The Flash: Season 3 Episode 22 review – Infantino Street
This review contains spoilers.
Supergirl performed really well on Monday night, in an episode that felt more like a finale that a penultimate episode. Surprisingly, The Flash performed just as well this week, in an instalment that equally felt more like something you’d find as the endgame of a season, rather than as a penultimate stepping stone.
Everything that the show has been building towards came to a head, with the day of Iris’ promised death arriving and Team Flash being forced to try their best to save her. Importantly, when it came to the question of whether the team would be able to save Iris, the writers took the wonderfully bold avenue of Iris dying.
Seeing the future is a common trope in SF, but I love it most of all when the catastrophic future event shown to ours characters happens anyway, despite everyone’s best efforts. LOST did this wonderfully with Charlie’s death. Desmond saw Charlie die by an arrow and although he was able to prevent this, time found another way to kill Charlie instead.
It’s also the only thing that makes people remember Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines fondly; for the single fact that it ended with the apocalyptic event despite our characters trying to stop it for the entire film. The point here is that it is often a stronger writing choice when the mythology is such that you can’t change the future. It makes for darker and bleaker storytelling, because you’re given the full warning of what will happen, but you’re powerless to do anything at all to stop it.
I think HR’s version of Mission Impossible being titled ‘Mission Improbable’ might be some slight jest to the above. In this world, they literally faced an impossible mission that they were always going to lose. Given the general levity of the show and how close we are to the end of Season 3, I didn’t expect the writers to go through with the death and I’m very happy that they did. It’s not because I’m anti-Iris – she’s superb – it’s just because bleak writing makes for better storytelling.
Armed with that choice in hand, the writers layered the episode with very sad and touching moments. Iris seemed to know that her chances were slim, so she filmed a beautiful video for Barry, stating her wedding vows against the haunting ‘Murder Song’ by Aurora. Ahead of this, she spent some charming Father/Daughter time with Joe, in which they sang together. All of which makes the final murder more devastating to witness.
Captain Cold being back was brilliant. Some see him as smarmy and annoying, but you can’t fault moments like cracking the Montgomery 3000 in 37 seconds, or his line about not sitting him at the singles table in the wedding invitation. His and Barry’s little mission to retrieve their desired power source brought them face to face with King Shark – a fan favourite villain in this show.
Captain Cold’s remark about how Jaws didn’t show the shark because they didn’t have the confidence in their effects to make it look good hints at how proud the producers are at what the digital effects team manage with King Shark, and they should be proud. Even though it was a short scene, the Rancor-esque feel of the situation more than made up for its brevity.
Then there was the Suicide Squad mention, but don’t be fooled – in my view this was a nod to a Suicide Squad in The CW’s world that we haven’t seen, rather than a nod to the DCEU cinematic version. Not only would Zack Snyder and co not allow this link-up, but there is already a different Amanda Waller in Arrow, which to me proves that this reference was self-contained.
This easily ranked among the best episodes of the season for me. I thought Supergirl was brilliant in its boldness this week, but I think The Flash actually outdid it with this episode. It all begs the question of what both shows will do in their actual finales now that they have provided their climactic events. And it begs the question of what will happen to Barry from hereon in and whether Candice Patton has left the show for good.