Man is it good to be back, and hey we actually got to see The Flash’s version of a dark timeline. So, “The Once and Future Flash” is basically the worst case scenarios for if Barry does fail to save Iris. The team disbanded, Barry is utterly destroyed, all of his loved ones are an utter mess, and HR is famous. So at least we have that going for us. This was truly a Barry episode and all of our team was left by the wayside for the large part. We luckily did get some movement on Caitlin’s Killer Frost plot line and man am I looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. I just want to get there as fast as we can because as of right now we are stalling and even though this was a fun diversion and helped to solidify how the team are a family, this was still a stop gap till we actually find out who Savitar is.
First off, major kudos to Grant Gustin who played both Barry’s to a tee tonight. Often the acting on the CW shows is meant to be taken with a grain of salt, but here we have the perfect example of what can happen when the material is actually great. I expect any conversation in the time vault to be good, but Future Barry telling our hero the lengths he will go to only to not only fail, but destroy everything around him was absolutely perfect. Just the sheer visceral detail about how after Iris death Barry spiraled out of control made everything a lot more real. We know that the repercussions are real and that there is more than simply Iris’ life at stake if Barry does not succeed.
The episode also really managed to nail the bleakness of what is to come if Barry fails. I mean Cisco looses his hands and basically his family all in one fell swoop. Carlos Valdes was excellent as broken Cisco as it is clear that he lost everything he ever truly cared due to Savitar. Also, Cisco having robot hands is dope despite it being soul shattering that one of his best friends is the root cause of all his problems. Same goes for Jesse L Martin who nailed the devastating nature of what it would be like to be future Joe. His daughter being murdered was only the start, and it was just added torture to have Wally get broken like that. Joe was right to be angry as everyone he loved was either murdered or mentally broken due to Savitar’s actions. Martin does just enough with the time he is given tonight to remind us all just how much joe means to the show. It’s like watching your dad cry but worse.
Despite the great work from Valdes and Martin the real standout to me tonight was Danielle Panabaker’s Killer Frost. For years we have complained that Caitlin is a bland character who is never really given much to do, but now we finally get to see what we have all been waiting for. It is interesting to see this version of Killer Frost after we have seen so many iterations so far. This is the end game: conceited, abusive, and psychological sadistic. Panabaker shows absolutely no remorse for her former friends and it makes the character all the more impressive. I never once felt like she was locked in a cell and more that she was simply bidding her time until Julian let her out. I really hope we get to see this Killer Frost in the present very soon as she was really fun to watch.
As for the less than exciting parts of this week, at least Mirror Master was better than last time. I mean they still really don’t know what to do with him or Top, but luckily this episode benefitted from not having them be the primary focus unlike their earlier appearance this season. The same thing goes for the end of the episode tag which at this point is more of a gag than anything else. We are over three fourths of the way through the season and we still have no idea who our big bad truly is and why he wants to destroy Barry in the first place. Delaying gratification is only good up to a certain point and then it unfortunately becomes overly annoying and actually detracts from the overall season.
Overall it was definitely a satisfying view at the darkest outcome. Now all we need is Future Barry’s suit and everything will be great.
Final Grade B
+Seeing the ramifications of what happens if Iris dies
+Two Barry team up
-Just tell us who Savitar is
-Mirror Master and Top still feel like lesser versions of their comic counter parts.
-Of course in the darkest timeline HR is the only one doing well.
-I know it was a throw away moment but I loved the fact the team forgot Killer Frost’s hand print works on all the doors.
-So next week is Vibe vs Killer Frost. What the over under on Cisco keeping his hands?