Barry Allen sure is a good guy.
Everything seemed to work out perfectly this week (perhaps too perfectly), even if plans didn’t go quite as expected. Everyone in the cast played ball well this week, including the welcome return of Rick Cosnett as Eddie. The effects team put in great work as well, giving the time wraith that creepy “dementor” feel and navigating all of the time travel well. But not everything was quite perfect on The Flash this week. Let’s break it down:
Barry needs to go faster to defeat Jay/Zoom, so after he gets the idea from talking to Wally (who was MUCH more bearable to watch this week), he decides to travel back in time and get Harrison Wells (aka Eobard Thawne) to teach him how to manipulate the speed force. Team Flash decides to send Barry back to the events of Pied Piper last year, meaning a return to the show for Hartley. Eventually, everyone from the past finds out that Barry is from the future, Thawne gives Barry the secret to manipulate the speed force, they help him get back home to his time, and Hartley turns good and helps defeat the time wraith. Barry even managed to get a sweet video message from Eddie to Iris in the meantime. It was all perfect.
A bit TOO perfect.
It was an extremely fun episode, with action and laughs at every turn in classic Flash style. But things went seriously wrong in Barry’s time traveling plan, and there’s no way everything should have ended up that perfectly. It puts a bad taste in my mouth, frankly. What I hope will happen is that the true repercussions of Barry’s adventure (and mistakes) will become more apparent in the coming weeks. The ending this week is just a false sense of security.
Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes offered up fantastic performances this week. Cavanagh navigated playing two drastically different characters with elegance, and it was a pure joy to see his Wells from season one again. The interaction in the secret room between Wells and a locked-up Barry was fantastic, and showed the growth Barry has gone through since last year. Valdes as Season One Cisco was hilarious as he attempted to figure out which Barry was which. The entire episode navigated that delicate balance of seriousness and hilarity with the ease that The Flash has become known for.
Let’s talk about the villain of the episode: the time wraith. It was a strange addition to the episode, as there was already plenty going on, and while it was visually stunning, the wraith seemed to come out of nowhere. It’s surprising that the time wraith has never come up before, or even been mentioned. It did invoke a level of fear however (not unlike a dementor!). It’s difficult to put a finger on how effective this actually was this week, and perhaps the time would’ve been better spent on establishing more fully other elements of the episode.
Finally – OH MY NERD! That Barry vs. Barry fight scene was excellent. There was a moment when Barry landed on the fire escape, and I was blown away. The Flash has consistently gone above and beyond with special effects on the show, and this week was no exception.
[Quick sidebar: Barry guest starred on Supergirl this week, and it was a great episode. Unfortunately, I don’t watch Supergirl regularly, but I had a lot of fun watching these two characters interact. Is the opening always so similar to The Flash? Or was that special to this episode? And I loved how The Flash theme played whenever Barry did something cool. While I felt he was underutilized in the final battle (and that the villains were “meh” at best, it was a fun little mash-up. I’m still curious when we’ll see how Barry got there specifically, but I can be patient.]
Overall, it was a great episode for The Flash, and it leaves me excited to see where things go. Hopefully things don’t stay this happy or peaceful for long, and that the repercussions of Barry’s mistakes begin to show quickly. But it’s hard to deny that The Flash has found a great rhythm with its actors, effects team, and story telling.
Now onto yet ANOTHER hiatus!
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW