’s weird to me that the portals to go to other Earths look the same as the time travel ones. After some arguing amongst them, the team agrees that they will work together, so Flash, Kid Flash, Vibe, and Gypsy will be chasing him down. There’s a huge pursuit through the city, with Cisco getting out a great geek line ala Gandalf. Finally, Flash runs up the side of a building and phases Abra out of his time ship, which then goes through alone. After a lot of taunting about getting to feel like he helped kill Iris this time, Abra is taken back to Earth 19 by Gypsy. Things with Gypsy and Cisco end on a not so good note as they part.

After some moping by Joe back at the West place, there are two end scenes that I don’t think are signs of good things to come. In one, Barry decides he hasn’t done enough bad ideas related to time travel, and is going to go to the future to learn Savitar’s secrets. Because what could possibly go wrong there? Meanwhile, there’s a really bad development with Caitlin’s recovery. And, just to make the suspense worse, Flash goes on break until April 25th for reasons I, at least, don’t know. Agents of SHIELD did something similar a while back with another major cliffhanger.

What I liked: It was nice to see Gypsy again. This was a good adaptation of Abra Kadabra, showing both his power and his general insanity. I completely understand Joe breaking ranks to cut a deal on the side. The bit at the end with Caitlin looks bad, but it’s going to be an interesting story to see develop. I loved Cisco’s geek line.

What I didn’t: Cisco can’t catch a break, and I felt bad for him at the end with Gypsy. The surgery scene made no sense on almost any level. And why is Barry screwing with time again? Jay isn’t around to bail him out now.

Overall, I think this was one of their better episodes, especially if you ignore the surgery. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5. It would have been higher without the negatives above.

Flash: Duet


The Music Meister explains the rules to our heroes

Flash and Supergirl team up again, although in a unique way this time out. It’s the much-hyped musical episode as the Fastest Man Alive, the Girl of Steel, and various guests get ready for, “Duet.” The antagonist this time around is the Music Meister, whose only other appearance wasn’t in the comics at all, but in an episode of the Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon. There have been characters who have gone from cartoons to comics before (Harley Quinn, Firestar for example), but this is the first time I can think of one going from a cartoon to live action.

The episode starts with a flashback to eighteen years ago, when Barry and his mother are watching Singing In The Rain together. Over the years, this has become something Barry does to make himself feel better, like, say, after breaking up with the woman he loves for no good reason. Cisco, good friend and roommate that he is, tries to cheer him up, but it doesn’t work. The only reason Barry manages to get off the couch is that they get an alert from HR.

The team assembles at STAR (except Julian, for whatever reason), and just as HR warns them something is coming through the new breech that’s opened, Hank comes through, along with Mon-El, who is carrying the out cold Supergirl. This scene goes a lot smoother than it should, really. The team in general has only met Supergirl, and Barry has met Hank. None of them have met Mon, which makes me wonder why on one worries about whether or not he’s friendly.

As the heroes compare notes, the Music Meister himself pops up down in the Speed Lab, waving to the camera. Barry races off to deal with him. After a brief pep-talk from HR, Wally suits up and joins him. The Music Meister knows a lot about both heroes, and bests them effortlessly, apparently draining off some of Barry’s speed in the process. After the odd claim that he wants to teach them a lesson, Music Meister puts the same weird mental whammy on Barry he did on Kara.

Barry wakes up in a nightclub, very confused. Amusingly, the suit and bowtie he’s wearing call to mind the usual civilian clothes of the early Barry Allen in the comics. Kara is on stage, singing “Moon River” and looking very confused. She waves when she sees Barry and gives a sort of “I don’t know” gesture. After her number, they meet up and talk. They are in mutual bafflement about what’s going on, and things start getting even more confusing quickly. They meet dopplegangers of Malcolm Merlyn, Winn, and Cisco, who are gangster Cutter Moran, piano player Grady, and waiter Pablo respectively. The Music Meister shows up to tell them they need to stick with the script of the musical they are now in, taunts them, remains annoyingly untouchable, and disappears. After a probably inevitable joke about clicking their heels together, the two heroes decide the best way to go is figure out the story and go with it, which is when they get kidnapped by a version of Professor Stein from Legends of Tomorrow.

