After several weeks away, The Flash did not waste any time making an impact its first night back. This week’s episode titled, “The Once And Future Flash” and directed by Tom Cavanagh, has Barry playing with time travel once again – something he’s sworn numerous times not to mess with, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you were faced with the dilemma that Team Flash is currently dealing with, what would you do to make sure the ones you loved didn’t get hurt? Rather, what wouldn’t you do to prevent the one you love from dying? In this episode, we watch as Barry reaches out for help from an unlikely place – the future. Warning: There are spoilers inside. If you haven’t seen this week’s episode yet, you should take the time to do so now and then come back when you’re finished.
Thanks to some help from Wally, Barry races into the future to find himself and, hopefully, some answers that will help him save Iris and defeat Savitar once and for all. The minute he arrives through the time portal, nothing feels right. A news paper tells him it’s the year 2024. Almost immediately after, he’s greeted by Top and Mirror Master. The two are able to do a number to him, but Barry is able to make an escape before submitting to further damage.
The first stop on his quest is the loft he and Iris lived in. Upon his arrival, he finds that it’s been abandoned for quite some time. Underneath some dust is an old picture with Iris. A figure suddenly appears at the door, and it’s Cisco. He greets Barry as if it’s been years – that’s because it has been. After quickly catching up with his old friend, Cisco brings Barry to STAR Labs where his future self has been living since Iris’ death. The lab is in ruins; wires hang from the ceiling and mostly everything is covered by a sheet covered in dust. Out of the corner a mysterious body emerges. It’s Barry. Broken and with no hope and looking very emo.
It seems that this Barry failed in every way to save Iris. Broken Barry gives little information regarding Savitar, so regular-timed Barry decides to go back to his time. However, when he attempts to open a portal, he can’t. With nothing but time on his hands, Cisco convinces him to help out with the current situation in Central City and bring the team together. He discovers that Wally was paralyzed and nearly killed taking on Savitar by himself. Julian has been taking care of Caitlin who fully embraced her Killer Frost persona and is being held in a cell dampening her powers in an undisclosed location. HR moved on to take over Jitters and host book readings every night. And Joe has been left to mourn his daughter alone.
Back at the lab, Barry feels even more compelled to return to his time to prevent his team from falling apart, but Cisco insists he remain. To help convince him, Cisco tells him the truth and confesses that he’s the reason why he couldn’t initially return to his own time. By doing so, he forces Barry to want to stay and help rather than being tricked into staying. Barry being Barry loves his team more than anything and agrees to help. After bringing everyone into the lab, the team sets forth to capture Top and Mirror Master. Even Broken Barry joins in. Before returning to his time, Broken Barry apologizes and Team Flash reunites. As BArry sets off to return home, future Barry gives regular-time Barry the schematics needed to trap Savitar. The only problem is that the scientist who can understand the information won’t discover it for another four years. Can Barry track them down and save Iris in time? The episode ends with quite the cliffhanger as Killer Frost meets up with Savitar who leaves his suit of armor to reveal himself, but only to her.
This was a great way for the show to return from it’s little hiatus. And kudos to Tom Cavanagh for a job well done directing the episode. It told a solid story, involved two great villains who showed off their powers, and resolved everything with team work. These What If types of stories are always fun to play out. For Barry, it’s great insight into one possible future. But if you have any knowledge regarding time travel and the future, you should know that there are endless possibilities regarding what may come. So when Barry does return home, he’s got the power to set forth the slightest change that would impact the future immensely. Always remember: Flashpoint.
Cisco was tonight’s star player. It was such a tragedy seeing how his last battle against Killer Frost resulted. No wonder he tried to force Barry to help reunite the team. Sad and alone, what else would any normal person have done? Cisco has really cemented himself among the rest of the characters in the show. If anything were to ever happen to him there would certainly be riots all over the internet, fan forums would be set ablaze, and the ban hammer would be dropped upon many twitter accounts.
Out of all of the other possible future endings, HR’s was the best one to see. Both he and Julian’s future’s were probably expected, but Joe’s was the saddest and most unrealized. Who would have ever thought he would have to go through life alone after his daughter’s death. Not only did he lose Barry, but Wally as well. It’s the worst ending for a person who deserves everything far from it. Thankfully it’s something that fans will only have to experience once and only as a possibility rather than something set in stone.
Welcome back Flash.
The Flash airs Tuesdays on The CW at 8 PM EST. Check out a preview for an all new episode of The Flash next week.