‘The Flash’ Post-Show Analysis, Season 3 Episode 15, ‘The Wrath of Savitar’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, in which Flash TV show recappers Dylan Todd and Ziah Grace break down the latest episode of The Flash and talk about what works, what doesn’t, and where the series might be headed.
This week, Wally's got a beautiful mind, secrets abound in a small town (Central City), and Thrells makes a truly gross joke. "The Wrath of Savitar" was written by Andrew Kreisberg & Andrew Wilder, and directed by Alexandra La Roche.
Ziah: Hey Dylan! Am I experiencing some March Madness, or was this episode pretty incredible? I was really into the whole shebang, and damn if I wasn’t kinda touched by the whole situation at the end! We’ll get into some specific beats in a minute, but first, how was ECCC? Did you get to touch anyone who works on The Flash? Secondly, what’d you think of this episode?
Dylan: ECCCCC (Emerald City Comic & Culture Convention for Coolpeople) was great! I met one person from the CW. Some dork named Barry? He seemed cool I guess. And Seattle is great. I loved all the rain and coldness and walking in the rain and cold up every hill in that city. It was fantastic. (But seriously, ECCC was a blast. Saw a bunch of cool people and cool comics and had come great food.)
I liked the episode even if some of it felt like busywork. Also, we can talk about it later, but I feel like maybe they tipped their hand a little too much with who Savitar really is? But overall, it was a decent episode that got us back on track for the season ender versus Savitar, who looks so goofy in real life in this episode. They should have never shot that suit in daylight. Dude looks like a Power Rangers villain. And not in a good way.
Ziah: So, Barry and Iris were about to get married, and then they weren’t, due to some complicated circumstances involving time travel and magic stones. Even though all the surrounding bits were completely ridiculous, I really bought the emotional reality of everyone’s secret-keeping. Which, just for clarity, I’ll list:
- Wally’s keeping his Savitar visions a secret.
- Julian’s keeping his desire to not be a human Oujia board in front of Caitlin a secret (a bit dramatic, since none of the STARios made him spell out the word B-O-N-E-R)
- Joe’s keeping his disappointment at his surrogate son not asking for Papa West’s blessing to marry Iris.
- Caitlin’s keeping a piece of the Philosopher’s Stone, secretly, for some reason.
- Thrells has graduated to two drumsticks now all the time and secretly uses “milking” as a verb? Dylan, do we milk each other to greatness in these recaps?
- And Barry apparently proposed to Iris just because it would change the future, secretly.
This is a complicated episode, but unlike our constant complaint that some The CW shows keep secrets just to artificially create drama, this all felt really plausible. Minus Caitlin’s secret, which is completely insane, these are all pretty complex feelings and thoughts that wouldn’t be solved by a quick convo the way most TV show secrets would be. Anyway, what’d you think of all these Secret Santa moments?
Dylan: This show loves people having secrets. Loves it! Wally keeping mum is a little understandable, but Barry treating him like a nutjob for saying he sees Savitar when nobody else does is kind of dumb because, uh, Barry also was the only one to see Savitar for a while there!
Ziah: Dylan, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this show, it’s that it’s okay when Barry does something bad, but not okay when anyone else does the exact same thing.
Dylan: Too true. (Also, speaking of Wally’s freakout, how much do you think Jesse regretted her cross-dimensional move when she saw her brand-new boyfriend hugging the air and crying about his ghost-mommy? Like, do you think she was calculating how hard it would be to grab her stuff and find a dimensional breach, or is she committed to this dude? Cuz I would totally be bailing.)
Ziah: When she walked in, I remembered that Wally and Jesse didn’t establish where she was going to live, so she thought they were going to move in together while Wally thought she’d get an apartment, and I got super distracted wondering if it’s hard for her to pay rent and get a credit rating when she’s from Earth-2. But anyway, yeah, Wally’s got a bit more baggage than Jesse thought, but I thought that scene was really good! Wally just being glad to see his mom right up until she Savitar’s out was great.
Dylan: Julian being weird about not looking like a creep in front of Caitlin… kind of made sense? And it gave both of them a stake in the episode instead of just standing around, while also sort of advancing their burgeoning relationship. And while I get why Caitlin had to have kept the Philosopher’s Stone fragment from a plot angle, it makes zero sense for that character --- who is supposed to be smart --- to do something that dumb and then sit on it until the plot demands she come clean.
Ziah: Yeah, this one was dumb, no question.
Dylan: Thrells is awful and gross and I hate him. Also gross: you for bringing this gross "milking" line up again. Shame on you.
Ziah: Look, sometimes you’re the farmer and you get to do the milking, and sometimes you’re the cow, you know? Who’s to say.
