The Flash 2.17 “Flash Back”
The Flash’s second episode before another three week break returned to deal with yet another form of time travel and it’s quickly becoming apparent that the time travel episodes of the series are shaping up to be among the best ones. This week we saw Barry decide to travel back in time to decide to learn from not the Harrison Wells of Earth 2, but the Harrison Wells of Earth 1, when he was still controlled by the manipulative Eobard Thawne and was still interested in helping out Flash for his own benefit. It was an interesting twist, but as we know, Barry isn’t the best liar in the world, and things were always going to go wrong. It was just a question of when, not if.
This episode went all Back to the Future on us as it attempted to revisit the effects of the Pied Piper episode. This served as a reminder as to how everything has changed, with the characters’ dynamics all being different now. Barry knew not to mess with the timestream, were he to create a knock-on effect, but he soon ended up coming across a Time Wraith. This felt like an odd idea to introduce Time Wraiths now, especially when Legends of Tomorrow is also in the same universe and has been seemingly dealing with time travel left right and center. There hasn’t been a Time Wraith that’s showed up there yet (although as of writing this I’m yet to watch Thursday’s episode, so that could change), but for the most part it added tension to sending Barry back in time and worked fairly well.
Dr. Wells soon found out about Barry and the interrogation chamber scene really worked as Barry played his own hand revealing that if anything happens to him then he would reveal to his younger self about Thawne’s lies, telling him how to be stopped, and exploiting Wells in his own interests. This was a great acting opportunity for Tom Cavanagh here as he showed just how good he can be in his role as Dr. Wells and how clearly different this Thawne is from the Earth 2 one is. Thawne/Wells is more friendly on the outside and more supportive on the outside, but is hiding a dark secret; however, Earth 2/Wells isn’t hiding a dark secret and doesn’t have the nicest attitude towards Barry.
This meant we got an amusing sequence that saw Barry from the future in the same room as the past Barry, much to Cisco’s confusion, and also allowed Grant Gustin to showcase his own acting roles as he attempted to differentiate between the two characters. Gustin shined here, and Cisco attempted to work out whether the Flash symbol upgrade from red to white had come because Barry had travelled back in time to tell them or he’d actually figured out on his own.
The knock-on effects seemed to work well in the future, changing it in sublimely different ways; with Hartley now more pro-Team Flash than before due to Barry’s help. But at the same time when you mess with time it usually causes a darker future than what would otherwise happen, and it’s no doubt clear that the consequences of his adventure will only be revealed in the episodes to come. It’s just a shame that the series is going on another break before then, because this episode (not to mention the Supergirl crossover) was really good.
Time Wraiths aside, Flash Back allowed for a cool time travel use that also effectively acted as a nice farewell tour for the departed Eddie Thawne, who we lost at the end of Season 1, even if his character didn’t play a large role in the series as expected. This episode was one of the stronger ones in the season so far, and coming after the disappointing Trajectory, I have faith that the show’s sophomore season can end on a high.
Be sure to let me know what you thought of Flash Back in the comments below!