When we last saw Barry and Co., there was plenty left up in the air for audiences to muse over during The Flash’s short hiatus. Firestorm had learned to live with both halves of the whole and headed out of town to learn how to either control or eradicate his (their) new abilities; not only has Barry decided that he will change the future so that he can change his past (pretty sure Doctor Emmitt Brown would be COMPLETELY against this) but it was finally confirmed that Dr. Wells is indeed the man in the yellow suit, though, this did not necessarily mean that he is a bad guy; and in one of the coolest scenes of the season, Gorilla Grodd finally made his small screen debut in all his glory. This week’s episode, Out of Time, managed to avoid deflating in the shadow of the previous episode and, instead, grew into The Flash’s strongest episode to date. Major spoilers ahead. Seriously, if you haven’t seen this week’s episode, you owe it to yourself to walk away now. You have been warned.
Almost each and every episode feels stronger than the last but Out of Time managed to deliver on several levels and EP Andrew Kreisberg recently shared with E! Online that he was very excited to present the episode to audiences:
“With no disrespect to any of the other directors or episodes that we have produced, I think this is the best episode we’ve ever done,” Kreisberg says. “Everything that The Flash can do—and I don’t mean Barry Allen [Grant Gustin] as the hero, but as a TV show—this episode delivers in spades. It’s got amazing visual effects that you don’t see on television, it’s full of heart, it’s full of romance, genuine scares, and it’s the best version of this show. Between this and Arrow, there’s only a handful of episodes we say this about and I definitely feel like this is it.”
Let’s start with the least successful aspects of the episode, so that we can get to the good stuff.
The metahuman of the week: Mark Mardon (played by Liam McIntyre), aka, Weather Wizard, definitely could have been a bit cooler. In an uninteresting turn of events, the brother of the original Weather Wizard, who, as you may remember, was killed by Joe West in the first episode, came back for revenge against West and anyone close to him. Weather Wizard isn’t necessarily the most interesting character in The Flash’s life and here, he was used more as a device than a real character. Although, thanks to the Wizard, Cisco manages to make one of the coolest sonic screwdrivers the world has ever seen. Sure, it was really the Weather Wizard’s wand from the comic book series but I know a sonic screwdriver when I see one. Really, Mardon’s purpose in the episode was to provide Barry with a chance to finally reveal that he is The Flash to Iris in the closing minutes of the show. Other than that, Mardon really just ran around moodily, plotting revenge, hurting people with weather (he actually kills a medical examiner with hail) and his character never gets any deeper than that. According to Kreisberg, however, audiences will be seeing Mardon in at least two more episodes this season, so perhaps the character will be a bit more fleshed out in the future.
The only other aspect of the series that slowed things down a bit was the Linda/Barry/Iris situation. After Barry confessed his love to Iris, was rejected, then moved on to Laura, it seems that Iris has done everything she can to sabotage Barry’s hope for finding love. Each time she sees Laura and Barry actually getting along, she steps in to stake her claim on Barry, irking Laura with every move. In Out of Time, Barry decides to take Laura to the bowling alley, a favorite place that he shares with Iris, who just happens to be there with Eddie. After the most awkward game ever, both Eddie and Laura were left feeling like the outsiders while Barry and Iris ignored those around them. Alright, I get that we need to have a bit of tension here because eventually, Eddie will likely turn against Barry, and by extension, turn against The Flash. However, this has been a constant point that slows the series down since the first episode. There have been some cool scenes here and there but, for the most part, the Iris/Barry relationship plays like a high school soap opera that is present just for the sake of being present. That being said, in the final minutes of last night’s episode, after kissing Iris for the first time, Barry finally reveals to her that he is indeed The Flash, right before running away to stop a giant tsunami from hitting the city, which was pretty awesome. In order to stop the tsunami, he has to run faster than he has ever ran before and, at long last, Barry manages to run so fast that he goes back in time, completely erasing the events of the episode. Thank goodness he did because, man, there was some heartbreak in that episode in the form of Dr. Wells, and the Reverse Flash storyline finally came to a head, resulting in the best stuff that The Flash has given us to date.
Ready for that good stuff?
After the evidence was too compelling to ignore, Cisco finally believes that Wells is hiding something. He sends Kaitlin on a mission to keep Wells busy while he stays behind at S.T.A.R. Labs to get to the bottom of things. So, being the genius that he is, Cisco manages to uncover some damning evidence against Wells, which leads to Wells revealing his true identity to Cisco. In doing so, he finally cleared up his true identity to those in the audience that have been guessing since the pilot: Harrison Wells is none other than Eobard Thawne, a “distant relative” of Iris’s beau, Eddie, and the Reverse Flash from the comics.
Wells Thawne explains that he is from the future and admits that he killed Barry’s mother, though his true intention was to kill Barry. After spilling the beans and proclaiming to Cisco that Cisco showed him what it was like to have a son, Thawne does the unthinkable and murders him. Now, do you understand why erasing the events of the episode is so important?
After the events of Out of Time, it will be exciting to see where the show goes next. As much as we have all guessed and speculated, Barry Allen himself, Grant Gustin, recently shared with CBR that no one has guessed the big Reverse Flash twist quite yet:
There’s a twist with Harrison Wells and the Reverse-Flash storyline that no journalist has guessed — I’ve never seen it online. It’s going to I think really surprise everyone. And it’s an original twist to the character that doesn’t mess up the mythology.
I will take this opportunity to remind readers that NerdBastards has been kicking around the theory that Barry’s father in the new series, played by John Wesley Shipp, is actually Barry from a different timeline, i.e. the same character from the original series, and it may have been him that Thawne followed from the future or another reality. Yes, it’s pretty easy to punch holes in this theory, which is one of the reasons it is so tough to let go. We will see if there is any nod to this when we finally get to see Mark Hamill return to the role (and clothes) of The Trickster, the same character he played in the original 90’s series but until we finally get that true Reverse Flash twist, we are going to keep the theory going.
As usual, The Flash managed to deliver on all fronts, and managed to draw a few tears with this one. The series, much like the title character at the center of the series, seems to defy logic with its continuous momentum. In the end, this may result in little more than a stellar first season, a la Heroes, but for now, fans can be content knowing that they are getting some of the best comic book television ever.
How did you like Out of Time? What are your theories on the big Reverse Flash twist?