Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The Flash "Out of Time" Review
FULL EPISODE SPOILERS FOLLOW
D-did we just get retconned? In one episode?! This has gotta be the weirdest episode yet. On the one hand you have a group of characters being either really dumb, really bland, or really angsty, while on the other hand there is an amazing mystery being unveiled before us leading to a tragic, very well-done moment.
Part of me doesn't even want to discuss the Weather Wizard and romance subplots at all. I mean, sure, the end of the Weather Wizard subplot is important, but also leaves a humongous question mark hanging over our heads until next week (even then, it doesn't look like it'll be answered).
I've read that the producers think this is their best episode yet. Visually? Yeah, for sure. The effects of the Weather Wizard 2.0, the tsunami, the cool time burst at the end, and the afterimage from Dr. Wells (except...not really Dr. Wells...mwahahaha!) were all pretty cool. It was also great seeing the force-field of anti-Reverse Flash again. So, yes. Visually, this was their best episode.
It was not their best episode by a long shot. I think that the last two episodes were the best of the show, and for "it's so corny it's good," the return episode featuring Heat Wave and Captain Cold was fantastic for how much cheese those two stuffed into their roles.
I just thought this episode fell flat on so many notes. Outside of looking cool, Weather Wizard 2.0 was a cut and paste villain out for revenge. He was so hoaky he tried to scare Joe with a roll of tape. *gasp* The bane of the police force! The subplot about the police captain being injured was both out of nowhere and, given what happened at the end of the episode, completely pointless (though, I suppose everything but the ending was pointless...whoops).
I also thought several characters were not themselves this episode. Eddie suddenly growing cold toward Iris was very strange. Usually he's a level-headed guy, and when he thought Barry was creeping into their lives, he talked to her about it. Here, he was nothing more than an angsty teenager. Him and Linda! "I'm mad at them so I'm not going to talk to them because I'm mad at them because they don't love me." Eddie might not be my favorite character, but at least he's a smart one sometimes. I mean, he's a detective. You don't just magically become a detective. Same for Linda, she's a very respected reporter in Central City!
Heck, that Mason guy was smarter than these two this episode! The heck!
Barry was his usual Barry self but had quite a few odd lines of dialogue. "He's in a wheelchair...how could he have done that?" regarding Wells possibly killing Stagg.
Joe was also out of character in a very irrational way. Never once did he think about using S.T.A.R. Labs as a place to stay until they figured out a way to beat Weather Wizard 2.0 and kept going after him on his own. No. Why would you do that when you know the freaking Flash?
I take back my Barry remark. In a bit of complete stupidity, Barry does indeed nullify Weather Wizard 2.0's powers and does not chase after him, despite him running at a normal pace. Are you kidding? You can run fast enough to make a tornado go away, you can run on water, but you won't chase after him? Sure, tending to the Police Captain is a priority, but it's a quick, "Is he okay?" "Don't worry about him, get Martin!" to grabbing him, knocking him out with a punch to the face, and throwing him in the pipeline. Bam.
Boring subplot over. Then we could focus on what was really interesting about the episode.
I disliked the Weather Wizard stuff that I contemplated just skipping over it. It was clear from the beginning that it would have nothing to do on advancing the main plot of the show and for the most part, it was right. Until, again, the ending. Where Barry revealed who he was (except not really) and was able to travel through time (really). The reveal to Iris was also underwhelming, but I guess that's to be expected, since it's not the reveal, now that we're operating in a different timeline...that has two Barry's but we'll get to that.
Though, now Barry knows Iris really loves him. So, good job Barry. It's like he planned it.
Alright, now let's talk about what would have made this episode the best if it weren't bogged down by a majority of filler. The fact that Caitlin didn't get the coffee to go. COME ON CAIT.
Nah, just kidding. It was a very well-done investigation on Cisco's part and was played up big-time in the promos, and boy did it pay off. While Barry never found out (like it matters), there was a very scary element to it all. Sure, we knew that when Caitlin turns around, Wells wasn't going to be there...out of context. There was a great sense of frustration brewing from Wells about what might be happening at S.T.A.R. Labs that really boiled up to his calm, calculated reveal back at the place.
