After what happened on last week’s episode of The Flash was pretty much a waste of time, as the plan neither worked nor advanced the plot much at all, one hopes this episode is different. The Flash recruits archenemy Captain Cold in his war against Savitar and they run afoul of King Shark – if nothing else, this will be exciting. Meet me after the super speed jump for my review of “Infantino Street.”
Before we even get to the episode, and without any point of reference as what it might mean on television, I want to talk about the episode title – “Infantino Street” – obviously inspired by the co-creator of the Barry Allen Silver Age version of the Flash, Carmine Infantino. When I was barely able to read, spellbound by my big brother’s 80-Page Giant Flash (#169, eighty pages for a quarter!!), I knew the man’s name.
I’ve noted before, he taught me to draw with that comic, and as an artist, an editor, and publisher, he guided DC Comics through some of its greatest ages. His creative style and skill changed the landscape with his amazing Batman, Adam Strange, and of course the Flash, among others. And his original idea of the Colors of Evil is the foundation of Flash’s Rogues Gallery, we owe him so much.
Also before we start, I want acknowledge an event this past week involving one of the stars of The Flash, Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Kid Flash. On Instagram and Twitter he came out as bisexual. For many of us this is not a big deal other than something to be congratulated for, but in our current political environment, I have to say he is more than brave, he’s a real hero.
Since the election in November, things have changed. It’s not a partisan thing, it’s a Trump thing, you are either with him or against him. Folks who are minorities, read as not-white-straight-male, are in danger. There is considerable worry that basic civil and human rights are in danger for some people. Where ‘the closet’ used to be a place of fear, depression, and even suicide, it might now be considered a safe place – and I hate that. In the wake of an administration that may turn back the clock on some folks and their basic rights, I cheer Keiynan for being a real hero. Rock on, man, we are with you.
As we open this episode with AURORA’s melancholy “Murder Song” the caption tells us it’s twenty-four hours before Iris West’s death. Team Flash appears shattered even before it happens. I suppose it’s worse knowing it’s going to happen and you can’t stop it. At least we have some continuity in that Cisco is seeking help from Felicity over on Arrow. They are thinking of every possible solution, as we’ll see later.
During pillow talk, Iris wants caviar but it’s just an excuse to get rid of Barry. She wants to make a phone video for after she’s gone. When you think about it, this is kinda cool in that Iris is time traveling, sending a message from the past into the future. What’s in the video however will have to wait for until later.
Playing with Paradoxes
As noted last time, to utilize the Speed Force bazooka that Tracy and H.R. came up with (and isn’t that alone already changing the timeline?) they need the Dominator power source captured in the Invasion and stored at A.R.G.U.S. Lyla won’t give it up because Flash can’t be trusted because of what happened with Flashpoint, and surely altering the gender of her baby might not have helped either.
Determined to break into A.R.G.U.S. and steal it would require a master thief, especially since Flash won’t have his powers inside. Hmmm… who does the Flash know who fits that qualification? That’s right, Captain Cold, and since Flash doesn’t want the evil one walking the Earth now with the Legion of Doom in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, he travels back in time to last season’s Legends to pull the nicer Cold from 1800s Siberia. Is it just me, or is it time travel to the past that caused this mess to begin with? Shouldn’t Barry just stop??
Barry and Caitlin
We get a very interesting interlude with Savitar and Killer Frost. Barry is out of his Savitar armor repairing it from last episode’s battle with the Flash. He’s scarred, but he’s still Barry. Grant Gustin isn’t as good at playing evil as Danielle Panabaker is, and that’s what makes this sequence amazing. She is using her Caitlin voice here.
Killer Frost is notably a split personality creature, and she is supposedly in control, but despite what she says to the contrary, this is Caitlin pleading with Barry (and without the armor and modulated voice he’s not-as-scary-Barry) not to kill Iris. Could there be a team switch in the offing here? And if not, wouldn’t it have been cool (ouch) to watch Captain Cold go one-on-one with Killer Frost?
