Tonight’s episode of The Flash shed some light on the creation of Savitar while giving the audience a fun diversion from his reign of terror. In “Cause and Effect,” Barry let Team Flash wipe his memory so Savitar/time remnant Barry would also suffer from memory loss. With Barry’s memories gone, he fumbled through a witness testimony, he fell in love with Iris for a second time and he rediscovered the purpose of his powers. The episode, while a fun switch up during an otherwise very dark season, actually showed us the depth and range of Grant Gustin (who played three characters this week,) as well as answered the ultimate superhero question: is it better to have pain and be a superhero or live pain free,= but not be able to help anyone? That question was at the forefront of this week’s episode as Barry’s superhero identity was directly connected to the creation of Savitar in the future. Killer Frost was also challenged this week as her Speed God Savitar was left without his memories. She was forced to work with Team Flash, which presented a painful and emotional challenge to her, Julian, and Cisco. HR and Tracy also felt some sparks as they worked towards developing a speedforce trap for Savitar.
Savitar’s Creation Revealed
The biggest question everyone was asking after last week’s shocking Savitar reveal was, “how on Earth-1 could Barry become so broken and so evil that he would become a monster like Savitar?” The answer is, he didn’t, one of his time remnants did (we can all breathe a sigh of relief now.) As Cisco aptly tried to explain, in a version of Barry’s future, he will create multiple time remnants of himself to take on Savitar. Savitar will succeed in killing all of them, except one. That one time remnant will try to be a part of Team Flash and he will be shunned. He will be so rejected and destitute that he will lose his mind and decide that the only way to “have everything he wants in life” will be to become a “God of Speed.” Since the creation of Savitar happened in a cause and effect causal loop, his creation is not something that can be easily stopped. It’s important to note here that Grant Gustin played the part of time remnant Barry perfectly. He had the attitude and stride of someone hell bent on revenge, yet played him so calmly, so coolly, it was like looking at a completely different person.
Since Savitar was one of Barry’s time remnants, Savitar also had all of Barry’s memories up until their mental split. In order to keep Savitar from knowing their plans, Team Flash decided to wipe Barry’s short term memory. Unfortunately, they wiped all of his memories, which made for a very comedic episode. Barry couldn’t remember his name so he went by Bart Allen. Flash fans will recognize Bart Allen as the name of the first Kid Flash in DC Comics. He also thought Team Flash was trying to steal his kidneys, so he reacted to everything in a humorous way. Gustin again performed Barry in a new way, allowing this version of Barry to go through life completely free of the burdens of being a superhero. This Barry didn’t know he was engaged to Iris, so their scenes together were a bit like watching two people fall in love all over again. He also didn’t know that his parents were killed so he had an optimism that Barry never had before. Some of his scenes were downright comedic, especially when Julian and Cisco wired up a pair of text glasses to help him testify in court. The greatest downside to Barry’s memory loss was that he didn’t know he had powers. Wally was also powerless because if Savitar didn’t know he had powers, he couldn’t turn Wally into a speedster.
The Power of Pain
There were a lot of cause and effect/if then scenarios presented this week. For instance, if Savitar didn’t have any memories, would Wally have his powers? If Barry didn’t have his memories, would he have his powers? If Barry never knew about his parents’ tragic murders, would he be willing to rise up and protect people as a superhero? If Savitar had no memories, would he kill Iris in the future? Team Flash had to navigate all of these connected questions relatively fast, especially when Heatmonger started terrorizing Central City. Bart had access to his speedforce powers but he didn’t know how to use them. He wanted to be a hero, but he couldn’t tap back into his memories enough to become himself again. Only Iris could jumpstart Barry’s heart and mind. She did so by reminding him of his most painful memory, the day his mother died. Iris reminded Barry that when his mother died, he came to live with her and Joe. Little Barry was so traumatized he couldn’t even cry, so he placed his head in little Iris’ lap. Iris was forced to remind Barry of that painful memory because it made him who he was. It was also the day their two lives became intertwined and they fell in love. This memory gave Barry, Wally, and Savitar their speed back. Iris knew she was signing her own death certificate by doing that, but she, like Barry, couldn’t let all those people die.
The episode really demonstrated the price every hero pays for being heroic. Barry lost both of his parents to speedsters who came after him because he was a speedster. That reality was a painful one for Barry to bear and Iris loved seeing him so carefree during his memory wipe. Iris also knew that saving people was worth it to Barry, even if it meant losing everyone around him, even if it means losing her. Hopefully, Iris will not have to suffer the same fate as Barry’s parents, because of Tracy Brand’s brilliant speedforce trap for Savitar. Tracy will need a power source stronger than the sun for it work, which leads us to next week’s A.R.G.U.S. caper. Tracy and HR did share a kiss this week, which was very sweet. Julian and Caitlin, however, did not share any sweet moments. While Killer Frost did help Team Flash trigger Barry’s memories, she turned away from Cisco and rejected Julian when he told her he loved her. Killer Frost did flash a bit of Caitlin in her eyes, which means she is still in there. Hopefully, both Iris and Caitlin can be saved in the coming episodes.
Next week on “Infantino Street,” Barry recruits Captain Cold to break into a top secret A.R.G.U.S. lab. According to the above trailer, the device is alien in nature and is under heavy guard. In order to steal the device successfully, Barry and Captain Cold will have to go through King Shark, A.R.G.U.S.’ new pet guard shark. This episode will be the last episode to air before the finale.
THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS; WENTWORTH MILLER RETURNS AS CAPTAIN COLD – With only 24 hours left until Savitar murders Iris (Candice Patton), Barry (Grant Gustin) struggles to save the woman he loves and makes the choice to use any means necessary to do so. Realizing he has one option left to save her, The Flash turns to Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) for help. Michael Allowitz directed the episode with story by Andrew Kreisberg and teleplay by Grainne Godfree. Original airdate 5/16/2017.
Starring Grant Gustin as the Scarlet Speedster, “The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 pm ET/PT on The CW. The series also stars Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Keiynan Lonsdale and more.