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‘The Flash’ season 3 episode 19 recap: “The Once and Future Flash”

The Flash episode “The Once and Future Flash” aired 25 April, 2017.

We’re back! After a month of hiatus so they don’t have to explain why the rewritten reality in Legends of Tomorrow didn’t affect the ArrowverseThe Flash returns to our screens in a episode directed by Tom Cavanagh. Barry ran to the future hoping to find Savitar’s identity. Sadly, that was all for nothing, as his future self still doesn’t know who the “god of speed” is.

Some housekeeping before we begin: Barry says 2024 is 8 years away, but it’s really 7. I get it though, the script was written back in 2016. It’s just funny how in a show full of people of science, a character would seemingly make a simple math mistake.

8 A.D. – After [Iris’] Death

Barry runs to the future with Wally’s help and promptly runs (pun intended) into Mirror Master and Top. Seems like The Flash has not been active in years, so the duo have taken over town. They beat up Barry until he eventually runs away.

Barry soon finds out what happened to the members of Team Flash. Caitlin aided Savitar and is now held in one of the pipeline cells, supervised by Julian. Cisco got his hands frozen off in a fight with Killer Frost, and can’t vibe with his prosthetics. HR is an accomplished novelist who also owns Jitters, where he holds read-along sessions. Wally shattered his spine fighting Savitar alone and sits catatonic in the West household. Joe was left alone after losing Iris and then Wally, then having Barry pull away too. And Future Barry (or ‘FB’ from henceforth) is a nihilistic hermit living in the run down Star Labs building, looking at old pictures of him and Iris in the time vault.

Killer Frost won’t divulge Savitar’s identity, and FB is still in the dark. Barry also tries running back to 2017 once – but somehow it does not work. He finds something much more pressing though – that in the future, he broke his promise to Iris to not abandon Joe if she died. He chides his future self about his (their?) actions.

“One day…you’ll lock him in the speed force. But by then, he’s already won,” FB tells Barry, speaking of Savitar. “Because everything you’ve ever loved is gone. Including you.”

“Go home, Barry. There’s nothing for you here.”

Team Flash…sort of

Barry attempts to run back a second time, making future Cisco feel like he is bailing on the team again. Cisco confesses to creating a small device that disrupts the resonance field when Barry runs, preventing him from running back the first time. He misses his old friend, and the team.

Barry relents and gathers HR, Julian and Joe in the cortex. He regrets his future actions leading to their fallout. They all agree Iris would have wanted them to stick together, so they go take out Mirror Master and Top. FB eventually joins in, delivering Cisco’s nifty device – refashioned to cancel out the metavillains’ powers. The two speedsters subdue the thieving duo without much problem.

It’s great seeing Team Flash (sans the women and Wally) back together, but Barry has to leave eventually. FB tells him that a physicist Tracy Brand worked out the tech that created the speed force prison…but not until 2020. He gives Barry a thingamajib (a future thumbdrive?) that has Brand’s info. Cisco and Barry reaffirm their “BFF” status before Barry returns to 2017.

Back to the Present

Barry returns to 2017 in the exact moment he left, so no time is lost. Barry hugs Joe and promises that no matter what, he will always be there for the older man.

Killer Frost is still at large. At the start of the episode, an she attacked Cisco, HR and Julian and destroyed her power-dampening necklace. She trapped them in the pipeline and escaped Star Labs before Barry can find her. Now, she’s roaming somewhere in the wilderness when Savitar approaches her. He reveals his identity (off screen! Argh!) and it’s enough to make Killer Frost agree to work for him.

Who could Savitar be? Feel free to share your theories in the comments.

We do see how Savitar’s suit opens, though. He has to crouch down. The plates on his back then open up one by one for him to step out of the suit. It’s slow and cumbersome, and could leave him vulnerable for a few moments. Hmm…

Flash points:

  • HR baseball sliding under a closing door, pulling his drumsticks with him. In the future, he finds them in the Star Labs rubble as the team reunite.
  • HR and Cisco singing while hiding in the pipeline to calm themselves down
  • Cisco missed an opportunity to call himself Anakin Skywalker
  • “Secrets were always our thing.” – Killer Frost, before telling 2017 Barry that she betrays the team by aligning with Savitar.
  • In 2024, spectacles are a thing.
  • Barry could have taken future Cisco’s nifty device back to affect Savitar’s running…no?
  • “Looks a little tacky from over here, but I am old-fashioned.” – Barry to future Top, who wore her jewellery store loot.
  • “I don’t know which one of you to hug first.” – future Joe to the Barrys, after Team Flash reconciles.

For more news on The Flash, check out our Flash Zone!

(featured image: The CW)


Ellen Ng

Ellen is a exhibition planner by day and TV fanatic by night. Currently brewing lots of matcha and managing a team in Fantasy Premier League.

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