REVIEW: The Flash, S3 Ep21 – Cause and Effect

In last week’s episode, “I Know Who You Are,” we learned Savitar’s true identity. The episode concluded with us finding out that Savitar is a future version of Barry, though as “Cause and Effect” begins we find out that Savitar’s origin is a bit more complicated. Discovering Savitar’s true identity leads Team Flash into making some rash decisions concerning Barry’s memories, which leads to some interaction between the team and Killer Frost and also pits Barry against the Central City villain Heat Monger.

Team Flash is as confused as I am

So, Savitar is technically not Barry from the future, but a time remnant. The idea of time remnants is already a weird concept to wrap one’s head around without adding the Savitar twist. If I got this straight, Barry’s time remnant was created during the final battle with Savitar in order to take down Savitar. So, basically Savitar is created in order to defeat himself. Time travel is weird. Paradoxes are weird. I give The Flash credit for going full throttle and taking on such a kooky concept, but this is just too out there. That being said, I’m willing to accept it and move forward.

Moving past Savitar’s strange origins, Cisco comes up with a potentially good idea involving preventing Barry from making new memories, thus preventing his future time remnant self from knowing these memories and being one step ahead of Team Flash. This idea backfires, causing Barry to lose his memories to the point that he forgets who he is.

This plot contained some fun and compelling character moments. It was definitely entertaining seeing Barry testify in court with only the help of some tech glasses from Julian, and seeing Iris enjoy a moment of levity from Barry was just nice. These characters, especially Barry and Iris, have gone through a lot this season that would stress any normal person out. I’m glad Barry was able to have some brief time not carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and Iris was there to experience it.

Barry losing his memory led to some interesting consequences, including Heat Monger being set free due to Barry’s failed testimony and Wally losing his powers, since Savitar would have never given him his abilities because Savitar forgot who he was also. Savitar forgetting who he was also led to Caitlin making her way back to S.T.A.R. Labs to help Team Flash restore Barry’s memory.

Caitlin returns to S.T.A.R. Labs

I know the episode was trying to go all sentimental when Cisco was working with Caitlin trying to remind her of who she really is, but I didn’t care that much watching it, mostly because I’m tired of seeing Caitlin as Killer Frost. Maybe I still can’t get behind the fact that Killer Frost is a villain just because she’s supposed to be a villain. The Flash never really explained why exactly Caitlin turns evil whenever her ice powers get out of control.

When it comes right down to it, “Cause and Effect” is about Barry learning why he is supposed to be a hero all over again. In that regard, the episode nails what it is trying to do, but ultimately it felt more like filler than anything else. Barry’s memory loss serves as a way of giving Team Flash a brief break before facing off against Savitar once again and that’s it. It was still pretty entertaining, though, despite its flaws.

Next week Barry will team up with Captain Cold to steal a power source strong enough to power a speed force weapon developed by Tracy Brand, which will potentially be able to trap Savitar. Check out The CW’s official trailer for “Infantino Street” below and feel free to let us know what you thought of “Cause and Effect” in the comments.