The Flash’s 19th episode (“The Once and Future Flash”) was a cross between The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol. I was really thrilled to see that Tom Cavanaugh directed, because he’s talented. I have consistently enjoyed his work over the years, so the more Tom, the better. (I’d be even happier if someone put Ed on DVD. I need Stuckeyville back in my life, damn it.) If you thought present-day Barry Allen was Eeyore-esque, Future Barry blew that maudlin little donkey out of the water. Future Barry broke all his promises, let his friends down, and did it all while wearing Oliver Queen’s hideous flashback wig from Arrow’s first season. (Seriously, someone burn that roadkill and put it out of its bloody misery.)
The ripple effect of Iris’s death is, honestly, fascinating. Wally broke his spine and is basically catatonic. Cisco has Wolverine claws for hands (turns out Killer Frost has no compassion, which doesn’t completely jive with her previous incarnation) and more than a whiff of hopeful desperation. Julian is wearing Harry Potter’s glasses. HR has a writing career and almost had a threesome. And Caitlin is Killer Frost in a cage, under Julian’s care. It’s not good times in Whoville, darlings. Especially for Barry’s Super Mope wig. Future Barry offers this gem: “You want answers, Barry? … It will break you. … She was the love of my life. … Go home, Barry. There’s nothing for you here.” Talk about defeatist. Eesh. Clearly, Iris’s death gutted him, while rendering the world free of any hair products or barbers. What really struck me was his abandonment of the promise he’d made to Iris, to look after Joe. It felt a little out of character. Joe is a father figure to Barry, and it’s been established how much Barry values family. So, for him to abandon Joe was just a step too far over the edge for. While it served the plot, and I can see why the show went that route, I wasn’t sold on it.
But, man, Future Barry is impossible. And that’s the point. It makes his later turn (helping the resurrected Team Flash) that much more powerful. He did it to honor Iris’s memory (some might argue that’s a bit too little, too late): “She would’ve wanted us to stay a family.” Okay, no shit, Sherlock. But that’s maybe top-notch Barry, who’s not known for his good decision-making. Perhaps it was Iris who kept him in line and in check, so that he didn’t go off the rails constantly. While I’d like to see more of Iris as a person, it makes sense that she’d be Barry’s voice of reason. Present Barry’s quips were on point (“Well, I try not to listen to criminals. Or stupid people.” PREACH.), although Cisco is king, with his Doc Brown comment.
Of course, I have questions. Does Barry taking the information back to the present frak with the timeline? Who is the random physicist? What the crap kind of weirdo jump drive is round? If Barry needed Wally’s help to go to the future, how did he get back on his own? Also, if Savitar is a man in a fancy mech suit—who knows Caitlin—it has to be someone close to her. Killer Frost, who gives no damns about anyone, reacted from an emotional standpoint. That betrayed a history and affection I was not anticipating. I don’t suppose it could be Eddie, right?
Obviously, all will be revealed in due time. I wouldn’t want to skip ahead and incur the wrath of the time wraiths. See you in the future, kittens. XOXO