Cause and effect: it can be a real son of a gun, especially when you’re screwing with Time. And regardless of whether it’s for the greater good or not, we all know how much Barry Allen—no matter the iteration—loves dabbling with the timeline.
We pick up where last week’s The Flash left off; with Barry facing his more scarred and evil, Savitar-y self and we get a bit more than the “I am you, Barry” spiel I was expecting. Turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than that. In fact, though he may be the Future Flash, Savitar is the sole-surviving time remnant of Barry’s initial battle with the speed god. But how can that be? Well, it’s a somewhat convoluted explanation, one that is not with some very interesting talking points (thanks, Cisco!) but the most important aspect is that with Savitar a future iteration of Barry, there’s really nothing they can do to prevent the speed god from knowing everything our Flash knows.
Yep, Cisco’s daring science experiment to turn the tide in their favor is to prevent Barry from making new memories. Do that and they’ll have the upper hand in the battle against Savitar. Except, as first-time experiments tend to go, the result goes a bit farther than Barry’s new memories being shielded. Instead, he gets smacked with the fantastic fictionally amnesia plot device. Generally speaking, amnesia storylines get the big, fat eye roll but “Cause and Effect” works and there’s one reason for this: Barry Allen.
The Flash has always been about the promise of hope but lately, with the impending doom awaiting Iris, Barry has lost a lot of that positive drive that has been in his arsenal for so long. It’s the cheeriest Barry we’ve seen since his time in Flashpoint. In the latter, he lived a life where his parents were alive while, in “Cause and Effect” the amnesia wiped both their loss and the accompanying pain from his mind. Such an emotional lift made, for the most part, an unexpectedly light-hearted episode. We got to see how Barry may have turned out if his parents never died and even got to see him react to his powers for the first (or second) time. That, coupled with the burgeoning romance between H.R. and Tracy Brand was the exact jump start we needed before hitting what will most likely be two of the most emotionally draining episodes of the season. Of course, this fresh new version of Barry could only last so long and, with some unexpected help, Team Flash jostles Barry’s memory just in time to save a building full of people from being burned alive by Heat Monger.
Remember the whole thing about cause and effect—first mentioned by Savitar, no less? One of the unforeseen circumstances of the amnesia is that Savitar’s hit with it as well. That effect rolls over to Wally who, because Savitar is also smacked with the amnesia bug, loses his powers. Enter Killer Frost. Because she’s firmly on Team Savitar (and the promises he’s given her) Frost throws her hat in the ring to work with Cisco and Julian on a solution. The trio share a few tense moments but also we get the smallest hint that buried under the frost and penchant for violence, our Caitlin Snow is still alive. This is seen best when, after eviscerating Cisco and Julian with the “I never loved any of you” send off, we catch the briefest glimpse of Caitlin’s true eye color bleed through, if only for a moment.
Maybe, all is not lost after all…
- His memories returned, Barry and Iris talk about their most recent ordeal. Both saw a Barry Allen sans the baggage the pain of losing one’s parents would saddle you with. He admits to her that Flashpoint provided him that same type of freedom and though it was tempting to accept, he tells her that “Pain and darkness, it’s a part of me”. We are all products of events in our lives: some leave minor impressions while others have a profound effect upon us that can be the driving force in our lives. Losing his mother has always been that driving force for Barry and will continue to be so as long as he is the Flash.
- Now we know that Savitar won’t be defeated by the general “let me wipe myself from the timeline” action. Being that he is a time remnant does change how they need to combat Savitar and we get a peek at the MacGuffin needed to ensnare the speed god into his Speed Force prison. That and King Shark. Next week should be a blast and a half!
The Flash: “Cause and Effect”