I don’t know about you guys, but my head is still spinning after last night’s intense episode of THE FLASH. “The Reverse-Flash Returns” – as the title suggests – reintroduced an old enemy that we had all thought was long gone. Eobard Thawne’s sudden appearance in Central City brought grave consequences for the team, especially for Cisco. So much happened in this episode in the short period of 42 minutes, that I am still trying to put all the pieces together in my head. We had time travel, intense confrontations, family drama and a great character saying goodbye.
Cisco and Harry and Their Not So Great Plan
Just when they thought they finally had something that would give them a weapon to defeat Zoom, the Turtle was found dead in his cell; so there goes the chance of extracting his power to slow everything down. I wonder, however, if whatever Harry did to him at the end of last week’s episode was his primary cause of death or if it really was an aneurysm, like Caitlin said. Either way, with that option off the table, Cisco suggests that maybe they could find a way for him to get some sort of control over his vibing abilities, so he could see what Zoom was up to and finally stay one step ahead of the demon speedster.
Harry figures out that what triggers Cisco’s powers is adrenaline, so he manages to come up with a device that would increase that and allow him to vibe whenever he wanted. Cisco is skeptical, but tries the goggles on, anyway, and the intensity of what he sees is amazing. He eventually zeroes in on the Reverse-Flash’s location and sees that he has just killed the scientist he had kidnapped. But the thing is, when Cisco sees this, it is still 6pm, but the time Cisco saw in his vision marked 9:32pm, which means that his powers have just grown and he can now see the future, which is pretty cool in itself.
So they have a little over three hours to figure out where Thawne is keeping her, and save her. They do find her in time and Barry speeds out of there and saves the day, but it all seemed entirely too good to be true.
Eobard Thawne’s Evil Plan
It seems that the Reverse-Flash we saw last night was actually past Eobard Thawne, as in before he killed Earth-1 Harrison Wells, before creating Star Labs and before he went back in time to kill Barry’s mom. As all good time travel stories, this episode made my head hurt. So this Reverse-Flash doesn’t even know the Flash’s true identity. His primary goal here was to get a scientist to put in the finishing touches on a machine that would allow him to go back to his own time, but the scarlet speedster manages to stop him just in time, thanks to Cisco’s powers. When Barry takes him back to Star Labs and locks him up in a cell – after putting in some awesome time beating the hell out of his evil ass – he asks why Thawne hates him so much.
And the answer is so simple and so ridiculous, that just made me hate this sorry excuse of a human being even more. He wanted to be the Flash, so he figured out a way to gain speed force and, with that, to travel through time. And that’s how he learned of his fate, to be the Flash’s greatest enemy.
Seriously, Thawne? All this because you wanted to have his power? Couldn’t you have just left it at that? Did you really have to kill his mother and Harrison Wells and god knows how many other people?
Anyway, the fact that they stopped Thawne from going back to his own time and are holding him prisioner has some serious consequences. As we all know, you should never mess with the timeline, for fear of causing catastrophic ramifications, which is exactly what happens. Cisco starts out with a nose bleed and his condition evolves to a state of permanent seizure, before he – I kid you not – starts to vanish before their very eyes. Just when I thought this show couldn’t get any cooler, they go and pull this one on us. It was so bizarre and intense and just absolutely cool.
Finally, they decide that the only way to save Cisco is to catapult him back to the future, and Barry helps him do that. The problem is, now Thawne is going back to his future full of knowledge of this timeline and period, which will eventually prompt him to seek out Harrison Wells, kill him and take over his identity. The fact that they had to help Thawne in order to save Cisco put everything that has defined their lives in motion. This, right here, was the point of origin of the war against the Reverse-Flash and it was fantastically delivered.
Barry and Patty
Meanwhile, our speedster is heartbroken that Patty decided to leave, but I felt like this was a situation that could have easily been fixed. After all, last week he was determined to tell her that he was THE FLASH and end the secrecy once and for all. As we all know, keeping secrets from those we love never ends well, as Oliver Queen knows from experience. Something changed between last week’s episode and “The Reverse-Flash Returns”, though, because Patty finally puts two and two together and figures out he is the infamous scarlet speedster. She even confronts Joe about it, but Detective West is a terrible liar and she sees right through him. But when she confronts Barry about it, he vehemently denies it and tells her it’s complicated and that he doesn’t want to stand in the way of her dreams.
Barry Allen, what the hell were you thinking? There she was, telling you that she was completely okay with it and that everything made sense now; that she would stay in Central City if only you came clean about being the Flash. And you go and deny the whole thing and watches her walk away heartbroken. What. The. Hell? This part really had me this close to throwing something at my TV. I really, really like Patty and I don’t want her to leave, but this wasn’t even really about their relationship. Barry is doing the exact same thing Oliver did on ARROW in the first three seasons – he is pushing people away and playing the martyr in order to protect them.
The comparison between the two shows here is inevitable and it seems like Barry is taking the Green Arrow’s advice from last season to heart. When Oliver told him that “guys like us don’t get the girl”, he was trying to keep Felicity at arms length, much like Barry did to Patty last night. Of course, they both have noble intentions and say that they are doing this only to protect them from any harm; but the truth is that they are protecting themselves. Patty was kidnapped last week – because he saved her as the Flash, not because she was his girlfriend – but that coupled with the fact that she had decided to leave just made Barry close up even more and push her even further away.
Sure, being someone a superhero loves attracts unwanted attention from their enemies, but whether they are together or not, the danger remains the same. By saying that he is just trying to protect her, he is anticipating the possible heartbreak he might have to go through if something ever happened to her, which is a dumb idea, Barry, because you’re going to get heartbroken all the same.
In the end, when she calls him just to see if he really would go and save her, made for a very, very bittersweet goodbye. I truly hope this is not the last we see of Patty Spivot and that she comes back soon to tell Barry to snap out of it and that they can work through this together.
And last, but most definitely not least, let’s talk about…
The West Family Drama
Let me preface this by saying that I am so glad that Iris is getting a much deserved juicy storyline this season. I love the still rocky relationship between Wally and Iris, but it looks like they are heading in the right direction. I bet they will get even closer when Francine dies, which is so bittersweet and tragic for everyone involved. The scene where she tells her mom that all is forgiven was heartbreaking and Candice Patton did a fantastic job. I am curious as to where they are going with this, though. Let’s assume Francine dies – which will probably happen soon – what does that mean for Wally? Will we get to see more of him? Will he come live with Joe? Because there has to be a point in introducing such an iconic character, right?
Whetever it is, though, I am so in for the ride.
A new episode of THE FLASH will air on February 2 at 8/7c on The CW.