SPOILER WARNING FOR THE FOLLOWING REVIEW:This review will contain spoilers for the episode discussed, please make sure to watch the latest episode of The Flash and then check out this recap, unless spoilers are your thing.
The Flash “Flashback” Season 2, Episode 17
When you are dealing with certain age old properties there’s usually a set of particular rules that goes along with them. If you are dealing with vampires, it should come as no surprise that they have an aversion to sunlight (looking at you Twilight…), when you have a pet Mogwai you know you shouldn’t get it wet or feed it after midnight…unless you want hilarious hijinks to arise from creepy little Gremlin monsters. And when traveling back in time you should always remember, at all costs, do not mess with the timeline! But that is exactly what Barry does this week in Flashback as his need for speed to defeat the ever looming presence of Zoom overshadows any forewarnings from Doc Brown.
Barry is still reeling from the revelation of Zoom’s true identity, and feeling somewhat incompetent in his speed department. He needs to access higher levels of speed to defeat his enemy, but it seems he is still lagging at about 30% below the average speeds of Reverse Flash and Zoom. Barry needs a solution fast, and before Zoom strikes again and leaving him with guilt about not being able to stop it. After a family dinner at the West home, Wally gives Barry an idea that Barry hadn’t considered before. Wally is deep into his research on pushing the limits of speed on smaller propulsion engines and is finding reading past journals of the greats in the history of speed like Ferrari and Porsche are providing new insight into his project. Struck by this new notion, Barry has an idea, but it might not be the greatest one.
Barry wants to use his speed force to travel back into time when Eobard Thawne, disguised as Earth 1’s Harrison Wells, was around and deceiving everyone, and somehow get him to share his secrets of the speedforce. Caitlin and Cisco agree to help, but you can feel their reservations about Barry’s new plan. Harrison is quite against it, voicing the concerns of going back in time and the ultimate changes that can occur from the smallest misstep or alteration. He’s grumpy attitude could be influenced by him returning empty handed from his search for Jesse, who decided that she needed to experience life on her own for a bit, away from her father and his ever growing dark side. Barry ultimately decides to ignore Harrison’s objections and continue on with the plan. As he travels through time though, he is come upon by a dead, creepy, dementor from Azkaban looking entity.I liked how it looked like it was wearing a time weathered and deadened Flash suit, as if trying to say this creepy guy was once a speedster, But Barry doesn’t have time to worry too much about it as he lands back in time. And I’m sure that thing won’t be back to cause any further troubles.
While Barry’s plan may be a bit fool-hearted, his traveling back into time allows for some great call backs to the first season, particular a return of old characters. Barry returns to a time when he once battled Hartley Rathaway, the Pied Piper. Past Barry is quick to catch on to the presence of Present Barry and this leads to an awesome Flash vs. Flash fight which results in Present Barry subduing Past Barry and thus being able to infiltrate the timeline like normal and just in time to defeat the Pied Piper a second time. Another character that was great to see make a return was Eddy Thawne, the beloved fiance of Iris who heroically sacrificed himself last season to put an end to Reserve Flash, because he was a blood ancestor to the villainous speedster. I didn’t realize how much I missed him until I saw him again in the episode, and his return allowed for Barry to make a very thoughtful last goodbye message to give to Iris in way of a video recording. It would seem that Barry had successfully supplanted himself into this past timeline but his actions don’t go completely without consequences as the creepy dementor returns, attacking the CCPD station.
Another great character to see make a return in Flashback was our season one baddy Earth 1 Harrison Wells, or more appropriately, Eobard Thawne. It is a great testament to Tom Cavanegh’s acting as he brings such a different character, though both dark, to this Harrison Wells and the Harrison Wells of Earth 2 we have currently on the cast. Barry’s blending in is working pretty well except on Eobard. The sudden appearance of the ghostly spectre, a time wraith, proves that someone has been messing with the timeline, as time wraiths only get pissed when speedsters mess with it. This confirms Eobard’s suspicions and he interrogates Barry. Things don’t look too good for Barry as Eobard 1.) hates his guts, and 2.) if Barry is traveling back in time that means Eobard’s plan to destroy the Flash have failed. Gearing up to kill Barry Eobard only stops when he is informed that Barry has a back up plan. If he is killed Past Barry will find a letter detailing how exactly to defeat Eobard. Realizing his options are limited, he decides to go along with Barry’s plan and help out with this pesky time wraith.
Past Barry wakes up and confronts Present Barry, providing the heaviest laughs of the episode with the doppelganger confusion going on. But any suspicions are put to rest quickly as the past realizes that Present Barry isn’t a threat, and Past Barry is totally thrilled to learn he gets to one day time travel. Eobard gives Barry a drive that doesn’t have the answers to speedforce on it, but it does have all the information for Barry to figure it out himself, he does after all loathe the Flash. As the time wraith closes back in on the team it’s time for Barry to return to his rightful time frame, with assistance from Past Flash, he lures the wraith through the time loop with him and returns back to time, I liked Caitlin asking him if he even went, but the wraith is still coming for Barry. Luckily the Pied Piper comes in with the rescue and saves the day! It looks like if Barry’s little trip through time has changed anything it’s that Hartley is a good guy, and seems to be in a good place in life as he happily goes to dinner with his parents. It was sweet to see Iris try to gain some closure on Eddy by Barry providing the video message, hopefully this means Iris will be more emotionally ready to begin something with either Scott her editor or maybe just let the shippers be happy and get together with Barry.
Barry still needs to decipher the information on the drive Eobard gave him, but Barry is more determined than ever. He will get faster and put an end to Zoom’s wickedness.
Photo credited to CWTV