The Flash‘s mid-season premiere, “Borrowing Problems from the Future,” saw Team Flash wondering if it’s possible to change the future.
And it turns out that it is possible. The team just needs to figure out which events that happen between now and Iris’s death at Savitar’s hands to change to save her life.
Thankfully, it also only takes Barry half an episode to reveal the truth to Iris and their friends — everyone except Joe, that is. Iris worries that him learning the truth will cause Joe to go after Savitar himself, which would definitely get him killed. I have mixed feelings about this; on the one hand, this will obviously come back to bite the team. But on the other hand, Joe would do anything to protect Iris, and I’m in favor of protecting Joe at all costs.
I’d also just like to take a moment to applaud Candice Patton for her work in the scene where she learns the truth from Barry. At first she’s upset that Barry would stop helping the city for her sake, but then the realization of what he’s told her sinks in and she begins to cry. But she doesn’t wallow; she wants to tell their friends the truth, and I admire her strength to deal with such horrifying news. I have a feeling she’s keeping a lot of her fear to herself for the moment, so I hope she is able to confide in someone (Wally, maybe?).
To figure out what happens between now and Iris’s death in order to change things, Cisco vibes himself and Barry to that night. They look at the headlines, including The Flash apprehending Plunder (who has been robbing stores around Central City in the present), Music Meister (who will be played by Darren Criss) getting a six-figure book deal, Killer Frost still being on the loose, and the city recovering from a gorilla attack (Grodd!).
Barry also sees H.R. in the vibed version of the future, though he wasn’t there the first time Barry witnessed Iris dying, indicating the future had changed slightly by Barry telling the team about it. This means that changing more events may change things for the better. By having Kid Flash capture Plunder instead of The Flash, one headline has changed from what Barry saw in the future. Now to focus on the others…
One thing that sticks out to me is that the team doesn’t consider that changing the future might result in changing things for the worse rather than better. I know Barry can’t seem to contemplate anything worse than Iris dying at the moment, but what if changing events leads to the deaths of multiple people or somehow damages the timeline a la Flashpoint?
I don’t for a second think the show will actually kill Iris — at least not permanently (she dies in the comics but comes back) — but that doesn’t mean the show won’t find a different way to torture Team Flash. The season 1 finale saw Eddie’s death and the opening of the singularity in Central City while the season 2 finale saw the death of Henry Allen and Barry creating Flashpoint, so I’m on guard for some kind of twist.
This episode also sees Wally become a full-fledged hero alongside Barry; Kid Flash goes viral as he helps take down Plunder. After so much hesitation among his loved ones about him becoming a hero like Barry, it’s nice to see Wally fulfilling his destiny at last. Having two speedsters on the team will be a huge advantage for Team Flash, especially when the enemy is someone as strong as Savitar.
Also joining the team is Julian. He’s apparently been distant since Christmas; he’s been dealing with survivor’s guilt know that he knows he was Alchemy. Caitlin invites him to join the team and eventually everyone else agrees after she reminds them that they had people to take them in after they lost loved ones while Julian doesn’t.
I’m quite intrigued by the dynamic between Caitlin and Julian. They have a lot in common, from their intellect to their experiences as Killer Frost and Alchemy respectively. While Caitlin doesn’t need another love interest at the moment (she’s had enough bad luck in that department, thank you very much), I’m totally invested in them becoming close friends who support one another through the guilt and loneliness of their situations.
Julian and Cisco also join forces to make a solar-charging necklace that will keep Caitlin’s power-dampening cuffs charged, thus keeping Killer Frost at bay. Speaking of Killer Frost, knowing that she is on the loose in the future gives the team more motivation to figure out some way to help Caitlin overcome her alter ego.
Finally, H.R. opens the S.T.A.R. Labs Museum; he makes the point that the team needs to pay bills and have an excuse to continue being at the lab, and he’s not wrong. However, the way he goes about the project (such as assigning Caitlin to coffee duty and making Cisco a holographic tour guide) rubs everyone the wrong way. However, they eventually come around and have a successful opening.