The Flash 3×09 Review: What Does the Future Hold?

I’ve made it no secret that The Flash hasn’t exactly dazzled me this season. Part of it has to do with my dislike of Barry at present and part of it has to do with the storyline. Given how The Flash killed it in seasons 1A and 2A, 3A has fallen short in comparison. But this season 3 midseason finale might’ve just given me some hope moving into the back half of the season.

“One shall betray you. One shall fall. One shall suffer a fate worse than death.”

That was the chilling warning from Savitar in The Flash’s season 3 midseason finale which set the stage for what we can expect and what we should fear moving forward this season.
That ominous warning from Savitar has our minds and hearts racing with fear and speculation. So let’s break it down shall we:

“One Shall Betray You.”

This has to be Caitlin, right? Given her Killer Frost destiny and Cisco’s vibe, this seems to be the obvious choice.
While this might be obvious that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to ultimately shock us or hurt any less. This is the origin story of Killer Frost. And unfortunately Killer Frost isn’t the name of a hero.
There have been not-so-subtle hints about Caitlin’s destiny. We’ve seen how easy it is for her to lose control. We’ve heard how Killer Frost has a great future ahead of her. It was never a matter of “if” Caitlin becomes Killer Frost but “when.” And I’m thinking our timeline for that is in five months.
The one thing that keeps coming to me is that perhaps this betrayal runs deeper than perhaps just working with Savitar. Perhaps it’s Caitlin who hands Iris over to Savitar. That’s a double betrayal right there. For all we know, this could be the final five months that we have of Caitlin being a part of Team Flash.

“One Shall Fall.”

As we saw when Barry ran into the future, the one that is maybe or maybe not destined to fall in five months from now is Iris. Barry’s spidey senses were tingling last week when he saw the newspaper byline change from Iris’ name to another reporter’s. Then when he glimpsed the future, it all fell into place.
As a fan of all of the DC shows, I can’t help but see an obvious parallel between Barry and Iris’ love story and Oliver and Felicity’s from Arrow. Which is definitely a good thing. If there’s anything we’ve learned about both couples is that they’re endgame despite the pain inflicted upon us.
Given Savitar is looking to destroy Barry Allen, what better way to destroy the hero than to take away those that he loves.
Seeing how Savitar went right after Iris shows that he’s done his homework. He knows Iris is the person Barry loves the most. So that’s who Savitar wants to take away from him. It reminded me of Arrow last season when Damien Darhk kidnapped those that Oliver loves, including Felicity. We saw how he used them to get what he wanted and to slowly kill Oliver. And of course there were the final moments when Darhk had Oliver and Felicity’s limo attacked by men with guns severely injuring Felicity. And we saw how injuring Felicity affected Oliver. Expect something similar — although not as brutal — from Barry when Iris is legitimately in danger.
After Barry saw Iris die right in front of him in the future, I fully expected for Barry to break up with Iris. Then I realized I wasn’t watching Arrow. When a loved one is in danger, Oliver’s first instinct is to push away those he loves away. Barry’s first instinct is to pull them as close to him as possible. It’s just who these heroes are at their core; it’s who they’ve become based on their experiences. It doesn’t mean they love any more or any less.
While I’m confident that Barry isn’t choosing to accept that “whatever happens, happens,” I do believe that before he really starts fighting to change that future that he’s going to spend as much time with Iris as possible. Just in case. While Garrick said that it’s dangerous to see the future — something Barry had never done before — in a way it’s also interesting because we’ll see Barry try to fight that outcome.
But then as Garrick said, that future that Barry saw is just one possibility of the future. It might happen but it’s not necessarily what will happen. But given the severity of the situation you best believe that Barry is approaching it as if it’s set in stone.
With that said, The Flash isn’t going to kill Iris.
This is exactly like the Felicity situation last season where fans knew that she wasn’t the one in the grave because there’s no way in hell that a show would kill the hero’s one true love.
Iris West is not going to die. Getting to see that potential future is the closest we’re going to come to watching her die. But it’s certainly something that’s going to sit in the back of our minds for the rest of the season leading up to that finale where the moment plays out in front of us. Hell, we might even actually fear that it might actually be true — that Iris might actually die. But it’s not going to happen. It’ll get as close as possible, and then it won’t happen.
But I actually love what The Flash did here. It showed Barry that Iris could potentially die in five months, which is going to make him approach life differently. He’s going to spend even more time with her, and I believe that’s going to help make him a better hero than he’s been this season. Not to mention all the cute WestAllen moments in the loft (see, another Olicity parallel. I love my ships.)

