Flash: “Flash Back” (Season 2, Episode 17)

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WARNING: SPOILERS

Sooo, I want to begin this review by saying that this was an overall solid episode (that I will absolutely find fault with) that is even more tantalizing because The Flash is going on ANOTHER three week hiatus. Seriously, CW, what the heck? Though, I suppose on the heels of both this week’s episode, as well as a guest appearance on a little show called CBS’ Supergirl, the Scarlet Speedster needs a break. So, let’s jump right in!

The beginning of this episode shows Barry blazing through books about speed lightning as he recounts for us that he’s been betrayed twice by men he admired. Cisco and Caitlin come in, with Caitlin announcing that she’s done research, and she’s discovered that Jay/Zoom are having their feet hit the ground for less time than Barry, despite moving their legs at the same speed. Ergo, they go MUCH faster. Realization leads to frustration, and our next scene takes to the West family home for a family dinner. Wally shows up late, but comes over announcing that in his new project he drew inspiration from classic motor/car designers. Barry leaves in a hurry to go back to S.T.A.R. Labs; Wally gave him the idea to travel back in time to speak with Eobard Thawne’s Harrison Wells– the only man who seems to have cracked the equation to the Speed Force and was able to travel faster. Earth-2 Harrison Wells warns Barry that by going back, he could once again irrevocably change things that only Barry would know upon his return (and that Thawne Wells could very well recognize Barry as an imposter). Barry declares the risk worth it, and during his run back in time, a dementor-ghost looking spirit zooms by him, knocking him out of the time line.

And now the real fun begins. Barry is knocked back before he intended to stop, and comes out while his past self is fighting Hartley Rathaway. Barry manages, after a struggle, to tranquilize past Barry and begins to impersonate his past self. To make a long story short, the ghost is actually a Time Wraith: beings who HATE it when the timeline is interfered with by speedsters, which amongst other things tips Thawne Wells off to the fact that Barry is not present Barry. He knocks out our Barry, and interrogates him, with Barry managing to convince him to give up the equation while not revealing the future of what actually happens. The Time Wraith repeatedly attacks, and finally the team (with the help of Hartley) manage to drive it off. We also get a great scene towards the end where past Barry wakes up and confronts future Barry. At the end of it all, Thawne Wells gives Barry the equation, and sends him back, with past Barry helping him avoid the Wraith long enough to get back to present day…where Hartley Rathaway is not a villain, and is the one who figured out how to save Barry. The episode ends with Barry declaring that he’s got the answers he needs to stop Zoom.

This was a great episode, story wise. Tom Cavanaugh’s nuanced performance of the two very different Harrison Wells is always impressive, and really does shine through in this particular episode. It’s the tale of two Wells. Earth-2 Wells is a jerk, and doesn’t interact well with others…but is a decent man and father at heart. Eobard Thawne Wells is by all appearances a “good guy” who is actually quite vile underneath. The interrogation scene between himself and Barry was one of the best pieces of acting this show has given us. That being said, this episode did not follow it’s own premise, which is quite annoying. Earth-2 Wells warned Barry against altering things for fear of dire consequences. Yet Barry repeatedly did that in his trip back in time. So far, the only consequence is that Hartley is now a “good guy”. I suppose we will have to wait and see for a final verdict, and it IS a comic book show, but if you set a premise, you should stick to it! Other than that, this episode was very solid, and I’m excited for the next episode (in three weeks)!

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