As the screen went black on last night’s episode of The Flash, most fans probably started checking to make sure this wasn’t actually the season finale. It was that big, and it blew the mythology wide open.
Massive spoilers ahead for The CW’s Flash!
First up, we finally get confirmation that Dr. Harrison Wells really is the comic version of the Reverse-Flash: future scientist Eobard Thawne, who has traveled back in time to duke it out with the Flash. We also get the tear-jerking death of Cisco (Carlos Valdes) at the hand (literally) of Wells, and the long-awaited love connection/Flash reveal between Iris and Barry.
… and then it all disappeared, as Barry ran so fast he tapped into his Speed Force powers and traveled back in time several hours to the beginning of all the craziness. Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told Collider they’ll now be exploring different types of time travel and digging into the consequences of having Eobard Thawne hiding out in our time incognito:
“Like Wells has said in a previous episode, there are different versions of time travel. There’s the fixed loop, and then there’s the version where time is more plastic and mutable. One of the fun things is discovering what’s a fixed point in time, what can’t be changed and what things always have to happen, and then what things are changeable and are mutable. It’s a mixture of both. Obviously, none of us knows how time travel really works, but we’ve come up with our rules and we try to stick by them. Not to pat ourselves on the back, but a lot of what we’re doing now is stuff we set up in the pilot. You can go back and watch the pilot and go, “Oh, I get it! That’s why that stream of things is happening!…
You can take [Wells/Thawne] at his word that there obviously is a family connection between the two of them. There are some great scenes coming up, between Tom and Rick [Cosnett], that starts to become a storyline. It’s cool stuff. We’re not trying to purposely trick the comic book fans. Being one myself, you can get upset when it’s not quite the way it was in the book. But, the show has to live on its own and it has to be for everybody. It can’t just be an adaptation of comic books that people have already read and know so well. Obviously, we’ve thought of this, from the very beginning, and it’s been leading up to this.”
The Reverse-Flash himself, Tom Cavanagh, also had a lot to say about his character now that his real identity (and motivations) are finally out in the open. According to Cavanagh, the decision to introduce the character as Harrison Wells allowed viewers to see him in a different light than the straight-up villain role most fans would’ve expected from the Flash’s archnemesis:
“He’s just a guy trying to get home. I think you can all appreciate that, emotionally. There are many ways to play a guy that is, from the starting point, already that rich and already has this many layers. The decision, by Andrew and the gang, to evolve how we see him and when we’re going to see him and where we’re going to find out more information about the different sides of his character, are always fun to play. For me, personally, playing the character, the starting point has always been that he’s a guy trying to get home. The starting point has always been Eobard Thawne, and then Harrison Wells is layered upon it. What’s good about it is that it’s not exactly duplicitous. There’s an element of that, but he doesn’t lie. He doesn’t lie to them.
He almost never lies. He’s telling the truth. He’s furthering his agenda, but he’s also furthering Barry’s agenda, and those two agendas are simpatico. As he’s working with them, he is appreciative. All that stuff that you see is not a mustache-twirling, villainous starting point. It’s actually genuine. We’re trying to accomplish something, and for the first season, we’re accomplishing it together. As we see in this episode, that makes it a little more heartbreaking when the next phase of the plan starts to happen. I think that’s just good writing. If he was just a dick the whole time, when he kills Cisco, you’d just hate him. But now that we’ve established that they are a group and a team, to watch that fracture, I find it all the more compelling.”
But just because all hell broke loose this week, don’t expect events to follow the exact same track now that the day has been reset. Kreisberg promises that Barry’s memories of the original timeline will lead to some drastic changes in how everything plays out this time around (Cisco lives?!). Basically, it was a way to drop some monster reveals for fans, then do a soft reset to add all that subtext to the proceedings.
What did you think of last night’s Flash? Did you see the Reverse-Flash reveal coming?