Iris’ imminent death by Savitar is the center of the second half of The Flash‘s current third season. When Barry threw the philosopher’s stone into the speedforce – trapping Savitar there – he was transported into the future. There, he saw the enemy murder the love of his life. Subsequently, the team at Star Labs has been working on how to save Iris. This has rasied lots of questions about how the season will proceed.
How does Savitar return?
As the team scrambles to figure out how to save Iris, they’ve forgotten to ask a very important question: how is Savitar in the future Barry witnessed when Barry should have gotten rid of him for good?
Option A: In fighting other villains, Barry accidentally re-enters the speed force and releases Savitar. The evil speedster did say he “needs [Barry’s] help in preparing for [his] return”. Cisco, in experimenting with his powers, could also inadvertently free the Big Bad.
Option B: Savitar is a future version of Barry who has travelled back in time. People have noted that Savitar’s design is similar to that of Future Flash in the comics. This would create an interesting storyline in which Barry himself struggles with his ‘destiny’ and whether he can change it. It could also tie into his message for Rip Hunter in 2056. However, I struggle see how this can be resolved. Also, no version of Barry would ever think of murdering Iris…right?
Option C: Wally becomes Savitar. This was rather rampant earlier in the season when Wally was hung up over not having powers. Now that he does have powers, he looks poised to overtake Barry as the fastest man alive, and maybe become a speed god. Something big will have to happen for him to kill his sister though.
How will Barry save Iris…
I don’t believe Iris will actually be killed off. She is too important a character (despite occasional struggles on the writers’ part to make full use of her) and it’s too early for this show to go that dark. While death isn’t unprecedented on this show, Iris’ would devastate not just Barry – who seems fated to lose everyone he loves – but Joe and Wally as well. The question then, is how will Team Flash save her?
A: Wally successfully trains to match Savitar’s speed, doesn’t become Savitar himself, and reaches Iris before she gets stabbed. He may even get a cool CGI fighting montage with the villain. Prior to the New 52 reboot, Wally West was the one who ultimately defeated Savitar in the comic books, so this outcome would be a nod the show’s base material.
B: The team carefully alter the events upcoming in the next few months and avoid the scenario where Savitar gets ahold of Iris. Note the key word carefully, because, as HR demonstrated, going around meddling with time left, right and center might not necessarily help Barry and co. Based on previous time-altering adventures, it will probably do more harm than good. In that case, refer to option A.
…and at what cost?
Sadly when it comes to changing the timeline there will definitely be trade-offs. The repercussions of Barry preventing Iris’ death may be more compelling than actually saving her.
The team has been so wrapped up in saving Iris that they have lost sight of Savitar’s full prophecy. Savitar said one of them will die, one will betray the team, and one will suffer a fate worse than death. Of the latter two, it initially seemed like Wally would be the traitor and Caitlin would succumb to Killer Frost. However, their positions could be swapped. Caitlin could willingly embrace the dark side and turn against the team. Meanwhile, Wally, as a speedster, is vulnerable to the complexities of time and the speedforce, and his “fate worse than death” will be getting erased from existence.
Another possible betrayal could come from HR. Is there ever going to be a Wells that doesn’t have some agenda against Barry? When Cisco and Barry vibed the altered future, HR was seen aiming a shotgun at… Ideally, it would be Savitar, but the gun could have easily been pointed at Barry or Iris.
As for the “one will die” part of the prophecy…
Where there is death, there will always be death
Hailing from Men in Black 3, the principle is that no matter how you alter the timeline, some things are bound to happen. In other words, someone will die in Iris’ place. And there are quite a few candidates to do so:
A: Caitlin sacrifices herself to escape her fate as Killer Frost. Alternatively, Julian sacrifices himself to atone for what he did as Alchemy.
B: HR takes one for the team. He wants to prove his worth and seems like the kind to do it in dramatic fashion. Plus, it would open the door for yet another Wells in season 4.
C: Barry sacrifices himself to save Iris. It’s not a stretch to imagine, but The Flash will need a really solid explanation for his revival.
But my money is on option D: Joe dies. Joe is the only one whose death can match Iris’ in terms of impact on Barry. Not only does this keep with the trend of Barry losing parental figures, actor Jesse L Martin possesses the chops to make Joe’s death more hard-hitting than it already is on paper.
Could Iris die anyway?
Let’s face it – Team Flash has never really truly changed time, especially when life and death is involved. Barry created Flashpoint to be with his parents, but had to eventually return to a world where they are both deceased. Eddie Thawne sacrificed himself to erase his descendant Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash from existence, but one way or another the guy is still running around. Even if he defeats Savitar, who’s to say Barry isn’t destined to lose Iris regardless?
There’s an interesting theory in which Barry’s time-meddling summons the Black Flash and/or the time wraiths, and Iris will have to sacrifice herself to appease them.
HR said that “a man often meets his destiny on the very road he takes to avoid it.” Perhaps in their efforts to prevent Iris’ death, Barry and gang will create another path leading to it. I certainly hope not, but if that does happen, are there anymore Lazarus pits around?
Until the episodes have aired, the only sure thing is that Barry will not stand to lose Iris.
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(featured image: imdb)