‘The Flash’ Recap ‘The Once and Future Flash’: Identity Crisis

In ‘The Flash’ recap, Barry travels into the future to find out Savitar’s true identity and runs into more trouble than he expected…

By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer

Following a brief hiatus, ‘The Flash’ returned on Tuesday night with a new episode that saw Barry Allen travel into the future to find out answers about his greatest enemy Savitar and how he can stop him from killing Iris West.

Unfortunately, Barry soon discovered that losing Iris was not only a devastating moment for himself personally but her death also shattered the entirety that was Team Flash.

This week also quietly saw another future prophecy realized when Caitlin completed her transformation into Killer Frost, which was one of the headlines Barry discovered when he ran forward to the day when Iris was murdered.

It also turns out that Killer Frost plays a major part in the events to come this season while we are now officially one week away from learning Savitar’s true identity. Given the way this episode ended, we have some guesses about who is hiding behind that gnarly metal outfit.

With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Flash’ titled ‘The Once and Future Flash’…

Back to the Future

As Barry completes his calculations to pinpoint the spot in the future where he can travel so he can learn Savitar’s true identity from his older self, the rest of Team Flash is dealing with Killer Frost following Caitlin’s dramatic transformation.

Cisco is able to slow her down but only for a moment but it’s enough time for him to send out an alert to get Barry back to STAR Labs to help out. When Barry arrives, he knocks Killer Frost down but she’s able to stage her escape out into the wintry night and no one on the team has a clue where to go to find her.

Barry then surprises everybody by telling them that he’s going ahead with his plan to travel into the future to seek answers about stopping Savitar now rather than later. Of course, Barry has to remind them that even if he leaves, his return will be at this exact same moment so it will be like he never actually left at all.

With an assist from Wally, Barry jumps into the future — 8 years to be exact — before he runs into two old friends. Mirror Master and Top have gained quite a bit more power since Barry first met them in Central City and they also mention how they haven’t run into the Flash in many, many years. Despite facing a more dangerous version of the rogues, Barry is able to procure his escape before running to the apartment he once shared with Iris.

The place is an absolute wreck but Barry does manage to find a photo crumbled on the ground that showed him alongside Iris and Joe in much happier times. That’s when Cisco arrives and welcomes Barry to the future.

This version of Cisco knows this has to be Barry from the past because he arrived in the Flash outfit from 2017 plus he actually has a glimmer of hope in his eyes. That’s something that was dashed from the future Barry Allen on the day Iris was murdered by Savitar.

Barry tells Cisco that he needs to speak to his future self to find out about Savitar so he can hopefully prevent him from killing Iris, which caused a chain reaction that eventually led to this dystopian future.

Unfortunately, Barry arrives at a shuttered up STAR Labs and encounters the future Barry Allen, who is a beaten and broken man. He closed down the lab and broke apart Team Flash after Iris’ death before moving into the building where he’s stayed ever since. He no longer speaks to Joe or Cisco or anybody else for that matter and more importantly he has no information to pass along about Savitar.

Future Barry claims he never learned Savitar’s identity and there’s no reason to try and stop him because no matter what happens, Iris will eventually die.

Identity Crisis

With no information to help him stop Savitar, Barry decides to travel back to 2017 but there’s only one problem — he can’t seem to generate enough speed to open a portal that will allow him to go to the past. For now, Barry is stuck in the future but he turns to Cisco to help him track down the other members of Team Flash who might be able to help him travel back.

The first stop is to visit Julian, who now stands guard over a cell where Killer Frost has been trapped for years. She taunts Barry when realizing that he’s the version from the past but telling him that she eventually teamed up with Savitar when he gave her everything she’s always wanted.

During her rampage on Central City, Killer Forst not only aided Savitar but she fought against her old team — including freezing Cisco’s hands, which were then shattered apart in battle. Cisco is now left with bionic hands, which means he can no longer use his vibing power.

As tragic as the story might be, Barry then realizes something else about Killer Frost’s allegiance with Savitar — she knows his true identity but she’s not revealing anything. Killer Frost does tell Barry that when he finally discovers the truth about Savitar, he’s going to be in for a massive surprise.