And in fact, we got all of the answers. He is not Harrison Wells. He is indeed the Reverse Flash. There was only one Reverse Flash. It is not Eddie who is the man in yellow.
Harrison Wells is indeed Eobard Thawne.
SON OF A
That's fantastic. That is an incredible way to reveal it. I'm sure we all considered it, but the creators did such a great job of putting Eobard out of our minds and focusing on Eddie that this reveal does indeed come out of nowhere. And makes sense given the clues we have.
Thawne calls Eddie a "distant relative." Now, it could mean he's a son or a grandson, but, I thought about Pokemon. When you trade up from one generation to another, it's often labelled as being from "a distant land," or basically another realm. Here, I get the feeling that Eobard is from another realm of time, meaning that there is another universe in which Eddie either changes his name or has a son later on and that person becomes Eobard. It also feeds that moment of fascination Eobard has when he confronts Eddie. Now, we can see that he spares him probably out of compassion or admiration, rather than familial purposes, though I'm not entirely ruling that out.
The afterimage is a bit of a stretch. For him to be able to move back and forth at that speed while also changing clothes is a stretch. Unless, like the old days of the Flash, the clothes pop out of the Speed Force ring, then I'm willing to buy it. I've always loved the concept of the afterimage, though. I don't know why the creators try t convince us that's what happened when Barry from the beginning of the episode ran by Barry from the end of the episode, because that's clearly not what happened at all.
Barry runs so fast that he goes back a significant amount of time, about two days. I mean, considering he's only ever done it once, it's a significant amount. He runs past himself, but then stops himself short, while earlier on he also stopped running. Which raises the question:
Are there not two Barry's in this timeline? Unless the creators are mixing up what an afterimage really is and what this form of time-travel is? I'm giving them the major benefit of the doubt and saying they know what an afterimage is, so, uh...where's the other Barry?
This begins to play on what theory of time-travel they are using, in which case, it has to be linear, or the "Terminator" theory, in which case time flows and we can bounce around it to change it all we want. That explains the single Barry, and the fact that everything from that point no longer counts because Barry has interrupted the time-space continuum (silly Barry!).
If it were multiverse, which it has to be considering how we have seen now three instances of time-travel, then there would be two Barry's standing right next to each other, having both stopped their run and seen each other. But, from what we see, there is only one Barry. How...what...why...?
Don't get me wrong, I'm freaking hyped now. Think about what this will mean for Barry's character. He has failed again, more than likely. I doubt he was able to stop tsunami, meaning there is a universe in which, more than likely, Central City got wiped out by the tsunami. Even if it did, it would mean there is a universe in which the Reveres Flash now sits at the top with his best buddy Gorilla Grodd.
Or I'm totally wrong and we're just going to go the simple route and say, "Barry time-travelled Episode 15 never happened yay Mark Hamill as the Trickster in a couple weeks!"
The show moving forward also means that the audience is aware of Thawne, Iris, and potential angst Eddie may have toward Barry and Iris. You know, I once mocked that this would turn Eddie into the Reverse Flash or helping him. Mocked. I'm really, really hoping that this subplot falls flat on its face. I'd be happier for that than seeing Eddie become a villain because Barry and Iris hook up. Oh, I would be SO mad :-)
I've rambled long enough.
This episode of the CW's The Flash was...confused. On the one hand, it was full of ridiculous characters (Eddie/ Linda), moments (Barry can't run after WW 2.0 but can save Joe from a lightning bolt, seriously?), and character moments ("He's in a wheelchair...how could he have done that?") but was saved by the amazing reveal of Wells as Eobard Thawne, the tragic moment that was Cisco's momentary death, and the new confusing hot mess that is our first glimpse of time-travel. Will Barry run back to his original timeline? I don't even know what theory of time we are using, so, who really knows!
Next week, THE CHEESE RETURNS!
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