Random Musings: Déjà vu all over again: fallout from the recent time travel in The Flash.


Flash runs alongside himself

In last week’s episode of The Flash, “Out of Time”, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) discovered that his employer and mentor, Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), was Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, the man who’d killed Nora Allen 14 years earlier. And was himself killed by Wells/Thawne as a consequence.

Meanwhile, Mark Mardon, AKA the Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), targeted Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) for revenge in the death of his brother in the pilot; and as part of that vengeance unleashed a tidal wave on Central City. In his efforts to stop the tidal wave, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) ran so fast he traveled back in time to a moment near the start of the episode.

As I predicted, there weren’t two Flashes running around in this week’s episode, “Rogue Time.” Instead, Barry had “overwritten” his past self and the events of the past day or two. How did that change things?

First, since he knew about the Weather Wizard’s intentions, Barry was able to capture and imprison him before he could even get started with his plan of revenge.

Weather Wizard: “Curses, foiled again!”

Because the Weather Wizard never launched his attacks, Barry’s boss, Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui), didn’t receive a crippling injury.

Captain Singh injured.

Captain Singh injured.

Captain Singh: “That’s a relief.”

Also, since events now took a different path, Cisco never investigated how the Reverse Flash escaped from containment and thus didn’t make his discovery and get himself killed.

Cisco: “Hooray, I’m not dead.”

On the other hand, in the new timeline he was captured by Leonard Snart, AKA Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), who tortured Cisco’s brother, Dante (Nicholas Gonzalez), to make Cisco reveal the Flash’s true identity.

Cisco: “Darn it!”

And while Cisco is still breathing in the new timeline (ironically, Dr. Wells gave him a pep talk in the same room where he killed him in the original history), newspaper reporter Mason Bridge (Roger Howarth), who was investigating Dr. Wells, wasn’t so lucky. In the altered timeline, Dr. Wells somehow learned about Bridge’s investigation and, as the Reverse Flash, punched a hole through his heart at super speed.

Bridge: “Ouch!”

For his part, Barry, who’d again confessed his love for Iris West (Candice Patton) in the original timeline— and been told she felt the same— was surprised to find she didn’t share those feelings in the altered timeline.

Barry and Iris.

Barry and Iris.

Barry: “Rats!”

The reason, Dr. Wells theorized, was a major emotional event in the original timeline. That, obviously, would have been the attacks on her father.

At the episode’s end, Barry had somehow become suspicious of Dr. Wells, telling Joe that Joe might have been right about everything about him.

Dr. Wells: “Uh, oh.”

As for Captain Cold knowing Barry’s identity, Barry made it clear that if word got out, the Flash would make Captain Cold’s life an unpleasant one.

Captain Cold: “I probably shouldn’t make him angry. I don’t think I’ll like him when he’s angry.”

Flash confronts Captain Cold.

Flash confronts Captain Cold.

So, was it a bit of a cheat— one along the lines of the abhorred “it was all a dream” ending— to re-set the events of last week so that Cisco wasn’t killed and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) never discovered that— at the very least— Dr. Wells didn’t need his wheelchair?

No. Because A) the viewer knows the truth about the Reverse Flash and B) Barry is himself now suspicious of Dr. Wells, which will no doubt lead to a season-ending confrontation.

In another character development, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) punched Barry at a crime scene after Barry’s meeting with Iris. He later apologized, saying it’s not like him to hit anyone. He and Iris were also led to believe (by Caitlin) that Barry’s “emotional outburst” was a side effect of the lightning strike all those months ago.

The other day, I saw a trailer for upcoming episodes. In it, Eddie shoots two fellow cops. Presumably those actions will turn out to be as uncharacteristic as his punching Barry. The question remains what causes him to do these things?

The Flash remains a smart and fun show and next week’s episode should be especially fun as Mark Hamill reprises his role of the Trickster from the 1990 Flash series.

The Trickster then.

The Trickster then.

The Trickster today.

The Trickster today.

Well, sort of. While the previous show isn’t acknowledged within the fictional universe of The Flash, for obvious reasons, photos and video clips of Hamill’s character when he was younger are taken from his appearances in the 1990 series.

Hamill, of course, is well-regarded for his portrayal as the voice of the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. In some ways, his performance as the Trickster could almost be seen as a “trial run” for his later Joker portrayal.

On the subject of time travel, I mentioned earlier this year that I doubted Eddie Thawne was the Reverse Flash because he doesn’t mess up day-to-day details someone from the future might not know. How do I explain Dr. Wells not having that problem? He’s been in our century for 15 years. Plenty of time to get acclimated.

Yes, Eddie could have, too, if he’d arrived from the 25th century 15 years ago. But Eddie’s also 20 years younger than Dr. Wells (assuming the characters are the same ages as the actors). It’s doubtful the producers ever considered having the Reverse Flash be a teenager; so if he had been Eddie, we would have found that, like Barry, an adult Eddie would have eventually traveled back in time to that fateful night.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

Copyright 2015 Patrick Keating.

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