Things really ramp up this week with “The Wrath of Savitar,” an episode that seems to set into motion whatever events our heroes will face in the season finale.
No More Secrets
The good news is Wally has achieved speeds Barry thinks will be necessary to save Iris in the near future. The bad news is Wally isn’t just having hallucinations of Savitar; Savitar can truly return for at least long enough periods to toss Kid Flash around like a rag doll without Barry even being able to see him. And troubled by Wally’s attempts to keep his Savitar visions a secret, Barry decides to bench his partner in yellow.
Wally wasn’t the only one keeping a secret, however. Once Team Flash convinced the newly returned Julian to undergo another séance-like connection to Savitar — and Savitar suggests the Philosopher’s Stone they used to dispose of him wasn’t out of play after all — Caitlin confesses she held onto a piece of it in hopes it could help her dispose of her Killer Frost abilities. Surprisingly, Julian takes this news the hardest; he’s hurt, fearing she only invited him onto the team in hopes his expertise could serve that same goal.
And of course the happiness surrounding Barry’s and Iris’ engagement couldn’t last long. Not long after Cisco is asked to be best man, Wally asks Cisco to vibe him into the future moment when Iris is killed. When Wally notices Iris isn’t wearing a ring, he confronts Barry. Sure enough, the proposal was prompted by Barry once again thinking he can change the future. Iris is hurt that Barry’s proposal was motivated by fear instead of love.
From Here To Eternity
Inspired by Iris declaring she doesn’t want Barry thinking of her as someone he has to keep saving for all eternity, Barry realizes Savitar’s been trapped for eternity inside the Speed Force, only able to make brief jail breaks before being sucked back in.
Then, while talking with Jesse, Wally’s late mom pays him a visit. Of course, like with Cisco’s dead brother a few weeks back — and reminiscent of The First from the final season of Buffy — again, the dead loved one is revealed to be a Savitar trick. Wally steals the remaining piece of the Philosopher’s Stone with the intent to hurl it into the Speed Force…which unfortunately was Savitar’s plan all along. Inspired by the Flashpoint alternative universe where Wally was Kid Flash, Savitar gave Wally his powers in the first place, goaded him all along to train to become fast enough to switch places with him in Savitar’s Speed Force limbo. Savitar is free at last while, in his place, Wally gets violently sucked into the Speed Force, trapped for all eternity.
Barry and Savitar exchange blows and do damage to one another, Barry breaking off a piece of Savitar and Savitar brutally stabbing Barry through the chest. Cisco wonders if the severed piece of Savitar can prove useful as H.R. steps in for his Earth-2 double, comforting and hugging a grief-stricken Jesse like she were his own daughter. And in case things didn’t look bleak enough, Barry notices Iris is no longer wearing her engagement ring.
This wass a really strong outing. Now that we know a little more about Savitar, he’s a bit more interesting. And it’s about time we got an episode that ends with the team in dire straits. My hope is that things get even worse for Team Flash before the end, perhaps with a major schism in the group. And while Caitlin secretly keeping a piece of the Philosopher’s Stone all this time seems so uncharacteristically stupid given knowledge of Iris’ impending death, it’s at least motivated by the fears that have been driving her all season. So while I’m on the fence about it, characters with real human flaws are far more interesting than ones who are essentially perfect except when the plot calls for them to make completely unmotivated mistakes. Caitlin’s fears have been built up all season. And indeed, one character sums up the theme of this whole episode by saying, “Fear makes us do a lot of things we shouldn’t.” That was true of Caitlin’s choices, Barry’s proposal, and Wally’s obsession with bringing down Savitar alone.
Also, it’s now clear how Flashpoint — where this season began — indirectly precipitated Savitar’s arrival, as well as why Wally obtained his powers when he did. I’m still waiting for the death of Cisco’s brother to pay off. I’m still convinced it will, once again, drive a major wedge between he and Barry and that it will be Cisco — and not Caitlin — in the role of villain in the upcoming Vibe vs. Killer Frost fight that Cisco glimpsed earlier this season.