“One Shall Suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.”

This one’s a little more tricky. What could possibly be worse than death? Could it be watching the woman you love die? And having one of your closest friends betray you? Perhaps this is Barry that Savitar is referring to. Barry might be the one that suffers “a fate worse than death.”
Think about it, how do you destroy the hero? Most often it’s not killing them but hurting those that they care about. A hero can go down fighting and end up a martyr. But if you take away a hero’s fight, a hero’s inspiration — those that he cares about — then you take away the threat of the hero. You weaken the hero. You take any strength that he/she had to begin with.
The differences between a hero and a villain are very small. A hero understands there’s a moral line that they can’t cross. A villain is willing to cross that line in order to get what they want while the hero manages to find another way. A villain is often motivated by his/her own selfish tendencies. A hero is often motivated and finds inspiration from those that he/she cares about. It’s what’s the ultimate difference in the fight of good vs. evil. A hero is fighting not only for him/herself but for those that he/she cares about. It makes all the more difference.
So how do you level the playing field or actually gain the advantage? You take away what the hero holds near and dear. We’ve seen how that can cripple a hero.
Last season on The Flash’s counterpart Arrow, a sadistic villain named Damien Darhk attacked Oliver’s holiday party. But instead of going after Oliver he went after his loved ones: Felicity, Thea, and Diggle. Darhk understood that the way to defeat a hero is to weaken him, beat him when he’s down, kill any motivation that inspires him.
But then sometimes a betrayal can hurt worse than death. And that’s what’s coming. Obviously Savitar has to be referring to Caitlin and her alter ego Killer Frost. As we saw earlier in the season, someone told Caitlin that she has a great future ahead as Killer Frost. Foreshadowing was certainly in the works.
While everyone well understands Caitlin’s current circumstance and how Killer Frost can take her over when given the chance, that doesn’t mean that when the betrayal ultimately does happen that it’ll hurt any less. And just imagine if that betrayal somehow leads to Iris’ death. Good lord. This is not going to be a good five months for Barry moving forward.

Why Is Savitar After Barry?

We shouldn’t be surprised at this point watching superhero shows, but typically these Big Bads arise because the hero quote “did them wrong” in some regard. Savitar threatened to destroy not only Barry but the entire team because Future Barry locked Savitar up for what I’m sure was a very good reason. And well, the team is included by association and their importance to Barry.
Since Savitar comes from the future and knows everything that will transpire — including potential moves — it makes his eventual return all the more chilling. In the few times we’ve saw Barry and Jay Garrick go up against him they were crushed. Like obliterated. Like my Chicago Bears this season. So obviously they haven’t figured out how to defeat Savitar just yet.
Reverse Flash and Zoom were easy compared to Savitar.

Can Julian Be Trusted?

Julian certainly made steps forward in terms of trusting him following the revelation that he was actually Alchemy. But like the other metahumans from Flashpoint, Julian wasn’t aware that he had an alter ego in the form of Alchemy, who had sadistic ways. For all we know he could be playing the role. But if he is, Julian is putting on one hell of a show. Because at this point I trust him. But at the same point I don’t. When you let outsiders in and there’s still a half season to go, I always have trust issues.
In “Present,” we got to see a little of Julian’s backstory aka how he became Alchemy. See folks, this is why you never should mess with ancient artifacts because you might turn into a dangerous, monstrous metahuman being controlled by the God of Speed.
It’s clear that Julian has experienced a lot of pain in his life. But it’s also clear that he can be controlled by Savitar. Sure, they threw that box into the Speed Force. But we also saw that Savitar manages to break free, which means that when he does he’s sure to call upon Alchemy for assistance. Right now though it seems like Julian’s trying. He’s trying to be a part of this group. Perhaps a part of him really wants to. Or for all we know it could all be an act.
But basically, don’t trust Julian entirely.
The Flash returns in January 2017 with new episodes.

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