NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Flash”, including a major character death, are present in this review
With mere hours left until the prophecy of Iris’ death comes to pass in this week’s episode of The Flash, Barry and Team Flash are desperate for any solution that they can come up with. After receiving news that A.R.G.U.S. is holding a piece of Dominator technology that can feasibly power the Speed Force Bazooka needed to trap Savitar though, Barry and Cisco try to persuade Lyla to give the tech to them, only to have Lyla refuse, citing Barry’s carelessness with manipulating universe-redefining powers. The only response? Barry will have to steal the tech.
“Infantino Street” hit the ground running with a strong hook right from the get go, and never let up with its drama or its high stakes. This stands alongside last week’s, “Cause and Effect” as easily one of the best episodes of The Flash’s third season, which seems to be finally back to the show’s outstanding standard… Right at the very end. Next week’s season finale might not necessarily keep up this outstanding momentum, but the portrayal of an increasingly desperate Barry, and an increasingly emotional West family, led to an episode that was rich in fantastic drama, while not sacrificing the sense of clever fun that this show has usually done very well, even if it did it best in the first two seasons, it seems.
Since Team Flash doesn’t have anyone in their ranks that knows how to steal something, least of all from the ridiculously guarded innards of an A.R.G.U.S. stronghold, Barry decides to go back in time and pluck Leonard Snart from the ranks of the Legends of Tomorrow in 1890. This was a fantastic excuse to bring Wentworth Miller back onto The Flash, one that still respects Snart’s big sacrifice during the events of Legends of Tomorrow. Barry having to work with the mastermind behind The Rogues to try and save the woman he loves, one of his greatest foes, is really inspired, and effectively demonstrates just how far Barry is willing to go to save Iris’ life.
The actual heist is disappointingly diminished, probably due to the constraint of the hour-long timeslot, and that’s a bummer, though surprisingly, this didn’t hurt the episode too much. We still get to see both Barry and Snart pull off some great tricks, even if they do manage to reach the Dominator technology rather easily, especially with most of their heist efforts taking place off-screen. Nonetheless, the two coming up against King Shark as a guard was great, especially since the A.R.G.U.S. Stronghold conveniently has a metahuman dampener around it that disables metahuman powers, leaving Barry without his speed. Huh. I wonder how that would work with someone like Supergirl. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of metahumans, teasing the existence of Wonder Woman arch-foe, Cheetah in the DC Television Universe, as a member of the late Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad in this universe no less, was pretty cool, if also a bit cruel to dedicated DC fans. I seriously doubt we’ll ever get many true nods to Wonder Woman in The CW’s DC Television Universe, though it’s still cool to see at least some of the Goddess of Truth’s influence within this small screen take on the DC Universe, I suppose.
Regardless, Barry and Snart manage to put their heads together enough to grab the tech, though Snart ends up trapped in the chaos, and cornered by King Shark on top of that. This was a great way to test just how far Barry is willing to compromise his morals, since even Snart points out that the logical choice is for Barry to leave him to die, so that he can save Iris. Barry nonetheless doing the right thing and hanging back to save Snart was great though, and prevented Barry from going too far past the point of no return. Lyla handing the tech over voluntarily after seeing how responsible Barry is with saving Snart, and returning him to the Legends in the past as promised, also proved a great moment, creating a small nugget of hope in the rapidly-approaching final battle against Savitar.
That hope trickled into the episode at all the right points too, creating lots of standout emotional character moments for the rest of Team Flash. Things like H.R. convincing Tracy to stay on with Team Flash after Savitar is defeated, and the West family sharing memories and inspiration as they hide from Savitar on Earth-2, added lots of heart to the episode. The same is true of Cisco having to fulfill the prophecy of engaging Killer Frost in the forest, after she calls him there by taking advantage of his vibing abilities. Killer Frost’s place in Savitar’s grand plan is still something of a mystery, but seeing the fight between Cisco and Killer Frost come to fruition made for a great secondary climactic struggle for Team Flash. Is there any way that Cisco can save Caitlin from herself now?
This episode didn’t wait for next week’s season finale to see Savitar’s prophecy come to pass as well. Armed with the Speed Force Bazooka, Barry engages Savitar on Infantino Street, which Wally can’t participate in, on account of having his leg broken by Savitar on Earth-2. Iris is also missing her ring, as per Barry’s vision of the future, since she entrusted it to Joe in case the worst happened to her. Joe does replace H.R. from the sniping post, but that’s about the only change from the original vision of the future in the end, as Savitar holds Iris at blade point, having tricked Team Flash into divulging where Iris is hidden mere moments before. Barry tries to wield the Speed Force Bazooka against Savitar, but it doesn’t work. This leaves him to beg and plead, but in the end… He couldn’t stop the future. Savitar successfully stabs Iris, as Barry’s trip to the future foreshadowed, and the episode ends with Barry holding a seemingly dead Iris in his arms. After all that effort, it looks like Iris couldn’t be saved after all, which is a truly heartbreaking way to end Season Three’s penultimate episode of The Flash, while also setting up powerful emotional stakes for next week’s season finale.
There’s still a bit of time left to somehow fake audiences out of the Iris death, especially with Barry making use of convenient shapeshifting technology from Earth-19 in this very episode, but for now, it’s looking like Iris is well and truly toast. What began as a tense, but otherwise fun heist with Leonard Snart eventually had all of Team Flash’s hope violently come crashing down, as Savitar’s prophecy came true, and the future refused to change. “Infantino Street” managed to make the immense buildup to this season-defining moment worth it, and even if he spent most of the season being a frustratingly vague and ill-defined foe, Savitar is finally feeling worthy of the claim from Abra Kadabra that he truly is Barry’s greatest nemesis in this universe. There’s a lot to look forward to in next week’s season finale, and with The Flash fortunately firing on all cylinders once again, I can’t wait to see how Barry will make Savitar answer for what he’s done, even if the coming fight might just ensure the same unending loop of tragedy.