From there, Barry travels to see Wally, but he’s in for an even bigger shock when he finds him at the West home with a care giver answering the door. It seems after Iris’ death, Wally went into a rage and decided to go after Savitar by himself and the God of Speed shattered his spine and left him for dead. Now Wally spends his days in a wheelchair, barely cognizant of what’s going on around him while locked in a state of perpetual shock.

Finally, Barry tracks down Joe, who is visiting Iris’ grave but the encounter turns sour in a hurry. Joe berates Barry for daring to show up there after not visiting Iris’ grave for years and watching their relationship fall apart following her death. Joe never turns around to see that this is the Barry Allen from the past, but it doesn’t matter.

Barry turns and leaves while beginning to realize just how devastating Iris’ loss was to everybody around him as well.

Barry returns to STAR Labs to confront his future self again and finds him in Thawne’s time room where he’s staring at old pictures alongside Iris. Barry erupts on future Barry for not staying close to his family or taking care of Joe like he promised Iris he would always do whether she was alive or not. Future Barry just couldn’t handle the loss and says that he was too late trapping Savitar in the speed force to save Iris from his murderous touch.

Seeing that the future version of himself is shattered with no chance to mending those wounds, Barry goes back to Cisco to beg for a way to return to the past. That’s when Cisco reveals that he was using a tool he made to dampen Barry’s speed so he’d be stuck in the future for at least a little while longer. Cisco missed his friend and he missed Team Flash and he thought if Barry stayed, perhaps he would help reassemble everyone together again so they could fight crime like the old days.

Barry agrees to stay long enough to bring down Mirror Master and Top but he’s going to need some help.

Familiar Faces

Barry decides to get the band back together to help him out so he brings Joe, Julian, H.R. (who is now a successful romance novelist) and Cisco to STAR Labs to assemble the last remnants of Team Flash in an attempt to bring down the Mirror Master and Top.

Barry rushes off to face them but he’s once again overpowered by them and in danger of being tossed into one of Mirror Master’s portals where he could potentially could get locked forever. Cisco uses the same piece of technology that he used to dampen Barry’s speed to disrupt the vertigo wave from Top, but there’s no way he’ll make it there in time to stop them.

That’s when Future Barry Allen reappears and offers to lend a hand.

He runs to the other Barry and together they defeat Mirror Master and Top. They return to STAR Labs, future and past Barry both united as the Flash. Future Barry promises to return to his heroic ways and re-team with his friends at STAR Labs.

He also gives the other Barry one more piece of information. They key element in defeating Savitar came from a physicist named Tracy Brands, but sadly she came up with the technology to defeat the God of Speed four years after Iris was already dead. Future Barry hands over a drive with all the information about Tracy in hopes that he can work with her to stop Savitar from killing Iris in the first place.

Barry travels back to the past — arriving just seconds after he left the room.

Barry tells the team that finding Caitlin is key because she eventually teams up with Savitar and knows his true identity. Now they have to find Killer Frost before she becomes another piece of the puzzle that ends with Iris West’s death.

And finally we catch up to Killer Frost in the woods when she encounters Savitar for the first time. He asks for her help in stopping Team Flash and in return Savitar will grant her the one wish she wants most — to eliminate Caitlin Snow from ever returning and taking back over again.

Killer Frost is hesitant to take him at his word so Savitar kneels down as the suit transforms off his body. Savitar steps out and Killer Frost takes one look at him before agreeing to help him with whatever he needs.

There have been several theories about Savitar’s true identity but Caitlin immediately trusting him based only on appearance leads me to believe that the person who emerged from that suit is none other than Ronnie Raymond — or at least some version of Ronnie Raymond from an alternate universe. In every iteration of Earth-One and Earth-2, Caitlin has been in a relationship with Ronnie so it stands to reason his appearance would earn her trust immediately.

It’s only one week away before we all know the trust as Savitar will finally be revealed in next week’s episode of ‘The Flash’.


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