After nearly two months on hiatus, The Flash returned this week and it’s no surprise that, after catching a glimpse of a terrible future, Barry feels the walls of hopelessness closing in all around him.
“Borrowing Problems from the Future” starts by reminding us of that death—Iris being murdered at the hands of Savitar in a few short months. Additionally, we get a quick check-in with the entire crew: Barry and Iris living together for a month now (and have yet to fully unpack), Caitlin is having issues with her depowering cuffs, HR is putting all of his energy into the ‘soft’ opening for S.T.A.R. labs, and Julian is still harboring feelings of guilt after being forced to commit horrifying acts at the command of the Speed God, Savitar.
What The Flash has always done so well—and “Borrowing” is no different in this regard— is combine multiple secondary stories and align them with the episode’s primary storyline in a way that provides each aspect a chance to move forward. It’s clear that finding a way to change the future and prevent Savitar from murdering Iris is going to be the primary theme through the second half of the season and, after keeping this knowledge a secret for nearly a month, Barry comes clean with the gang. It’s an important step for both Barry and the cohesion of Team Flash. How many times has Barry kept vital information to himself only to have it blow up in his face? Well, it seems as if he’s learned from those mistakes, bringing everyone into the fold about Iris’ impending doom. All except Joe, of course. That latter part is because Iris doesn’t trust that Joe will be able to see things clearly. As if that particular decision is going to end well.
As mentioned, every character has his or her own stress to handle in the episode. Though HR is putting his time and energy into making the S.T.A.R. Lab Museum opening a success, he’s running into opposition from the gang, especially Cisco who’s uncharacteristically callous towards HR. The newly minted Kid Flash is loving his role as the new hero in town and, despite run-in with Barry, is on his way to becoming Central City’s newest rock star. Caitlin feels the frosty approach of her Killer Frost alter ego as the depowering cuffs, though doing their job, have that pesky issue with keeping a charge. She turns to Julian for help as he’s the foremost expert on metahumans. He initially rebuffs her request, still not over being controlled by Savitar. He eventually comes around, even being asked to join Team Flash and, working with Cisco, provide Caitlin with a solar powered version of the cuffs in the form of a necklace.
But the primary focus is Barry and his recollections of that imperfect future. The biggest detail in his flash forward was Jared Morillo’s (aka Plunder) conviction on the news. So guess who just happens to find his way into town with a super hi-tech laser rifle? Yep, Mr. Morillo. His appearance is what sparks Barry to come clean with the crew and is the first domino they’re able to change as it relates to the future.
All this talk about the future can’t be made without once again singling out HR. Not only does Barry go to the Earth-19 Harrison Wells for his thoughts on the future but HR once again shows his importance to the team as the resident philosopher. “I think that a man often meets his destiny on the very road he takes to avoid it,” he tells Barry, “…meaning the future is fixed.” But he concedes the possibility that we can, in fact, move the pieces around to change our final destination. Though it’s not an easy task.
Enter Cisco and Vibe Time.
Jumping forward once more, Barry and Cisco gather details on several events that will precede the Iris’ death. Though admittedly shaky, they have a roadmap to that moment and are set to do what they can to stop the future from coming to pass.
If only it were that easy.
So much good stuff and though things do end on a primarily positive note—with the gang getting together for a party at Baris’s new place, the foreshadowing to the future has been made, not only by Barry and Cisco’s Vibe into the future but by the mysterious woman making her way out of a portal with what looks to be ill intentions for HR. Where it looks as if we’ll get more from her next week, some of the glimpses to future events include:
- The return of Gorilla Grod: Sounds as if the intellectual gorilla will return to Central City with some friends in tow.
- Killer Frost at large: For one reason or another, the depower cuffs and necklace won’t be enough to keep Caitlin’s killer alter ego in check. So Cisco’s original vision of the two of them throwing down may still come to fruition.
- Joe West honored at City Hall: Though this seems to be a positive, I can’t help but wonder if Joe’s being honored posthumously. The language is vague and works for both his death and being honored for his public service. As one of the original members of Team Flash, it would be very difficult to lose Joe and my irrational fear is that, were he to die, The Flash would lose some of its heart, similar to what happened in Smallville when Jonathan Kent died.
- HR’s a big part of the present and future. Not only does he have a mysterious bounty hunter gunning for him but he offers the possibility on how to manipulate events as the future Moment comes closer. He’s also the first variable Barry sees on his return to the Moment, as HR is on the roof, rifle in hand. Curiously, he never fires on Savitar but it’s proof that the future is malleable.
The Flash: “Borrowing Problems from the Future” –4/5