Barry Allen needs to finally learn his lesson when it comes to time traveling.
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As tonight’s episode of the Flash builds for the final confrontation with Savitar, once again Barry is set to travel in time one more time to fetch Leonard Snart from the time stream to use him in this week’s heist episode. The entire reason for most of the conflict in this season of The Flash is because Barry messed with time travel and screwed things up. The entire reason Savitar exists as a villain at all is because the Flash played with time.
From the very beginning of the series, in the first season finale, Barry traveled back in time to the moment his mother was murdered with the intention of rescuing her, but ultimately decided not to. It was a powerful moment for the character and a statement for the series as a whole. It declared that some things are set in stone and would not be changed; then the show decided to change all that.
It is an easy fix.
Barry needs to know what will happen in the future, so he travels to the future. He needs Snart’s help so he travels to the past. The solution to many of Barry’s problems is to just run faster and that doesn’t make for interesting conflict. The creation of the Flashpoint timeline at the beginning of the season was a mistake and they’ve stated that throughout the season. It ruined several people’s lives. At this point, trying to rescue Iris West from her future fate is putting all sorts of people at risk.
According to the logic of the show as it stands, when Savitar kills Iris why doesn’t the Flash just go back in time and stop it? Look at a show like Doctor Who, it’s all about time travel and even the Doctor knows that he has to be careful traveling to previously visited points in time. You have to take away time travel as an option for any consequences to have weight. Every television drama needs stakes to be an exciting watch, especially superhero shows.
They keep hitting Barry over the head with the fact that time travel is bad, but then the show keeps using it as a plot device. The best episodes of The Flash are when Barry and the team have to come up with a clever fix or make some sort of sacrifice for the greater good. In this show, time travel should only happen when the villains like Reverse Flash use it to cheat and come after the Flash. It is the easy way out and our heroes shouldn’t use it anymore.
The Flash airs at 8/7 c on The CW every Tuesday, be sure to tune in!