Held captive in a warehouse, and very aware they have no powers, the pair compare notes about the disastrous states of their respective love lives, talking about Mon-El’s lies and the mess with Iris and the future. They find out that they are held prisoner by Dixie Foster (Joe West) who wants their help to find his missing daughter, who naturally turns out to be Iris. Bemused, but convinced it’s a plot point for the story, Barry and Kara agree to look for her. With help from Cisco/Pablo, they find Millie/Iris easily enough. She’s quite happy, hidden away with her lover, Tommy (Mon-El). Just to get in all the drama flakes we can, Tommy is Cutter’s son, setting up a nice little Romeo and Juliette vibe.

In the real world, Kara and Barry are out cold, and Caitlin reports they are losing Speed Force energy and solar radiation, respectively. Music Meister is draining them. Me, I would have thought that if Kara needed more solar energy, maybe keeping her in a basement wasn’t a good idea, but what do I know? The Music Meister zips around Central City using Barry’s speed, and then blasts a building with heat vision. The team to oppose him ends up being Cisco, Kid Flash, and Hank after he shifts to J’Onn, which surprises everyone. This group of heroes does much better than the last one, and smack down Music Meister easily, with some really nice teamwork.

Back in music world, Barry and Kara find it laughably easy to convince Millie and Tommy to go to their parents and confess their love. Kara comments that it’s really easy to convince people in musicals, which is true as a rule. Both children go back and talk to their respective parents. In an amusing twist, Stein and Joe are a couple in this world, co-parenting Iris/Millie. After a musical number, the various parents say everything’s fine, and then prepare their men for war. During the child/parent discussions, both Barry and Kara get metaphorically hit over the head by analogies to their own romantic situations.

Back at STAR, Iris and Mon go down to the Pipeline to visit the prisoner. He seems to be enjoying his captivity, and drops some vague hints on how to save the comatose heroes. Back in music world, Kara and Barry muse that seeing their respective significant others with someone else was hard on them, and then end up in an original musical number. It’s an entertaining piece, with a tap number for both, and jokes about Superman being overrated and Barry not being supposed to use time travel anymore to fix things. Just when they think everything is ok, gunfire erupts on the street. Barry and Kara rush outside and each manages to get shot, falling to the pavement. Mon and Iris convince Cisco to use his Vibe power to get them into the musical, and they kiss everything better. It’s a very Disney ending.

Everyone wakes up, and the Music Meister strolls in, happy they all realized their feelings for each other. Cisco is annoyed the prisoner got out of the Pipeline so easily. Then again, none of the rest of STAR’s security seems to ever work worth anything. The Music Meister is happy everyone learned their lessons, and goes off to teach someone else. When asked where he’s from, he says in passing they wouldn’t understand. I vaguely wonder if that’s a reference to his cartoon origins. The lovers all patch things up, after a unique threat from Supergirl to Mon if he ever lies again. Most of the cast is amused by hearing about the musical. The Supergirl cast go back to their world. Barry and Iris patch things up after another musical number.

What I liked: It was an entertaining change of pace. I admit I may be biased, since I’ve always been a theater geek. All those involved sing and dance really well, but considering how many of them were on a music based show a few years ago, that’s not stunning. I loved the J’Onn/Vibe/Kid Flash smackdown of Music Meister.

What I didn’t: At the risk of being picky, the people that got involved in this didn’t make a lot of sense. Neither Flash nor Supergirl have strong ties to Malcolm Merlyn or Martin Stein. Ciscco/Pablo’s “plot” for the musical got mentioned once and never touched on again. I’m not sure why Mon-El was relegated to observer in the fight with Music Meister.

Most of those are me being picky, I’ll grant. It was a fun little number and a welcome break from Savitar and DOOM! I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5.

Flash: Into the Speed Force


You will be visited by three ghosts… no, really

Last week, Wally fell for Savitar’s machinations and ended up trapped. Now, Barry and everyone else is determined to save him. The only way to rescue Wally and hopefully get more information on how to beat Savitar is to go, “Into The Speed Force.”

The team is gathered at STAR Labs, trying to figure out what to do next. Barry, brooding in voiceover, blames himself for Wally being a prisoner. He says that no one else will ever pay for his sins again. Sounds like Barry is planning on doing something drastic. He announces to the team he’s going to go free Wally, and tells Cisco to get the equipment ready. HR manages one of his not-quite ideas that inspire some real ideas from Caitlin and Cisco, as far as tracking and maybe rescuing Barry while he’s in the Speed Force. Jesse wants to go with him, but Barry asks her to stay and guard the city. These heroes do seem to think their various home cities will fall apart without someone in costume watching over them every moment.

