Things are looking very bad for “The Flash” lately. Not only has his most recent girlfriend Patty Spivot left him, but behind his back Harrison Wells is working with Zoom to steal his speed and most likely kill him. It’s about to get worse as his most dangerous adversary is back from beyond. Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “The Reverse-Flash Returns!”
Out of Time
Much like River Song, The Doctor‘s wife, sometime companion, and murderer, the Reverse-Flash is a creature of time travel who doesn’t always encounter his archenemy in linear order. In fact, the Reverse-Flash’s first meeting with a Flash occurs decades after the first time we see him in the comics. In other words, he may always have originated in the 25th century but his journeys to the 20th and 21st century may not have occurred in chronological order. Time travel is a bitch, and an imprecise science.
Let’s review what we know about the TV version. Eobard Thawne, after many battles with the Flash, came to the past to murder Barry Allen’s mother, and lost his speed. He took over the identity of Harrison Wells and accelerated the creation of the Flash so he could steal his speed and return to his own time. In their final battle however, Eddie, his ancestor killed himself, and with no heirs to continue the line, the Reverse-Flash ceased to exist.
Of course, everyone remembers the Reverse-Flash, so he must have existed. Right? Yeah, this is why people say time travel makes their heads hurt. It’s full of paradoxes. If he didn’t exist – who killed Nora Allen? Who killed Harrison Wells? Who killed Simon Stagg, and probably dozens of others? And who caused the accident that created the Flash?
The Reverse-Flash has to still exist, and he has a past and a future. It may just be out of order to the rest of us who can’t time travel. Like in the comics, there is the very strong possibility that Barry just hasn’t met Thawne for the first time yet. That’s exactly where they’re going with this. Despite Harry’s convoluted explanation (he should have gotten Professor Stein to do it, he explained the multiverse sooo well), this is the Thawne who has yet to meet the Flash, and yet to murder Nora Allen… that last act being what they call in the Whoniverse, a fixed point in time, unchangeable.
As we open, trying to take his mind off the troubles mentioned in my intro, the Flash is playing Good Samaritan and saves a runaway truck with a fun super speed stunt, taking its wheels off. Honestly, as an old school Flash comics fan I would be happy with a whole show of that stuff, but that’s not how TV rolls.
As much as they’ve dragged it out, Patty still hasn’t left yet and Barry, in his usual prick fashion (has he been taking lessons from Oliver over on “Arrow“?), gives her the cold shoulder. Also, Team Flash discovers the dead Turtle, and Harry turns his intellect toward helping Cisco learn how to use his Vibe powers. It works, and he sees… yeah, you guessed it, the Reverse-Flash.
This being the young pre-Harrison Wells Reverse-Flash, Matt Letscher is back in the yellow and black costume. His plan is to kidnap our old friend Tina McGee from Mercury Labs and help him get home – using the same tachyon technology Harrison Wells was after in the first season. Cisco vibes in and sees him kill her once she’s done.
The goggles Harry built for Cisco not only allow him to focus his powers, but also resemble those worn by Vibe in the comics. The good news is the Flash saves Tina and stops Thawne, but the bad news is that by imprisoning the Reverse-Flash here, they’ve altered the timeline. Certainly Cisco introducing himself to the villain did not help, as he begins to cease to exist himself…
Days of Our Wests
As much as I love this series for its terrific superhero action, and it’s, in my opinion, the best superhero show ever done, the soap opera aspects get to me sometimes. I realize it’s a CW audience that until their recent superhero wave was more used to a young soap opera loving demographic, but I guess I can’t have everything. This week a lot of that focus is on the Wests as Francine is dying. It’s bringing Joe and Iris and Wally together as a family finally.
And then there’s Barry, who sort of qualifies as an honorary West, who continues to deny to Patty what’s really going on even after she figures out that he’s the Flash. We really have to keep Barry away from that Oliver Queen, bad influence. Patty, while on the train to Midway City, has the last laugh however, when she calls Barry saying there’s a man with a gun – and the Flash shows up seconds later. Smart. I almost wish she was staying around now. I think Barry thinks so too as he lets down his vibrational guard so she can see his real face. Shame.
The only way to save Cisco is to send the Reverse-Flash home. I dislike the wonky logic at work here, but that’s what they do, and Cisco recovers. Much like the villain discovering the Flash Museum in the comics, Harry explains that this is the secret origin of the Reverse-Flash, that this is how he learns about all of them, and thanks to Barry who drops the hint about killing his mother – how Thawne knows what to do next. Stupid stupid stupid. Never talk to time travelers about their future and what they will do in their future.
And then there’s poor dying Jay Garrick. Caitlin tries to find his Earth-One doppelganger so she can heal him using identical cells, and can’t find him. A name change happened but Jay already had the idea and found him – but the cure won’t work because Jay’s cells were mutated by his speed. The kicker is that his doppelganger’s name is Hunter Zolomon…
Comics fans know why this is such a big deal. Hunter Zolomon is a police profiler who specializes in the Rogues. He is also a man who hates the Flash very much. In the comics, he becomes the villain known simply as… Zoom! Cue climatic music, and exit stage left…
Next: Tar Pit!