It’s been almost a years since DC Rebirth #1 relaunched the DCU, retconned a big chunk of the New 52 as the work of a super-villain, and teased a connection behind the entire chain of events to one of the best comic series ever written. Since then DC’s been pretty quiet on the subject for the most part, at least until now. It seems it’s time for the Dark Knight Detective and the Scarlet Speedster to search for the truth.
There are two issues at play in “The Once and Future Flash,” although the show’s writers have not intention of resolving either one. The first involves Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) transformation into Killer Frost, which Barry (Grant Gustin) abandons his friends to deal with on their own as he races into the future to find answers about Savitar. Returning to the present nearly the same moment he left, Team Flash isn’t left on their own for long, but it does prove long enough for Caitlin to escape and further crystallize the timeline the Flash has desperately attempting to prevent.
As expected after last week’s musical crossover, The Flash falls back into the Savitar storyline. Thankfully, rather than just having the heroes pound their heads against a wall as they have since the character’s reveal, the episode does offer the first appearance of another classic Flash villain in Abra Kadabra (David Dastmalchian). While perhaps not quite as wacky the original Silver Age comic version, this futuristic villain is a welcome change from the glut of speedsters the show seems intent on trotting out (and softens the drop-off from the season’s best episode to business as usual). A time-traveler from the 64th Century, Abra Kadabra has technology so advanced it appears as magic to those of us stuck in the 21st Century. Of course, it helps that the man puts on a show with his antics that further plays into the act.
“Duet” made me angry. Not because the musical episode failed to impress. No, the episode infuriated me because this is what I want from both Supergirl and The Flash and somehow you just know the writers of both shows will ignore all that works here as each show gets stuck back in the grim and grittiness of its current storylines. “Duet” is what I want both shows to be: bright, fun, energetic, and hopeful. This shouldn’t be a standout. This should be the bar both shows attempt to reach every single week. This year Supergirl has been more successful than The Flash in the regard, but both have struggled juggling darker themes and unnecessarily convoluted relationship drama getting in the way of the fun. I’m not saying never get serious, but embrace more zany hopeful storylines so that when you do need to take a serious moment it will have all the more impact (as opposed to episodes of moping or acting like a dick for weeks at a time to those who love and rely on you).