The Reverse-Flash is back and what we see here is his origin story, before he finds out The Flash’s true identity, before everything. And although the episode had a lot going on, it balanced everything out for the most part and didn’t make the comeback of Eobard Thawne a throwaway one.

The Breakdown:

Reverse-Flash: Just when we thought we’d seen the last of him, Eobard Thawne shows up like a thorn in Barry’s back that can’t be removed and won’t heal. I liked the fact that he can just show up at random points in time, even though he technically “died” last season. If this is a setup to Reverse-Flash being the shoreverse-flash 211w’s ultimate bad guy, then I’m all for it. The explanation of how Thawne can even exist by being a “remnant” of the timeline isn’t completely clear (rewatch time), but at least they attempt to explain it at all, and without too much headache (sort of). It’s just a bit of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

We find out more about why Thawne hates Barry, which is largely fueled by his obsession to be him and the realization that he can’t be, so he must be the reverse of everything The Flash represents. Thinking about it, it’s probably one of the more silly reasons behind a villain in the DC universe, but Thawne’s seriousness in always being there to thwart everything Barry values and holds dear is cause for concern. Matt Letscher gets to play Thawne more than he ever got to last season and he knocks it out of the park. His version is so reminiscent of Tom Cavanaugh’s version that changing the face doesn’t change the essence of who he is. Barry’s realization that he has to let his worst enemy go to save Cisco (because capturing the Reverse-Flash means disrupting the timeline) is just another dent in Barry’s armor (and played so well by Grant Gustin), but something he had to do or risk losing his friend. He’s beginning to learn the meaning of loss on a different level.

west allen familyWest Family: Now that Wally is part of the equation in the West Family dynamic, it means Francine’s departure from this Earth is quickly coming. And Wally is still angry with her for not telling him he had a father and a sister, so much so that he hasn’t been tot he hospital to visit her. Iris is able to convince him otherwise, particularly after her last meeting with Francine meant forgiving her for her past transgressions. Candice Patton knocks that scene out of the park and her emotional scenes this season have had just as much of an effect as Jesse L. Martin’s.

Patty’s Exit: I thought we’d said goodbye to Patty Spivot during last week’s episode, but I guess I was wrong. The problem is, I never disliked Patty, but her behavior the last couple of episodes have been completely off and the final act she commits–pretending that there’s a gunman on a train to trick Barry into revealing himself as The Flash–is completely unacceptable and doesn’t fall in line with anything we’ve seen her do before. My argument here is this: Yes, Barry has issues when it comes to relationships and distances himself when he feels burdened or particularly distraught, but the fact is, he doesn’t have to tell Patty that he’s The Flash. It’s not that he doesn’t trust her, but if he dates someone after her, would he have to tell her, too? The whole not telling her to protect her is poppy cock. It’s really to protect himself, and the idea that everyone he loves somehow leave him (which is bizarre, because it’s not true, except in the case of his parents and that’s a completely different story) is more than a little frustrating.

barry patty the flashAlso ridiculous is the fact that Patty, a seemingly strong-willed woman, would continuously plead with Barry to open up to her so she could stay instead of leaving Central City to pursue something she’s always wanted to pursue. After, what, two months or so of dating? It doesn’t sit well with me and it’s better that her exit is on her own terms. He accepts the fact that Patty is someone he has to let go of because of who he is and he seems ok with that, because, ultimately, he has more important things to worry about at this point and this relationship was eating up too much screen time.

Jay and his Doppleganger: “The Flash” dropped a bomb in this episode with the reveal of Jay’s doppleganger on Earth-1 being Hunter Zolomon. For non-comic fans, Zolomon eventually becomes Zoom and is mostly associated with Wally West, but whether or not the show is going anywhere with this little nugget is unclear. It might finally mean that Jay gets to do something other than sulk about not having his speed. Or does he? Perhaps Jay is Zoom on Earth-2? We have yet to find out, but throwing around theories is always fun. It moved the Velocity 6 story line a bit gave Caitlin a bit more to do as well. So we now know that because Jay’s DNA was altered by the speed force, Caitlin can’t use Hunter’s DNA to replace Jay’s old ones and cure him. Bummer.

Lessons Learned: Letting go is hard to do, but sometimes you’ve got to do it anyway.

Other Thoughts: 

  • Cisco and Earth-2 Wells = Gold.
  • “You know this Earth is my Earth-2?” Good point, Harry.
  • Joe’s deer-caught-in-headlights look after Patty puts him on the spot about The Flash was fantastic.
  • We needed more time with Francine and the West Family.
  • Harrison Wells this season is even better than last season. He’s not an outright bad guy, but he’s a good guy doing bad things to get his daughter back. The ambiguity is great, but will probably blow up in his face.
  • Cisco’s little girl scream when Harry scares the hell out of him dressed in the Reverse-Flash costume is made of win.
  • Cisco is becoming VIBE! The glasses were introduced and everything. The way this is developing looks great so far.

The Verdict

70%
70%
Great

"The Reverse-Flash Returns" is well-paced and reintroduces The Reverse-Flash as a possible future and formidable foe, giving us his origin story while moving along the subplots of the show's lead characters.

3.5 star

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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