I'm actually kind of ugh.
I have concluded that time travel plots are narratively unsatisfying.
I mean, I know I say this as a Doctor Who fan, but Doctor Who uses a surprisingly small amount of time travel. It's basically used the same way the Stargate is, dropping off and picking up. They very seldom play silly buggers, and next to never actually change things.
I mean the kind of time travel that's a closed loop and basically a detective story where the answer is it was JFK on the grassy knoll all along, that has the same satisfactions as any detective story, unravelling the motives and so forth. But it's also basically a horror story, because you can't change a damn thing, and even the future will lead you back to the worst day of your life.
But if they can, will, do change something...?
So the thing with time travel is that obviously everyone has something, large or small, that they'd like to change. But we can't. And we don't know how the universe would respond if we tried. So as soon as a fictional character tries it then it becomes really, really obvious that the rules of the universe are We Say So. And then you're like, okay, so why didn't you say something different in the first place?
And then I get stuck on all the things I would do different in the first place, about this show, because ugh.
And, I mean, first they spend all the episode talking about if he should do time travel, without bringing up any of the wider ethical concerns about if he should do time travel. I mean, it's the most absolutely arrogant act possible. It erases all the choices made by anyone else in the universe over the past 15 years and sticks this chaos making rewrite into the timeline. And the ripples of that choice are inherently impossible to predict. Maybe they wouldn't go beyond Earth. Maybe they would, into a probably inhabited universe. Maybe they would go to multiple universes, given that they're cross connected... though I suppose Barry might not know that, was that crossover season 2? But the point is, it isn't just a question of if his mother lives or dies, it's 15 years of deciding that he, personally, can hit undo and make everyone have a do over with different initial conditions. And that's... I mean, would everyone on the planet vote to roll the bones on their lives over again? Because that's what he's doing. Time travel, it's not ethical. It forces a rewrite on everyone.
In Doctor Who the changes tend to damp out because the same thing happens somewhere else instead, at least according to Turlough in Singularity. That possibility didn't get brought up.
And only in the deleted scenes was it brought up that Barry would go back to save his own mom but not Iris'. And there's a logical logic to go there, that Barry's mom died of time travel so it's more a restoration than a change, but that was never brought up either.
So it's really all about the emotions, and it's really all about adoption. Would an adopted kid restore their birth family and go back to them? And the answer was both yes and no, which is no answer and just a lot of feels.
But the foster family part is all over the other thing the season wants me to have feels about, and my feels are therefore mostly ew. Like, that's his sister. He calls her dad his dad, that is his sister, ugh, no, this is not cool. I know there's no genetic connection and the story goes out of its way to point out he loved her before he lived with them, but it's just not cool.
And then there's the thing with Eddie where he says there were always three people in the relationship and, as usual, I fail to see what the problem is. I mean with Firestorm they've got intermittently three and sometimes four people rather fundamentally in that relationship, especially considering that if they start sharing a preference for pizza they can maybe possibility share other feelings too. And both wives love Firestorm in combined form, if I read what they were trying to show correctly. So people get complicated. So why not those three people?
But nope, they go another way with that story.
And that goes back to logic of time travel. And how much I very, very, very hate 'heroic sacrifice' that's simply suicide. I've seen it in other time travel stories before. And it's saying, fundamentally, that when you see a mistake in your future, seeing it coming doesn't change anything, you can't change, it's there, it's done, you're screwed. And fuck that.
Also, I know I was supposed to be thinking 'oh know, Eddie!' but I was mostly thinking 'now hold you hard, did he actually say direct lineal ancestor?' and also 'but what about the milkman'. Because the grandmother paradox you can be pretty sure of, but a grandfather is, well, shakier.
Also also I was thinking 'you dumb fuck, just get a vasectomy'.
Which, I can see why he wouldn't think of that.
Deciding you wouldn't want to procreate? There's a fix for that!
AND it's extremely stupid because you know that thing where guys can have surprise babies? How does he know this descendent isn't because surprise? Did he just never shag anyone before? I mean, especially given the 'I'm your father's there's been as a theme. Sometimes they don't know! But okay, there's a surname, that might indicate knowing.
But Eobard had to be lying about something, because a blanket 'didn't get the girl' does not result in being the ancestor of anyone.
Stupid! Everyone has to be stupid. And killing himself is super extra stupid with a stupid sauce. Always is. No exceptions.
And I'd complain about how Eddie just rewrote time in a much more thorough and random way than Barry was contemplating without any apparent rewrite of the prior history, but, the sky has a singularity in it, it seems likely the knock on consequences are happening, we just only see up to the cliffhanger.
This show did not choose the best things.
I disliked the ending.
And felt it didn't make entire sense.
It was creepy and inadequate about disability, and not even because of the source text, just, because it felt like it.
Spending a whole season lying to Iris is creeptastic and got worse and worse and made less and less sense as it went along.
Waiting until the next to last episode to point out the legal and moral problems of locking people up in your basement was rather ducking the problem. And again, that whole thing happened because their solution was secrecy, and far more secrecy than even made sense. If knowledge was keeping the mundanes alive within the team then it really should have been useful to the police in general, you know?
And I kind of don't care about the characters. I mean, they don't actively suck, but they didn't click with me. Some of this is being very bored of love triangles, and some is the ages of characters, and some is just... *shrug*, it isn't working for me.
So now I'm kind of cranky and want to do something different with the pieces.
Which is how I feel about most DC adjacent media, lately.
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