The Flash, S2 Ep17 – Flash Back

With the revelation that Jay Garrick is actually Zoom, Barry Allen is now even more motivated and desperate to up his speed in order to eventually take Zoom down. “Flash Back” takes a surprising turn as Barry, with the help of Cisco and Caitlin, decides to travel back in time and get help from Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. The Reverse-Flash, back when he was parading around as Harrison Wells. Of course, such a move can potentially cause drastic changes to the timeline, which Earth-2 Harrison Wells warns Barry of beforehand. This doesn’t stop Barry from going on with his plan, thus unleashing something he didn’t think possible.

Barry back in his old threads

Barry back in his old threads

“Flash Back” takes us back to the season one episode “The Sound and the Fury”, which featured Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) as its villain-of-the-week. Surprisingly, Barry, knowing full well what damage he can cause to the timeline, almost immediately changes the outcome of Team Flash’s encounter with Pied Piper, revealing his trick behind his initial escape plan from their S.T.A.R. Labs cell. This is where I began to become a bit annoyed with the episode, as Barry should be a lot smarter than this.

The flaw is soon forgiven as the episode continues and develops into a very fun and compelling installment. After Barry succesfully knocks his past self out with a tranquilizer and assumes the role of his former self, it was interesting seeing Barry have to pretend to be oblivious to who Harrison Wells really is. Although, Thawne, being as brilliant and distrusting as he is (or was… ugh, time travel), seemingly becomes suspicious of Barry.

The addition of what is referred to as a Time Wraith, which resembles a Dementor from the Harry Potter films, is what allows Thawne to figure out what Barry is. Once the truth is out in the open, we get some interesting scenes between Barry and Thawne. What I found most interesting about these scenes is how different Barry behaves towards him now, knowing full well that he beat him in the past. Barry is no longer afraid of him and is able to manipulate Thawne and make him help him up his speed. Of course, in order to not ruin the timeline any further, the rest of Team Flash is not informed that the Barry they’re interacting with is the Barry from the future.

What’s weird about “Flash Back” is it almost completely erases the events of “The Sound and the Fury”. By the end of the episode, Barry must travel back to his time, allowing the Time Wraith to chase him. This gives Cisco and Caitlin, after finding out about future Flash, one year to figure out how to take down the Time Wraith. When Barry returns to his time with the Time Wraith behind him, Cisco’s weapon against it fails, but Pied Piper is there to help with his sonic devices. After the events of “Flash Back” Pied Piper is no longer a villain and is now an ally with Team Flash. I thought this was a cool twist, but Barry should feel lucky he didn’t change much more than that after altering the timeline.

The Flash -- "Flash Back" -- Image: FLA217a_0119b.jpg -- Pictured: Rick Cosnett as Detective Eddie Thawne -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Rick Cosnett returns as Eddie Thawne

One of my favorite aspects of “Flash Back” was the subplot involving Iris West. While Iris has been doing well following the death of Eddie last season, recent events have brought him back into her memory. She is still finding it difficult to move on. In one of the most emotional moments of the season, Barry, while in the past, records a video of Eddie giving a very well-said birthday wish to Iris, professing his love for her. Barry then shows this video to Iris when he returns to the present day. This was a very bittersweet way to conclude the episode and I really appreciated it.

Overall, “Flash Back” was great. The time travel stuff was a little weird and I found myself getting upset with Barry for so blatantly altering the timeline, but his adventure was still very fun, funny, and heartwarming. Although, I know I’ve said this before, I hope The Flash doesn’t continue to use time travel too often in order to ret-con events, fix mistakes, and alter character statuses. Hopefully now that Barry knows of the existence of Time Wraiths, and knows they will be chasing him next time he alters the past, this will discourage him from pulling a stunt like this again.

In next week’s episode Zoom’s true name will be revealed as Hunter Zolomon. So I guess Jay Garrick is someone else. The Flash will go up against him in the upcoming episode appropriately titled “Versus Zoom”. Check out The CW’s official trailer for next week’s episode below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Flash Back” in the comments before.