Episode Title: “The Reverse-Flash Returns”
Starring: Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Tom Cavanagh
Directed By: Matthew Allowitz
The Reverse-Flash returns for the first time. Now, this isn’t the Harrison Wells Reverse Flash but rather the Eobard Thawne Reverse-Flash who killed the real Harrison Wells and took his identity before killing Barry’s mother and before being erased from history when Eddie Thawne killed himself. This Reverse-Flash has come to Earth-1 before doing any of that. With me so far? Damn I hate timeline stories!
This Reverse-Flash is aware of the Flash but doesn’t yet know his identity. Cisco’s vibing power alerts him and the rest of the team that Thawne has returned. Wells helps Cisco to control his powers in order to track Thawne down. Cisco discovers that Thawne kidnaps Dr. Tina McGee in order to force her to use her tachyon device to send him home to his own timeline. Cisco sees Thawne kill her but it is several hours in the future giving the group time to locate them and attempt to save McGee. However Thawne’s presence in this timeline has an adverse effect on Cisco, causing him tremors and threatening his life. Barry has no recourse but to help his enemy get home.
In other developments, Caitlin attempts to help Jay with his sickness by tracking down his Earth-1 doppelganger. It is a strategy that Jay already considered but explains why it will not work. We learn that Jay’s doppelganger is named Hunter Zolomon who, in the DC Comics Universe was the third man to be called Reverse-Flash and ALSO known as Zoom. This sets up an interesting scenario and frankly one that was always a bit confusing in the comics since often times the names Reverse-Flash and Zoom were used interchangeably. Zoom of Earth-2 has yet to have his identity revealed. Does Hunter Zolomon have a connection to this Zoom? Is Zolomon just a name they are tossing out there as a red herring? Patty does finally leave Central City after several tense moments with Barry in which both he and Joe deny that he is the Flash.
Quite a fun and enjoyable episode although one’s head can spin at all of the Reverse-Flash, Zoom, and alternate timeline insanity. This sort of complexity is fine in the comics where stories can play out over several years if need be but it becomes far too bloated in a TV show. The explanation of how this Eobard Thawne can still exist when the other was erased from existence is an easy out for the writers who could, conceivably, bring back an infinite number of alternate timeline villains.
The chemistry between Cisco and Wells continues to be brilliant. These two vastly different personalities play off each other wonderfully leading to some hilarious scenes. Despite his cantankerous nature Wells displayed true emotion for Cisco when his life was in danger. Of course he is still the same guy that killed The Turtle so there is that.
While I am generally not a fan of the relationship drama in the CW shows I thought the handling of Joe’s dying wife was handled quite well and made for a touching moment as Iris said her goodbyes. The Patty stuff wasn’t handled as deftly especially considering how many people already know that Barry is the Flash but I expect we will see more of her down the road.