Tormented by nightmares of the future where Iris is killed by Savitar, Barry has hesitated in bringing a new villain named Plunder to justice, remembering that villain's trial as part of the future he wants to prevent. As Wally West steps in to do what Barry won't, Caitlin Snow asks Julian Albert to help her remove her powers and offers him a job at STAR Labs.
The Flash: Terminal Velocity by Mark Waid (the plot centers around The Flash returning from the future and training a new speedster while working to avert the prophesied death of the love of his life.), The Flash comics of Geoff Johns (presence of Plunder) and the movie Back To The Future (Cisco name-drops it, refers to Barry as McFly, and the general plot involving using time-travel to prevent a death in the future).
Given that Barry knows for a fact that past time is not unchangeable (and indeed spent the better part of the last six months suffering because of that fact), it seems odd that he'd question the ability of future time to be altered. This is particularly maddening given his friendship with a group of time-travelers who averted a future timeline. (Maybe The Legends didn't tell Barry the details of what happened at Vanishing Point when Captain Cold died?)
Given how much withholding information has come back to bite the team in the ass, withholding information from Joe about what the rest of the team is working on re: stopping Iris's death and Caitlin's becoming a super-villain seems incredibly stupid.
That mob cheering "Kid Flash" sure showed up all of a sudden, didn't they?
This episode contains Grant Gustin's and Candice Patton's best scenes together since Barry and Iris became a couple. These run second, however, to the strange chemistry brewing between Tom Felton and Danielle Panabaker. And Panabaker herself steals the episode with her speech begging the rest of the team to let Julian join them for her sake.
The special effects and stunt work for the sequence in which The Flash and Kid Flash chase Plunder are some of the best this show has ever seen.
The episode opens with an entirely new narration from Barry, relating the events of 309 and how his new goal is stopping Iris from being killed by Savitar.
While insulting Kid Flash, Detective Patterson suggests sending him to Keystone City because Central City already has a Flash. In the original comics, while protecting both cities after Barry Allen's death, Wally West did settle in Keystone City.
In the original comics, Plunder was an assassin whose real name was Jared Morillo. Strangely enough - given the frequency of alternate-universe doppelgangers on this show - Plunder was an alternate Earth doppelganger of a friend of Wally West's, who was an honest cop in the Central City Police Department during Geoff Johns' run on The Flash. Plunder had no powers, but was an expert marksman and tracker.
The DCTVU version of Plunder is a jewel thief, an advanced gun and an eye-patch. This, coupled with a scruffy appearance, inspires comparison to a pirate and leads HR to give him the name Plunder.
HR claims to have written a novel called The Future Ain't What It Used To Be. This phrase is often attributed to baseball star Yogi Berra and was the title of a song by Meatloaf. The original saying "The future is not what it used to be." seems to have come from a 1937 journal called Epilogue and was in an article titled From a Private Correspondence on Reality by Laura Riding and Robert Graves.
Mention is made in the future news-scroll of someone called The Music Meister getting a six-figure book deal. The Music Meister was a telepathic super-villain created for the animated-series Batman: The Brave And The Bold who used his powers to make people around him spontaneously start singing and dancing as if they were in a musical. It has been revealed that a future episode of The Flash will be a musical special, crossing over with Supergirl, with The Music Meister as the main villain.
HR gives Barry and Iris a pet turtle named McSnurtle as a house-warming present. McSnurtle The Turtle was the secret identity of The Terrific Whatzit - an animal speedster superhero from the Golden Age who dressed like the Jay Garrick Flash.
Soot gathered around the outside of a door indicates that the fire behind the door has no ventilation. Opening the door in this situation will cause a sudden inrush of oxygen and trigger an explosion. Barry and Wally are able to circumvent this by generating a miniature cyclone that creates an focused exit point for the heat and smoke while draining the oxygen keeping the fire alight.
Julian Albert is revealed to be taking Zolpidem - a sedative used for treating insomnia.
Plunder's gun has an interesting effect on Barry, causing his telemetry readings to drop precipitously. It also used some kind of heat-seeking ammunition that Barry is only able to avoid by phasing through a barrier
Plunder was also able to aim his gun and fire it without touching it
Plunder's gun also fires what appear to be laser blasts and is capable of generating a force-field that momentarily slows down The Flash and Kid Flash as they chase after him.
Cisco creates a device that will allow him to use his Vibe powers to let Barry see the future on the day Iris dies.
Julian and Cisco devise a new means of keeping Caitlin's powers under control - a device contained with a snowflake-shaped necklace, that is solar-powered and recharges itself whenever she's outside during the day.
Barry: (V/O) My name is Barry Allen and I'm the fastest man alive! To the outside world, I'm an ordinary forensic scientist but secretly, with the help of my friends at STAR Labs, I fight crime find other metahumans like me. In an attempt to stop the evil speedster, Savitar, I was accidentally thrust into the future and I saw him murder the woman that I love. But I won't let that happen! I'm going to do everything in my power to change the future and I am the only one fast enough to keep her alive! I am... The Flash!
Cisco: Let me give you some advice, Wally. Being a superhero is not about kicking ass. (pauses) Well... no, actually, that's a straight up lie. There's a lot of ass-kicking involved.
(Plunder is breaking open a jewelry display. Suddenly, The Flash runs in.)
The Flash: (apologetically) See, I'm living with someone now, so I can't have criminals constantly interrupting our alone time.
(Barry is reluctant to let Wally help him with taking on Plunder and tells Joe he wants Wally to train more first.)
Joe: Okay. Well, remember the best way to teach somebody something is to throw them in the deep end. That's how I taught you how to swim.
