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TV Review: The Flash - Season 3 Ep 10 "Borrowing Problems from the Future"

01.25.2017

EPISODE 10: "Borrowing Problems From The Future"

SYNOPSIS: Barry is tormented by his vision of the future where Iris is murdered by Savitar. When a criminal named Plunder shows up in Central City, Barry recalls the villain’s presence in his vision of the future and fears that if he catches Plunder, it will cement Iris’ fate. Confused about Barry’s hesitation to stop Plunder, Wally decides to step in as Kid Flash. Caitlin offers Julian a job.

The Flash, Comic Book, Superhero, The CW, Grant Gustin, DC Comics, Action, Fantasy

REVIEW: The Flash has spent the first half of the third seasont trying to make sense of an altered timeline. In what amounts to a wholly distinct take on the Flashpoint plot device, Barry has been trying to stop the one-two punch of Doctor Alchemy and speed god Savitar for nine episodes only to have the mid-season finale end with the Christmas nightmare of a future where Iris dies at the hands of Barry's nemesis. So, naturally, the second half of the narrative picks up after a month-long break to find our heroes once again trying to alter the timeline to avoid the inevitability of fate. I would say that this episode was an enjoyable return to form for The Flash but it is a very repetitive use of a plot device from both the first and second seasons. I am hoping that this doesn't bode poorly for the next dozen episodes of this season but the outlook does not look so good.

Picking up with Iris and Barry enjoying their newly shared living arrangement, Barry is plagued by nightmares of seeing Savitar brutally murder Iris on May 23, 2017. In that vision, Barry was powerless to stop the love of his life from being snuffed out but it set up a countdown to the season finale of the show where either Barry stops the worst moment since the death of his parents or endures another brutal loss. Either way, The Flash is hurtling towards an inevitable ending to this story and needs to really draw the viewer in. H.R., in his infinite wisdom, offers the fact that while Barry changing his past resulted in Flashpoint, changing the future is a different story entirely. The team then sets out to change the direction of things but first needs a glimpse into the future. With new villain Plunder in town, the same bad guy Barry had stopped in his look into the future, the team has an idea of what to do.

The Flash, Comic Book, Superhero, The CW, Grant Gustin, DC Comics, Action, Fantasy

Using Cisco's abiliy, the team vibes some clues from six months in the future to try and alter fate. The vision shows Killer Frost returns, as does Gorilla Grodd, and Music Meister signing a book deal. There is even news of Joe getting honored at City Hall, but Barry decides to start by allowing Wally use his Kid Flash abilities to stop Plunder. A low rent rip-off of The Punisher crossed with Deadshot, Plunder continues a recent trend of villains on The Flash who exist merely to propel a single episode and don't really have any purpose beyond that. Earlier episodes in the first seasons of The Flash introduced bad guys who had a lasting impact like Captain Cold who were worth revisiting. Lately, it just seems like the writers are mining the lowest dregs of DC's rogue's gallery just to fill hours of this show. Obviously, Plunder is stopped relatively easily.

What this episode does do right is not keeping Barry's vision of the future a secret from the team. In the past, this has eaten away at our hero and caused a rift between him and the supporting characters, culminating in a big reveal and team reunion to fight the big bad. This time, the writers have elected to have Barry and the team face the future together which does open more narrative possibilities. It also gives them more room for dramatic interaction as they try to stop destiny. I was just expecting there to be more than them just attempting to alter headlines from a vibe. I mean, there has to be more to this season than a slight variation of Barry trying to save his mom in season one or Thawne/Reverse Flash trying to maintain the Infinite Crisis headline in his secret room at STAR Labs, right?

The Flash, Comic Book, Superhero, The CW, Grant Gustin, DC Comics, Action, Fantasy

Ultimately, by episode's end, we are left with the team once again reunited on the same path. Caitlin has offered Julian a position on Team Flash which he heartily accepts. Tom Felton, now that he is no longer Alchemy, is a welcome addition to the team and one that I hope sticks around past this season. But, does his addition to the cast mean the departure for someone else. With Iris' fate foretold and Caitlin battling her Killer Frost powers, could one of them be departing? Or could it be the ever changing role of Harrison Wells? In the episode's stinger, we see someone come through a rift holding a hologram of H.R., seemingly a bounty hunter after our duplicitious Earth-19 version of Wells. I really like Tom Cavanaugh's performances on this series so I hope he sticks around, but there are only so many doppelgangers you can bring on a series before you have to call the casting trick quits.

Much like how the third season premiere was a bit underwhelming, the 2017 debut of the show doesn't fare much better. The Flash presented two strong seasons that made it one of the most enjoyable series on TV and a benchmark for network comic book shows, but now it is starting to feel played out much in the way Arrow did right around the same time in it's run. Viewers are likely sticking it out in hopes that the show can hit another stride like it did towards the end of last year, but signs are pointing to Barry in yet another speedster foot race for the fate of mankind. I keep telling myself that the writers would not make that move a third time in a row, but things are beginning to point in that direction.  I just hope they manage to deliver a run up to that point that makes it all worth watching.

EPISODE GRADE:

NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Dead or Alive" airs January 31st - H.R.'s past catches up with him when a bounty hunter with vibe powers named Gypsy arrives in Central City to bring him back to Earth-19 to stand trial for his crime. It turns out inter-dimensional travel is illegal on their Earth. H.R. surrenders but when Barry and Cisco find out that H.R.’s only hope would be to challenge Gypsy to a fight to the death, they intercede and Cisco offers to fight Gypsy instead.

Source: JoBlo.com

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