Remember last week’s episode, “Cause and Effect?” Remember that return to the optimistic, hopeful show that The Flash has established itself as since its inception? Yeah, well, that’s gone. Now it’s back to the intense darkness as Savitar prepares to shatter our world. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Television shows have the ability to lure you into a false sense of security where you feel like you know what’s going to happen – or not happen. But they also can just as easily suck you into a vast portal of emotional turmoil that feels as if it’s drowning you.
That was basically The Flash’s penultimate episode, “Infantino Street,” which reminded me that The Flash still has the ability to deliver emotional arcs and elicit strong emotions from me.
This entire episode felt like a season finale, which reminded me of Supergirl’s penultimate episode on Monday. Much like Supergirl, The Flash proved me oh so wrong. This wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning.
“Infantino Street” began in an ominous way with some chilling music accompanied by the bold message telling us that Iris West was going to die in 24 hours. It immediately forced me to sit up straighter because I had no idea we were this f**king close to D-Day. So, the anxiety was at a high early on in this episode.
There was an attempt to lighten an episode that early on was dampened by darkness as The Flash welcomed back Captain Cold, as Barry turned to his foe/sometimes friend to help break into ARGUS and steal a piece of technology that would help with a speed gun to stop Savitar and save Iris.
Snart brought with him is signature snark, charm, and an immense amount of feels as immediately we see that this is the Leonard Snart from Legends of Tomorrow, which immediately brought down a wave of sadness and desperation upon me. Surely Barry could find a way to save Snart, right? Sorry, I know that wasn’t the issue at hand, but I’ll never stop asking that question.
“Infantino Street” did what a penultimate episode should do: It delivered sensational performances that really struck a chord with the audience while also delivering epic shocks and tear-jerking scenes while also delivering one of the biggest cliffhangers The Flash has done – from an emotional standpoint. It wasn’t a perfect hour of television, but it most certainly has my full, undivided attention.
And this is certainly an episode that’s going to have everyone talking for the next week.
Let’s break this down:
What Happens On Infantino Street
When we got that chilling glimpse into the future four months ago, we always expected that the big showdown between Barry and Savitar would happen in the final minutes of the season finale. But I didn’t expect for the season finale to actually happen during this penultimate episode and deliver a sequence of events that has shaken me to my core.
Welcome to Infantino Street, aka the worst f**king street in the DCTV universe right now.
Even watching as everything played out exactly as Savitar had predicted. Even watching as Savitar took Iris hostage. Even watching as Iris stood in the familiar position we’d seen in future vibes. Even watching as Barry raced toward her as she stared back. Somehow I expected Barry to get to her in time. But he didn’t. And we had to watch her die. For real.
That entire sequence was so brilliant and so damn painful to watch that it made for some really compelling television. As Barry raced toward Iris to try and save her, we got to see Iris’ video message that she had left for Barry earlier that day. We saw that she had recorded her vows for him to hear knowing that she’d likely never make it to the altar. It completely broke me. My God, The Flash really wanted to emotionally gut its audience.
Let’s be honest, there’s no way that this is going to stick, right? The Flash wouldn’t kill Iris West permanently. There’s no way. But that doesn’t change the fact that The Flash went there. They killed Iris setting up a scenario that requires a damn miracle to fix this mess of a situation.
How do we fix this? Sorry – HOW DO YOU FIX THIS, BARRY?
There’s a lot of blame going around Team Flash, especially H.R., who Savitar tricked into revealing Iris’ location which led to Savitar kidnapping Iris which led to Iris’ death. Suddenly our peppy H.R. was broken down into a guilty ball of sadness. But it’s not H.R.’s fault that Savitar took Iris. It’s not H.R.’s fault that Iris is dead. It’s Barry’s fault.
But to the most important part: How is Barry going to save Iris? As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a matter of if but how. Because it’s inevitable. The Flash couldn’t survive without Iris West much like Arrow couldn’t survive without Felicity Smoak. Characters like that are irreplaceable.
So how do we get Iris back? I see this happening as two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Barry goes back in time and resets Flashpoint and undoes everything – but there’s a consequence.
Everything that’s happened this season has happened as a result of Barry going back in time and creating Flashpoint. Killer Frost. Alchemy. Savitar. Iris’ death. When you look at it, Barry basically killed Iris, turned Caitlin evil, and created a version of himself that’s a villain. Holy shit, when the hell did The Flash surpass Arrow as master of darkness?
Given this entire season has been about Flashpoint – the effects that it’s had on this entire season and even on other shows – you would think that this finale would be about fixing it. The premiere was about the effects of Flashpoint, and this season has been about trying to right things. So finally fixing Flashpoint would make sense.
If Iris truly is dead (see scenario 2 below), then the only way we get Iris back is by fixing Flashpoint. Flashpoint is the entire reason why Savitar exists in the first place. So, erasing that would ultimately right what has been done wrong: Iris’ death, Baby Sara, Cisco’s brother, Caitlin becoming Killer Frost.
But at the same time, it would come with consequences. Perhaps Barry goes back in time and prevents Flashpoint and ends up saving Iris. But Iris doesn’t remember him or he’s brought to a time where they weren’t romantically involved, and Barry will have to deal with that. As he should. He needs consequences. But season 4 would be about rekindling that romance.
If it came down to Iris living and not knowing him or Iris staying dead, Barry would choose the former. Every. Single. Time.
Scenario 2: Iris isn’t really dead – someone else died in her place.
Now, this is a theory that seems more likely than the one above if only because it’s the easier option. What if Iris isn’t really dead? As in, what if someone else died in her place? Someone that looked like her?
