The Flash returns to the future — briefly — in the winter premiere, as the team becomes determined to change Iris’ fate once Barry shares what he saw.

Also in “Borrowing Problems from the Future,” H.R. is determined to open up the STAR Labs Museum, Caitlin seeks a way to prevent her own troubling future and someone is coming for one of the team members.

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Here’s some happy news: thanks to Barry’s speed, the loft is unpacked pretty fast (once he gets around to it). In fact, the team even takes the time to gather for a housewarming party for the couple, with everyone bringing gifts (including a pet turtle from H.R.).

Is the Future Set in Stone?

If you just saw an evil speedster kill your girlfriend, you’d probably be having nightmares about it, right? Well, that’s what’s happening with Barry, but rather than tell Iris the truth (even after she full-names him), he tries changing the subject and then fortunately has a fire to run to to avoid the issue.

Wally has officially suited up and joined Barry in the field, and together they do successfully put out the fire and save Detective Patterson, but does the city need two speedsters? That’s the question Patterson raises later at CCPD, suggesting that the “Kid” in Kid Flash’s name says it all. Let him go help out elsewhere; they already have a Flash.

Wally, of course, overhears that, and it doesn’t help that Barry is firmly in “watch and learn, don’t act yet” mode. In fact, Barry is even more determined for Wally to do just that when, after again avoiding a conversation about his nightmares with Iris thanks to a robbery, Barry encounters Plunder and remembers him from the news in the future.

After Plunder escapes (and is so named by H.R., cementing that future fact), Barry asks Earth-19’s Harrison Wells if he ever wrote about time travel. H.R. just so happened to have written a book about a guy actively trying to prevent his own murder. There are two points of view: either the future isn’t fixed and you can make of it what you wish, or it is and you can’t change it no matter how hard you try. H.R. thinks the latter is true.

But Barry is determined for that not to be the case, so he’s not exactly eager to catch Plunder. Unfortunately, Wally intervenes and does just that, saving Barry’s life in the process. While everyone else is celebrating, Barry remains firm in his “you’re supposed to observe and learn” stance.

Change the Headlines, Save the Girl

However, after a speech from Caitlin about how they can’t do things alone, Barry brings Iris to the Time Vault and shows her the changed byline. Maybe she quit her job, Iris suggests, not exactly seeing the problem. That’s when Barry admits that he traveled to the future and saw Savitar kill her and that’s why he’s been having nightmares. He thought that if he didn’t catch Plunder, he could change the timeline and prevent the rest from happening as well. Iris argues that he can’t stop protecting the city to save her, but Barry sees no problem with letting one robber go free if it means saving her life.

Saving her life isn’t something they can do alone, so Barry fills the others in, but Iris doesn’t want to tell Joe because she thinks he’d go after Savitar himself if he knew. Changing the future is harder than they can imagine, H.R. argues, using dominoes to prove his point. But if they change the right events, maybe, just maybe, they can.

To find out what exactly they need to change, Cisco vibes Barry back to the future (May 23, 2017, to be exact), and they get a look at some of the other headlines at the time (aka “here are some possible spoilers!”):
 

  • Music Meister gets six-figure book deal
  • Luigi’s opens after murder
  • Captain Joe West honored at City Hall
  • Killer Frost still at large
  • STAR Labs Museum closes
  • City still recovering following gorilla attack

When the time comes to watch Savitar kill Iris again, however, Barry notices that something has changed: H.R. is now on a roof holding a rifle. He wasn’t there last time. Iris’ future isn’t the only one they have to alter; in that future, Caitlin has become Killer Frost. But now they know the headlines they need to change to change the future.

When Plunder escapes from prison, Barry remembers the news in the future reporting that he was caught robbing Central City Museum, and he and the others stumble through explaining to Joe how they know that’s where he’ll be. And now, Barry is all for Wally coming along because, as he explains, if Kid Flash catches Plunder, they’ve altered that future. That’s exactly what happens, with Barry standing back and letting Wally do just that. But that’s just the first step.

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How to Deal with Survivor’s Guilt: Join Team Flash and Help a Meta!

Caitlin’s still determined to not become Killer Frost, and that means wearing those cuffs at all times. But charging them is a bit of a pain, even with the portable charger she carries around with her. (I wonder if that charger works with her phone too. It would be convenient.) She’d rather not have her powers at all, so she turns to Julian for help, before she hurts someone else. Julian’s not so keen to help, telling her that he doesn’t cure metas but rather locks them up in prison, so she’s on her own.

He does apologize for being a “world class jerk,” admitting that it’s because he’s been trying to not think about what his alter ego, Alchemy, did. Seeing her brings that all back. He thinks he should’ve died instead of those part of the CCPD task force killed by Savitar, but that’s just survivor’s guilt, Caitlin explains. It’s normal, but he too was a victim. He can join the team at STAR Labs, she suggests, and help them fight metas.

It’s an invitation she doesn’t tell the others about, so when Julian shows up to accept, Caitlin has to pull them aside and explain that she needs his help because the cuffs just aren’t enough. Every night, she goes to sleep, afraid that she’ll wake up “her,” aka Killer Frost. When Barry’s mother was killed, Joe and Iris took him in. When Dante died, Caitlin slept on Cisco’s couch to keep him company. No one can do this alone, she says, and since Julian hasn’t blabbed Barry’s big Flash secret, why not give him a chance?

When Julian shows up for Barry and Iris’ housewarming, Barry welcomes him to the team, but Julian’s going to need a lesson in small talk. After all, it’s probably not the best idea to start things off by talking about how his last team was murdered by Savitar.

Julian doesn’t just bring a gift for the couple. He and Cisco have also figured out a fix for Caitlin’s cuffs: a necklace that’s recharged with solar energy. Bonus: it’s pretty, so she shouldn’t mind having to wear it all the time.

A Terrible Idea … Or Just a Bad One?

Well, in the future, STAR Labs Museum closes. But first, it needs to open (and apparently stay open, since they want to change those headlines). H.R. is all ready for the soft opening, thanks to financial backing from Olga, who doesn’t speak English. There is, of course, a cappuccino stand, and H.R. actually thinks that’s something that Caitlin could aspire to reach, after starting off at ticketing.

Moving past how ridiculous that is, H.R. also has designed a Hologram Cisco to act as a virtual tour guide/praise Harrison Wells’ looks. “I don’t sound anything like that,” Cisco protests, and fortunately, that hologram is very glitchy.

The grand opening completely fails, with two people briefly showing up, only to walk out once they realize they have to pay and Hologram Cisco pops up and glitches some more.

However, Cisco fixes pretty much everything, calling a local elementary school and giving them discounted tickets. If the kids love it, they’ll tell their parents, who will then tell people, and word will get out. Cisco even fixed his hologram.

But maybe H.R. should be more concerned with the fact that Gypsy has come through a breach and she’s looking for him.

Do you think the team can successfully change those headlines and save Iris? Are you happy that Julian is joining the team? Is opening STAR Labs Museum a good idea? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of The CW)