Though “The Once and Future Flash” was an episode set in the future it was a fun throwback to The Flash of old. Barry traveled to the future to get some information on Savitar but instead just participated in a somewhat standalone adventure which established that Barry will always try to find the hope in a hopeless situation. Still, “The Once and Future Flash” was a bit of a disappointment as the show dragged out the mystery of Savitar’s identity even longer. Killer Frost might have learned who is inside the suit by the end of the hour but the audience didn’t get the same satisfaction. 19 episodes into The Flash season 3, something has become crystal clear. No matter who is underneath Savitar’s suit, there is no way that The Flash is going to be able to live up to all this hype.
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Ran This Race Before
It is true that Savitar’s identity will probably be the key to defeating him or at least be an important factor in the villain’s downfall. Since future Barry never learned Savitar’s identity and Iris still died, knowing who Savitar is likely is the one tool Barry needs to change the future. We can also assume that because Killer Frost immediately trusted Savitar upon seeing him step out of the suit it is either Ronnie, which makes no sense, or someone within Team Flash. By dropping these hints “The Once and Future Flash” wasn’t completely useless in solving the mystery of Savitar, but the mystery no longer matters.
Savitar being someone Barry and the gang trusts is not going to be that shocking. Even if the popular fan theory that Savitar is some future version of Barry himself is true, that won’t even be a surprise. The Flash has built up the mystery of Savitar’s identity so much that no reveal is going to be satisfying or shocking enough for the audience. There is no real tension in finding out Savitar’s identity. There is some anticipation but it is more of an aggravating wait than a compelling one.
The Flash has already been down this road with a secret villain twice before with Reverse Flash and Zoom. The Reverse Flash mystery was fun and exciting. The secrecy around Zoom was just little bit less mysterious but was still engaging. There is no twist or reveal that can possibly make the Savitar reveal worth all this wait. Even it being someone that Killer Frost trusts immediately does nothing because both Zoom and Reverse Flash were members of Team Flash before their reveals. The Flash has spent so much time this season not revealing Savitar’s identity that nearly every possible outcome or theory has been discussed, debated and explored.
Hitting the Character Pause Button
The truly disappointing thing is that it appeared at the start of season 3 that The Flash had learned its lesson with hiding the villain’s identity. Season 3 didn’t look like it was just going to be a repeat of season 2 and season 1 when it came to the big bad. Earlier in the season The Flash did something wise by introducing rather quickly that Julian was Dr. Alchemy. Julian’s secret identity was assumed by everyone after his first or second appearance on the show. By confirming this theory about seven episodes into the season, The Flash opened up more stories for Julian and more surprising reveals. Julian only came alive as a character once the Dr. Alchemy business was revealed and then resolved.
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Savitar is just in a holding pattern. Savitar doesn’t have a personality because anything we learn about him could be a spoiler for his identity. The hook of Savitar as a villain is that he is planning to kill Iris and he knows a great deal about Team Flash. This isn’t enough for a season-long villain. Mirror Master and The Top have more characterization and personality than Savitar and they have only been around for a couple of episodes.
Multiple The Flash characters have remarked on how Savitar goes down as Barry’s greatest threat of all time and there has been nothing in the season to support that assertion. Savitar might be faster than Barry but so were Zoom and Reverse Flash. The real reason a supervillain works is the interpersonal relationship he has with the hero. There is none of that with Savitar and there won’t be until he is unmasked. Even if the reveal happens as early as episode 20, the appropriately titled, “I Know Who You Are,” it is going to be too little, much too late. The Flash has held their cards to their chest so long that, to mix metaphors, they’ve blown up in their face.
But what do you think? Is there a reveal about Savitar that could excite you? Could the reveal still be shocking? Do you still care who is in the suit? What is your theory about Savitar? Can Savitar become Barry’s greatest threat?
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)