Barry: That was... I'm still mad about that!
Joe: You can swim now, can't you?
Barry: ... yeah.
Julian: Look - I - I know I was... rude yesterday.
Caitlin: Yeah. You were a world class jerk.
Julian: Yeah. There is a reason...
Caitlin: Because you ARE a world class jerk?
Julian: ... Fair enough.
Caitlin: Look... what Alchemy did was not your fault.
Julian: Yeah. Tell that to Dave Frieman. Ben Edwards. Jorge Gonzales. These men were part of the CCPD Task Force that Savitar murdered. I should have died - not them.
Caitlin: Julian, what you're feeling... it's completely normal. It's called survivor's guilt. But it wasn't your fault, okay? You're a victim too. I... (pausing to steel herself) I tortured people and nearly killed my best friends. I didn't ask for these powers. Just like you didn't ask to be used by Savitar.
Julian: Yeah. (sighs) I just don't know how to move forward.
Caitlin: Why don't you come join us at STAR Labs? You can help Team Flash fight metahumans.
Julian: You're being serious?
Caitlin: Yeah. Barry and the team - they'd be thrilled to have you. I would be thrilled to have you!
Julian: Ah... I'll give it some thought. Uh, thanks for coming.
(Barry asks HR if he believes in predestination or fixed futures.)
HR: Well, I think that a man often meets his destiny on the very road that he takes to avoid it.
HR: Meaning... the future is fixed.
HR: Wallace! B.A! You're supposed to be dressed for the museum opening!
Wally: HR. We're speedsters. We have time.
HR: No one likes a braggart.
(As the rest of the team say they're reluctant to let Julian onto Team Flash.)
Caitlin: Guys, I need his help. I'm sorry, Cisco, but these cuffs... they aren't cutting it! Every night when I go to bed, I'm afraid I'm going to wake up... be her. Maybe Julian can think of something that we haven't? Barry, when your mom was murdered, Joe and Iris took you in. Cisco, when Dante died... I slept on your couch to keep you company The things we see? The things that we face? No one can do this alone. Trying is the biggest mistake that you can make. He hasn't told anyone that Barry is The Flash. I think we can give him a chance.
The opening scene repeats the scene from 309 where Barry briefly traveled to the future and saw Iris' death.
As the episode opens, Barry and Iris have been living together for a month but they haven't unpacked everything in their new home yet.
Barry has had nightmares which had him screaming loud enough to wake up Iris for three nights in a row.
It is confirmed that Iris and Barry's relationship has become sexual and the two share a bed.
Detective Patterson - last seen in 307 - is saved from a fire by The Flash and Kid Flash.
The power-dampening cuffs Caitlin is wearing need to be regularly recharged and are starting to fail. She asks Cisco to fix them for her.
HR hires a Russian woman named Olga to work at the STAR Labs museum, despite her not speaking English. He also creates a malfunctioning hologram of Cisco to act as a tour guide.
HR dodges the question of just how he is paying for everything going into creating the STAR Labs Museum, but he tells Cisco that money is no object when he asks about ordering parts to repair HR's hologram.
Barry heard a news report of Plunder's trial when he traveled to the future in 309.
Dave Frieman, Ben Edwards and Jorge Gonzales were the three police officers on the CCPD Task Force that were killed by Savitar in 306.
HR claims to have written a romantic science-fiction novel involving time-traveling to the future called The Future Ain't What It Used To Be. It won a Nebula Award. It was about a man trying to stop his own murder in the future.
On that note, Earth 19 has Nebula Awards too.
HR is a believer in fixed futures.
Only two people show up for the opening gala of the STAR Labs Museum. They leave upon finding out the museum is not free.
Barry shows Iris the future newspaper from 2024 and tells her that she is no longer the author of the article about The Flash disappearing during a crisis of some kind. He then tells her about her murder at the hands of Savitar in four months.
Barry and Iris tell the rest of the team (except Joe) about the future where Iris dies on May 23, 2017.
The headlines that Barry sees on the news scroll in the future are as follows -
* Music Meister Gets Six-Figure Book Deal.
* Luigi's Opens After Murder
* Joe West Honored At City Hall
* Killer Frost Still At Large
* STAR Labs Museum Closes
* City Still Recovering Following Gorilla Attack
Cisco and Barry see HR standing on the roof overlooking the stand-off between The Flash and Savitar, holding a gun. Barry says HR wasn't there before. This suggests that Barry telling HR about the future changed it somehow.
Central City has 35 jewelry stores and 48 hotels.
Barry remembers that Plunder was captured robbing the Central City Museum in his future vision.
Barry steals Plunder's gun from the CCPD Evidence Room and gives it to Cisco so he can study it.
Cisco is able to get a crowd of children and teachers into the museum by offering a local elementary school discounted tickets.
Cisco also repairs HR's hologram.
On Earth 19, it is traditional to give reptiles as a house-warming gift. For this reason, HR gives Iris and Barry a female turtle named McSnurtle who bites.
The rest of Team Flash agrees to let Julian join the team.
In the final scene, a woman emerges from a breach and looks at a holographic projection of HR.
The Bottom Line
A solid enough return to form. Villain of the week Plunder could have used more definition, with it being unclear if he just had an advanced gun or if he was telekinetically manipulating the gun and bullets. And we never did find out just where he got that wonderful toy from...
Still, this episode makes good use of its time and settles a lot of the on-going subplots (Cisco's rivalry with HR in particular) even as it sets up the story lines for the rest of the season. The ensemble are all on point, with the chemistry between Grant Gustin and Candice Patton having never been stronger now that the "will they/won't they" tension has finally been excised from their relationship.