There’s more relationship drama with Barry and Iris based on the revelations from last time, and in my opinion, Iris isn’t handling it well. Joe tries to cheer Barry up a bit, and Barry wonders if he’s changed the future one too many times. Mind you, most of his problems have come from changing the past. Getting off Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase, Cisco opens the breech and takes him and Barry into the Speed Force. After some reassurance, Cisco goes back.

The mist-like nothingness of the Speed Force resolves into Barry’s lab at the Central City Police, where Barry notionally works but is almost never there. The Speed Force likes taking the shapes of people Barry has lost, and this time it’s Eddie Thawne, Iris’ former fiancé, dead since the end of season one. His death is actually still causing complications over on Legends of Tomorrow.

“Eddie” asks Barry why he’s there, and doesn’t seem convinced that it’s so the speedster can rescue Wally. Eddie tells him that Wally isn’t precisely here, he’s in the prison his future self creates. Wally, Eddie explains, is a Flash, too, and so he has to live with the consequences of his choices. Just like Barry does.

At STAR, Jesse brings the blade Barry broke off Savitar to Cisco to see if he can analyze or track it. Why Jesse has it, I’m not really sure. Cisco, justifiably, is worried that Jesse is going to try and go after Savitar herself. HR manages to hear all this. In the time vault, Iris stares at the paper from the future we haven’t seen in a while. Joe comes in and they talk about her future.

Eddie talks about the life and death of the original Eddie, and how it was supposed to be different. He sort of reenacts Eddie’s death, as shades of Iris and Joe look on. Eddie asks if saving Wally is the only reason Barry came back, and is very insistent on getting an answer. Finally, he summons an elevator to the CCPD lobby, and tells Barry he can go if he can get through. After a superspeed game of tag with a Time Wraith, Barry gets away. The Ghosts of Barry’s Past continue as he now finds himself at a version of STAR, with Caitlin creepily singing to a baby and Ronnie Raymond there in his original Firestorm version.

Julian and Cisco get nowhere with Savitar’s blade. It’s just as resistant to scanning as the box they kept the Philosopher’s Stone in. There’s a really amusing digression as HR babbles more about differences from his world, in this case Schroder of Peanuts fame vs Schrodinger, the man with the Cat. Jesse, seemingly the source of most good ideas this episode, wonders if the blade is trying to reconnect with Savitar. HR makes some really ill-thought out comments about leaving things for the real Flash, which doesn’t sit well with Jesse, who storms out. HR catches up with her (nice trick with her being a speedster), and she yells at him to stop trying to be her father.

Ronnie tells Barry this is a life that could have been. Barry says they are showing him people that sacrificed themselves for the greater good, and Ronnie corrects that to sacrificing themselves for him. Barry says he’s there to take Wally’s place, and Ronnie says he can’t allow that. Barry refuses to leave, pulling his mask up. Ronnie says Barry was warned, and the Black Flash appears to fight Barry. As they chase each other around and exchange superspeed blows, Ronnie lectures Barry that he speaks of sacrifice, but allows others to take his burdens on their shoulders. Barry, pinned to the floor, rips off his chest symbol with Cisco’s gadgetry in it, and stabs Black Flash with it, who disappears. STAR Labs registers the telemetry signal from Barry disappearing, and Cisco worries they might not be able to get him back. Barry moves on to what looks like a hospital corridor. He tries to get to Wally when he sees him in a room, but gets prevented by the next ghost, Captain Cold Leonard Snart.

HR finds Jesse in costume. She has the blade, and is about to go off and fight Savitar. HR tries to talk her out of it, which doesn’t go really well. After some argument, Jesse finds a way to shut up HR that most in STAR would probably approve of at least a little. She comments that it was oddly satisfying just before she races off.

Snart says that Wally is trapped in a temporal loop, reliving the worst moment of his life over and over. This is the same thing future Barry did to Savitar. Barry says Wally doesn’t deserve to relive his mother’s death over and over. Snart, in that wonderful sardonic delivery of his, says, “Let me guess; you do?” After some guilt tripping, Barry says he’s all done fighting. Snart says that’s the problem, but as he levels his cold gun at Barry, Jay Garrick, Flash of Earth 3, shows up.

Jessie lets the blade go and it takes off, streaking off to Savitar. She speeds after it, ending up in a vacant lot. Savitar shows up to gloat, saying he’d know she’d come for him. He claims to have lived through all this before. I am beginning to form a theory about Savitar, but I will withhold it for now. HR is on coms, and finally points out that if Savitar can’t be hurt, there’d be no reason for him to wear armor. Jesse stabs him with the blade she’s been carrying/chasing, and he bellows in pain and runs off. Score one for the good guys.

