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The Flash - S3E21 - Cause and Effect

Previously on The Flash, “I Know Who You Are”

This episode felt like filler and slowed things down at a time when we need neither. When making the case for shorter seasons on network television, this is an episode I’d cut. That said, it was fun as hell.

Images: The CW

In order to be fully onboard with the SaviBar reveal and the outcome, we’ll have to accept a few things. First, Savitar is a time remnant Barry created in the future to help him defeat Savitar. For some reason, he refused to go along with the plan and killed all the other time remnants. However, Barry and the rest of Team Flash (minus Iris; he doesn’t mention her) shunned him as an aberration. He was created to die; not to live a life. This is why Future Barry left that message for Rip Hunter. We’ll have to accept that he was only created to defeat himself, a villain that already exists. Also, during his evil monologue, SaviBar says that it was the creation of Flashpoint that “changed everything.” He’s most likely referring to the fact that he also said (via Julian) that Barry creating Flashpoint it was gave him the idea of how he could escape his prison.

It’s a tad convoluted and it presents that annoying “chicken and the egg” question, but, like I said, this is what we’ll have to accept to get through these final two episodes. And we’ll have to accept the fact that some of the team refuses to let Caitlin go.

Since everyone has a cooler suit than Barry, SaviBar gets away after their confrontation. After the team digests the info about Savitar’s true identity, Cisco comes up with a plan to stop Barry from creating new memories that SaviBar can use against them. Of course, it doesn’t go as planned and Barry forgets everything from his past. Hilarity ensues when Barry has to testify against an arson with Julian feeding him the science knowledge he’s forgotten. We’re able to enjoy these light moments because Savitar has also lost his memory so it puts a temporary pause on his murderous rage, and it doesn’t cause us to scratch our heads over the convenience of the villain being too preoccupied to attack our hero at his most vulnerable. Though, it’s not entirely clear what amnesia Savitar was doing on his own.

Killer Frost offers to work with Team Flash to restore Barry’s memories and set things right, including returning Wally’s powers which have disappeared - somehow, Savitar’s memory lapse means he doesn’t ever give Wally his powers in order to escape the time prison. Listen, I told you this is just something we’re going to accept because time loop.

Shoot her, Joe.

Without his memories, Savitar is no longer a threat. Wally seems willing to live without his powers and teach Barry how to use his again. And Iris wonders if maybe this happier Barry, with no memories of his dark past, might not be just what Barry needs and deserves (Central City be damned). They could just put a hot one in Killer Frost, whose motives for helping SaviBar remain unknown, and be done with all of their problems. But Team Flash isn’t as petty as I am so they work with Killer Frost to create a device that will jolt Barry’s brain. Iris, as always, provides the spark Barry needs to be the man he was.

Up to Speed

Light hearted Barry was a joy to watch. It was nice to see him fall in love with Iris all over again and revisit the sheer joy he had when he first discovered his powers. So much of this series has focused on Barry coming to terms with the tragedies he’s experienced; this episode saw him take yet another step in reconciling the past with the future he desires.

Everything that was great about this episode came from the performances given by Candice Patton and Grant Gustin. Thanks to the magic of time travel, alternate Earths, and an alien who can create musicals, we’ve been treated to the cast playing several different versions of themselves and it never disappoints. The show avoided the annoying trope of the girl falling in love with the hero while unaware his secret identity has been pining after her. It continues to prove time and again that Iris West loves Barry Allen with or without powers and she’ll always do what’s best for him. Patton again stepped up and portrayed Iris as smart, compassionate, and decisive when she needed to be. Gustin’s “Bart” was like Earth-2’s Barry with a tad more confidence, and was extremely sexy.

Wally West is my favorite everything.

Stuck in Neutral

Didn’t want to put this in the negative section, but I didn’t completely enjoy it either so here we are. I don’t care about Tracy Brand. I need her to build this prison and go. This is mainly because I’m about 99.8% sure H.R. is going to die. Savitar specifically said H.R. survived his wrath in the future, and I think the change of bringing Tracy into it four years early plus H.R.’s feelings for her (and hers for him) all point to him not making it out of episode 3.23 alive. And that blows. Still, Tracy building the weapon we already know she’s going to build is the least interesting thing the show has going on. It would have been nice if she was introduced earlier so we could give a damn about her as a character and not a late-in-the-game plot device. Also, the continued implication that H.R. keeps being her boost of confidence is annoying. She won a damn Nobel prize without having heard of him before.

