Weary of villains, especially Savitar, knowing the future and using it against him, The Flash journeys into the future to get ahead of his enemy… and he might not like what he finds. Meet me after the temporal jump for my thoughts on “The Once and Future Flash.”
Snow and Speed
As Barry determines that the time he needs to reach is the year 2024 and Iris is making him vow to take care of Joe and Wally if Savitar kills her, we pick up on Killer Frost rampaging at S.T.A.R. Labs. We almost get that frozen kiss of death that the Killer Frost of the comics is known for, but Cisco saves Julian with his Vibe powers.
This is just a hint at the future Vibe foresaw where he and she are enemies. When the Flash shows up and tries to take her down, she escapes into the snowy night. She is at large, just as seen in the future vision where Savitar kills Iris. Too many pieces of the prophecy are coming together. With that, Barry runs to the future for his answers.
When the Flash first arrives in 2024 he’s immediately confronted by the Top and Mirror Master. They comment on his costume being old before Top takes him down with her vertigo powers. They mention it’s been a while and that this is their town now. Our hero runs before they trounce him too hard.
Next he runs into the future Cisco, who looks like hell. Is he wearing a bathrobe? He seems like hell as well, not himself. Cisco takes Barry to meet his future self, holed up in the shut down S.T.A.R. Labs. Alone and bitter since he lost Iris, pushing everyone away. When Barry asks about Caitlin, Cisco says that once she became Killer Frost, she never came back to S.T.A.R.
S.T.A.R. Labs is a wreck and the writing board with all the future events is still there, dusty and the same as 2017. It’s as if nothing has changed since the death of Iris. Then we see future Flash, long-haired and grim. When asked, he says he doesn’t know who Savitar is, and tells present Barry to go home and spend as much time with Iris as possible.
Future Barry is broken, he has giving up. He confesses that he eventually does stop Savitar, and locks him in the Speed Force forever, but by that time, it’s too late. Savitar destroyed everyone close to him, and now the city is overrun and ruled by villains. It was too late. I hate Emo Flash, he’s a living breathing Barry-ism.
Getting the Band Back Together
When Barry finds he can’t return to 2017, he tries to get Team Flash back together to help. It’s not that easy. Cisco is no longer Vibe as Killer Frost took his hands, literally. Caitlin herself is permanently Killer Frost, with Julian still trying to cure her. She allied herself with Savitar, knows who he is but won’t tell. “You are gonna be so surprised,” she promises.
Wally is catatonic and in a wheelchair. After Savitar killed Iris, he went into a rage and took on the villain himself. Joe found him the next day with a severed spine. Joe is still mourning Iris. He’s still angry, and he doesn’t want to see Barry. Do we really blame him? When you think about it, everything does go back to Barry. Even before Flashpoint, Barry was the cause of all Joe’s problems, if you think about it…
Fix the Future
Feeling beaten, Barry wants to go home, and Cisco reveals he was stopping him – he misses his friend. Inspired, Barry decides to fix this future. We find H.R. running Jitters, perfect for a coffee fanatic, picking up women, and a famous writer of the adventures of the Streak, a fictionalized Flash, and perhaps an homage to the Justice Guild member.
Along with Joe and Julian – Barry, H.R., and Cisco put Team Flash back in business again and go after the Top and Mirror Master. When the villains seem to be on top (sorry), Barry gets help from a surprising source, Emo Flash, wearing a dazzling bright red and golden costume. When does our Flash get this outfit? It rocks. Still no yellow boots though. Yet.
Emo Flash tells Barry about Tracy Brand, a scientist who helped trap Savitar in the Speed Force. The problem – Brand doesn’t invent the trap until four years after Iris is killed, but maybe Barry can find her and accelerate the process. This might seriously alter the timeline, but it occurs to me why was it so easy to change time in Flashpoint, yet so hard with Iris’ death?
After Barry makes sure he tells everyone he loves them so he doesn’t end up like Emo Flash, we get a sinister stinger cliffhanger as Savitar confronts Killer Frost and reveals himself to her. After seeing who he is, she accepts him as an ally. Who could Savitar be?
Who Is Savitar?
I’m going to put forth two theories, guesses really. Emo Flash is Savitar. How many times has he said he’s the future Flash, comma or not? Could Barry have snapped seeing how much damage he caused with Flashpoint and eventually decided he had to be stopped… and decided he was the one to do it? What of the message from the far future Flash in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow where he said he’d altered time and to trust no one?
Then there’s also the fact that Killer Frost immediately falls in line when she sees who Savitar really is. Could it be Ronnie Raymond, thrown into the Speed Force instead of dying like we thought? Caitlin would follow him blindly in a second. Who do you think Savitar is?
Next: “I Know Who You Are!”