The Flash S03E15 “The Wrath Of Savitar” REVIEW
Essential Plot Points:
- We don’t know, because Team Flash is keeping secrets from us…
No, Seriously… Essential Plot Points:
- Wally hasn’t told the rest of the team that he’s been seeing visions of Savitar.
- Barry hasn’t told the rest of the team the real reason why he proposed to Iris – because in the flashforward to her death she wasn’t wearing an engagement ring, so if he proposes and she starts wearing one, he’s changed he future.
- Caitlin hasn’t told the rest of the team that she sneakily got hold of a bit of the Philosopher’s Stone so that she could
get Tom Felton to sign it then flog it on eBay… use it to rid her of her Killer Frost powers.
- While all this squabbling is going on Savitar escapes from the Speed Force by swapping places with Wally… seems he secretly created Kid-Flash specifically so that there would be a speedster fast enough to take his place, knowing that Team Flash would train him up to the required standard.
Come On… There Must Have Been More Than That…
- Not really. Lots of moaning and whinging and recriminations and heart-to-hearts.
But Savitar Must Have Made Some Revelations…
- Well, he talks a LOT, mainly through Julian, the reluctant human ouija board whom Barry uses like his personal walkie talkie. But Savitar doesn’t actually say much, other than dropping really heavy hints that he’s Barry from the future, not that any of Team Flash picks up on that in the midst of all the squabbling.
- Oh, alright. Iris is angry with Barry for lying. Julian is angry with Caitlin for lying. Barry is angry at Wally for lying. Joe is angry at Barry for not asking his permission to marry his daughter. Harry wishes he’d brought more boxer shorts from Earth-19.
- And Barry ends up getting stabbed by Savitar and closes the episode blaming everything on himself. Not without cause.
That Was Like Pulling Teeth…
- You should try watching the episode.
There’s a massive great clunker at the heart of this episode. Something so unbelievable it colours everything else. Not expecting us to believe in time travel, or parallel universes, or villains who concoct long-game plans so convoluted you need a flow chart to follow them. No, “The Wrath Of Savitar” expects us to believe that not one but two straight guys would actually notice whether a woman is wearing a ring or not when she’s being brutally murdered.
Now, okay, we’re stereotyping straight guys here. It’s not unreasonable that super sensitive Barry might indeed have made a mental note about Iris’s lack of finger ornamentation… as his girlfriend was being stabbed in front of him. (“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo… oh look, no ring!”). And, let’s be totally fair here, he has seen this murder-in-the-future twice now, so maybe he was a little more, erm, analytical the second time. But even granting all that, it seems like a really odd detail to note. Surely recalling the colour of coat and getting her to wear a different one might have been less hassle.
Then Wally notices the lack of a ring as well? Sorry, that’s stretching suspension of disbelief too far.
Joking aside, the whole wedding ring nonsense is dopey as hell. The Flash is a show that likes to find the humanity and personal moments inside a superhero action format but this was banal to the point of laughable.
Maybe it wouldn’t have come across so poorly if the episode wasn’t full of so many other people making really bad choices. The Flash has become a bit of a joke over the past couple of years for the number of times plots have been driven by main characters keeping secrets from the rest of the team. You’d think by now they’d all have had their fingers burnt so many times that STAR Labs would hold weekly confessional sessions for everyone to get things off their chests. (May we suggest Lucifer’s Dr Linda to moderate the sessions?) But three times this episode we have revelations that members of the team have been hiding guilty secrets. You want to scream at the screen, “Why don’t y0u lot just TALK!”
The annoying thing is, one of these revelations actually leads to a clever twist, but you’re so busy being annoyed, it’s hard to appreciate the dramatic irony of the situation; Caitlin’s theft of a bit of the Philosopher’s Stone could actually have prevented Savitar returning but sadly, because of a series of hilarious misunderstandings, Wally thinks he’s doing the right thing by nicking it and lobbing it into the Speed Force… which is exactly what Savitar wants him to do.
