TV Review: The Flash - Season 2 Episode 11 "The Reverse-Flash Returns"
EPISODE 11: "The Reverse-Flash Returns"
SYNOPSIS: When Cisco gets a vibe of Eobard Thawne, Barry and the team don't believe it. But, after an attack at Mercury Labs, Christina McGee confirms that the Reverse Flash is back. Meanwhile, Irisand Francine share a nice moment that brings Iris closer to her brother, Wally.
REVIEW: The entire first season of The Flash was devoted to Barry Allen harnessing his new powers while finally defeating the man who killed his mother and caused his father to be imprisoned for over a decade. It was a fitting and emotional end that also cost the life of Eddie Thawne but furthered the series into this year's multiverse story arc. But, like any comic book universe, characters who are dead do not always stay that way and Barry's nemesis is back. Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash, reappears in one of the best explained resurrections on this or any show I have seen in a long time. In what could have been a cheap attempt to bring back a strong villain ends up adding more layers without feeling forced.
When Cisco vibes and sees the return of the Reverse-Flash, Mercury Labs head Dr. Christina McGee is kidnapped and forces Barry and company to face the fact that the yellow menace has returned to Central City. Barry has a hard time dealing with the return of his nemesis, especially since he is also dealing with the news that Patty Spivot is leaving town. Wells explains that because Reverse-Flash is from the future, killing him in the past did not erase his timeline as it would create a paradox. Barry cannot bring himself to reveal to her what his secret is, but he has more pressing business to deal with. Harrison Wells works with Cisco to develop goggles that control his vibe abilities which shows them that Reverse-Flash is about to kill Dr. McGee and propel himself back to the future. Barry and the team have only minutes to stop him which results in Barry destroying the tachyon device and beating Thawne within an inch of his life. But, instead of killing his foe, Barry brings him in to STAR Labs to be imprisoned forever.
Barry does not feel any closure in stopping Reverse-Flash again and confronts Thawne to ask why he hates him so much. Thawne admits he admired The Flash and did everything he could to become like his hero. But, with time travel abilities, he soon learned he was destined to be a villain. Now knowing where The Flash's timeline came from, Thawne has the knowledge he needs to kill Barry. At the same time, Cisco begins to bleed and go into convulsions and starts to fade out of the timeline. Wells theorizes that with Thawne captured, a paradox has been created. The only solution is to send Thawne to the future to save Cisco. Wells also reveals that by setting Thawne free, they are participating in his origin story. Now that he knows who they all are, this is what sets in motion the events that lead to the death of Nora Allen and eventually Barry becoming The Flash.
Barry and Thawne unite their speed as they run around the particle accelerator to build up enough speed to launch Reverse-Flash to the future. Cisco is saved and Barry comes to terms with what he did to save his friend. All of this comes on the heels of the reveal that Turtle was killed in his cell, something Jay assumes was done by Wells. This is quickly dropped as Wells helps the team stop Reverse-Flash and save Cisco which endears him to the team. This also gives Barry enough time to ponder the sacrifices he is willing to make in his life and, after a heart to heart with Joe, he speeds to Patty's train to silently reveal to her that he is in fact The Flash. Patty figured it out herself doing some detective work that pretty much proved that anyone could figure out his secret identity, but it was a nice and fitting farewell to her as a love interest, at least for now.
In other news, Caitlyn tries to find a cure for Jay's progressive disease, which she reveals to Barry. They decide that they have to find the Earth One version of Jay Garrick, but all attempts fail. Eventually, Caitlyn explains to Jay what she has been trying to do and that she cares about him. Jay tells her that he found his doppleganger and invites her to the park to show her. There, they see his twin sitting on a distant park bench. Jay explains they couldn't find him because on this world, his name is Hunter Zolomon. Jay explains away his name change due to the childhood death of his mother but also says his blood wouldn't help as the speed force mutated his genes. This is all neatly tied up, but DC Comics fans will immediately know that Hunter Zolomon is the alter ego of none other than Zoom. Does this mean that Zoom is from Earth One and not Earth Two? Does this mean that Jay Garrick may in fact by Zoom? It is all confusing, but leaves a lot of possibilities for who Zoom could be.
Another subplot involves Francine West taking a turn for the worse. This forces Iris to come to terms with her mother's impending death. Wally West is avoiding his mother's fate but Iris convinces him not to miss a chance to say goodbye to her. It is another solid subplot for the West clan, but this hour was chock full of intensity for Barry. I never though anyone could play Reverse-Flash as well as Tom Cavanaugh did last season, but Matt Letscher does a fine job. Cavanaugh is great as Wells this week but kudos goes to Grant Gustin who continues to play Barry Allen with a maturity of a much older actor. This was another great outing that only deepens the mystery of Zoom while making me question more and more whether we can trust Jay Garrick.
NEXT ON THE FLASH: "Fast Lane" airs February 2nd - Barry teams up with Wells to figure out a way to close the breaches, but they are distracted by a meta-human nicknamedTar Pit who can transform into liquid asphalt. Iris is concerned forWally’s safety after she finds out about his drag racing hobby. When he refuses to stop she makes a bold move that puts her in danger.