The Flash star breaks down those 2 shocking deaths and that massive pre-finale twist
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Wednesday's episode of The Flash, "Negative, Part One."
We should have known that everything going wrong on The Flash this season is all Eobard Thawne's fault. It always is!
Yes, Matt Letscher's version of the villain-turned-hero has been nothing but helpful to Barry (Grant Gustin) and Team Flash since falling in love. But it's Tom Cavanagh's version who everyone should have been watching out for — even after he was killed by the Still Force.
This week's penultimate season 8 episode, "Negative, Part One," began with Thawne's brutal death at the hands of Deon (Christian Mabgy), but it ended with his even more gruesome resurrection as the evil Thawne ripped through the good Thawne's face to emerge as the Reverse-Flash once more. And his first order of business as a supervillain back from the dead? Killing Iris (Candice Patton).
Yeah, things aren't looking great for Team Flash heading into next week's season 8 finale. Below, Cavanagh breaks down those deaths and what this massive twist means for the last episode of the season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let's start with talking about the first big twist in the episode: Deon kills Thawne in his prison cell on Lian Yu. Not going to lie, I really thought that was the end for you! When you first read the script for this episode, did you know that after that death scene there was still going to be more for you to do?
TOM CAVANAGH: Going into any character in the multiverse — and I've played a lot of them — I take any kind of death scene as like, "This happens along the character's journey and timeline." There's no finality to it. Which is lovely. You don't want to abuse the fact that we operate a show that has, as devices, the multiverse and timelines. You want these moments to be visceral and good and true, and not just like, "It's cool because we can also do this." The Flash does a solid job of that. Here's a perfect example: In season 1, I play Eobard Thawne, and I stick my hand right through Cisco Ramon's chest — the beloved Cisco Ramon, in many ways the heart and soul of The Flash, one of the OG members, and he's dead. Obviously Carlos Valdes came back to win hearts season after season after season, but that moment feels true and real. That's a perfect timeline moment. When I read something like Thawne's death — or Harry's death or Nash's death — I'm like, "That'll be fun to play along that character's journey." Again, we don't want to abuse it, but this is a tough show to say final means final.
I should know that by now, especially with your characters, but this one really had me fooled.
Good! What's nice is people who know the show a lot better than me, and I imagine you're one of them, I have heard from lots of people of that caliber that they were very surprised by the next moment, the resurrection moment, and it's because it's supported by story. I think the reason that maybe you didn't see it coming is because the writers' room did a great job of supporting it storywise, which makes the resurrection moment all the more visceral and surprising.
What was it like for you bringing Thawne's death scene to life?
Eobard Thawne is really the reason for me to do this show. So no matter what iteration or what emotion, when it's that character, I'm always really grateful to be playing it.
What was your reaction to seeing your desiccated corpse? That was so gruesome.
Maybe to you! To us backstage, it was the fodder for plentiful jokes and selfies and "don't tweet that" kind of moments. Our special effects, props, and our makeup and the people involved, any time they create something like that, they're just so very talented, and they put in these long hours designing it and building it, and then they bring it to set and everyone's like, "Wow!" That was a lot of fun. It wasn't as macabre as you might think.
Did you take a selfie with your corpse?
Oh yeah. [Laughs] I'm not going to tweet [it].
A big question I had as soon as we saw Thawne literally erupt from Eobard's face is whether that's the same Thawne who died earlier in the episode or if this is a new version. Can you shed some light on that?
The best way I can put it is Thawne is always what the show needs, because Barry is such a light. And Barry and Thawne have a hero-villain bond that is kind of unlike any other hero-villain bond that we've seen, because there's an intimacy there and a dependency in many ways, a definition of each of their characters in that bond. Thawne is not Thawne without Barry and without Central City to focus on, and in many ways neither is the Flash. I would not say the same thing for Barry Allen, but neither is the Flash. The best way of answering that question in broad strokes is saying that every dramatic story needs a conflict and they need a dark to put against their light, and Thawne is always more than willing to be that darkness.
How is this Thawne going to be different from what we've seen from you before?
You'll just have to watch. The lovely thing about this is you didn't see that moment coming. We've got some more of that on the way, and I don't want to deprive you of those same emotions for when you see it. But I will say sometimes the actors get maybe more credit than they deserve, because of the forging of the story in the writers' room, and I feel like the writers room did a tremendous job with this particular one, and when you see it you'll know what I'm talking about.
Killing Iris is about as evil as it gets, so does this mean Thawne is once again the big bad moving forward?
It's a funny thing. I know we use that word "big bad" all the time, but ultimately, Greg Berlanti, we were talking very early on, he was using the term "Joker to the Batman," but Eobard Thawne, the Reverse-Flash, he's just always 15 steps ahead. We've had an iteration of that line every season. Because I play him, I'm always reluctant to say anything that could be construed as an accolade to that character, but it's hard to imagine a greater foe than Eobard Thawne for Barry Allen.
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
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