It’s been over two months since we’ve seen a spectacular episode of The Flash. Not since “Enter Zoom” have we had an episode that really just flooded my veins with adrenaline and excitement. Well my appetite for another great episode was sated last night by “The Reverse-Flash Returns”. I was right last week that this was the episode I had been waiting for. Episode 2×11 brought one of the best Cisco-centric episodes yet, along with a slightly more satisfying conclusion to the #PattyBarry end than we got last week. With enough Reverse-Flash vs The Flash action-packed goodness in this episode, The Flash is finally back in the fast lane towards becoming another exciting season.
Warning: SPOILERS will follow!
I’ll get this whole #PattyBarry point off my chest first so I can move on to the rest of the episode having said my piece. While my heart is still hurting for what could have been – and was to an extent – the best romance on The Flash, I feel like the writers gave Patty a sendoff worthy of her character. While I was yelling at the screen for Barry to just tell her he’s The Flash because she already knows, or to tell her that he can’t risk his enemies finding out about her, I still thought it was a poetic end for the couple (for now). One of the things I liked about Patty Spivot from the very beginning was that she was a damn good detective. I have been complaining for months about Patty not seeing the signs of Barry being The Flash. The writers rectified this by proving me right and having Patty finally figure it out on her own. She knew she was right and proved it to herself in the end with a fake distress call that sent Barry running to her aid. What was more heartbreaking than last episode is that she gave Barry a chance to just tell her what she already knew and not lie anymore. If he had, they could have fought crime during the day and been together at night. Honestly, tell me a more romantic sounding thing a super-couple can do than that? Maybe I’m just a sap… I loved this relationship. Anyone out there who says Patty was just in the way or a waste of space in the cast are dead wrong. Now that Patty is gone, the show is going to be a much darker and colder place without her consistent brightness and positivity that she brought every episode. Hopefully Patty will be off helping Hawkman, Hawkgirl and The Doom Patrol solve crimes and stop the bad guys in Midway City. RIP #PattyBarry.
The highlight of this episode for me was Cisco and to-a-point his hilarious interactions with Harry. The part where he’s slurping his coffee was one of the best Cisco scenes this whole season. I love that Cisco has fully gotten over that Harry looks like the man who once – kind of – killed him and not just loves teasing him relentlessly. Well… he kind of forgot. Once he vibes that The Reverse-Flash is back, all of his anger towards Eobard Thawne come back into play. It was such a great scene to see Cisco go down into the cell area and confront Thawne himself. The one thing this episode did well was make me want to just sit and reflect on season one having seen how this “Reverse-Flash origin” played out. Cisco saying what he did during his private chat with Thawne made it so that Cisco was probably even hired by Harrison Wells-Thawne and S.T.A.R. Labs in the first place. It’s a time paradox. Thawne-Wells had to have known Cisco had powers throughout the whole first season but did nothing about it. I’m not even sure if he knew how he gave Cisco powers when he died. Probably my favorite part of Cisco’s plotline this episode was the fact that he finally got his glasses which are a key part of him becoming Vibe. I love that both forms of Harrison Wells have had a hand in Cisco’s becoming Vibe. Now that Cisco has his glasses – that he has to name – he will become a really convenient plot device for helping The Flash solving issues that require some insight into the past, present or future. I’m not sure how I really feel about the fact that Cisco only existed in that timeline because Thawne got sent back to the future. The fact that Barry went and changed the fact that Cisco died should mean that Cisco wasn’t impacted by Thawne in any mortal way. So why does Thawne never making it to the future change Cisco’s existence if Thawne being captured wonn’t change Nora or Eddie’s deaths? This was only explained with Thawne’s smug remark that Team Flash didn’t understand how time worked like he does. Either way, I’m glad Cisco’s character is progressing as fast as he is. I think Carlos Valdes needs a huge round of applause for his acting in not just this episode but this season; he adds so much.