Remember that tech that allows people to morph into other people? The one Barry used to get into ARGUS as Lyla? H.R. was feeling incredibly useless as a member of Team Flash. What if he decided to play decoy and switch places with Iris? Remember, there was a plan that Team Flash, minus Barry, came up with that we never learned about. What if this was it? What if H.R. volunteered to be the decoy before H.R. revealed to Savitar that Iris was on Earth-2? Then it’s Savitar killing H.R. disguised as Iris.
It’s one of those theories that’s so damn crazy that it’s perfect for The Flash.
Fighting For Love & Not Losing Yourself In The Process
If anyone knows Barry Allen best, it’s Iris West. So as we neared the final 24 hours of Iris’ life, Iris knew damn well that Barry was going to do everything and anything in his power to save her life.
This season, we’ve seen Barry go to extremes in order to protect Iris. In fact, he’s done things we’d never thought he was capable of doing, including altering time itself. Barry hasn’t exactly been level-headed this season.
So, Iris made it clear to Barry that she knew that he was going to do everything he could to protect her. But she didn’t want him to lose himself in the process. Translation: Don’t be stupid, Barry.
Given that Barry and Savitar are pretty much the same person on the surface, they couldn’t be more different below the surface. Barry, while dark and glumy this season, tends to inspire hope and possesses goodness. Savitar, on the other hand, was created as a result of Barry’s grief, which makes him someone that possesses darkness. Ultimately, when it comes to defeating Savitar, Barry is going to need to use his goodness and his hope as a strength to counteract Savitar’s darkness.
So when Iris begs him not to lose himself in the process, she’s begging Barry to not become Savitar. The best way to honor Iris is to do right by her wishes. She never would’ve wanted Barry to become a monster as a result of her death. She’d want him to keep on living and inspiring hope within the people of Central City.
Barry possesses light. Savitar possesses darkness. Light always wins out over the dark. So let’s see how this plays out.
The Bond Between Father & Daughter
The safest way to ensure my emotional demise on a television show is delivering some beautiful family moments that make the tears flow like a steady stream. While The Flash has been much darker than in years past, at its core it’s still a family show where family is an important aspect of the emotional driving force for these characters.
While the focus has been mostly on Barry regarding Iris’ impending death, some might forget that there’s someone that’s hurting even more: Joe West, her father.
Joe has been so strong during this entire thing that it’s easy to forget that he’s hurting worst of all – even more than Barry. This is his baby girl. He’s supposed to protect her from the cruelties of the world.
A father isn’t supposed to watch his daughter die. His daughter is supposed to outlive him.
So when we got that moment where Iris and Joe reminisced and confessed silly things to each other, for a moment they got to just be father and daughter hanging out instead of father and daughter worried about said daughter’s impending doom. It was their last normal moment before everything went to hell.
I cannot imagine what Joe is going through. We know that Joe is someone that is usually composed but he’s also someone that wears his heart on his sleeve. When it comes to his family, he can’t contain himself. So, watching him have to deal with the clock ticking down on his daughter’s life, one can only imagine what he was going through. And yet he remained strong until the end.
Friend vs. Friend-Turned-Foe
While the focus centered around Iris’ date with fate, another important storyline focused on a foreseen showdown between Vibe and Killer Frost, former friends turned foes.
While we didn’t get to see much of this prophesied showdown, it seems to be the focus for next week’s season finale. But something that hasn’t changed is that Cisco went there to try and save Caitlin from fully becoming Killer Frost.
And to be honest, the only reason Killer Frost is there is because she needs to convince herself that she’s not Caitlin anymore. We’ve seen for the past two episodes that Caitlin is talking inside of her. She’s still Caitlin. She can’t fight it forever. So Killer Frost is desperate to seal her chilly fate. Only, Killer Frost forgets how much Cisco loves Caitlin. He’s not going down without a fight.
- I CANNOT BELIEVE THE FLASH WENT THERE AND ACTUALLY KILLED IRIS. Like I never expected that to happen the way it did. I never thought that this show would actually kill off Iris West. That scene – I’m a broken, sobbing mess. Don’t touch me until next Tuesday!
- With that said, THERE IS NO WAY THAT THIS STICKS. RIGHT?! RIGHT. I’m sorry, there’s no way that this is going to stick, right? There’s still an entire 43 minutes to fix this shit. And it better be fixed. Not that there won’t be severe, emotional consequences as a result, but it better be fixed.
- That video that Iris left for Barry. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. I knew she was going to do that in the beginning. But listening to her voiceover, watching her as she said her vows to Barry on that video as Barry held her dead body on Infantino Street…that’s a chilling scene that I’ll never stop crying over.
- That scene with Iris and Joe where they were confessing and just soaking in time together tore at my damn heart. There’s nothing that I love more than a good father-daughter relationship. Especially one that truly touches your heart in such a genuine way. It’s easy to forget that while Barry is losing the love of his life, Joe is losing the love of his – his daughter. And that moment flat out destroyed me.
- Not only did we get Leonard Snart from Legends of Tomorrow, but his final words were: “NO STRINGS ON ME.” As in his last words before he sacrificed his life for his family on Legends of Tomorrow. I’m not okay. I’m so not okay. I just need Snart back. I deserve Snart back. Please, Legends of Tomorrow, give us Snart back.
- I’m still not buying the fact that any version of Barry Allen could ever kill any version of Iris West. But I’m going to try and roll with it. Because I thought I saw where the writers are going with this. Iris West is Barry Allen’s strength, while Iris West is Savitar’s weakness. Well, that’s what I thought until Savitar killed her. Guess I was wrong.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.