Finding Hope For The Future In The Flash From The Past

This article contains spoilers for the Flash episode – The Once And Future Flash.







The main thing we got in the most recent episode of the Flash is the answer to the question, what would Team Flash be like without hope? The episode opens with Iris West making Barry Allen promise to be there for her father Joe if Savitar kills her. Then we switch to S.T.A.R. Labs where Killer Frost is attacking Julian Albert, H.R. Wells and Cisco Ramon. The Flash shows up to rescue them and chase her off, but they will need to find her if they have any hope of getting Caitlin Snow back. But Barry is still focused on Iris and decides that he's going to go into the future to find out who Savitar is and how they can stop him. Which leads to my unanswered question from the episode: Is it harder to go into the future than into the past or back to your normal timeline? Because Barry needs Wally's help to get to the future, but he can return using his own power.

Barry ends up in early February, 2024, just shy of 3 months from the Red Sky event told in the newspaper article all the way back in the pilot. This future is very different. He is immediately confronted by Mirror Master and Top, and has to runaway from them. He goes to his old building where future Cisco finds him and is really happy to see him. We learn that Team Flash is no more. future Barry has become a recluse and doesn't help anyone anymore. The villains have taken over the city. Cisco lost his hands fighting Killer Frost and with it his vibe powers. Wally tried to take on Savitar alone and had his back broken for the effort. And future Barry broke his promise and deserted Joe. None of this would matter if past Barry could get the information he needs… except they don't have it. They don't know who Savitar is and they only found a way to stop him at the end of 2023.

With the trip a waste, Barry decides to go back only to discover he can't. The portal won't open. Past Barry ends up getting involved in the future timeline, trying to put Team Flash back together (even when he finds out its Cisco that was keeping him there). When past Barry heads out to confront Mirror Master and Top, we see they've become far more powerful. And future Barry must suit up again to help save the day. The thing that jumped out at me was that future Barry was what held the team together and he lost hope with Iris gone. But it took past Barry to remind him that the team is a family and need to be there for each other. A lesson that past Barry should keep in mind.

Before he left, Future Barry gave Past Barry a disc with all the information of the trap they used to send Savitar to the speed force. He also gave him the name of the woman, Tina Brand, who built it in hopes that she can make sense of the information and make the trap before Iris dies. I just hope the disc is backwards compatible for 2017 computers.

I was reminded recently that in the comics, Iris West dies. Like many things in the Flash history, it's a convoluted story that involves time travelling and she doesn't stay dead long. But she is definitely killed and by a speedster. Which makes me wonder, maybe Barry won't save Iris. Which means that the trip to the future wasn't really about find out how to save Iris, but finding out how to save himself for after she dies. How to keep the team together and to not lose the hope in his heart that drives him. Killing Iris is probably the one thing everyone assumes the writers won't do, which kind of means they should.

The trailer for the next episode wants us to believe that we'll finally find out who Savitar is. But then again, that could be the final moments of the episode and we won't see until the week after. I mean, the could do that. The rumors on his identity have still be swirling quite a bit and suddenly Ronnie Raymond has moved up as a popular choice… being how quickly Caitlin agreed to help Savitar at the end once she saw who he was. Hard to come up with someone else she'd react that way to.

About Dan Wickline

Has quietly been working at Bleeding Cool for over three years. He has written comics for Image, Top Cow, Shadowline, Avatar, IDW, Dynamite, Moonstone, Humanoids and Zenescope. He is the author of the Lucius Fogg series of novels and a published photographer.