My head is still spinning.
When I think THE FLASH can’t possibly surprise me anymore – or get any better – they go and pull an episode like this on me. “Flash Back” was an episode that had everything I absolutely love about this show. It had suspense, emotional scenes that really tugged at my heartstrings, hilarious Cisco one-liners and time travel. That last one is one of my favorite aspects of any science fiction show ever and, although THE FLASH doesn’t really use it all that much, when they do it is always an amazing treat.
Following the events of last week’s revelation that Zoom is actually Jay Garrick – which I still haven’t really wrapped my head around – Barry is more determined than ever to increase his speed, so he can defeat the speed demon once and for all. He has been reading books and training and doing the most thorough research in history, but Caitlin points something out to him that just hurts:
What if he just can’t be as fast as Zoom?
But Barry refuses to believe that. During a family dinner, when Wally was telling them all about his speed project at school, Barry gets a crazy idea. What if he ran back in time and just talked to the one person who had managed to crack the speed force equation? What if he ran back in time and talked to Eobard Thawne, while he was impersonating Harrison Wells?
Harry tells him he is crazy, but Cisco and Caitlin help him get ready. So he does exactly as they planned and runs a year back in time; except that while he was running, he nearly crashed into a creature, but managed to evade it just in time, arriving at the point in time he meant to, even if he was a tad early. He manages to knock his present self out with a tranquilizer Caitlin put together and heads to Star Labs with a disgruntled Hartley in tow.
The first chance he gets, he asks Thawne about his speed force equation, which sets all kinds of alarm bells for the man in yellow. Something Barry did not count on, however, was that the creature he encountered while he was traveling back in time followed him and is dead set on catching our scarlet speedster from the future. The creature goes after him at CCPD and scares the hell out of everyone. Once Thawne hears about it, he knows for sure that the Barry he has been talking to is a time traveller. So he knocks him out and handcuffs him, before he reveals he knows he is not the Barry from present time and that a time wraith is after him because he has no idea what the hell he is doing.
A time wraith looks a lot like a dementor and the Harry Potter references were dropping left, right and center through the entire episode. As if I needed another reason to love this show even more, right?
So the dementor is after Barry, everything is going to hell, and when we think things can’t possibly get any worse, present time Barry shows up and outs future Barry to everyone. In the end, Thawne gives Barry exactly what he needs – because he is scared to death of the dementor finding out he is a time traveller as well – and they all help future Barry get back to his own time, with the original timeline barely being disrupted.
Now, there were a few things in this episode that stood out to me. First, we got to see Eddie again and that just made me so happy. I was devastated when he died in the season 1 finale, and it was great to have Rick Cosnett back. That video message Barry recorded was the icing on the cake and I admit there were a few tears going on.
Second, can we please talk about how flawlessly Tom Cavanagh goes from playing Eobard Thawne to playing Harry and back? It was absolutely fascinating to watch. Third, it was great to see that the timeline was somewhat altered, but for the best – Hartley actually became a good person, who even helps Team Flash from time to time. But it was great to see that that all this time travelling does have repercussions.
All in all, fantastic episode. We are slowly, but surely making our way to what is promising to be an explosive finale.
A new episode of THE FLASH will air next on April 5 at 8/7c on The CW.