"I know who you are."
Barry delivers the titular line to Savitar in the opening seconds of this week’s episode. Of course, as the rest of episode flashes back to how Barry finally arrives at that revelation, the audience only gets the answer to the question that’s plagued us for the better part of this season in the episode’s closing seconds.
Vibe vs. Killer Frost
The Savitar reveal wasn’t the only long-awaited payoff this week; we finally witnessed the Vibe vs. Killer Frost duel that Cisco saw in their future. I was wrong about the writers pulling a fast one on us and having Cisco prove to be the villain in that fight because he still blamed Barry for killing his brother in the Flashpoint mistake that started the season.
To be honest, for me, it’s a bummer they didn’t go that way because I don’t love Caitlin being evil for no good reason while the writers established a good narrative reason for Cisco to turn against Barry at the start of the season, then just moved on instead of paying off Flashpoint by season’s end.
Paging Dr. Tracy Brand
Last week, Barry’s future self from 2024 gave his 2017 counterpart critical knowledge that it was a 2020 discovery by a physicist named Dr. Tracy Brand that ultimately trapped Savitar in the Speed Force forever. Team Flash is determined to find her in the present to speed up her discovery…because everything’s about speed with these people.
Turns out 2017 Tracy Brand is just a grad student who failed to get her Doctorate and has given up. But Team Flash aren’t the only ones who located her. Acting on orders from Savitar, Killer Frost tries to kill Tracy, but the attempt is thwarted by Barry after Cisco fails to act when he had the perfect shot — a move Julian chastises him about later.
Because it was Barry Allen and company who met Tracy, not The Flash, she goes to the police and gives Caitlin’s description to a police sketch artist. Somehow H.R. draws the short straw and becomes the main point of re-contact, passing himself off as a genius scientist — thanks to an assist from Cisco Ramon in his ear — and says the team’s interested in her for the rejected "crackpot" ideas she’s had about something H.R. recognizes as the Speed Force and how it might be manipulated and controlled.
Tracy is eventually brought back to S.T.A.R. Labs and told the truth that she’s caught up in a Terminator-type scenario wherein she’s playing either the part of Sarah Connor or Miles Dyson. Freaked out, Tracy splits, but H.R. finds her. Tracy’s intimidated by her destiny, something she says a genius like H.R. couldn’t understand, until he admits he’s no genius either. Already rooting for HRacy?
Trac-R? We’ll have to work on their cute couple name.
Earlier, Cecile accidentally blurted out that she loves Joe, which complicated things because now Joe feels like he either has to open up to her about all things Team Flash or break up with her. Stupid Joe initially does the latter until Killer Frost kidnaps Cecile promising to let Cecile go in exchange for Tracy.
Barry has a plan. Tracy agrees to come to Killer Frost’s chosen rendezvous for the exchange that no one, let alone Caitlin, could possibly believe Flash would follow through with. Cisco’s hiding up in the rafters. Unfortunately, Killer Frost works for a villain from the future, a villain who knows every detail of this very event down to Barry’s exact words, as evidenced by Caitlin amusing herself by repeating verbatim what Barry says as he says it. Hmm.
Fortunately, Cisco catches her off guard anyway. The two engage in the duel they both knew was coming. Cisco finally stops holding back and KO’s her with his vibing powers. He collects a blood sample from her before Savitar retrieves her and splits.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Julian hopes to use Caitlin’s blood to revert her to her less evil self. Tracy hypothesizes about the purpose of Savitar’s metal suit and how it might be used against him. And Joe tells Cecile he loves her. Upon returning home, he finds Barry, Iris and even Wally, who’s just returned from visiting Jesse on Earth-3. He says he’s let Cecile in on all things Team Flash.
But something Joe says triggers a revelation.
SPOILER OF SAVITAR’S IDENTITY BELOW
Barry races off and finds Savitar. He says Savitar knows everything about Barry because Savitar is Barry.
That’s when a scarred Future Barry steps out of the Savitar armor.
Boy, I wish this reveal happened sooner. Actually, I’d rather this season went in a completely different direction for its seasonal big bad since the last two seasons’ villains were also speedsters hiding in plain sight within the team. But, that aside, this mystery was dragged out so long I almost don’t care anymore.
Okay, the hero having to fight his own dark reflection can be an interesting way to go, but I feel like the writers wasted time that could have been better spent making us understand and empathize with Savitar Barry. We still have a few episodes left to do some of that work, but I feel like I’d rather they introduced Savitar at the start of the season instead of wasting time with his minion, Alchemy. We’re probably not done with Alchemy, but it’s hard to not look at the big picture and still feel like Alchemy was a necessary plot point leading to Savitar’s arrival at the end of episode 6.
This was a particularly strong episode for the season; it just needed to happen sooner.