[WARNING – This review contains SPOILERS for The Flash season 3, episode 20.]
While visiting the future in last week’s episode of The Flash, Barry learned just how deeply Iris’ death will affect not only himself, but all of Team Flash. Coupled with Caitlin’s potentially-permanent transformation into Killer Frost — a development with even larger repercussions than anyone initially realized — the days ahead are indeed dark for Flash and friends. But not all hope is lost. Barry may not have learned Savitar’s identity, but he did learn the next best thing: the identity of a woman who in the future helps him defeat Savitar.
More determined than ever to stop that grim future from coming to pass, Barry seeks out Dr. Tracy Brand (guest star Anne Dudek) in tonight’s episode, ‘I Know Who You Are’ — written by Bronwen Clark and Joshua V. Gilbert, directed by Hanelle Culpepper. Hoping to convince Tracy to help them defeat Savitar now instead of later, Team Flash must protect her from Savitar’s newest lackey — Killer Frost, who upon learning Savitar’s identity, quickly aligned herself with the God of Speed. And if last week’s brief battle with Killer Frost serves as any indication, it won’t be easy for Team Flash — and Cisco in particular — to fight one of their own.
The time for speculation is over, tonight’s episode made good on its promise, revealing in its final moments Savitar’s true identity — future-future Barry Allen. In these last few weeks, the theory that Savitar wasn’t just, “the future, Flash” but actually the future-Flash had gained the most momentum. Each episode was stacked with clues (which we’ve previously broken down), making it all the more plausible Barry’s greatest adversary would turn out to be a future version of himself.
So while the twist wasn’t as shocking as intended, the reveal is still one with huge implications for where season 3 goes in these final episodes. Not to mention the questions it raises. Like why does a future-version of Barry — a version from a later date than the future-time present-Barry visited last week — want to kill Iris? The future-Barry introduced last week was a wreck in the wake of Iris’ death, surely any version of Barry post-that tragedy would want to avert it, not cause it. Also, cool scar, Savitar-Barry (Savitarry?). Outside of a goatee, there’s no better visual cue that a character is the evil version than a nasty looking scar. So how’d he get that? Does his life become even worse after getting Team Flash back together, resulting in the unsightly injury?
We may finally have our answer to the question of Savitar’s identity, but in the end, learning it only raises more questions. And ones that The Flash is going to be hard-pressed to answer in the remaining episodes. Still, there’s no denying the wrench this throws into any of their plans to defeat Savitar, promising a most interesting final showdown between Flash and future Flash.
She’s A Killer (Almost)
‘I Know Who You Are’ is an episode that’s mostly concerned with the big reveal coming in its finale minute, and because of this, much of the development for any other subplot feels like an after thought. Julian’s needling of Cisco to use his powers against Killer Frost, Joe’s relationship hurdles, and even the introduction of Tracy Brand come across as being sorta-filler, delaying the impact of the real bombshell.
The same cannot be said, however, of Killer Frost. Sent on a mission to kill Tracy before Team Flash can convince her to help, Killer Frost comes frighteningly close to owning up to her name. And while Killer Frost is more a split personality inhabiting Caitlin rather than Caitlin herself, it’s no less unsettling to see her so easily agree to murder an innocent woman — only to then also threaten to kill another innocent woman if Team Flash doesn’t hand her over. Villainy is a slippery slope and Caitlin may already be lost. (And frankly, Panabaker is so much fun as Killer Frost, why not let her be bad for a while?)
Save Iris West, Save the Future!
Saving Iris has been the driving force for this back half of season 3, serving as not just Barry’s motivation, but Joe, Wally, and most certainly Iris’, too. What happens when they learn that Iris’ murderer is an evil Barry from the future? (Besides what looks like a hilarious sequence where they wipe Barry’s memories in next week’s episode.)
Bringing Tracy Brand on board — and setting her up to stick around for a while, likely as a Caitlin Snow stand-in and love interest for H.R. — implies they’ll have the Speed Force trap in time for the finale. If you’ll recall, H.R. (or some version of Harrison Wells) is also present during the scene of Iris’ murder. But whether they can spring it before future-Barry kills her remains to be seen.
With or without the Speed Force trap, saving Iris is more important than ever. Not only is her life on the line, but those of her friends and family who may not physically die, but are broken by the experience. Most of all, stopping his future self from killing Iris would prevent Barry from becoming the scarred and twisted version inside Savitar’s suit. Saving Iris stops the creation of Savitar — but will it really be that simple?
The Flash season 3 continues next Tuesday with ‘Cause and Effect’ @8pm on The CW.