The Flash S3E21, Review – Cause and Effect

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Despite the dramatic opening with Barry versus Barry, this episode had a light, humorous tone to it. It’s not something I expected as we draw to close, but it is a much-welcomed change after the Arrow-like vibes this season.

It picks up right where we last left present-Barry and Savitar-Barry after the grand reveal. There is no reasoning with Savitar– not logically at least. Whatever his drive is to kill Iris is not something he wants to share, and instead encourages Barry to destroy his suit. Like most of their encounters, it was a trap to teach him how powerful his suit is, and how it can defend itself.

After their encounter, Barry is left to return to Star Labs and report what he discovered to his friends. Everyone is shocked and perturbed by the news of Savitar’s identity. Except for Cisco, who seems to have figured it out long before the team and this was just confirmation. It’s still a lot for Barry to comprehend; after all the time he’s spent trying to kill Savitar, it’s been him all along! It explains why Savitar seems to know precisely what they will do next.

After pulling away from the group, Iris and Barry have a private heart to heart. Barry can see himself being Savitar; the pain of losing his parents makes him want to be violent. It’s no wonder Iris’ death throws him over the edge. Iris reminds Barry that he never lets the pain get that bad, that he and Savitar are two different people. The talk is short, but they both remain upset by the news. Cisco interrupts with an idea to protect the team from Savitar’s knowledge; prevent Barry from making new memories.

Without Caitlin, most of the team had a feeling this wouldn’t go well. I don’t think the anyone thought it’d backfire so bad, as Barry ends up losing all of his memories. He rightfully freaks out until Iris can show him pictures of the West family together, but it quickly becomes apparent no one knows how to reverse this. Seeing the goofy side of Barry is hilarious as they are in the midst of a crisis. On the flip side, Savitar has also forgotten his who he is and instead of being goofy and lovable, ends up quite nasty.

This sweet, carefree Barry is quite endearing that even Iris had trouble coming to terms with it. She has never seen Barry free of pain, as the night she met him was after he witnessed his mother’s murder. Unfortunately, Barry’s current predicament doesn’t excuse him from his duties at CCPD. He’s required to testify at the Heat Monger’s trial, using his expertise to explain why he is guilty. Barry’s in no condition to testify; without help he’ll make a fool of himself.

Help comes in the form of Cisco and Julian who provide him with glasses that’ll show him what to say. The typically negative Julian is quite proud of his work, but it quickly goes south as the glasses go out of commission from Barry’s nervous sweating. He’s made a fool regardless of their help, and The Heat Monger is free to go. Letting a violent metahuman go wouldn’t be a problem if Barry knew how to use his powers, but he doesn’t. In fact, a visit from Killer Frost reveals Wally has lost his powers as well. Without Savitar’s help, he would never have gained his powers in the first place.

Killer Frost needs Savitar and despite her willingness, honestly, does not want to work with Cisco and Julian again. Nevertheless, she does, by doing most of the work to reverse the effects. The three work well together, even with Cisco reminiscing over the fun with Caitlin. Instead of reacting harshly, Killer Frost joins in with him. It’s brief but hopeful, as for a short moment Caitlin’s personality returns. Cisco and Julian take advantage of her warm break through and offer to help her. Killer Frost rejects their help, claiming she loved no one, but I don’t think Julian and Cisco quite believe that.

The work is completed just as the Heat Monger goes on the attack and sets a building on fire. At first, the process of shocking Barry’s system does little to bring his memories back. But with Iris’ help of sharing a personal story of their first meeting, his mind is opened, and the memories flood back. The Flash and Wally stop the Heat Monger quick enough that most forget he was even a threat.

Forgetting his memories may have helped Barry understand Savitar’s reasoning for going south. Unburdened with the pain of loss, Barry got a taste of a normal life with Iris. Compared to someone like Oliver, who has let his pain turn him into a hardened person, I think Barry handles it well. The pain makes him who he is, and how he handles it shapes his future.

Through Barry’s crisis, Tracy’s work remained in the background as she quickly developed a device to stop Savitar. It wasn’t all she was working on, as she also developed her relationship with H.R. to the point of something more than supportive friends. We will probably see this come out more as we draw to a conclusion, but I doubt it’ll be a relationship that is lasting.

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