“Cause and Effect” Review of S3 Ep21 of THE FLASH

Okay, by now you know that Savitar is really [REDACTED] (in case you didn’t see last week’s episode). This week, we get a new way to stop Savitar…with the law of unintended consequences coming into play in a big way. We may be winding down the clock on Season 3 of THE FLASH, but we haven’t given up on the things that make this such a great series. Want to know more? Follow us after the jump!


NOTE: This review is posting before THE FLASH airs on the West Coast USA – if you haven’t seen the show STOP HERE and catch the episode first…then come back!


We pick back up at the moment of last week’s reveal and we learn a lot more about “Future Flash” Barry/Savitar. This “Barry” is a time remnant – remember last season when Barry sacrificed a time remnant to defeat Zoom?  Well, with all that Flashpoint tomfoolery Barry has created a number of time remnants, including several in the future to try and defeat Savitar. All the remnants died…except one…this one. He is rejected by all the future Team Flash members since he isn’t the original Barry, and he eventually breaks and decides to become Savitar. He creates essentially a closed loop, a chicken/egg argument where he creates himself and defeats himself.  How to break that? Savitar has two goals here – one is to kill Iris so that Barry is so broken he will become Savitar. The other goal? Not so fast – he won’t reveal that just yet.

Back to Team Flash and that teaser trailer – yes, they decide to mess with Barry’s short term memory processes, so that he won’t remember new things. This will obviously keep Future Barry/Savitar from learning new things as well. Sounds good…until they realize Barry has lost ALL his memories. Now for that law of unintended consequences in bullet point form:

  • Barry doesn’t remember who he is, and obviously doesn’t remember being the Flash
  • Barry also doesn’t remember being CSI, and fails miserably in court even with technological help in a quite funny scene. Unfortunately that lets the “Heat Monger” go free (more on that later)
  • Since Barry has lost his memory, so does Future Barry/Savitar. That means Savitar never used Julian to give Wally his powers…and even though Wally remembers being Kid Flash, he can’t use his powers. PLOT HOLE ALERT – if Wally never got his powers, HOW DOES HE KNOW HE LOST THEM? That aside…
  • Without the baggage of all the tragedies he has endured, Barry is carefree. We see a side of him that is truly happy. Iris enjoys this and doesn’t share any bad memories with him…at least at first.
  • Now back to Heat Monger – since he’s free, he attacks a building full of people. By now, Barry remembers being the Flash…but he has no memory of any training so he is awful at using his powers. Without control of his speed all those people could die…which brings us out of our bullet points for…

Caitlin/Killer Frost shows up at S.T.A.R. Labs with an offer to help – if only because it will restore Savitar’s memories as well.  During their work together, Cisco does everything to remind Caitlin of better times, without much success. Still, she supplies the needed technological help to jump start Barry’s brain. It works…sort of, but he still needs a “visceral memory” to access all the things he should remember. Iris tells Barry about the night his mother died, and how she found him in the middle of the night crying on the West’s couch…and it all comes back. He saves the day, with a re-powered Wally…at least for now.

While all of this is going on, we see a budding romance between HR and Tracy Brand while working on something now known as the “Speed Force Bazooka”. They kiss…although all their scenes are wonderfully awkward. The device will work…but it needs a power source greater than the sun. It does exist on earth…but it’s guarded by none other than…KING SHARK! On to next week!

NOTES: When Barry can’t remember who he is, he checks his wallet to find “Bartholomew Henry Allen” and decides that Bart “feels better” to him than Barry. I know it isn’t the real Bart Allen, but it was great to have that reference. We also get a reference to Season 1’s name for the Flash when a memory-impaired Barry asks if “the Streak” sounds better than the Flash.  And, we get to see a happy Barry, unencumbered by the baggage of his past…the happiest we’ve seen him since he first hit the Flashpoint world…and that’s the point. He knows that even the tragedies he’s lived through are an important part of who he is, what drives him, what makes him the person and hero he has become. That’s an important lesson to take forward.

As for Caitlin, we see the struggle of her personalities for dominance in her life. She may not have shown it to the team – she even told Julian and the team that she never loved any of them – but as she takes the elevator out of the lab we see her eyes flashing back and forth between Caitlin and Frost. This is a battle that may well continue on to Season 4, and that is perfectly fine for this reviewer.

SUMMARY: Overall this was an excellent episode. The plot hole with Wally notwithstanding, there was a considerable amount of dramatic tension mixed with some of the better humor of the season. Grant Gustin brought back some of the fun and charm of the Barry Allen from the pilot episode of THE FLASH as he is slowly “introduced” to his friends and later on his powers. Candice Patton was spot-on with her performance tonight – and the chemistry between the characters of Iris and Barry has never been better. I loved the awkward romance that is going on now between Tom Cavanagh’s HR and Anne Dudek’s Tracy Brand. This was an 8/10 for me – what do YOU think? Leave your comments below!


7 thoughts on ““Cause and Effect” Review of S3 Ep21 of THE FLASH

  1. Rob

    I really enjoyed the Bart Allen references. And if I’m not mistaken, was Grant trying to do a Batman impersonation with his line about brooding all the time?

  2. gotlucille4507

    Enjoyed the review. When Killer Shark appeared at the end of the episode, I was really shocked and surprised. Didn’t Zoom kill Killer Shark? Killer Shark is my favorite super villain

  3. Golddragon71

    Suddenly I want to go back and reread the who is Marty McFly storyline in the back to the future comic book. I think they discussed the idea of time remnants in that Story as well.

  4. Adam Martin

    this episode was so funny dude i was dying through most of it i really enjoyed it alot! i cant wait for next weeks episode either!

  5. Godlin

    The power source math is among the worst science gaffes I have ever seen. The speed force bazooka requires 3.86 * 10^12 joules. Cisco says this is more power than the sun. The sun is 3.846 * 10^26 joules per second. Whoever decided on that math looked at 3.86 vs 3.846 and chose to completely ignore the massive difference between a power of 12 and 26. This is akin to saying a BB gun is more powerful than a nuclear bomb.

  6. bryan

    i really want to see caitlin come back and what if barry never creates the time remnants will that stop savitar or will his story continue?

  7. RocketJay

    I work in a County Prosecutor’s office. All they had to do to buy time is submit a declaration to the DA’s office stating that CSI Barry Allen is unavailable due to illness. It would give them 2-3 workday’s delay, no sweat. But we’re dealing with Hollywood jurisprudence here.

    Much as I disliked “Emo Flash” from the previous episode, I’m getting a real kick seeing Grant stretch his acting chops, playing three three different variations on Barry Allen in just two episodes. (Four, if you count “Baseline” Barry.) Willing to bet he got some tips from Tom “Multiple Personality Man” Cavanaugh on that front.

    In re Savitar’s tactical future knowledge advantage, I was going to suggest Team Flash recruit Emo Flash to take point — since the time remnant that became Savitar split off from Emo Barry some time before 2024 , he can’t have any future memories past that point. But since “our” Barry now knows Savitar’s true identity, which Barry 2024 didn’t, I suppose that timeline has now diverged. Damn, what a waste of a perfectly good paradox. Wibbly wobbly, timey whimey…


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