Memory Loss Pulls The Flash Out of its Funk

first_img Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019’The Flash’ Season 5 Finale Recap: 2 Big Bads and 1 Pre-Crisis Stay on target When The Flash first premiered just under three years ago, it was the happier and more upbeat Arrowverse show. Compared to the brooding and serious Arrow, Barry Allen was positive, funny and cool in an awkward, geeky way. We haven’t seen a whole lot of that Barry this season. The focus on stopping Savitar from killing Iris in the future has put a damper on things. Thankfully, last night’s episode felt mostly like a return to the format that made us fall for The Flash in the first place. All they needed to do was give Barry a factory reset.Part of what made last night’s episode, so fun was that Savitar was barely in it. His only significant scene comes at the beginning, where he tells Barry how he was created. Surprise, it involves Barry messing with time. After Flashpoint messed everything up, it appears this current timeline is a closed loop. Barry created time copies of himself to defeat Savitar. Savitar killed all of them but left one alive. After Iris’s death, the rest of the crew ignored that time copy, who then became Savitar. As Savitar, he went back in time to convince everyone that he was the original speedster. You got all that? …Just go with it, the season’s almost done.That bit of exposition and the stinger at the end are the only two scenes that move the story forward. This episode is filler, but that’s OK. Even as filler, it’s the most The Flash this show has been in a long time. To stop Savitar, Team Flash has the brilliant idea of inhibiting Barry’s ability to form new memories. That way, Savitar won’t remember any plan they come up with. Basically, Cisco and Julian watched Memento, and their only takeaway was “what a great idea!” Of course, the plan doesn’t quite work out the way they want. Instead of blocking his short term memory, they give him amnesia.Candice Patton as Iris West (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)That leads to the kind of comedy we don’t see much on this show anymore. It’s enough to remind us how much we’ve missed it. Barry stumbles around, trying to figure out who he is. He decides he doesn’t like being called Barry and prefers Bart. He still loves Iris, because some things don’t change, and they have fun together. There’s a scene of them talking and laughing over coffee, which gives off the sense that Iris feels the same way we do. She’s so happy to have this version of Barry back but knows it can’t last.It’s a little frustrating that it can’t because this is the one plan that actually stops Savitar. Just like Barry, Savitar has no idea who he is. Unfortunately, Barry needs his memories to be effective as The Flash. He can’t even defeat a minor villain, much less the God of Speed (amnesiac though he may be) unless he relearns how to be a speedster. There must have been a better way to communicate this though. The thing that gets them working on a cure is Barry messing up an expert testimony. Cisco and Julian give him glasses through which they can tell him what to say. There’s one flaw: if any water gets on them, even a drop of sweat, they break. Couldn’t they put some rubber around the frames or something? In any case, Barry… er, Bart botches the testimony, and because Central City has the worst court system in America, an arsonist goes free.Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West, Danielle Panabaker as Killer Frost and Tom Felton as Julian Albert (Photo: Jeff Weddell /The CW)As flimsy as the reasoning is, it does set up a couple of great character moments. First is when Killer Frost is forced to work with Cisco and Julian on a cure for Barry. She wants Savitar back, and Central City needs Barry back. As their working, Cisco shares a memory of Caitlin, him and Ronnie. The memory gets to Killer Frost, and for a second she starts reminiscing with them. Danielle Panabaker plays this part especially well, barely managing to bottle up her emotions. Later, after Julian tells her he loves her, and she insists she doesn’t love any of them, Killer Frost has a moment to herself in the elevator. We don’t even need the special effect of Frost’s eyes flashing brown. Somewhere inside, she still loves Team Flash. I wonder if that will come into play in the upcoming battle.The other great character moment came from Iris. Candice Patton carried this episode, making the moment she had to bring Barry’s memories back painful. We’d seen them have fun together for the first time in I don’t know how long. Now, she has to bring back memories of the night of Barry’s mom’s murder. After the barrier blocking Barry’s memories is broken, she reminds him of the night he came to live with the Wests. She brings up how she held him while he cried, and that was the moment they fell in love. It could have come off as saccharine and cheesy, but Patton delivers the lines in a way that feels genuine.Anne Dudek as Tracy Brand and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)The love story between H.R. and Tracy isn’t entirely working for me. It was fun watching him be an awkward flirt last week, but now it’s leaking into the main plot and getting obnoxious. They have chemistry, and it’s still fun to watch them dance around each other, but… why? Does every character have to have a love interest?Aside from a couple of minor annoyances, this hour of what was filler turned out to be one of the better episodes of the season. It remembers that The Flash is supposed to be fun. Plus, even though there were only minor developments in the main plot, they were significant enough that the episode didn’t feel completely like filler. Besides, the episode ended with a fantastic reveal that promises the fun will continue next week. In order to use Tracy’s speedforce bazooka against Savitar, they’ll need a power source greater than the sun. And who has one of those? King Shark. He’s coming back!last_img