One of the ongoing storylines this season has the Flash trying to get faster so he can stop Zoom. His dimension-jumping adventure last night with Supergirl may have been about exactly that. The Flash’s new plan is to travel to the past and have the insidious Harrison Wells, alias the Reverse-Flash, teach him to be faster – all this and the Pied Piper… and maybe even the Black Flash too. Meet me after the time travel jump for my thoughts on “Flash Back.”
We open on Barry wanting to go faster as he had last night, yet no mention of Supergirl. Although he was also using his brain (like last night as well). Even though he’s surrounded by a team, it’s nice to see the forensic scientist in him using his head to solve problems on his own, like in the comics. Barry uses that brain of his to come up with a plan.
Barry is going to travel back in time to last season and learn from Harrison Wells AKA Eobard Thawne AKA the Reverse-Flash how to get faster. The target point in time aligns with the episode “The Sound and the Fury,” when Team Flash was in the middle of fighting the Pied Piper. So once he’s brushed up on what was going on and what everyone knew then, Barry takes off to the past.
Nothing Ever Goes as Planned
Barry screws up right away once he arrives in the past, by interfering with the mission against the Pied Piper. He just keeps slipping up, from wearing the wrong uniform back in time (seriously how hard was that to forget?) to showing Wells a formula that past Barry couldn’t possibly have come up with on his own.
With the appearance of the Time Wraith (more on that in a moment), Wells knows this Barry isn’t his Barry but one from the future. Wells steps out of his wheelchair, a move that made both me and The Bride flinch, and clocks Barry. He awakes chained to the wheelchair in the Braille room, begging for his life from a Harrison Wells who now knows who he is and what it means that he’s there. Luckily Barry can lie on the quick, as opposed to when he has time.
The Black Flash
When Barry traveled backward in time, he picked up a passenger, a pursuer, something Wells calls a ‘Time Wraith.’ These creatures hunt speedsters in the speed force, especially those that manipulate time. When Barry says he traveled through time before and never seen one before, Wells says his luck has run out. This thing won’t stop until it’s ended him.
The Time Wraith resembles a creature from the comics called the Black Flash. This monstrosity stalks the speed force and serves as the spirit of death for speedsters. The Black Flash as seen in close-ups in this episode looks like Barry in a black Flash costume (thus the name) but worn by a skeletal figure. Yeah, as Cisco nailed it, it’s pretty much like a Dementor from Harry Potter.
Time Travel Makes My Head Hurt
As I said, Barry plays fast and loose with the timeline despite all of the warnings his present day Team Flash dish out to him. All that tutoring was for naught, he doesn’t listen to a bit of it. And so we end up with two Flashes running around, the Pied Piper helping the team in the present day, Cisco learning where Ronnie is (this one hasn’t played out yet), and of course the tearjerker video of Eddie that Barry gives to Iris.
One can’t help but wonder what else Barry’s trip to last season has wrought in the time stream. Did it cause the Reverse-Flash to make back-up plans? And did Barry use the tachyon device after this or before this to get to Supergirl’s dimension? This series acts like it didn’t even happen. Either way, this was a fun episode. And I loved the bit where Cisco once again asked if the white circle was his idea or because they’d seen the future. Do we really have to wait three weeks for more?
Next: The origin of Zoom!