Speed Bumps

This Killer Frost business is so.damn.dumb. Why did they let her leave once Barry regained his memories? They don’t know why Savitar needs her, but they know he needs her and they’re trying to stop him. I suppose they didn’t want him to come looking for her since his memories had returned and they don’t know how to stop him? After approximately 15 episodes of telling us that Caitlin’s powers will make her evil (for reasons) and she won’t be able to come back from it, now they’re like, “Maybe not.” I swear, they better reverse engineer her blood into a “cure” because the solution to this needs to be something more substantial than “warm fuzzies.”

Questions That Need Answers

Now that we know for certain that SaviBar is a time remnant created to destroy Savitar, there are still a few questions. They’ve established that remnants are typically created by going back in time just a few minutes. And SaviBar said it was everyone rejecting him that turned him into Savitar (he decided to become a god to avoid the pain that comes with the end of personal connections). So, how and why did he make up his mind so fast to kill all the remnants and have his own life? I get the rejection sparking the anger, but it sounds like he was already feeling some kinda way since he killed the other remnants. How far did Barry go back to create them/him, and why would this one remnant be so damn petty?

Also of note, when he listed everyone who didn’t reject him as an aberration, he didn’t say Iris, Caitlin, or H.R. Is this why he needs Caitlin?

Leave your thoughts on the episode below and or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

The Flash S3E21
  • 7/10
    Plot - 7/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Performances - 8.5/10

"Cause and Effect"

Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes, Danielle Panabaker, Keinynan Lonsdale, Tom Felton

User Review
5 (2 votes)
About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

11 Comments on The Flash - S3E21 - Cause and Effect

  1. FOR THE PODCAST: There was some really cool stuff in this episode (e.g. the special effects, and the plan to block Bart’s memories in order to mess up Savitar. Also, a Bart who isn’t always brooding). BUT they HD to throw in more of this “Caitlyn we love you and miss you. Please come home” bullshit in there. Man fuck her and fuck y’all. Let White Feminism Frost be the cold bitch she wants to me. She ain’t your damn friend anymore. Shit. Oh, and they just HAD to have Iris give this dude Bart ANOTHER Pep Talk. Mutha fuckas! *Nina Sigh and Whoppi Fingers*


    FINALLY! An episode that had some fun elements. It’s about doggone time!

    And Danielle was actually…acting!

    Grant always brings it. I’m only disappointed in the end where everyone is sitting around giving a Vin Diesel Fast and Furious speech about family-the episode would have been good without that.

    Two to go…Glad I don’t watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. right after or I might have to grave it on a curve.

  3. For the podcast

    OMG! All the WestAllen feels in this episode!

    Other than not really giving Team Flash enough time to properly digest & react to the fact that Barry = Savitar reveal, I enjoyed the episode. Seriously tho. Barry stays fucking up! Flashpoint continues to haunt him.

    There was so much WestAllen goodness in this episode! Amnesia Bart was adorkable! And Iris totally fell in love with Barry all over again. Iris will always be Barry’s spark. Kissing her turned him on so much his speed came back! And then her telling him the story of the night his mother was killed was so sad yet so beautiful I legit teared up! They are everything to each other and they are so beautiful! Plus I loved the Dragonball Z reference.

    So SaviBarry has the kickass suit! It can act separately from him! That’s pretty damn cool. Plus that fight between them was awesome! And I totally loved how he gripped up KF.

    Unfortunately it looks like they’re gonna try and bring Caitlin back. Damn. She’s so much more fun evil!

    Ok, this is long enough! Can’t wait to hear the podcast, especially John. He didn’t seem very happy with it on twitter. But WTF does King Shark have to do with anything? Guess we’ll see next week. Smart being back should be interesting.

  4. Hey Nina, John and Donald,

    I enjoyed this episode.
    Just have a couple thoughts:
    1) Does Iris work anymore? Did I miss the moment where she decided that her only job is to stroke Barry’s ego and give worried face to her Dad? Her current character iteration seems to be counter to the strong, fearless and independent Iris from seasons past. I know that they want to keep her safe but why, if Savitar can’t do anything to her yet, anyway? Am I missing something?

    2) I am not here for Tracy whats-her-nuts. I do not like this quirky, clumsy, characterization. It seems very childish at a time when the team needs decisive strength as an addition to the team.

    Always a pleasure listening to you guys.

