"The Flash" returned tonight for a stellar mid-season premiere. The episode -- titled "Borrowing Problems from the Future" -- dealt with some serious topics, like the prophetic vision about Savitar killing Iris and Caitlin possibly becoming Killer Frost again, and yet it felt light-hearted for the first time in a long time. Tonight's episode felt more like a season premiere, than a mid-season premiere, with a team that didn't feel taunted by a masked speedster, but optimistic about their plan to change the future. HR Wells opened the new S.T.A.R. Labs Museum to the public. Iris and Barry threw a house warming party. Wally got to save Barry from the metahuman Plunder. Julian even got over his self-loathing and decided to join Team Flash. It was an episode that was full of hope, which was something the show had lost since the events of Flashpoint and the many casualties of Zoom.
S.T.A.R. Labs Museum
Tonight's episode featured the opening of the S.T.A.R. Labs Museum. As the brain child of HR Wells, Team Flash wasn't nearly as excited for the opening as he was. The Flash Museum, as it's called in DC Comics, is the headquarters of The Flash, multiple Flashes in fact, so it was a joy to see something so iconic make its way to the show. While the opening didn't draw the crowds that HR was hoping for, in the end the museum did have a successful opening. Now that S.T.A.R. Labs is officially back open, hopefully Central City's attitude will shift away from the tragic particle accelerator explosion. Its opening will also give HR Wells a role to fulfill, which will help explain his presence in Central City.
Killer Frost & Alchemy
Caitlin went on an interesting journey in this episode as well. Not only did she struggle with her Killer Frost-oppressing bracelets, but she found a kindred spirit in Julian Albert. Julian, though no longer under Savitar's power, was dealing with the guilt of being Savitar's slave. At first Julian pretended like he was coping with the trauma, but he eventually confessed to Caitlin that he couldn't see past the officers who were killed. This moment of honestly gave way to Caitlin inviting Julian to join Team Flash. While the team was uncomfortable with the idea at first, Caitlin won them over through her heart-felt speech about how no one should be alone in their struggle -- which should include Julian. Caitlin also asked Julian to help her find a cure for her Killer Frost genes. If they are successful, they could effectively cure metahumans.
Barry & Iris
Because of Caitlin's impassioned speech about honesty and partnership, Barry decided to tell Iris about Savitar. He showed her the byline from the 2024 newspaper that used to be written by her. Then he told her about traveling to the future and watching her die at the hands of Savitar. Iris was emotionally shook and Barry promised her that he would do everything he could to stop that future from happening. That's when they decided to tell the whole team -- well, everyone except Joe West. Barry and Cisco then vibed to that time again and took note of all the headlines in the news report. Barry surmised that if he could change each of those headlines, then maybe Iris wouldn't be dead in the future. Some of the headlines included: Killer Frost being tracked by the police, the S.T.A.R. Labs museum closing, Music Meister getting a book deal (he's the villain in the upcoming musical crossover episode,) Gorillas attacking Central City, and Joe West being honored at City Hall. Team Flash now has a list of events they have to change. Each of these events will likely be the focus of the next 12 episodes. We already know the Music Meister is coming and that Gorilla Grood will be returning for a two-parter.
There was some fun banter between Wally and Barry in the beginning of the episode, as they fought over things like suit placement at S.T.A.R. Labs. Wally's joy and celebration was damped a bit when the new detective, as played by "Star Wars" actor Greg Grunberg, said Kid Flash was a silly name and that he should be sent to Keystone City. Throughout tonight's episode Wally kept being pushed ahead by Barry and then knocked back. Whether Barry was trying to protect Wally or he genuinely didn't think Wally was ready was hard to gauge. Wally did get two celebratory moments though, as he took down Plunder on the roof and as he took Plunder down again after the jewelry heist. Central City citizens even began to chant Kid Flash's name after the Plunder take-down.
Overall "Borrowing Problems from the Future" was a strong episode with a brilliantly layered and well paced narrative. The second half of the season has a new direction and each character feels like they are ready to #SaveIris as a team. Next week on "The Flash," in "Dead or Alive," a new metahuman bounty hunter will arrive. Gypsy, an interdimentional traveler like Cisco, will come to Earth-1 looking for HR. Cisco will have to challenge her to protect HR's life, but are his Vibe skills up to the task?
DC COMICS’ GYPSY ARRIVES ON EARTH-1 – H.R.’s (Tom Cavanagh) past catches up with him when a bounty hunter with vibe powers named Gypsy (guest star Jessica Camacho) arrives in Central City to bring him back to Earth-19 to stand trial for his crime. It turns out inter-dimensional travel is illegal on their Earth. H.R. surrenders but when Barry (Grant Gustin) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) find out that H.R.’s only hope would be to challenge Gypsy to a fight to the death, they intercede and Cisco offers to fight Gypsy instead. Harry Jierjian directed the episode with story by Benjamin Raab and Deric A. Hughes and teleplay by Zack Stentz (FLA311). Original airdate 1/31/2017.
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.