After several weeks on spring hiatus, The Flash is back (to the future!) in “The Once and Future Flash” with a lot going on as Barry ventures to 2024 for information about Savitar, and he eventually teams up with himself. The hunt for Killer Frost in the present day takes a predictable backseat to Barry’s time traveling, and though we still don’t know who Savitar is, Killer Frost — both present and future — definitely does.
Further spoilers follow for The Flash Season 3, Episode 19: “The Once and Future Flash”
The Flash is always at its most fun when it’s dabbling in adventures to other time periods, alternate realities, or different Earths in the multiverse, despite its loose grip on the mechanics of time travel. “The Once and Future Flash” serves to remind us of all that, the good and the bad. As soon as Flash hits the ground in February 3, 2024, events unfold at a breakneck pace — and though Emo Barry is a bit of a bore, the inevitable team-up between both versions of the Flash against Top and Mirror Master is a delight.
Future Barry pushed away his companions and shut down Team Flash after Iris died, which is exactly what he once tried to do after Ronnie died, too. He says to 2017 Barry that in the wake of Iris’s death, eventually “everything you’ve ever loved is gone, including you.” There’s a reason why fans made Emo Barry a trending topic on Twitter.
While neither Wally getting physically and emotionally shattered by Savitar in the wake of Iris’s death nor H.R. becoming a lusted-after romance author are all that surprising, Killer Frost teaming up with Savitar and freezing Future Cisco’s hands off definitely is. The fact that 2024 Cisco has lost the ability to Vibe as a result and gains a pair of Terminator-style hands is even wilder.
Time-traveling Barry is forced to step up and be the hero that the 2024 team needs, inspiring some much-needed hope not only in them, but in his future self and even Central City 2024, too. And, in a way, Barry stopping to help versions of his friends brought the show back to its emotional heart of the core relationships rather than having everyone constantly fretting about Flashpoint or Savitar.
Thankfully, despite not knowing Savitar’s identity, Future Barry is able to give Barry the name of physicist Tracy Brand who helped him create the trap in the Speed Force that captured Savitar. The catch is that she created it in 2020, and who knows how far the 2024 flash drive will take the team in 2017. They’ll need to track Brand down in the present day to have any hope at succeeding.
In the episode’s final moments, the big reveal happened: A man stepped out of the Savitar suit and Killer Frost immediately fell in line after she recognized who it was, no doubt fueling fan theories galore while still managing to leave us viewers in the dark.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Eastern on The CW.