The Flash – Season 3 Episode 10

Jan 25, 2017 | Posted by in TV
The Flash

“Borrowing Problems from the Future”

The Flash returns from hiatus with the problem of Iris’ future death hanging over the team as a problem that needs a solution.

This show has a lot of problems that have really become apparent this season. Chief among them is the tendency to repeat itself. It seems to be stuck in this endless cycle of secrets and dishonesty delaying the plot in really frustrating ways. When this was Eobard Thawne posing as Harrison Wells that deceit made sense and was actually an asset to the show but all attempts to repeat this have been underwhelming and this really shows in this episode.


Enter Plunder

We pick up a month or so after the events of the midseason finale with Barry haunted by what he saw in the future. What this amounts to is a nightmare sequence where we see Iris murdered a number of times. There’d be something cathartic about it if this was the selfish and irritating season 1 version of the character but I’ll admit that she has gotten better since then so my days of wishing her dead are over. I never actually wished her dead but it seemed like a good declarative statement to make.

Iris knows that there’s something Barry isn’t telling her even though he insists that there isn’t. She should definitely be used to this by now because it’s what he does every single time there’s news he doesn’t feel comfortable sharing. His dishonesty is a pattern now and it really shouldn’t be because a good hero story should have them learn from their mistakes not make them again expecting different results. What goes through Barry’s head when he lies to everyone around him constantly? Does he honestly think that this is going to get him anywhere? Surely he has realised after two and a half years of this nonsense that the best way to solve problems is if everyone is in the loop.

Mercifully the episode does away with this problem by having him open up to everyone about what he saw in the future and this causes the team to spring into action in an effort to prevent it. If he had been honest a month ago instead of shouldering the burden alone then that would have given them an extra month of planning. At least the information is out there now and the characters can deal with it.

Iris takes the news surprisingly well after a bit of a break-down but that’s to be expected; I think this has to do with the fact that she believes in Barry and the rest of Team Flash so has no doubt that they will be able to come up with a solution. Plus it’s January and her death is supposed to happen in May so it might not feel like an urgent problem at the moment. It’s also possible that it’s hard to worry about what will happen in the future since it’s difficult to accept something that hasn’t happened yet as a threat. Her reaction seems like a reasonable one as she is clearly more concerned with what is happening in the present. I would have expected her to call Barry out on his dishonesty because she has been on the receiving end of it more than most but she doesn’t even bring it up and moves on. Maybe it shows that Iris is maturing or it might simply be lazy writing to make up for lost plot time. Who can say at this point? Either way, I’m glad that we don’t have to spend multiple episodes where everyone except Barry is in the dark about Iris’ potential fate.


Barry comes clean with Iris

Of course the dishonesty problem isn’t completely solved by Barry opening up to the team because they are still keeping the information from Joe and Iris is going along with this. The flimsy justification is that he’ll try to go after Savitar himself. How is he going to do that exactly? Savitar isn’t even around at this point so there’s nothing to go after and everything we know about Joe suggests that he would do whatever he could to support the team in solving this problem. It’s an artificial attempt to create more “you lied to me” drama in a later episode.

The approach to dealing with the problem of preventing Iris’ death is really strong. Vibing into the future to view the events and take note of as much as possible is a great idea. It gives Team Flash a better idea of what they’re up against and provides some teases of upcoming episodes in the process. A gorilla attack, Killer Frost and Music Meister are mentioned so it looks like we are getting a Grodd episode in the near future and Music Meister relates to the upcoming musical crossover. Killer Frost seems self explanatory and I’m glad that Caitlin’s not out of the woods yet.

In the absence of any other information it’s a good idea to prove that the future isn’t set by changing the events that they know about. If they can be changed then there’s no reason why Iris’ death can’t be prevented. Clearly in the original timeline Barry didn’t tell the team as H.R. is seen on the roof. More definitely needs to change but I get the impression they are on the right track. It looks like we’ll revisit this event a few times as the team check on their progress

The one change they manage to make is letting Wally bring down Plunder (Stephen Huszar) instead of Barry. Before Barry revealed the truth he was all set to let him go because he knew that bringing down Plunder was part of the timeline he wants to prevent. Letting Wally take care of it is a more positive change and it allows the team a win, albeit a small one.


