Barry (Grant Gustin) takes drastic measures to stop Savitar. Meanwhile, H.R. (Tom Cavanagh) continues to push Tracy Brand (guest star Anne Dudek) to design the trap for Savitar and Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) returns with an interesting proposal.
The Flash Season 3 Episode 21, “Cause and Effect,” was a fairly good episode, but one that was again marred by a mismatched tone. After Savitar’s identity was finally discovered, Barry and the rest of the team tried to solve how they could stop Savitar from being two steps ahead of them. Their plan massively backfired though, causing Barry to lose his entire memory.
The Light Tone
Considering the direness of the reveal, ‘Cause and Effect’ was actually a pretty light episode of The Flash. There were several laughs as the team had to work around an amnesiac Barry while he dealt with a strange, new environment. It was also an interesting situation because for the first time in a while, Barry wasn’t quite at the centre of the problem solving. Cisco, Julian and Killer Frost took centre stage to get Barry right again. Even Iris got in on it, providing much more in this one episode than she has in the last several.
Barry and Iris
Grant Gustin did a good job of playing such an innocent version of Barry. It was easy to agree with Iris on how nice it was to see Barry smiling so much. With Gustin’s acting, it was like a completely different version of Barry had entered the show. Candice Patton delivered a very good performance as well, providing a lot of emotion as she looked back on her relationship with Barry.
The Mismatched Tone
However, despite some good moments between Barry and Irish and a strong emphasis on the rest of the team, “Cause and Effect” had another clash of tones throughout the episode. As I said, the reveal that a future version of Barry, or rather a time remnant, was actually Savitar was shocking and appropriately dark. It was odd to start on such a tense stand-off between both Barrys and then go to a largely comedic story.
Likewise, we got even more of the budding romance between H.R. and Tracy in some scenes that stood out like a sore thumb. They were pretty awkward and took away from the tension of the episode by shifting attention away from Barry and the others to H.R. and Tracy. The romantic aspect just did not work for this episode.
Cisco and Caitlin
Another saving grace for the episode, though, was Cisco and his relationship with Caitlin. That brother/sister aspect came back here as Cisco tried to bring the Caitlin side out of Killer Frost, briefly succeeding. Their relationship has always been one of Flash’s strongest and it was great to see Cisco talk about how they worked before all the craziness in Central City began, to a time where things were much simpler. It was also cool to get a shout-out to Ronnie, the first Firestorm and Caitlin’s fiancé.
Overall, ‘Cause and Effect’ wasn’t a bad episode of The Flash, but the mismatching of tones certainly didn’t help elevate it. When its this close to the finale, we shouldn’t have to worry about a C plot of yet another romance blooming between characters, but the focus of the main problem on Savitar and what his identity means to the group. Several of the situations were at least funny, and it was great to see the supporting cast play more of a central role, but this still wasn’t as strong as it could have been.
What do you think? Did the change in tones detriment this episode? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!