Heart don’t fail Barry now. Courage don’t desert him now that he’s here (or then). People always say life is full choices, and that’s definitely something Barry’s going to learn on his journey to the past tonight. What are the consequences of messing with the past? Should he alter the past based on his knowledge? Is knowing what happens actually a good thing? These are all questions he’ll face tonight.
Following last week’s episode, tonight’s episode’s most important responsibility should have been explaining the rules of time travel in The Flash. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite do that. Thankfully, scenery chewing masters Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell return as Captain Cold and Heat Wave to bring some fun to an episode that was lacking in it at times.
As is to be expected, Barry is experiencing major déja vù when the episode kicks off and it’s très unsettling. When he arrives at the crime scene in the morgue, he’s able to walk Joe through everything that happened without even examining the body. Later at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry is able to finish everyone’s sentences, which tips Wells off that he’s experiencing “temporal reversion” from traveling back in time.
Barry’s time traveling exploits worry Wells. He’s scared that Barry’s actions have not only altered the immediate, but the future to which he’s trying to return. To protect his future, Wells commands Barry not to tell anyone what happened and to repeat his day exactly as he did already. Wells rushes to his chamber of secrets to check his futuristic newspaper and, at least for now, the future remains unchanged; the Flash still disappears in a crisis.
Surprise, Barry does exactly the opposite. Remembering how much pain Mardon caused Captain Singh and Joe, and not to mention the rest of the city, Barry quickly takes care of Mardon before he has a chance to do any real damage. Obviously, this annoys Wells and he warns Barry that if he doesn’t watch it, he’ll learn what Clark Kent learned in that Smallville episode where Clark travels back in time to save Lana from dying only for his father to die instead. Time doesn’t like being trifled with and if you avert one tragedy in the timeline, it’ll just hit you with an even worse one.
After an unsuccessful attempt to time travel again, Barry runs off to meet Linda for a lunch date—by lunch date, I mean, a mutual and cordial break-up. Both parties realize that Barry’s feelings for Iris far outweigh those he harbors for Linda (also he’s clearly feeling guilty for what he did the first time through this day). So, with Linda’s blessing, Barry’s goes to get his girl and asks her out for coffee to “talk.”
Meanwhile, Caitlin accompanies Cisco to his brother Dante’s birthday party. We spend very little time with the rest of Cisco’s family, but it’s clear his parents dote on Dante more than Cisco. There’s also some tension between the Ramone brothers, and after Dante hits on Caitlin and insults Cisco, Cisco storms off and makes his way to the bar. Cisco believes his day is starting to turn around when a very attractive woman asks to buy him—and not Barry, who meets up with him—a drink and to talk. Sadly, upon returning to the woman’s current residence, Cisco finds out he’s not that lucky. The woman in question is Lisa Snart (played by another Tomorrow People survivor, Peyton List); she is Leonard Snart’s sister, and she was tasked with bringing Cisco right to her big brother and his fire-obsessed friend. (ASIDE: Where were Captain Cold and Heat Wave last week? Were they scared off by the wacky weather?)
In a nice change of pace, Barry’s confidence actually ends up screwing him over. During his coffee date with Iris, he brings up his feelings again and says he knows that Iris feels the same way. Unfortunately for Barry, she shuts him down again and explains how unfair it is for him to keep bringing his feelings up and making her the bad guy for having to say no every time. Like the actual act of time traveling, there were several other factors that provoked Iris’ confession of love last week and all of those are missing right now.
NEXT: A deal is struck
Elsewhere, Snart kidnaps Dante and uses him as leverage to make Cisco rebuild his and Mick’s guns. Lisa demands that Cisco make her a gun that’s pretty and toxic, like she is, and involves gold. So, Cisco, clearly deciding to give his immensely creative mind a rest since he’s hostage, puts very little effort into fulfilling her request and constructs a gun that turns people into gold. We see Lisa’s new hardware in action when she and her brother attack a mob-owned casino. The Flash eventually shows up, but lets them go when Snart reveals he’s kidnapped Cisco.
After Eddie punches him for what he said to Iris, Barry returns to S.T.A.R. Labs and is so sad that Wells finally gives in and lets him talk to him about the future. Wells warns Barry that this new ability is dangerous because imagine if the havoc he could cause if he traveled back decades or centuries (the irony is definitely not lost on Wells). That’s when Barry asks Wells if he should go back in time to save his mother. “I’m saying, how many more people could die if your mother lives?” Wells says doing his best Socrates impression.
Speaking about how time travel will work on The Flash, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said, “There’s the fixed loop and there’s a version where time is more plastic and mutable. One of the fun things is discovering, like Doctor Who, what’s a fixed point in time? What can’t be changed? What things always have to happen? What things are changeable and are mutable? It’s a mixture of both.” Well, it turns out Cisco being heartbroken and having an emotionally intense conversation with Wells in the room with the Reverse Flash’s cage is a fixed point in time.
After Cisco reveals Barry’s identity to save Dante, Snart lets him go. However, this act of betrayal absolutely crushes Cisco, and even Barry’s forgiveness and understanding aren’t enough to snap him out of it. It makes for an interesting contrast with last week’s episode, which saw Cisco at his most confident as he tried to solve the mystery of the containment field. Believing he no longer deserves to be a member of the team, Cisco starts packing his things. In another interesting parallel to last week, instead of destroying Cisco’s heart, Wells puts it back together (metaphorically) when he takes Cisco to the containment room and reminds him that they’ve all made mistakes, but still love each other.
With Cisco back on board, it’s time to handle Snart and company, who are now attacking a truck carrying money because it’s Central City, where you can’t safely transport money from one location to another. Now that Snart knows his identity, Barry tries another approach and whisks Snart away for a private chat in the woods. This time Barry’s confidence actually does him some good and he manages to make a deal with Snart: Snart can continue to steal, but if he kills a single innocent person or comes after Team Flash’s loved ones, Barry will lock him away in the pipeline.
Yes, Cisco made it out of tonight’s episode alive. Sadly, we can’t say the same for Iris’ mentor Mason, who receives a visit from the Reverse Flash. The Reverse Flash puts an end to the “story of this century” by putting an end to Mason. Obviously, Wells thinks he’s in the clear, but it’s quite the opposite because a news report of Mason’s death raises Barry’s suspicions. This suspicious death combined with Wells’ mysteriously in-depth knowledge of time travel (I suspect) and Mason’s investigation leads Barry to conclude that Wells had something to do with his mother’s murder.
Wall of Weird:
- In another Smallville like moment, Caitlin comes up with the ridiculous excuse of “lightning psychosis” to explain Barry’s recent outburst of affection for Iris. It’s stupid, but apparently it’s a good enough explanation for Eddie and Iris.
- Why does this show insist on making Wells so damn likable? Also, how do you think this season will turn out for him? Do you think there’s any way for him to still be a part of the show after they confirm he’s the Reverse Flash and he and Barry go at it again?
- Barry said “Rogues Gallery” during his chat with Snart.
- Is there any point in stealing cash when you have a gold gun?
- “You really were onto the story of the century—this century, anyway,” says Reverse Flash/Wells before killing Mason.
- Shoutout to commenter Samurai Jack for astute observation that Barry time traveling might have had something to do with the confidence he gained after kissing Iris.
- NEXT WEEK: MARK HAMILL, THE GOD, GUEST STARS AS THE TRICKSTER!