Flash – Season III – Ep. 15 “Wrath of Savitar”: A Review

Posted: 03/09/2017 in Uncategorized

The Wests are not the Best, loosely paraphrasing The Doors classic ‘The End’. The “Wrath of Savitar” had much going for it but as with the end sequence of season two’s finale, the notion that the fastest man alive might have to move on and sever ties with his current associations, namely his ‘family’ gains more traction. I was never sold on Kieynan Lonsdale’s depiction of Wally West/Kid Flash. I can now upgrade that opinion to despise. Iris’ (Candice Patton) character evolution is annihilated in one fell swoop. My cranky comments delivered, I will present my case below as to why this was still a very good episode.

We open with the team still on a high from last week’s victory against Grodd  in the  stellar two part “Attack” arc. Barry’s (Grant Gustin) proposal was accepted and the two share their happy news with their friends and teammates…..and then….it goes to hell. I have been commending the show runners on finally pushing past the Dawson Creekian “will they won’t they?” nonsense. I appreciated the homage paid to the long time legacy of the comics from which these characters originated but clearly my praise came too early. I know I am repeating myself but for a show that is purported to be a lighter offering to the immensely dark “Arrow” series, this show is targeting on bleak. The Wests do not come off well in this run… none of the Wests. Joe (Jesse L. Martin), the family patriarch, voice of reason and general soul of the show chides Barry for not asking his permission first before proposing to Iris. Seriously? This action informs a later action which in turn informs a self fulfilling prophecy along with a possible clue as to Savitar’s identity.

Lies…lies…lies: these are the groundwork for the undoing of friendships and teams on both Arrow and Flash. Team Flash seemed to have learned the value of eschewing such a practice…  until this run. This one is on the show runners for making Barry a heel of sorts and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) terribly selfish.  Wally West however gets the top prize for concealing the fact he is seeing Savitar from his team until it compromises him as he and the Flash head out to stop a fire. Barry is understandably lit as he sees KF’s actions as damaging and a step backward to preventing Iris’ demise. The team is divided on his cutting Wally/KF from their next move.

Julian Albert (Tom Felton) gained some push as a decent character with his overtures toward Caitlin recently. That he is willing to relive his trauma to help the team by channeling the voice of the trapped Savitar is telling. That he does so primarily because of his feeling for Caitlin speaks volumes of his character. Caitlin’s part in Savitar’s rise is galling really. When Julian questions her reaching out to him to join the team as motivated more by her desire for a cure than any true feeling her reply comes off as weak. We now have a little more sympathy for Julian who essentially has been used twice.

The greatest betrayal however comes at the hands of Wally for getting Cisco (Carlos Valdes) to ‘vibe’ him to the future to witness Iris’ death in hopes of giving him an option of preventing it. The knowledge he gains leads to a petulant moment and potentially and end to both Barry and Iris’ relationship and possibly her life. Wally coming apart should gain some sympathy from the viewers’ perspective but he is such a @#$% in this episode that we can only question why Jessie (Violet Beane) chose to stay with him. KF unravels in this run and his unravelling is epic. His confronting Savitar to “make him regret” giving him his speed plays like an inescapable nightmare. The cost is high. The damage is severe but the penalty paid by the Flash is severe both physically via his one on one with Savitar and emotionally via the essential abandonment and blame at the hands of his “family”.

What made this a good episode however were the tone and mood. Both were urgent and the performances were top tier. Even the emotional breakdown by Wally was well acted. That we care this much about characters that could easily be cartoon archetypes  is credit to both show runners and actors alike. Savitar however was finally given due presence. His voice through Julian was duly powerful and somewhat unhinged…his verbal slip saying “in my world, you’re big bad” might be a clue as to his identity. In my mind, HR’s (Tom Cavanaugh) constantly pushing and motivating Wally to be his best might also be a clue. The potential reveal of the mega villain’s identity will allow for this season to ultimately stand or fall. The battle between Savitar and Flash, complete with his armored rendering, was superior to his former engagements. With this episode, he finally ascends to the fantastic standards set by Wells/Thawne (Cavanaugh) and Zoom (Teddy Sears). Despite some missteps, Flash Season III remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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