Cause & Effect - The Flash Recap & Review

Almost as if The Flash crew reads my reviews, "Cause and Effect" immediately answers the gripe I had in my review of last week's trainwreck reveal of future Flash being Savitar.

I'm getting serious whiplash from the constant good/bad quality change of these episodes. I kind of really hated last week's episode, mostly because of the reveal, but then "Cause and Effect" ended up strangely satisfying for an episode that seemed to be mostly intended as filler before we hit the final two.

Spoilers beyond the fold

As I noted above, my gripe with the Savitar reveal is almost instantly dealt with as this episode opens right where we left off last week: Barry is confronting his future self. But as it turns out, Savitar explains exactly who he is, and he's not our Barry. Turns out he's the only surviving time remnant of a group of remnants future Barry pulls together to stop Savitar. All but the one dies, but because it's a time remnant, supposedly Iris and Joe and Cisco and everyone rejects it because it's not the real Barry. Left alone and angry and in pain, the time remnant would eventually become Savitar, as it realizes that gods don't feel pain, so clearly the answer is to become a god.

There's a lot of Back to the Future style explanations by Cisco and Barry to try to explain to the other characters--and the audience--how a future time remnant becomes Savitar and then goes back in time to make himself a Hindu god, etc etc. Whatever, the point is that, as with "The Once and Future Flash" episode a couple of weeks ago, "Cause and Effect" is just making the point that Barry becomes dark and angry if he doesn't have the loving support of his friends and family. The Flash is nothing without his team, and without their love to sustain him, he becomes not just emo and broody, but eventually outright evil.

So I don't have to be upset anymore, I guess, because my Barry, the one I have loved for the past three seasons, doesn't murder Iris. Can Nazi Cap be a time remnant too?

Anyway, in this episode, Cisco comes with a truly hair-brained idea to try to keep Savitar from knowing all their moves. See, Savitar knows everything they do now, because he has all of Barry's memories, so anytime they do anything, Savitar knows it. Cisco conceives of an idea to temporarily block Barry's ability to remember things going forward, just so they stop feeding Savitar information.

Raise your hand if you think this sounds like a terrible idea.

It's a terrible idea. Cisco isn't the brain specialist of Team Flash, Caitlin is. With her gone, of course this plan goes completely awry. Barry loses all of his memories. He doesn't even know his own name, let alone that he's engaged to Iris or that he's even The Flash. Inexplicably, the team doesn't even tell him he has superpowers.

What have we done?
This is actually a pretty adorable episode. Grant Gustin gets to stretch his Barry personification a bit here, as he plays an innocent and sweet and super happy Barry who doesn't even remember that his parents were murdered. He is childlike in his joy, but of course his lack of memory also poses some hilarious problems for the team. (and that moment when Wally tells Barry that they are brothers, and Barry looks down at his own hand to check his skin color).

One of the other effects of Barry losing his memories is that Savitar also loses his memories completely, so Killer Frost shows up at STAR Labs because she knows what these idiots have done, and she tells them they shouldn't have messed with Barry's brain without Caitlin around. Truth.

Anyway, Killer Frost ends up helping them get Barry's memories back in working order. During the time she's at STAR Labs, Cisco attempts to bring Caitlin back with some pleasant memories, but it doesn't seem to work. As she's leaving, though, it appears that there is an internal fight going on inside Killer Frost between her and Caitlin, judging by the changing eye colors.

I am still making this decent episode look good. 
While it was nice to see Iris had, you know, actual lines in this episode, and she was in more scenes, as usual, The Flash is completely under-using her. And as usual again, she ultimately serves to be emotional support for Barry. In this episode, she spends her time with Innocent Barry, and later on suggests that maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing for him to remain this way, because he's so happy and unburdened. Later, when he gets his memories back, she still has to support him emotionally. Meh. That would be fine, if she was allowed to do other stuff too.

There's a subplot with Tracy trying to figure out the Savitar trap, and ultimately she finishes building it with HR's "help." There's a budding romance here, too, which I don't mind terribly, because it's made HR much more endearing than he has been for most of this season.

NGL, kinda loving her Ghostbusters look here. 
 I'm sure we won't have Tracy around after this season, which is a shame, because she's actually quite delightful and quirky, and of course she is a super intelligent scientist that Team Flash could really use more of. I'm not sure if HR is going to stick around for next season, but if he does, I hope that means we see more of Tracy as a recurring character as well.

The episode ends with Tracy stating that her Savitar trap needs a major power source, and the last scene of the episode shows a thing that for some reason, King Shark is guarding. So I guess we know what's going on next week!

Overall, a cute and enjoyable episode that while being mostly filler in the larger story, did serve to move along character development and open up the possibility of bringing Caitlin to her senses.

There are just two episodes to go before the season ends. Tell us what you think of this and of the coming finale!

The Flash airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW.

Ivonne Martin is a writer, gamer, and avid consumer of all things geek—and is probably entirely too verbose for her own good.