After a month of no super hero antics, Flash returns, and pulls out all the stops.
We open with a flashback to the pilot, giving us a different look at the Mardon brothers and what happened with them during the accelerator explosion. Jumping back to the present, we see that Mark Mardon, aka the Weather Wizard, has come back to town, looking to get revenge for the death of his brother, who Joe killed, way back in the first episode, armed with his own weather control powers. He murders the info out of a coroner and starts to hunt down Joe. He makes an attack at the police department, seriously injuring the captain in the process, before Barry is able to drive him away thanks to a handy anti-weather device worked up by Cisco. At the hospital, we briefly meet the captain’s fiance, who seems like a nice enough guy, massive props to Joe and The Flash in general for the line of being his fiance makes him family, props to them for that. The attack and injury of Captain Singh, and the potential threat to his children, forces all rational thought out of Joe’s mind. He orders Barry to stay with Iris and goes off to hunt down Mardon. Eddie meets up with him and the two find Mardon’s hide out, only for Joe to be nabbed by the baddy. Mardon gets a message out to Iris and Barry, intent on killing them to punish Joe, and lures them to the waterfront. He then proceeds to unleash a tidal wave on the city. Barry and Iris admit feelings to each other (more on that later) before Barry is forced to don the Flash outfit in front of Iris and speed off to save the city. Caitlin tells that he can in theory stop the wave by creating a wall of air to suck the energy out of the wave, but while Barry does that, he ends up running so fast he goes back in time, merging with himself from earlier in the episode.
In a subplot, we see Cisco starting to question Wells’ intents, being convinced by Joe that his friend/mentor is hiding something from him. He does some digging and finds a flaw in the trap they used to try and catch the Reverse Flash, discovering that it was all a trick of Wells’ to throw suspicion off him. Despite Caitlin’s best efforts to distract Wells, he figures out something is up and speeds off to confront him. In a truly heartbreaking scene, Wells rams his hand through his chest, killing him.
The final subplot is lightly touched upon, thankfully. Relationship drama! Barry and Linda seem to be doing well, but Iris has apparently realized that now that Barry has a girlfriend, she suddenly wants to be with him. This of course causes some unpleasantness in their relationships, before feelings are admitted and kisses happen.
I honestly had some mixed feelings on this episode at first, before I had the chance to sit down and really think about it. For starters, like I said above, this episode pulls out all the stops. It is revealed the Wells is the Reverse Flash, Cisco dies, all of Central City is at risk, major relationship stuff for Barry, and he travels back in time! This episode plays out exactly like a season finale, with all the reveals, deaths, and time travel, but thankfully its not. I really like that TV has progressed to the point that we can have these huge cliffhanger episodes not be finales, and just standard weekly
episodes. At the same time though, there is something else about it that irks me a bit, hence the aforementioned mixed feelings. This episode took a lot of steps, and a lot or risks, that were basically all immediately undone. Take for instance the biggest part of this episode, Cisco’s death. Now, by no means did I want Cisco dead, he is an amazing character and one of the best parts of the show, and that is what made his death so shocking, it was a total game changer! Cisco was gone, not only did Barry lose his major tech support guy, but one of his best friends, and add in the betrayal of his mentor, and the rest of this season could have taken a very dark and interesting turn for the Scarlet Speedster. But at the same time, this time travel induced reset does bring along plenty of other interesting changes to the season. For starters, can Barry change things, or is the future set in stone? Can his changes make things better, or even worse. Add in the small level of fear about Cisco ultimate fate, and you have an audience that can’t wait to see what comes next week.
Lets talk about Cisco’s death for a moment shall we. Not gonna lie, I almost cried there as Cisco, tears streaming down his faced, stared down his killer. This scene hits you right in the feels, and hits harder than a ball of hale thrown by a super villain. The betrayal and heartbreak on Cisco’s face as he learned the truth is engraved in mind, also factoring in the earlier reveal that he doesn’t get along well with his family, preferring to spend his night watching old movies with Wells instead of going to a family party, as well as Wells comment about considering Cisco the closest thing he has to a son, and you have a truly amazing moment between the two as Wells murders him. Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanaugh played that scene perfectly, the two have always been great together on camera, but this scene was their best yet, by far. I look forward to when those two will have to face each other off again.
Joe was a bit off this episode. His desire to push everyone else out of the case, and lack of the common sense he has been so great about in the past, was odd and a bit out of character for him, but this was a case that strikes close to home for him seeing as it involved the murder of his previous partner, but I felt it was taken a just a bit too far. I can understand his worry with Iris and Barry both being threatened, but at this point Joe is well aware of what Barry is capable off, and what he has done in the past. He should have realized that keeping Barry close on hand to stop this guy would have been the smartest thing he could do. It seems like aspects of his character were ignored or downplayed to maneuver the characters into more dramatic moments. While this isn’t a horrible thing, its still not fun to see, so I hope it is not something that will be done regularly.
The relationship stuff in this episode felt so forced, and frankly uninteresting. I have made no attempt to hide my dislike of Iris, and this episode did nothing to change that. She seems to only be interested in Barry now that he is off the market, even going so far as to say that this great woman he is with isn’t good enough for him. For her, its basically that she didn’t want Barry but at the same time didn’t want him with anyone else, and that is a total bitch thing to do. Now I am not saying Iris is in fact a bitch, or that she does want Barry to be alone, but that is what it seems like here. Their interactions with each other at the bowling alley, and the following actions of their significant others was not interesting to watch, and just dragged the episode down. However, I must admit I am interested to see how Barry is going to deal with the knowledge that Iris does have feelings for him now that he has gone back to before she admitted it, judging by the preview, things are gonna get messy in regards to Eddie.
Overall, this was a great episode and a perfect return to form after the brief hiatus of the series. Amazing things happened, only for them to be undone, only so we can see how they happen in again. There were some flaws of course, nothing is perfect, but damnit it all if this wasn’t one of the best episodes so far this season. I cannot wait to see the fallout of Barry’s brief trip through time.