While I’ve been complaining about the Jay and Caitlin story this season, it got much better this episode by addressing a lot of my complaints (again). I’ll start with my complaints that Jay had been gone and doing who-knows-what during some of the earlier episodes this season. Well now we know what he was doing and the result was actually the most shocking part of this episode for anyone who knows a bit of “Reverse-Flash-ology” from the comics. Hunter Zolomon people! Jay Garrick’s Earth-Prime counterpart is freaking Hunter Zolomon! When he told Caitlin that I actually yelled “Whaaaaaaat?!?!?! OH SHIT!”. Potential major spoilers for the next few red sentences! For those who want to know why I’m surprised by this, is because Hunter Zolomon becomes the third Reverse-Flash in the comics. How many Reverse-Flash’s do we have so far – including Zoom? Two! Yea I’m excited too! This could point to what season three will bring. Back to my point though. Jay had been tracking down and investigating Hunter Zolomon in order to possibly cure his illness. What we find out is that Jay’s exposure to the heavy water that gave him his powers changed his whole molecular structure and made it so his DNA is too different from Zolomon’s to be effective. Either way, this story-arc certainly got much more interesting. I feel like this season has a ton of speedsters or ex-speedsters just waiting to get their power from Zoom. The only way Jay survives is to somehow get his powers from Zoom, and something tells me that the way they do it won’t just give him part of The Speedforce.
The last plotline involved Iris, Wally and Joe having to confront the very true fact that Francine is about to die. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this point except for that it was pretty touching to see Iris and Joe forgiving Francine completely and letting her pass away knowing they’ll both remember her with love. Wally gained a bit more sympathy from me this episode in the few moments we saw of him. While it was a cliché plotline with the son who’s mad at his mom for dying and leaving him, I really liked that he asked Iris to go with him. The Wally-Iris and Wally-Joe relationship is going to be a big part of the rest of the season and maybe even season three. If this is any indication of where they’re going to head, then things may be looking up. My negative comments last episode not withstanding, Keiynan Lonsdale seems like he’s a good actor for this kind of role. I liked Joe this episode as well as he walked the line between Patty and Barry once again trying to help in their situation. I liked that in the end Joe supported Barry in his (bad) decision to let Patty go and told him that as he becomes the hero that Thawne was inspired by in the future, he’ll have to make many more decisions as hard as that one. I would be pretty disappointed if they didn’t keep having Joe/Barry father/son moments as often as they did in season one just because Wally is in the picture now, but this episode proved that the great father/son moments between the two aren’t going to stop. I do feel like Iris’ character is very much in the background still. While she was important to this episode, I hope once the Francine story is over that Iris finally lands on her own two feet and starts to become a fully fleshed out character that I can care about. Right now, I feel Patty was a stronger character than Iris and Patty was only around for 10 episodes. I’m going to need Iris to become strong and independent in her own character-arc before I’ll want her and Barry to be together again.
The action this episode was really one of the highlights. It was so bad-ass getting to see Barry, who’s grown in not just power but mentally as well, take on a Reverse-Flash who is forced to go back even further in time to defeat The Flash; this Flash is faster than him. The question now is how many times does Thawne visit the 20th century before he finally appears to kill Nora Allen? We could easily see him a few more times before he’s finally done. We also see that whatever evil Harry is up to in order to steal Barry’s speed for Zoom is working. It definitely looked like The Turtles’ cells were absorbing Barry’s in the secret test Harry was running. It’ll be interesting to see how the traitor Harry plotline turns out as well. This was a knock-out of an episode on all fronts. With good humor, exciting action sequences, heart crushing drama and many thought provoking revelations; I couldn’t ask for more. Let’s hope next week’s episode keeps the ball rolling.
If you’re excited for the next episode, check out the promo here:
In my weekly competition between The Flash and Arrow, both shows tied again this week. With the poetic end to #PattyBarry and the return of The Reverse-Flash going up against intense Diggle drama and Felicity becoming a hero in her own right, both shows get a full point. Check out Sarah Belmont’s review of this week’s Arrow in her Arrow Re-Nocked: A.W.O.L. (4×11) article!