The truth is, The Flash Season 3 has not been without its problems. It started with Flashpoint and continued with the way the team has handled trying to save Iris’ life. “The Wrath of Savitar” started well with Team Flash’s concrete plan to save Iris using Wally’s speed, then drifted into the danger zone by toying with the future. By the end, the tone and intensity shifted in a way that left it as one of the season’s strongest hours.
As discussed in previous reviews of The Flash, the haphazard way that Barry and the team have gone about changing the future in the hopes that something will stick and save Iris has been frustrating to watch. Whether it’s the newsfeed items or now Barry’s proposal to Iris, there’s no logical reason why changing any of these events would alter the future Barry saw of Savitar killing Iris.
At first, it seemed that Barry had turned his focus to what they did know in order to try and save Iris instead. Wally was back to training to get faster and the team did test runs to see if Wally could get to Iris in time. He succeeded and it was a moment of celebration. They had an actual, workable plan to prevent Iris’ death. Unfortunately, that celebration was short-lived.
Savitar invaded Wally’s consciousness, manipulated Kid Flash, and worst of all made Wally doubt himself. So in order to make sure he could save Iris, Wally convinced Cisco to vibe him to the future so he could see what he was facing to save Iris.
When Cisco vibed Barry to the future, the event had changed. In that future, HR was on a rooftop with a rifle. So, why didn’t Wally see himself try to save Iris? That was the plan as of that moment. Why didn’t Iris have a ring on her finger? Is the future Cisco vibes to somewhat static? Or was what ultimately happened to Wally and Iris already factored into the future he saw?
The way the writers have set up the manipulation of the future and vibing to that scene has been confusing, without any sense of rules or even moderate clarification of how it works in these circumstances. There’s been speculation by Team Flash, but nothing definitive which leaves its as the weakest part of the season so far.
Overall, the episode (and in the end, perhaps the season storyline as a whole) succeeded because of Savitar. As his acolyte Craig said, “He’s ten steps ahead of you. There’s no stopping Savitar.” That could explain why the future isn’t changing.
More importantly to the tale is Savitar’s belief that Barry is the “Big Bad.” Since the show is titled, The Flash, and given Barry’s refusal to kill (even if it could be for the best), which Savitar mentioned, that seems preposterous. But, is it?
Barry created Flashpoint, which is responsible for Savitar and all that Savitar’s done. The changes due to Flashpoint have caused pain and suffering and even after supposedly learning from his mistake, Barry’s messing with the timeline again to try and save Iris.
Savitar also played Wally. He manipulated the young speedster into getting the Philosopher’s Stone and thinking by throwing it into the speed force it would save the day, when in actuality that’s what would free Savitar. It was devastating to watch Wally be destroyed like that. He thought he was heroic, but instead he was sucked into the speed force.
If anything good came out of all of this, it’s that Barry finally has realized and accepted his part it what has happened. As he said, “Fear makes us do a lot of things that we shouldn’t. My fear’s the reason for all of this.”
That doesn’t save Wally and won’t save Iris, but perhaps that self-reflection will help Barry realize what needs to be done. Or, even come to recognize who Savitar is or was that he’s doing this. That information could go a long way to saving Iris, Wally and everyone he cares about.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
— Should Barry have gone to Joe and asked for permission to marry Iris? Probably. Out of all the errors Barry has made lately, that’s pretty far down the list though.
— Savitar: “I created myself. Only I can bring out my greatness.”
— Julian: “Well, good chat, was it?”
— Caitlin: “I’m the one who betrayed everyone.”
— Oh, Caitlin! Her reason for keeping part of the Philosopher’s Stone makes sense and it’s certainly not the worst thing that someone on the team’s done. She got a reprieve when it actually helped keep Savitar away.
— Julian: “I’m not a human Oujia board.”
— Savitar: “I’m free!”
— Savitar to Barry: “You have everything. And deserve none of it.” — What does this mean? Who is Savitar and why does he have such disdain for Barry? What did or will Barry do to deserve this?
— “Not your fault.” — Joe to Barry. But it really is all Barry’s fault. Flashpoint!
— Cisco: “One will suffer a fate worse than death.”
Barry: “Fear makes us do a lot of things that we shouldn’t. My fear’s the reason for all of this.”