Dylan: Ugh. The Barry/Iris stuff was kind of dumb, but also made a lot of sense. Joe is that guy who likes ritual and continuity, and I can totally see him getting upset that Barry didn’t come to him beforehand. (My wife’s observation of that scene early on when the news came out was a sarcastic: “Of course he’s going to be happy. His son and daughter are getting married.” Which I then ruined by half-explaining that they’re not exactly half-brother and sister anymore due to Barry Flashpointing reality a few times, because I am a nerd.)
Barry proposing to Iris out of practicality is very stupid and selfish and, if we’ve learned anything about this dude over three seasons, that’s basically his entire deal. So that tracks. And Iris getting upset but also softening after she finds out she’s been lied to by the man she loves is also pretty on-brand, unfortunately.
Secrets! They never work out for anybody!
Ziah: Unless it’s the secret of what we do with all the old CA writers who don’t work here anymore. That’s worked out so far.
Dylan: All I will say is that I don’t eat chicken nuggets any more.
Ziah: This was a pretty emotional episode, huh? I was really impressed with Keiynan Lonsdale's performance; he had to hit a lot of really emotional beats before either going directly to Speed Jail or becoming Savitar, and it felt like he really nailed them. I mean, dude had to go from sibling rivalry to watching his sister die to getting closure from his dead mom in a legitimately spooky scene, and that kind of Family Feud-esque fracas can’t be an easy thing to film. I’m gonna miss Wally, so hopefully he’s not the Big Bad and gets to come back next season.
Speaking of, who’s your #1 Savitar Suspect? Wally’s at the top of mine, but I’m hopeful I’m wrong.
Dylan: Totally Thrells. The Wallace bit plus Savitar saying, “You were always blahblahblah…” to Wally through Julian kind of sealed it for me. And the “You know I always loved a good myth,” fits in with Thrells’ self-aggrandizing fan-fiction persona. Dude is evil. I’ve been saying it since Day One. Wake up, sheeple.
Ziah: Yeah, I noticed he called Wally “Wallace” too! But you don’t think you’re letting your Thrells hate get the better of you, here? He doesn’t even have speed powers, unless annoying you so quickly is a superpower.
Dylan: Well, Ziah, Wally didn’t have powers, either until very recently, so it’s entirely possible Thrells has some sort of power-making machine. Weirder things have happened on this show this very season. Oh, also, yeah, Keiynan Lonsdale is great in this episode. He managed to make some pretty ridiculous scenes work when they very easily could have not have.
Ziah: Moving on to lesser bad guys; what was up with those guys in the mountain park? Besides the cute reference to Brian Buccellato, what were those cultists doing? You were an Eagle Scout, right? You ever just go on deep into the woods to hang out next to an intricately carved wooden statue of a Power Rangers knock-off villain?
Dylan: There’s actually a merit badge for idol-making and one for advanced paganism. (And I only ever made it to Life Scout, mostly because I wasn’t into the whole “standing in the Canadian woods, chanting” portion of Scouting.)
That scene was so supremely stupid that I kind of loved it. Just guys being dudes out in the woods with an empty stone box. Tale as old as time, right?
Ziah: Girls wear short shorts and hang out in the bleachers, while guys wear robe robes and hang out in the woods. Checks out.
There were some really excellent Joe faces earlier in the episode, but he also got to emit some serious dad vibes throughout. As CA’s resident dad, how’d you feel about all these Dad deets? Did they tug your heartstrings a bit?
Dylan: There’s some good Joe here and I’ve said it a million times before: Jesse L. Martin is too good for this show and they are very lucky to have him. He brings a reality to what could become a very ridiculous universe. I just believe him every time he does anything, whether it’s his reaction to the news, him talking to Iris after Barry (inevitably) lets her down, or even when he’s being mind-controlled by an evil gorilla. Dude sells it.
That said, I don’t love the tradition of asking permission to marry somebody. Women aren’t property. *shrug*
Ziah: Yeah, definitely agree on the asking permission bit, but like you said earlier, Joe just likes being included. He’s like the sidecar on a motorcycle! Just happy to be along for the ride.
Dylan: Also, and i’m just throwing this out there as a thought exercise: Imagine how much more fun that last bit would have been if it was Barry getting sucked into the Speed Force and Wally being left behind. Imagine like three episodes where everybody but Barry has to figure out how to get him out of Speed Prison and defeat Savitar. It switches the dynamic in a real fun way. I mean, the ending we have is fine, but… that’s sort of fun to think about?
Ziah: Aw, that would’ve been really great. On the other hand, Lonsdale acted the heck out of this episode like he knew it was a time to shine, so we might’ve missed out on that.
Dylan: Anyway, next week, Barry’s headed into the Speed Force to get Wally and there’s g-g-g-g-ghosts! (Also, HR is Savitar, you heard it here first.)
Ziah: Do you think Savitar will pull out some drum sticks? Wait a minute, is that what those spike blades are??? Savitar’s drum sticks?
Dylan: It’s all coming together.