24 hours until Iris West Dies
Those words, coupled with Aurora’s ominous ‘Murder Song’ leads off the penultimate episode as Team Flash races against the seemingly inevitable moment where Savitar is born and Iris West dies. To save Iris, Barry must break a few rules, even one or two he’s sworn never to do.
First thing’s first: Cisco finds out that A.R.G.U.S. has tech left over from the Dominator invasion that’ll power the Speed Force Bazooka. Only problem is that Lyla’s not about to lend such a powerful piece of tech to a guy who, despite being the white hat, tends to bend the rules as he sees fit. “Infantino Street” is Exhibit 1, 2, and 3 of that.
Knowing that he can’t break into A.R.G.U.S. without help, Barry seeks out someone “with a particular set of skills” to help him with Mission: Improbable. That certain someone is Leonard Snart…taken from 1892 Siberia during his time with the Legends. Joe and Iris point out his recklessness, once again using time travel in an attempt to solve his issues. His actions give weight to Savitar’s statement about the more you break the rules (time travel), the less they matter.
Speaking of Savitar, the more I thought about his role as antagonist, the less I truly could follow his motivations. Why would he kill Iris when a part of him remembers loving her? It’s not until his conversation with Killer Frost where his rage and pain are on display. “What I remember,” he says, “is being created as a disposable life. Something to be thrown away when Barry Allen was done with me. He didn’t care about me…why should I care about his love?”
While it’s still difficult seeing any version of Barry revert to such monstrous deeds, at least his explanation is more grounded than his throwaway lines from last week’s episode.
Now, back to the heist. With a little help from Cisco and a lot of help from Snart, Barry’s able to sneak into A.R.G.U.S. (I use that term loosely) bypass every last bit of tech between them and the Dominators’ power supply. The final obstacle just so happens to be the half ton behemoth King Shark. And playing on the ‘Barry is breaking the rules’ card, he’s willing to ice King Shark in the most permanent of ways until Snart reminds Barry that there’s always another way. That other way—thanks to Snart’s fascination with ‘Shark Week’—works and they get the tech…
Then the plan goes even more sideways.
As Barry escapes, Snart gets trapped in the vault, necessitating our white hat Flash to make a decision: leave Snart to the now conscious and ticked off King Shark, or get away with the power source. Realizing the person he is, Barry refuses to abandon Snart and though Cisco’s able to hack him out of the vault, Lyla and a few A.R.G.U.S. agents show up, guns drawn. But instead of arresting the two intruders, Lyla’s executive decision is to give Barry the tech. Why, after admitting earlier she didn’t trust him, would Lyla change her tune so quickly? It’s because she saw him refuse to leave Snart, reminding her that Barry is truly the good guy. I guess when you’re talking about shows with speedsters, dopplegangers, time travel, and King Sharks, suspension of disbelief is paramount. Thus, such a change of tune that just so happens to line up with our hero’s purpose can be, maybe not ignored, but somewhat excused.
While Barry and Snart were busy with their heist, Wally, Joe, and Iris head to Earth-2 in an attempt keep Iris from Savitar. It almost works…until Savitar fools H.R. into giving up her location. After thrashing Wally, he takes Iris and waits for Barry on Infantino Street where Barry channels his inner ghostbuster, smacking Savitar with the Speed Force bazooka…
…Only for the speed god to shake it off with help from the Philosopher’s Stone.
What happens next is, admittedly, something I never expected to happen. Savitar runs Iris through, killing her right in front of Barry. Months of trying to change the future ends up being a fruitless effort as Barry Allen loses the love of his life and, in the woods, Cisco is moments away from falling to his former best friend, now Killer Frost. Game over, Savitar wins.
- Now that was some good television with a few unexpected twists. I’m sure that, during the finale, we’ll see some sort of one-episode retcon to save Iris but, as the episode was bookended with that same morose song from Aurora, we see that the future is like trying to redirect a tidal wave. I may not be a fan of Iris but watching her skewered by the speed god and the subsequent despair on Barry and Joe’s faces, I can’t help but lament the loss…temporary as it may be.
- It was good to see Wentworth Miller return as Captain Cold. His chemistry with Barry has always been a stronger aspect to his appearances. He also strengthens the idea that any aspect of Barry could become a ruthless speed god such as Savitar when he mentions how their relationship works because Barry sees the good in him while he sees the bad in Barry. His final advice reminds Barry (and us) that Savitar will be taken down only when Barry embraces his inner good guy.
- Finally, there was some serious foreshadowing to next week’s finale. H.R. proposed to Tracy—well, asked her to stay with him at S.T.A.R. labs—but his biggest regret was inadvertently giving up Iris’s location. His need to do something worth a damn has always been that hidden desire within him. Now, with him feeling the guilt of Iris’s death as well as the poignant glance he gave Savitar’s armor piece, something tells me H.R. is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice…
The Flash: “Infantino Street”