"The Flash" has seemingly dug itself a hole that's going to be tough to get out of without compromising the message of Season 3. Savitar told Barry (Grant Gustin) that one of his team members would die. Barry then briefly wound up in the future, where he saw the love of his life Iris (Candice Patton) being killed by the speed god.
That's set Barry on a mission to save Iris' life, changing the events of the present to alter the future. That is a major problem that "The Flash" needs to deal with.
Since the very beginning of the CW series, Barry has repeatedly traveled back in time, changing events that impacted his timeline in a major way. At the beginning of Season 3 he created the Flashpoint timeline, which resulted in the death of Cisco's (Carlos Valdes) brother, Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) getting metahuman powers and a villainous streak, and John Diggle's (David Ramsey) daughter being erased altogether, replaced with a son.
When that all was revealed during the "Invasion!" crossover, Barry resolved to never alter the events of time again. Every time he does bad things happen. Now here we are again, with Barry wanting to alter time.
This is an interesting set of circumstances, though. Barry doesn't want to change the past. Instead he wants to change the future. The equation doesn't change, though. When you alter the events of time, it changes the outcome.
Savitar has told Barry that someone close to him will die. He never said it was Iris. By saving his girlfriend, Barry is likely just dooming someone else to that fate. That's something that's going to eat away at him the rest of his life -- and show the rest of Team Flash that he can't help himself when it comes to altering the timeline.
Nobody wants Iris to die. She's a breath of fresh air on the show and too important to the dynamic of the show -- and the West family -- to lose. That's why it's so troubling to see her life on the line in this manner.
This season has all been about Barry learning from his mistakes when it comes to the timeline. Now, fans are left wanting nothing more than for him to do it yet again, this time to save Iris. In doing so, he's likely condemning someone else to death.
It's a perilous position "The Flash" finds itself in. Either let a fan favorite character die or go back on the lessons the hero has been striving to learn. Superheroes are always flawed, but something tells us this time the outcome is going to hurt everyone -- including those tuning in.
"The Flash" returns Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.