I love Wentworth Miller III and especially in the role of Captain Cold. He is a reason to watch and not miss whenever he’s on this show or Legends. The slow-motion deliberation and precision of his dialogue alone is beautiful. And to entice this character with the ultimate heist is also a thing of beauty. Flash buried the lead, he should have started with ‘heist.’
They will play by Cold’s rules, which are really no rules at all, and that’s cool, pun intended. If I wasn’t afraid it would get old too quickly, I would lobby for a Captain Cold series, Miller is that good. Have him assemble and lead the Rogues, I’m sure there’s a lot of ground that could be covered without the Flash, or move them to another city for a while, maybe a new nemesis, perhaps villains against villains. Think about it.
Several times this episode I was reminded of the season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where various unrelated elements of the past season were utilized to take out the big bad. Here on The Flash, we see many similar circumstances. Not just A.R.G.U.S., Lyla, and Felicity from Arrow, and Cold from Legends, but hiding Iris from Savitar on Earth-Two as well. I’m almost surprised they didn’t ask Harry, or maybe Winn and the DEO from Supergirl, for help.
I loved the confession time chat with Iris and Joe. This is the kind of character advancement we need more of, natural, not manufactured, or moved into subplot territory where it exists only to give the characters something to do. Speaking of that nonsense, H.R. continues his romancing of Tracy by asking her to join Team Flash. Great, more fodder for killer bad guys.
Also pulled from existing tech is the face-changer H.R. uses, with which Barry poses as Lyla to get in. I was disappointed that Barry didn’t even try the word code game, because he ended up punching the guards anyway. Come in, it’s ‘bacon peanut butter,’ right? In the comics, A.R.G.U.S. is sort of the Justice League support group, imprisoning some villains and housing dangerous weapons.
As Barry and Snart tour Level Z they see the cells of Grodd, Cupid, and the Cheetah. Really? That last one possibly indicates the existence of Wonder Woman in the Arrowverse, or it could just be an Easter egg to celebrate the upcoming release of the movie. Either way cool. Barry suggests that this must be where Waller kept her Suicide Squad, television version, not film version.
Good and Evil
Despite the anti-climax of Captain Cold and the Flash vs King Shark, and Lyla just giving them the Dominator tech because Barry is a good person, we learn a lesson maybe. When Barry drops Cold back off in past Siberia, the Rogue verifies it – Barry is a better hero than a villain. Do the right thing, be the hero. There could be some logic to him being better at good than evil.
Savitar on the other hand tries his best to prove otherwise, tricking Team Flash (well, H.R. mostly) into revealing the location of Iris, he journeys to Earth-Two and dispatches Kid Flash fairly easily before revealing himself to Joe, Harry, and Iris. After evil Barry batters them verbally, and takes Iris back with him, good Barry arrives too late. The intensity at this point is so elevated, we’re all hoping too late isn’t Barry’s fate.
With only an hour left the team preps for battle with Savitar. H.R. is being hard in himself, as well he should be. Cisco, illogically following a vibe, goes to face Killer Frost. He doesn’t have to, why does he? Why doesn’t he stay and help Barry? Why?? I don’t get this at all, and I hate this. Perhaps at least Cisco might be able to get through to her… maybe…
On Infantino Street, things don’t go as we hope at all, they go pretty much as we’ve seen several times before. The Speed Force bazooka, in Barry’s hands, doesn’t work. Savitar has the Philosopher’s Stone, which stood it – after an eternity in the Speed Force, he knows how to stop the weapon. So is this a Savitar from after he was imprisoned? There’s some faulty logic here.
As “Murder Song” comes back up, and we see Iris’ video, of her saying her wedding vows to Barry, we see Savitar kill her, and we close on Barry holding her in his arms, cue credits. I don’t think we have the whole picture yet however. There’s H.R., racked with guilt back at S.T.A.R. – who’s to say he doesn’t take action and go to a rooftop and fire on Savitar – remember we saw something like that in one of the visions. And where’s Julian in all this?
Of course, this is not the season finale, we still have one more episode left. So there may be some resolution left, and not too many loose ends or crazy cliffhangers hopefully. This was a pretty good episode, if a sad ending, with lots more to cheer than to boo. Let’s hope we end on an up note.
Next: The aptly titled “Finish Line!”