Ok, hot damn. The instant the premise of this episode was announced, I figured “There’s just no way. They’re gonna muck it up. It can’t actually be that awesome.” and yet here I am. Knowing that the only way to gain the speed needed to defeat Zoom is to master the science of the Speed Force, The Flash sets out to learn the secrets of his old mentor: Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash.
Of course as you might know, the Reverse Flash was deleted from existence. Therefore the only way to speak to him is TIME TRAVEL. Which is as awesome as it is stupid and easily the most ambitious time-travel based experience the show has ever put forth. While it was easy to criticize Tom Cavanagh’s performance of Earth-2’s Harrison Wells as being too similar to the man wearing his face in Season 1, seeing him step back into the role of Eobard Thawne highlighted the subtle differences in the ferocity the two characters put in their demeanor. Just like how quickly Eobard figured out that his Flash had time-traveled before, he was quick to lay everything on the line and figure out that this Barry Allen was displaced in time, leading to that outstanding interrogation scene in the time vault. Both speedsters tip-toe-ing around with their words to figure out what to do, and ultimately working together in a similar fashion to Eobard’s appearance earlier this season. Though the Reverse-Flash might have been deleted, seeing how easily he has been woven into the lore of this season twice so far proves more than anything that this isn’t the last we’ll see of him.
On top of all this, The Flash’s haphazard travel through time led to an encounter with the Speedster’s natural predator: the Time Wraiths. And this raised a lot of questions. They would appear to be an adaptation of the Black Flash, who is pretty much the Grim Reaper for those with a connection to the Speed Force. This is typically more when their time is “up” rather than a consequence of time travel, and we are led to believe here that they are a particularly special side effect as they only chase Speedsters. If they weren’t, surely we would have seen them on Legends of Tomorrow by now right? Speaking of which, considering the Time Masters are all about preventing temporal paradoxes, how come we didn’t get Chronos hunting Barry down? This would have been an interesting opportunity for the shared universe of these shows to be more than just one-way.
While it was hyped up that Eddie would play a large role, due to not having shot himself in the heart and pulled through a black hole yet, he merely served the purpose of giving Iris the emotional closure that he couldn’t before. Who instead served more of a purpose was Hartley Rathaway, a briefly seen antagonist from last season who has redeemed himself here. After saving his former comrades at STAR Labs from the Time Wraith, something possible only because of Barry’s time travel shenanigans, Hartley seems to have abandoned his Rogue antics and is now a member of the gang. Or at least will pop in every now and again like Jay did. It’s almost like the showrunners knew they wanted to bring his character back but didn’t know how, and just said “You know what? This is as good of an opportunity as any. He’s back and nice now.” With Barry being able to utilize the secrets of the Speed Force due to his assistance from Eobard Thawne, it’s exciting to know he’s on the warpath for Zoom. I’m also very curious to see what else Barry screwed up in time, because there just has to be more.
For my review of the previous episode of the The Flash, “Trajectory,” click here.