Vibe to the Future

Plunder was a really cool looking villain but there was almost nothing to him other than he likes to steal jewels. I’m alright with that since he’s a fairly typical threat that the team will encounter. The unique thing about him was his gun and it was definitely memorable but there didn’t need to be any more to him than that since all he represents is Barry’s incorrect approach to changing the future before coming up with a better one. There was a good chase sequence brought on by his presence so that was a nice touch as well.

I did like how Barry was projecting his feelings about the information he was keeping onto Wally and generally being a terrible mentor. There are a lot of parallels to the way Oliver behaves when people aren’t doing what he asks and there are usually other things behind that. In this case Barry is being overprotective because he’s worried about putting Wally in danger and having anything that happens to him be his fault. We also get to see Barry relay his experience to Wally when putting out a fire which shows how far he has come.

He comes around to the idea of Wally being in danger by the end of the episode once the burden of the secret he’s keeping is lifted. It feels like a really quick resolution but the secret should never have existed in the first place. There are other ways to have Wally as a disobedient student that would have been more interesting and I suspect that this will come back as their collaboration continues.

Caitlin and Julian’s interactions were really interesting even though I still don’t like Julian as a character. They have something in common after their recent bouts of villainy where they didn’t have control over their actions. Caitlin is struggling with the fact that Killer Frost could emerge at any moment and Julian is having difficulty figuring out how to deal with the guilt of what he did as Alchemy. They are kindred spirits in a lot of ways and Caitlin reaching out to him makes sense. She needs support from people where Julian internalises everything so it’s a good dynamic to have. I’m not sure having him on Team Flash is a good idea but it could work out well. I did find Caitlin’s appeal for the team to accept him interesting as it gave some insight into the things that she does for others that we haven’t seen.


High speed chase

H.R’s plan to reopen S.T.A.R. Labs feels like it has come a season too late and it addresses the question of funding for the first time. I suspect that funding comes from existing patents but the show hasn’t dealt with it before now. It’s not a great story but it’s necessary background that hasn’t been developed before.

This plot does allow for some solid development in Cisco’s relationship with H.R. Cisco has never been on good terms with him but working together on this project allows Cisco to see more vulnerability to him than he has before. There are clearly layers to H.R. that have yet to be revealed and I think this marks the start of those coming out. Keeping S.T.A.R. Labs open also allows another thing from the future to be changed.


A problematic episode that falls back on old habits yet again. I’m glad that Barry doesn’t hide the truth about what he saw in the future from Iris and the rest of the team for a long time but we should be at the point where he doesn’t do it at all. Hiding the truth from Joe suggests that the old habit isn’t ready to die quite yet. Barry taking his frustration associated with keeping the secret from Wally is all well and good but there are better ways to have him be a disobedient student. Once the truth comes out the approach to dealing with preventing it is really strong. I like the idea of proving that the future can be changed by working to alter the events that they know about. It seems like they’re on the right track and I like the idea of revisiting the event to check on their progress.

Caitlin and Julian’s interactions work fairly well as they have a lot in common after their bouts of villainy. They are kindred spirits but their approach to dealing with their issues is very different. Julian working with Team Flash might not be a good idea but it could also work really well. H.R. reopening STAR Labs is something that should have been addressed a while ago. It’s not that interesting on its own but it is necessary background development. We also get some opportunity for his relationship with Cisco to develop.


Cross one off the future checklist

  • 7/10
    Borrowing Problems from the Future - 7/10


Kneel Before…

  • a strong approach to preventing the darker future coming to pass
  • the disposable but fun villain
  • Caitlin and Julian’s kindred relationship

Rise Against…

  • more secrets and dishonesty among the team
  • frustrating plot repetition
User Review
8.67/10 (3 votes)