Jay knew to show up because Cisco went to find him when they lost track of Barry. Cold tries to blast the two, and Barry scoops up Jay’s helmet and uses it to deflect the blast, a move that’s right out of the comics. After some combat and another inspirational talk from Jay, they manage to save Wally… at a price. Someone has to take his place. Jay does so, and Barry reluctantly accepts, promising to return and free Jay. Wally and Barry make it home and there is much rejoicing.

Jay’s helmet gets put on a display rack, where it was before when the impostor Jay was with them. Barry says that the Speed Force was telling him it is his job and no one else’s to save Iris. I agree that’s what they said, I don’t understand at all why. Barry says that Wally is going to be haunted by what he saw, so Kid Flash is out of action for a while. Just to make Wally feel even better, Jesse leaves after all, going to Earth 3 to take Jay’s place as that world’s Flash. Jesse gets a good bye gathering from everyone, and she makes up with HR. HR shares the news with everyone that, since Savitar was hurt, he’s not a god under the armor. I’m not sure that logic follows, but then logic isn’t HR’s strong point.

In a final scene, Barry goes home to the loft. He and Iris have a very emotional talk, and essentially switch sides. Iris realizes she wants to marry Barry, no matter why he asked her in the first place. Barry, in what I won’t even dignify with calling reasoning, suddenly decides they need a break in their relationship. So, the new rule seems to be no happy speedster couples.

What I liked: It was nice seeing Eddie, Ronnie, and Snart again. I’ve really missed Captain Cold since he died in Legends of Tomorrow. Also, it was good to see Jay. Barry’s being willing to sacrifice himself for Wally was probably a bit guilt-driven, but it was still in character for him and arguably heroic. I completely understand Jesse’s reasons for going after Savitar on her own, and for dealing with HR the way she did. I’ve wanted to do that myself.

What I didn’t: Barry’s breakup with Iris made no sense at all. There was no reason for it, and came out of nowhere. That was cheap drama-flakes. HR’s leap that Savitar isn’t a god seemed to come out of nowhere. And, while I get everyone was upset about Wally, Jay seems to know a lot more about what’s going on. Maybe he would have been a more useful ally to defeat Savitar? Cold-blooded of me, maybe, but I think it makes sense. Jesse’s timing, leaving when Wally’s so shaken, seems a bit harsh at best.

I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. It would have been higher but for the double break ups, especially Barry’s.

Flash: The Wrath of Savitar


Savitar Seance, Julian’s least favorite game


After dealing with Grodd the last two episodes, the STAR Labs team have a new problem to face. The big bad of the season is finally back, and making life hell for our heroes. Now, they have to face “The Wrath of Savitar.”

Preparing for the upcoming showdown with their fast foe, the speedsters are training hard. They blur past a billboard proclaiming Central City the home of Flash and Kid Flash. In this case, Jesse Quick is with them, too, as they push Wally to be the best Kid Flash he can be in hopes of saving Iris from Savitar in the future Barry saw. At the end of the run, Wally sees a vision of Savitar and, following the tradition of heroes making bad choices on these shows, doesn’t tell anyone.

Julian gets back from his trip back to London, having a very awkward welcome home moment with Caitlin. Have I mentioned that I don’t care for that pairing? In fact, Barry has gathered everyone at STAR so he and Iris can make their big announcement about their engagement. The only not thrilled reaction is Joe, who pulls Barry aside to ask why he didn’t ask for permission first. Ok, I get Joe is a bit old-fashioned, but c’mon, man, it’s the 21st century now.

Just after the announcement, the team gets word of a fire. With the lamest excuse ever, Jesse stays behind (she’s preoccupied with the ring? Really?), so Barry and Wally rush off as Flash and Kid-Flash. I hope they weren’t needed, because they never actually get there. Wally gets attacked by Savitar, but Barry doesn’t see him. For some reason, this is hard for everyone to believe, even though Savitar hasn’t been visible to everyone since he first started appearing.

Caitlin checks out Wally in the medbay, while he tells the team he’s been seeing Savitar for about a week now. This is just the first time it got physical. Barry is worried that Wally might be corrupted by Savitar’s influence, and tells him he’s benched for the rest of this adventure. Seems to be the week for it. Maybe Wally and Alex from Supergirl can start a support group. The team decides talking to Savitar is their best bet, but they need Julian to do it. Julian is understandably reluctant to be possessed again. Barry’s reassurance that he knows what he’s doing isn’t helping much; he’s screwed up the timeline how many times now?

