The Flash: The Once and Future Flash Review
The CW’s The Flash: Season 3, Episode 19: ‘The Once and Future Flash’ had Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) jumping forward in time to the year 2024 to see a very bleak future where Iris (Candice Patton) has already died at the hands of Savitar. It showed Barry how bad things got after Iris’ death if he didn’t save her. The good thing about the episode was that Barry got to learn from his future self’s mistake, which would become helpful for his present. The episode wasn’t too dark as we had a little bit of fun seeing how all the other members of Team Flash fared up in this future of Central City.
Things are not pretty in 2024 at Central City. Crime has risen and the city is a mess. After Iris dies, Team Flash disbanded and everyone isn’t happy in their separate lives. We find out that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) has cyborg hands now, meaning that his fight with Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) didn’t end well. This may not be like the fun trips that Barry had when he went to other alternate universes, but the journey to the future gave a better background into the whole Savitar situation. If Barry and his team fail to save Iris, then everything will fall apart.
The episode also allowed us to see two different versions of Barry. Similar to Arrow, Grant Gustin tries to pull off the older look of Barry and it’s a good approach to how he might be in the future. Gustin tries to give a deeper voice while alternating his outfit, but it was still close to what Barry may look like in an alternate reality. The only issue was with the costume. With the long hair and dark clothing, Future Barry looked more young than old as if he’s still in high school. Otherwise, Future Barry’s Flash costume received a nice upgrade. Looking at the costume, it appears as though the Arrowverse is looking to move away from the fabric-style costumes in favor of a shiny and more film-quality suit. There is some more work that needs to be done on the costume, but it does offer a peak at how the costume may evolve on the series’ near future.
There were other members of the team who had some great transitions into their future selves. Future Cisco turned out to be just as cool as the present version, as this one still holds onto hope that he may get to reunite the team again with the city in shambles. This further proved that the friendship between Barry and Cisco is just as strong in the future after all they’ve been through. After losing Iris, we find Joe (Jesse L. Martin) in a depressing state and no longer in contact with Barry. It’s not at all different from the other transformations, but Jesse L. Martin managed to give a powerful performance in the episode. Finally, we have H.R. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) who has found success as an author and attracting housewives with his romance books. H.R. hasn’t changed at all from the present. By the way, we can’t forget that this episode was brilliantly directed by H.R. himself, Tom Cavanagh.
We find the future of Central City to be very grim and dreary. It’s been exhausting, as the show gets darker in tone, making the season much less enjoyable. Hopefully the show changes things up a bit when we get to the fourth season. However, the darkness did help establish what’s at risk for Barry and Team Flash in the present. Seeing Team Flash back together in the future offered hope for them. Instead of having this depressive state throughout the episode, we actually start to remember just how motivated Barry can be when he’s in focus. Once Barry returns to his timeline, his experience in the future will give him a renewed focus and some hope once he goes against Savitar.
Speaking of Savitar, we don’t get much information on the villain’s identity as we have to wait it out for another week. What we do find is that Savitar and Killer Frost team up and we get to see Savitar come out of his armor. Sadly, we don’t get to see the big reveal but at least it narrows down our choices. We have a few candidates in mind, but we’ll leave that until next week’s episode when the show finally reveals who Savitar is.
Even though we don’t get any answers on Savitar’s true identity, ‘The Once and Future Flash’ became one of The Flash’s best episodes this season. Even though the future looks very grim for Team Flash, it did give us a sense of hope towards the end of the hour. It’s definitely something that the team needs after all they’ve been through. Things will certainly look up once we get that big reveal on Savitar as we head into one last fight against the speed deity.
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