  5. Hey Nina and Co.

    Here’s my thoughts (If you can’t read it all, read 1, 2, 5 and 6).
    1.) The Timey-Whimy explanation of how Savitar came to be Savitar doesn’t make sense. While time travel is a hypothetical thing bound only by the rules of the story, it feels like this story doesn’t have any rules.
    2.) How did it not occur to anyone to find Savitar’s location, make a plan to defeat him, etc etc while Barry,and therefore Savitar, had amnesia? I get that there were complications to doing that, but someone should have at least considered it.
    3.) I know Barry had amnesia but he isn’t dumb, there were moments (specifically in the courtroom) where Barry should have known to at least act cool even if he didn’t know his left from his right (literally).
    4.) Westallen was cute, though I was hoping they would have a scene where Barry immediately flirts with her without knowing that they’re already together (there’s a viral video like this, I’ll leave the link as a reply to this comment)
    5.) There might have been forshadowing of Barry being Savitar with all the talk of him not being a god in 3A, but I don’t wanna give the writers that much credit
    6.) Tracy is in her 40’s, her personality might just be her personality, but she’s too old to be out here acting like this. similar to Barry re: Gideon/Justice League, its hard to believe that this woman goes on to be who she is only a few years

    This is probably already getting long so I’ll leave it here. Thanks for the podcast

  6. For The Podcast:

    I’m gonna just be honest, this episode was straight trash. We did not need Barry getting the mother of all pep talks just so he could regain something he already had at the start of the episode. We did not need Cecile coming in asking Barry to testify now when no one has ever done that on the show, ever. We did not need Duplicity Frost thawing out to the team for her inevitable betrayal of Savitar later in the season. We did not need HR being deeply in love with Tracey Hands just because she’s what? White and There? We didn’t even need Wallace losing his clean fade.

    This episode was filler shlock trash, and with two episodes to go, not even the WestAllen moments could justify this shit. The villains this season have been weak as fuck, and now we are left fighting Savvy-Barry, who’s only interesting thing is the number of names we can give him, and Duplicity Frost, who can’t act, isn’t intimidating, and will ultimately not be the “Killer” she’s pretending to be.

    Bad episode. And we’ve got King Shark back next week, “everyone’s favourite villain” he remarked sarcastically. *Cue exasperated sigh*

  7. Hi Nina, Donny, and John!
    This episode was so much fun even though it was filler. It was funny and I was very entertained. That’s it really.. Still don’t know tf KF really wants, don’t know why people keep explaining science to Barry, don’t know where the story is going but whatever.
    I like the whole reasoning that the Savitar closed loop thing is a direct product of Flashpoint. Still wished we spent more episodes there, maybe we’d have less filler. If they can’t cut down the 22 ep thing, why not split the season into 2 arcs…?


    If I am not late all I have to say is HR BETTER NOT! WHO IS THIS BLONDE WOMAN HR? YOU DON’T KNOW HER! Anyway, garbagggggge episode. I’m back to say something “nice.” I enjoyed the joy Amnesia Barry had. However, he keeps getting these fairy tale things that happen to him. The kiss during the singing episode and pep talks for his memory. But yeah, whatever and LOVE? SHIIIDDDD. Jules should know better than to shout that to icee cup. He’s going to die. Thanks for the podcast.

  9. Loved the episode it was cute, my only major issue was that they had Iris all season say her life isn’t worth Central City without the Flash, but Barry’s happiness is? MVP to Wally ready to give up being Kid Flash if it meant saving his sister ❤️

  10. For the Podcast: (If not too late) Hi Donnie, John and Nina! OMG! This was an awesome episode. I was able to watch from beginning to end; even got through the KF scenes without gagging. Made up for #WestAllen drout we’ve had since before the hiatus. Total WestAllen goodness. A++

  11. So it’s my understanding that the reason SaviBar: 1) Didn’t mention Iris’ name because Iris was already dead (Future Barry couldn’t stop him from killing her). 2) Didn’t mention Caitlin’s name because she was fully Killer Frost and didn’t exist anymore (remember when our Barry went to the future, there was no Caitlin, only KF). 3) Not sure why he didn’t mention HR but HR was not in the future when Barry traveled there so persume he died? 4) Also, SaviBar was upset with the others for teasing him. But his deep pain came from losing Iris (Barry told Iris this when the two of them were alone; thats when she said, you are not going to lose me). This is only the way I understood it all but God knows, it’s so convoluted it’s ridiculous 🤦🏼‍♂️

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