Caitlin goes and talks Julian into cooperating by comparing his problem with Savitar to her own with Killer Frost. I’m still wondering why Caitlin is the only meta we’ve seen whose powers cause mental issues. Cisco gets everything set up, and the seance is on. Savitar isn’t particularly helpful, although he’s as megalomaniacal as ever. Barry shuts it down finally, and HR freaks out. Not the bravest, that version of Wells.

They decide to go after one of the Acolytes of Savitar they ran across before. Why he’s not in jail, I don’t know, but he’s doing some kind of worship service amid what Barry accurately describes as “real Temple of Doom stuff.” Gregory, too, isn’t helpful, but somehow knows Barry is engaged. I knew they shouldn’t have taken that ad out in the paper…

They recover what appears to be the box the Philosopher’s Stone was in, even though Barry tossed it into the Speed Force. While most of the gang puzzles over the box, HR coaches Wally in the speed lab. Wally is noticeably slower now, and HR says it’s because Wally’s worried about Savitar. Nothing good comes from a place of fear, HR advises. Somehow they decide that Wally will do better if he sees the event he’s trying to prevent. Cisco opposes the idea at first, but finally agrees. Wally learns something that angers him, and he handles it horribly, causing a scene in front of the whole STAR crew. This in turn causes more problems for Barry and Iris. Julian worries that he is the cause of all this, and then everyone gets a shock from Caitlin.

Caitlin held back a piece of the Stone to try and further her obsession (because at this point, that’s what it is) with getting rid of her powers. HR tries to excuse her by saying it was Frost clouding her judgement, but Caitlin says it was all her. The team wants to use Julian to talk to Savitar again, and Julian complains he’s not a human Ouija board, possibly the best line of the episode. Julian wonders if Caitlin’s obsession is why she invited him to the team, and storms out.

Joe goes to talk to Iris and tries to reassure her after Wally’s outburst. They chat with Savitar again via Julian, and get more boasts. Cisco’s attempt to get a trace on where Savitar might be doesn’t go as planned. Wally and Jesse have a talk as he packs (why he’s packing to go train at STAR, I’m not sure). Wally is worried about something being wrong with him, since his powers came from Savitar and Alchemy. As they talk about the way he handled his earlier outburst, they get a visit from Wally’s dead mother. Wally has a disturbing chat with his mother, who Jesse can’t see, and figures out it’s Savitar again. Wally rushes off in the grand tradition of doing something stupid by himself.

Iris and Barry have a very tense conversation about Wally’s earlier bombshell. I personally think she might be overreacting a bit, but that’s me. Cisco tries to use his powers to find Savitar, but all he gets is white flashes like some kind of storm. They aren’t too worried about Savitar getting out since they have Caitlin’s piece of the Stone. That’s when Jesse speeds in and tells them about Wally going off alone. The team finds out that Caitlin’s piece of the Stone is gone.

Savitar goads Wally into going faster than he ever has, and opening a portal into the Speed Force. Wally throws the piece of the Stone into the Speed Force. Wally thinks he’s safeguarding it, but of course, it gives Savitar the last bit he needs to escape. Wally gets pulled into the Speed Force just as Barry arrives. Savitar escapes from the void, and he and Barry fight at superspeed. It’s an ugly battle that ends with one of Savitar’s blades though Barry’s shoulder. Barry makes it back to STAR, where he gets medical attention and they analyze the blade.

When Barry wakes up from Caitlin operating on him sans anesthetic, everyone is upset. Joe is clutching a piece of Wally’s costume that Barry brought back, and Iris has changed something based on Wally’s earlier yelling at Barry. The episode ends with some of the team going to analyze Savitar’s blade while Barry and Caitlin talk about fear as a motivator.

What I liked: The billboard at the beginning was a nice, old-school comics touch I appreciated. The practice for Wally rescuing Iris at the beginning was kind of cool. I completely understand Julian’s reluctance to be the conduit for Savitar.

What I didn’t: I get being rattled, but Wally was acting really badly this episode. He really blew it with his losing it in front of everyone about Barry. I’m really disappointed in Caitlin. The bit about Jesse and the ring was just unbelievably stupid.

It wasn’t a great episode, but wasn’t that bad. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. I’m really hoping we finish with Savitar soon.

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