Clearly someone forgot to tell The Flash showrunners tonight’s episode wasn’t the season finale.
The Reverse Flash is outed! A member of Team Flash gets killed! Iris professes her love! Weather Wizard comes for revenge! And what day is it?
Somebody check. Did all that really happen in an hour? Seriously, if that wasn’t the craziest, fanboygasm-inducing mind screw episode of a comic book show ever it has to be 1B. Way too much to get into here.
Time is the pivotal theme of tonight’s episode so it makes sense to start a year ago when everything in Central City was a lot slower save those pesky Mardon brothers — Clyde and Mark. We flashback to the brothers engaging in a shoot-out with Joe and his partner Chyre, resulting in Chyre getting killed and the brothers escaping in a small plane.
Mark has always felt protective of his hothead brother, but they get caught in the particle accelerator explosion, which washes over them and splits their plane in half. While Clyde emerged unscathed and gets killed by Joe in Barry’s first outing as The Flash, Mark’s body was shattered. Now he’s healed and wants revenge courtesy of his own weather control abilities. Mardon learns Joe killed Clyde thanks to the CCPD coroner, who Mardon kills with a hailstorm.
Meanwhile, Linda and Barry are having a bowling date night, but Iris and Eddie are already there. Iris suggests they bowl together, which goes about as well as you’d expect with both Eddie and Linda getting annoyed with Iris’ affectionate displays with Barry. Iris definitely wasn’t acting like Barry was her brother/friend here and thankfully Eddie calls her out on it. En route to the coroner, Barry sees a ghost image of a speedster running alongside him. We’re not really going there yet, are we?
At STAR Labs, Wells is having a rare relaxed moment with Cisco watching movies. Cisco can’t believe Wells hasn’t seen Buster Keaton before and Wells smugly says “Must have been before my time.” Typically, it’s annoying when the audience is so far ahead of the heroes, but Tom Cavanagh does such an outstanding job playing up Wells’ secrets that I’m fine enjoying the ride.
When Barry arrives with news of Mardon, Cisco’s already got a name picked out — “Weather Wizard. Been waiting since Week 1 for that one!” in a nice winking reference to the comic fans questioning why Mark Mardon didn’t debut as Weather Wizard on the pilot. Barry tells Wells he saw another Flash running besides him — one that seemed real and Barry was pretty sure it was him. Wells brushes it off as a speed mirage. You’ll want to remember that for later.
While Mardon is plotting revenge, Joe doesn’t want Eddie and Barry to tell Iris, a mild annoyance since Joe is a cop and Iris seems to have a firm grasp that any time he’s working he could potentially be killed. Joe and Barry head out for lunch and get attacked by Mardon, who unleashes a lighting strike. Barry barely gets them out in a very well staged slow-motion sequence. Beyond the nighttime fights, the show continues to have more of a mini-movie look in regards to the effects than a TV show.
At the newspaper, Mason tips Iris off that Wells was the last one to see Simon Stagg (as well he should be since Wells killed him in ‘Fastest Man Alive‘). Iris is intrigued enough to follow up on the lead, but she apologizes to Linda for crashing their date. Linda calls out Iris for not admitting she has feelings for Barry too.
Iris goes to Barry — to talk about Wells, not her feelings. Since Cisco is considering canceling his membership in the Harrison Wells Fan Club, Barry is by default Wells’ strongest supporter and he tells Iris there’s no way Wells has anything to do with Stagg’s disappearance. He’s bothered enough to tell Cisco and Caitlin about his conversation though.
Cisco gives Joe a wand to sap energy around Mardon. That’s a nice nod to the comic character, who is not a superhuman and needs the wand to control the weather. The conversation with Barry along with Joe’s mistrust is starting to make Cisco question his mentor and he returns to the device he created to snare Reverse Flash. But he needs Caitlin to distract Wells for awhile to do a full inspection.
Mardon continues his quest for revenge and storms (no pun intended) the CCPD. I know we needed Flash to make a heroic entrance and make the save, but why would Joe leave the wand in the lobby instead of on him in case Mardon came looking for him? Mardon lines up another lightning strike, but Singh takes the bolt instead just as Flash arrives and triggers the wand. Mardon retreats, but learning that Singh may be paralyzed, Joe goes after him alone. Thankfully, the writers don’t turn on Eddie completely and he ignores Joe’s orders and goes to help him at the Mardons’ old hangout. It was a trap as Mardon pulls Joe out with a gusty wind.
Eddie rallies his fellow officers to find Joe, but there’s no need for a manhunt as Mardon calls Iris and tells her to come alone to the waterfront or he’ll kill Joe. Barry promises he’ll get Joe back and as they rush out, Linda comes by. This looks really bad for Barry as he’s blowing Linda off to go with Iris. Time to worry about that later … maybe.
Caitlin takes Wells to the coffee shop, but acts so suspicious Wells realizes the gig is up and leaves the wheelchair. Cisco has triggered a video recording of The Reverse Flash acting out the scene when he nearly “killed” Wells, who walks in and applauds Cisco’s ingenuity. Wells says he and Cisco have never properly been introduced and says he is Eobard Thawne (!!!!)
Like the overconfident movie villain, Thawne explains the “fight” with The Reverse Flash was a speed mirage, Eddie is a distant relative, he didn’t intend to kill Nora Allen and Barry tapping into the peak of his speed will allow Thawne to finally return home. So basically everything we thought about Wells was true! Carlos Valdes sells this ultimate betrayal so beautifully you can feel Cisco’s pain as he doesn’t even bother holding back the tears. Thawne says he did value Cisco and considered him a son, but where he’s from, Cisco is long dead. And he vibrates his hand into Cisco’s chest and kills him! WOW. In just one scene the show has completely obliterated our expectations in one heart-wrenching and emotional moment. Who’s going to name the rest of The Rogues now???
The shocks keep on coming though as Barry and Iris head to the waterfront to find Joe and Iris finally admits that she loves Barry too. They kiss and Mardon unleashes a tsunami. The effects this episode have been so top-notch, I’m wondering if CW didn’t kick in a few more bucks to beef them up to movie-level standards. Barry calls STAR and Caitlin says the only way to stop it is to create a vortex. Barry apologizes for telling Iris this way and changes into The Flash. What is HAPPENING with this show and how are they packing so many bombshells and revelations into it?
The Flash starts to run to push back against the tsunami and starts fading. Uh-oh. Barry emerges, not at the waterfront, but back on the same street he was a day before and he slows down just in time to see himself racing off to the coroner. Welcome to the past Barry Allen. Hope you survive the trip.
This was pretty brilliant. We get a tease of Wells’ end game, Iris and Barry getting together and Barry revealing he’s The Flash, but what will emerge in the continuing Flash timeline? I cannot wait for next week!