Flash – Season III – Ep. 21 “Cause and Effect”: A Review

Posted: 05/15/2017 in Uncategorized

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While a little bit of a letdown when compared with the latest episodes, ‘Cause and Effect’ did manage to move things forward and present some funny moments along with the revelation of how great a burden Flash (Grant Gustin) truly carries. The episode stumbled on the main plot point, namely toying with Barry’s brain to undermine Savitar’s ability to counter every plan they concoct due to such plans simply bieng history to him.

The team handles the revelation of Savitar’s identity as well as can be expected. The science of time travel is visited via Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) breakdown and we share the less scientifically minded confusion of Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and HR (Tom Cavanaugh). You kind of get what is being said with the diagram and exposition but honestly the promise of a non-speedster main enemy next season will feel like a warm summer breeze to the viewer. Regardless how you break it down, time travel is inherently paradoxical. Savitar puts it plainly in last week’s run when he states, “once you time travel, the rules no longer apply to you….”

This ep narrowly skidded away from being “filler” as my wife so ably puts it. The crew comprised of Julian (Tom Felton) and Cisco, neither of which has a specialty in cognition or brain study overall, opt to suppress Barry’s abilities to make new memories by ‘zapping’ him. This is a trope that has been used countless times in sci-fi and fantasy. The op goes as expected and the fastest man alive now has amnesia. Silly hijinx will surely ensue. The switch to a scene in which Caitlin/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) berates Savitar as he sits in an unresponsive meditative pose in his armor transforms the episode into something better however as we learn he and Barry are inexorably linked. As such, Savitar too has his mind scrambled.The action on Frost’s part plays well as she has the skill to fix the damage done via her alter ego’s medical knowledge.

The attempt to reach Caitlin via Cisco worked well as he brings up her past with Ronnie (Robbie Amell) and their family styled work environment. I suspect any such attempt will ultimately fail with the presence of Anne Dudek’s Tracy Brand and the knowledge that Killer Frost is a long time top level Flash Rogue, but we shall see. Cisco with Julian’s support does gain some ground. The further revelation of how deeply Savitar affects the team is presented via Wally’s/Kid Flash’s (Kieynan Lonsdale) own issue resulting from Savitar’s memory loss. The notion of what exactly Savitar has offered  Caitlin to keep her as his ally remains tantalizingly out of reach.

HR grows no less annoying and his romance with the rising in annoyance potential Tracy Brand does not help. There is a brief whiff of the annoying chatter between the oft derided Fitz/Simmons 1.0 dynamic on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but in this case there is so much less heart involved. HR’s stalker-ish attraction receives the response he craves but he pulls away from her, not wanting to distract with her with romance as she strives to build Savitar’s trap/undoing. His idea man prowess does not grow less annoying and seeing a grown man behave like an teenager with an equally socially awkward individual brings nothing palatable to the table.

The switch from a standard “fighting the bad guy and saving Iris” motif  to a more intimate story did deliver. Upon having his memory wiped though, Barry’s silly, zany moments kind of  rankle a bit. The court room moments with Cecile, Central City’s DA (Danielle Nicolet) agreeing to go ahead when he clearly was in no shape to proceed was well…kind of stupid. The moments between burden-less Barry and Iris (Candice Patton) however were not. Watching her absorb how much weight he carries and seeing him without it could have fallen into artifice and pablum. Instead we see her appreciating him more and wanting to keep him free of his burdens. Jo-Ment of the night occurs when Det. West explains to his daughter that what he endures and how he carries it informs who Barry truly is and that he would not change it for anything.

Honestly, we know how the episode will end and that to some degree this was a filler episode. The overall gain of learning how deeply linked both speedsters are, citing the titular “Cause and Effect”, however does raise the stakes as the season ends. We realize that by whatever means the team manages to defeat this season’s big bad, the consequences of such stand to be enormous. “Cause and Effect”was not outstanding but was still well worth your time.

 

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