NOTE: This review is being posted prior to THE FLASH showing in the Pacific Time Zone USA. If you haven’t seen the show yet, you may want to come back later after viewing the episode.
Long time Flash fans will recall a storyline from the early 1990’s called “The Return of Barry Allen”. This was a classic Mark Waid tale about the supposed re-emergence of Barry in the Wally West Flash time line. Why do I bring it up here, in a review of THE FLASH tv show? Well…follow us after the jump and all will be made clear…
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
In that classic Waid arc, “Barry Allen” turned out not to be Barry at all, but rather Eobard Thawne. He was confused…trying to be the Flash himself until he realized that his fate was to be the greatest enemy of the Flash instead. He went mad and became…you guessed it…the Reverse Flash! This arc became in many respects the origin tale for Thawne…which brings us to this episode of THE FLASH.
Yes, we see the Reverse Flash appearing in the TV Flash-verse once again…for the first time. First time? Yep, what we see here is Thawne before he figured out the identity of the Flash, before he went back in time to kill Nora Allen, before he killed and took the place of the Earth One Harrison Wells…and critically, before he died/was “erased from existence” at the end of last season.
This presents a number of problems for Barry and the team. Can they stop Thawne here, before he commits all these horrific acts? And, if they can, what does it mean for the timeline…and for each of them? That’s the premise of tonight’s show. It’s carried off well, in a show that has interesting reveals in the side story threads as well
There are multiple issues explored during this episode, woven together quite well by the writing team. We find Patty and Barry’s goodbyes (please say it isn’t so), Iris’ goodbye to her mother, Wally’s conflict over whether to say goodbye…and a hello to a most interesting name. All this while Vibe gets his glasses. Want to know more? Okay, just a little more (ok, a lot more) spoilery here…
- Patty proves her detective mettle and figures out the fact that Barry is the Flash. I’m very glad to see this – Patty has never been anyone’s dummy, and it says a lot more about her character that she figures this out herself. She even proves her point over Barry’s protests in a way that had me laughing…but she still leaves town…
- Iris finally lets go of her anger and forgives her mother, who is nearing her end. By episode’s end, she has convinced Wally to do the same.
- Cisco gets his goggle and realizes he can see into the future…though there are some consequences for changing the timestream (more on that later).
- Jay finds his Earth One doppelganger, who was adopted after his parents died. That adoptive name? Hunter Zoloman!
With Vibe’s ability to pinpoint where (or rather when) Thawne will be, Barry is able to capture Thawne. Problem is, a time paradox is created by Thawne’s capture, and Cisco is paying the price with a critical physical reaction to the event. He is dying…and the only hope is for Barry to actually help Thawne return to his timeline, knowing that this means all the events of last season will still happen. It’s a hugely difficult choice, but he makes that choice to save his friend. After all, as Earth Two Harry points out, this isn’t the end of the story – it’s actually Thawne’s origin story.
SUMMARY: This episode takes a break from the Zoom arc with an interesting revisit to last year’s big bad. It does reflect a bit on a great story arc from 20+ years ago, and it leaves the door open for more appearances by Thawne as he progresses through his own time line – at least we know how Thawne’s tale ends. I’m sad to see Patty leave the show, at least for now, as the chemistry between her character and Barry has been a true highlight of the season. But, we may not have seen the last of Patty Spivot (at least that’s my hope). One good thing is that we finally see Cisco getting the goggles along with better control of his power…Cisco has been a break-out character for this series and It’s always good to see him get a spotlight. While this episode doesn’t push the overall season’s arc forward a lot, it does give us some important side-story events and a couple of Easter Eggs for comics fans. A solid episode – not the best of the season, but still more than worth the view.
That’s my take – how do YOU feel about this episode of THE FLASH? Leave your comments below!