What follows contains spoilers from season 1 of THE FLASH.
Holy (deity or curse word of your choice)
These were some of the online reactions to The Flash, Episode 15: “Out of Time”. Before we get started, let me leave a little spoiler space.
Ok, here we go!
Let’s start with the prediction accuracy tracker:
- Wells is not really his name – as a time traveler, he chose H. Wells as a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine – Status: Inconclusive
- Wells is really Eobard Thawne – Status: Check
- Barry and Thawne fight “through time” which ends with Thawne stranded in the past – Status: Inconclusive but likely
- Thawne needs Barry’s power to get back to his time – Status: Check
- Wells caused the anomaly on purpose – Status: Inconclusive
- Thawne’s “dead” wife (named Tess Morgan) is really Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs– Status: Inconclusive
- Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down. – Status: Inconclusive
Now, let’s talk about Episode 15, “Out of Time.” The last 10 minutes of this had more “payoff” than any show I can remember. Season finales – heck SERIES finales – have had less startling revelations (I’m looking at you, Sopranos!) Starting at the 50 minute mark we got:
- The final reveal that Wells is really Eobard Thawne, The Reverse Flash from the 25th century;
- The “death” of Cisco (more on that later);
- Iris finally admitting that she loved Barry;
- Iris finding out Barry is the Flash; and
- Barry travelling back in time.
Think about that for a minute. That all took place within 10 minutes of real time! The image below accurately reflects what was going on at my house as I watched
So where does this leave us? Let’s start with the obvious. A lot of main characters are in bad shape – Singh, Joe, and Cisco are seriously injured or dead and a tidal wave is about to hit Central City
So, what happens next?
…..and then Barry travels back in time with most of the knowledge of what’s coming. However, Barry does not know that Wells is Reverse Flash. He cut Caitlyn off before she could tell him. This is important.
The obvious story here is that Barry will change events such that Singh and Joe do not meet those fates and Mardon is captured before the tidal wave can be set off.
Cisco is another matter. His discovery about Wells/Thawne has been building for weeks – much earlier than where Barry is in time. This time travel will not fully derail him. Something may throw him off the scent for a while but like Thawne says, Cisco is clever. He may get delayed (which saves his life in the short-term) but ultimately he will not be denied. His current death will likely be undone by Barry but he’s still Thawne’s trail. Eventually, he’ll figure it out again. I hope Barry is around when he does.
Now, why is it important that Barry doesn’t know about Wells true identity? Let’s say the conversation between Caitlyn and Barry had gone like this:
Caitlyn: “Barry, I need to tell you something important”
Barry: “Not now, Mardon is causing a tidal wave that will flood the whole city!”
Caitlyn: “Barry, I just got back to STAR Labs. Cisco is dead and before he died, he convinced me that Wells is the bad guy. He’s in league with the Reverse Flash. Now, go create a wind wall to sap the wave’s power”
Barry creates the wind wall and goes back in time.
Imagine what he would do with the information Catilyn gave him. If he had found out about Wells before he travelled back in time.
Barry would have investigated and gone after him. Especially if Cisco convinced Barry that Wells was really the Reverse Flash. But Barry doesn’t know – and now Cisco / Catilyn are days away from discovering it. I suspect the writers will enjoy throwing Thawne / Reverse Flash references at us whenever we see Wells for the next few episodes. Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn and Joe will be blissfully unaware while we scream and shout at our TV sets. Beautiful.
We have several weeks until the season finale. I could see them throwing Cisco off the trail for the next few weeks only to have him re-discover the truth in time for the final couple of episodes. Perhaps Thawne attacking Cisco is the fuse that ignites the “fight through time” battle that Barry and Thawne will have? I could buy that.
Where does this leave Barry and Iris?
Barry went back in time but unlike the situation with Wells true identity, he knows that Iris loves him. That will probably be true a few days back as well but Iris has apparently felt this way for a while. Will she admit it to herself? Will she allow herself to admit it to Barry? That is definitely up in the air. As the show is on the CW I’m going to go with “Soon” and “Eventually”.
Due to Barry’s time travel, Iris will also never have learned that Barry is the Flash. Eventually, we get to see that reveal again. If it’s like the comic books it’ll be slightly more….cozy.
So where are we headed?
Time for some more predictions!
Barry will study the pictures from the mirror and “change” how he fights Thawne
We know now that Barry and Thawne will fight. They will travel back to the night Nora was killed and Thawne was stranded in the past. The question is, will it happen the same way again?
We’ve seen Barry look at the pictures from the night Nora Allen died. During that conversation with Joe he says the pictures tell him what not to do. Barry works under the assumption that if he does something different, he’ll save his mother. While that’s possible, it’s likely that saving his mother could lead to his father dying instead or to Thawne keeping his powers or to…any number of things. This screams “Law of unintended consequences” to me. In short, Barry will save Nora. Hilarity will ensue.
Reverse Flash – Murderer
Who is that underneath that Batgirl mask? That’s Iris Allen. The way she dies at the hands of the Reverse Flash looks familiar, doesn’t it? I do not think this is imminent but down the road? Definitely. Why else show Thawne kill Cisco that way?
We will find out that everything Wells/Thawne has done – built STAR Labs, built the particle accelerator and created the anomaly which caused the explosion – is for one reason and one reason only: To create the Flash.
We now know that Thawne is from centuries ahead in time (the 25th century if the lore is a guide). While living in the 25th century, before he ever time travelled, it’s possible that he’d know someone named Harrison Wells created STAR Labs back in 2001. At some point, Thawne’s 25th century technology allows him to mimic The Flash’s powers. Fast forward to now.
Barry and Thawne fight and Barry figures out how to remove Thawne’s powers. Barry travels back to the future leaving Thawne marooned in 2001. Thawne assumes the identity of Harrison Wells. With no immediate way to create time travel he does the only thing he can do: Begin the steps needed to bring the Flash into existence so he can mimic Flash’s powers and time travel again.
Think about it. This is Eobard Thawne, one of the great villains in DC comic history. He’s not the altruistic type. There is no logical reason for a marooned-in-the-past supervillain like Thawne to create STAR Labs EXCEPT to allow him to get what he wants. In this case that is a return trip to the 25th century. In Thawne’s own words, the Flash’s power is the only thing that can help him do it. Bank on it. Everything Thawne has done while using the name Harrison Wells was to create The Flash.
Like the man said, it’s a means to an end.
A side note: I’ve watched the Thawne reveal a dozen times now. I still get chills when I see it. They did an absolutely MASTERFUL job setting it up. Masterful.