This could have been one of the show’s great moments; instead it feels a little rushed and incidental.
Cisco and HR do a good job livening up some of the more nuts and bolts scenes with prime quippage. The big fight between Barry and Savitar is decent. There’s lots of intriguing foreshadwoing going on (we reckon Barry is “the big bad” but we’d be delighted to be wrong.) The episode’s far from a dud. But it does feel like a show that’s relying a little too much on proven formulas and overfamiliar storytelling tricks. Oh, and we need to remember why we like Barry soon. Pretty please.
- Considering the Julian-as-Savitar scenes are basically huge wodges of exposition that don’t actually say much, they’re directed with a considerable amount of tension and edginess.
- The final Flash vs Savitar slugfest is impressive, though oddly the most memorable image of Savitar this week is him crawling from the breach like a wounded animal. And you know what they say about wounded animals (no, not “phone the RSPCA…”)
- HR was comedy gold this episode:
• “You’re supposed to get dizzy, Wallace! You’re supposed to get exhausted on this route. It’s supposed to simulate the stress that you’re gonna feel when you finally confront Savitar, so my suggestion to you is, suck it up, buttercup! Milking epic greatness.”
• “I don’t know if I can take another one of those séances. Anyone else with me? I almost filled my drawers.”
• “Okay, well, you guys can count me out, all right? ’Cause I didn’t bring an endless supply of boxers to this planet.”
- “You’re cruel, you’re selfish. From my perspective, you’re the big bad.” Savitar is either Barry from the future, or a poster on a Flash fan forum.
- Too many characters keeping too many secrets. This is going beyond being a mere trope to an irritating cliché.
- The shtick with the wedding ring is very weak and very contrived. Couldn’t Barry have simply said to Iris on the day she’s supposed to die, “I think you’d look really sexy in a pair of wellies today.”
- Caitlin secreted away that piece of the Philosopher’s Stone weeks ago. Why hasn’t she done anything with it until now? This feels like a subplot that needed more build up than suddenly slipping out like an embarrassing fart.
- Despite Grant Gustin’s considerable charm, even he’s having problems making Barry come across as anything other than a bit of a self-centred idiot at the moment. It’s all very well him blaming everything on himself at then end but we’ve seen Barry-the-guilt-martyr before – it’s an act that’s wearing thin.
- We still think there’s something slightly creepy about Barry wanting to marry his near-as-dammit adoptive sister.
- It’s rich for Barry to ostracise Wally in case Savitar is using him to spy on them, but he’s happy for Julian to wander round STAR Labs. Even Julian says in this very episode, “Savitar could be controlling me, and none of us would know about it. None of us, not even me.” Double standards, Barry!
And The Random:
- A few reviews ago we mused about the possibility that the line, “I am the future, Flash,” might actually be interpreted as, “I am the Future Flash!” This episode makes that almost a given. However, what we missed back than, and which we’ve been made aware of since (thanks to reader GoldenSy), is that there is a Future Flash in DC comics continuity… and guess who he is? First appearing in The Flash Annual #2 (2014) he is Barry Allen 20 years in the future who has gone a bit fruitloop after the death of Wally West. Future Flash then goes back in time, killing all his enemies in an attempt to fix the timeline. Oh, and check out the costume – it looks kinda familiar, doesn’t it?
- Mount Buccelato may be a shout-out to DC writer and artist Brian Buccellato, who has worked on The Flash comics, although the spelling is slightly different.
- This is the first episode in which Savitar has been created using a practical costume as well as CGI.
- On Earth-19 they have a classic comedy film called The Four Amigos as opposed to The Three Amigos over here (although there’s the possibility that HR’s just making a poor joke, then using Earth-19 as an excuse to backtrack when nobody laughs).
- So when does Jesse Quick get added to the sign? Equality!
Review by Dave Golder