After another month-long break (one that caught me by surprise, sadly), ‘The Flash’ rushes back to air with a new episode that may be its best yet. This one could also be a major game-changer for the series… but probably won’t be, if we’re honest about it.
The “Previously on…” clip before episode ‘Out of Time’ connects us all the way back to the pilot episode, to remind viewers about the very first meta-human that Barry ever fought – bank robber Clyde Mardon. Joe West gunned Clyde down at the end of that episode but, as we find out, his brother Mark is gifted with the same weather control powers and wants revenge. After he nearly kills West with a lightning strike (Barry once again has to outrun lightning), Cisco dubs him “Weather Wizard” and builds a gizmo called the “Wizard’s Wand” that will counteract his powers by neutralizing ions in the air. Or something. Whatever, you get the point.
As he’s racing through town, Barry sees what looks like another Flash running next to him for a moment. Not the yellow Reverse-Flash, mind you, but another red Flash much like himself. Dr. Wells dismisses this as an after-image or “speed mirage” and tells him not to worry about it. Naturally, this means that we should worry about it.
Mardon comes after West again and attacks the police station. His captain saves Joe by taking a bolt of lightning for him. He will survive, but may be paralyzed. (Props to the show writers for revealing that the captain is gay and not making a big deal about it.) Barry races in and uses the Wand to disable Mardon’s power. The villain retreats.
Troubled by things that Joe told him in a previous episode, Cisco develops a lot of doubts about Dr. Wells. He asks Caitlin to keep Wells occupied at the coffee shop for a while so that he can take another look at the containment cell that failed to hold the Reverse-Flash. As he tinkers around with it, he discovers that the Reverse-Flash inside it was a hologram recording the whole time. Unfortunately, Caitlin is not a very convincing liar. Wells realizes that she’s stalling him. As her back is turned, he brazenly speeds away, leaving his wheelchair behind.
West becomes obsessed and wants to take down Mardon on his own so that Barry and Iris won’t be endangered. Nonetheless, partner Eddie tags along as he checks out an old Mardon brothers hideout. From somewhere outside, Mardon creates a tornado that sucks Joe right out the window. He wakes up chained to a boat, his leg broken.
Realizing that the jig is up, Wells walks into the lab and reveals himself to Cisco. He does a Talking Killer bit and admits that he’s the Reverse-Flash. He says that his real name is Eobard Thawne (Cisco immediately makes a connection to Eddie Thawne), and that he’s stuck in our time and needs Barry’s speed to return where he came from. He even demonstrates how he can move so fast that he appears to be in two places at once. He tells Cisco that he’s fond of him and apologizes that it has come to this, then vibrates his hand at super speed and shoves it into Cisco’s chest, explaining, “To me, you’ve been dead for centuries.” Cisco falls to the floor dead!
Mardon takes West’s cell phone and calls Iris to lure her out to them. He plans to kill Joe’s daughter in retaliation for Joe killing his brother, eye for an eye. Barry of course won’t let Iris go alone. They have a heart-to-heart, and Iris admits that she has feelings for Barry. They finally kiss. Just then, Mardon creates a tsunami that heads straight for the city. Barry is left with no choice but to reveal his secret. He speeds off right before her eyes. Iris’ mind is blown.
Barry runs back and forth along the shoreline to create a vortex barrier that will repel the tsunami. (Seems dubious to me, but I’ve stopped looking for accurate science in this show.) He needs to run faster than he ever has before. In fact, he goes so fast that he suddenly finds himself running through the center of town, looking over at himself from earlier. Yes, Barry has actually broken the time barrier. He’s now that second Flash he saw. The episode ends here on a cliffhanger.
This episode answers a lot of big questions about Dr. Wells. We finally know what his motives are. We’d gotten a lot of clues previously that Wells was from the future, but his comment to Cisco also suggests that he’s from much farther ahead than the 2024 newspaper headlines he’s been reading in his secret room. Cisco’s death and Iris learning Barry’s secret would also be momentous developments for the show’s narrative… except that Barry has gone back in time, so he will of course inevitably undo them.
I’m slightly disappointed at how obvious it is that Barry will have to (unknowningly) set things right next week – preventing Cisco’s death, preventing Caitlin from finding out about Wells, and preventing himself from telling Iris his secret. And because Barry himself doesn’t know about Wells and Cisco, Wells will naturally find a way to keep any of those events from him.
Regardless, this was a very exciting episode. I hope we learn a lot more about where Wells is from soon.