Season 3 Episode 20 ‘I Know Who You Are’
At long last we learn the identity of Savitar, the God of Speed who has haunted Team Flash, tearing them apart from the inside, and looming over them with his impending murder of Iris. There have been clues sprinkled throughout the season, a limitless number of possibilities of who would want to destroy Barry Allen. As the team searches for physicist Tracy Brand in hopes of helping her develop the Speed Force prison ahead of schedule they encounter Killer Frost, searching for Brand as well, planning to eliminate her for Savitar.
Cisco is faced with the overwhelming struggle with his ability to stop Killer Frost, but his fear of killing his best friend has him petrified and freezing in the midst of firefights. With the fate of the future, namely Iris’ future, in the balance, Barry has a Sherlock Homes-ian epiphany placing all the cues throughout the season together. He races off to confront his nemesis, proclaiming his knowledge of his identity, how he has seemed to precognitively predict not only the team’s actions but even their words. Savitar satisfied that Flash has finally uncovered the secret of his identity, steps from his armor to finally reveal his identity to the world as…..[insert agonizing cliffhanger commercial break here — PSA: if you have not seen this episode of the Flash and do not want it spoiled, close this link now]
Savitar, The Flash’s greatest nemesis, is Barry Allen.
While on the list of candidates for the identity of Savitar, the reveal of Allen (sporting a very Harvey Dent-esq facial scar) as the God of Speed may have caught some viewers by surprise. Going into the episode, I had a short list of those who I thought Savitar was: Eddie Thawne - traveled into the future through some yet unseen tech left behind by his future lineage Eobard, Harrison Wells (one iteration or another, but HR was the most fun pick), Barry Allen, Hunter Zolomon (one of his many Time Remnants managing to escape the Time Wraiths of the Speed Force), and as a wildcard Ronnie Raymond (solely for Killer Frost’s immediate reaction and following).
Then as I really started to think back on the season, and the various clues given, I trimmed my list down even further to two, eliminating Thawne and Solomon because they were too much of a stretch conceptually in my mind on how they would be alive and not being perpetually pursued by Time Wraiths for constant manipulation with the timeline just by their presence alone. I also dropped Ronnie because other than Caitlin’s reaction to seeing him, there was no other sensible reason for him to be Savitar, thus leaving me with HR and Barry Allen as my roster picks.
As the course of action in the episode progressed, it made it fairly clear to me who the reveal was going to be, with the incessant disappearing and more quirky than usual behavior of HR, it felt like the show was trying really hard to point to him as Savitar, pointing so hard that it made it apparent that it wasn’t going to be HR, if they had spread the suspicious behavior out across the board it would’ve made for a more exciting reveal, but by the end of it, I was relatively certain that the man in the suit was going to be Barry Allen. What I wasn’t sure of, was the rationale behind it, how could it be Barry Allen? What’s with the non-healed scar? Why on earth would he attack his team and ultimately murder Iris? My prevailing theory at this point is that this is the Barry left behind in Flashpoint, driven mad by the flux of memories, loss of powers (hence the scar and dependence on the suit), out of his mind and driven on destroying the one who hurt him, our version of Barry Allen.
My theory still needs some crafting, but that’s the skeleton of it for right now.
Savitar aside, we had some incredible work done in this episode. Panabaker’s assimilation into Killer Frost is fantastic, her look, her attitude, her bouts of rage, while still holding onto some soft spots for her former teammates, avoiding dozens of opportunities to kill them all. The dynamic she’s portraying is one of the most fascinating aspects of the show right now. Also, plus 100 points for Killer Frost going full Ice Man and riding around Central City on an ice slide, for a TV Show effects budget it looked great, in fact, Frost’s cold powers, in general, have looked pretty incredible throughout, also, it was really fun. I do wish that during fights with the team, Frost would capitalize on her knowledge of the team’s powers, tendencies, and weaknesses more, truthfully, with a meta as powerful as Caitlin Snow, combined with her intimate knowledge of Team Flash, it really shouldn’t be a contest, unless she’s struggling with the notion of fatally wounding her former friends. Cisco’s performance this episode, struggling with the loss of his friend, battling with his capability to help stop her, crippled by his fear of accidentally killing her by not being able to fully control the strength of his powers in the middle of a fight, his anger towards Julian, everything that Carlos Valdes brings into his performance is so incredibly moving and while always the scene stealer with his humor, his emotional display since Caitlin’s transformation has been wonderful. Not to be
I do wish that during fights with the team, Frost would capitalize on her knowledge of the team’s powers, tendencies, and weaknesses more, truthfully, with a meta as powerful as Caitlin Snow, combined with her intimate knowledge of Team Flash, it really shouldn’t be a contest, unless she’s struggling with the notion of fatally wounding her former friends. Cisco’s performance this episode, struggling with the loss of his friend, battling with his capability to help stop her. Crippled by his fear of accidentally killing her by not being able to fully control the strength of his powers in the middle of a fight, his anger towards Julian, everything that Carlos Valdes brings into his performance is so incredibly moving and while always the scene stealer with his humor, his emotional display since Caitlin’s transformation has been wonderful.
Not to be outdone, the always brilliant Cavanagh, one of my favorite actors working today, gives another great performance as HR, adding that off-kilter, mildly inappropriate, wild card element into scenes to drive the plot, lighten the mood, and spark exposition in a manner that feels considerably more fluid than it would in a more conventional setting.
With the revelation that Savitar is some version of Barry Allen, the continued partnership with Killer Frost, and the looming date of Iris’ murder, Team Flash has more than their work cut out for them. How will the team react to the news? What are Julian and Cisco going to do with the sample of Frost’s blood they gathered? Can Dr. (in the future) Brand succeed in building the Speed Force Trap early? Can our team beat Savitar? What is Alternate Allen’s story? What happened to him to drive him to become Savitar and devote his time to hunting down and destroying an alternate version of himself? Tune in next week (which will be here in a Flash) as we learn more of Savitar’s history and motivation and see how Team Flash handles the news that their greatest rival, is actually their leader himself. Until then #keepitnerdy