A Look Back on The Flash Season 2 Episode 11: The Reverse Flash Returns

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Eobard Thawne: I’ve learned what time period you’re from, Flash. And one day soon, I’ll learn your name.

Beware: Spoilers may follow.

When it comes to superheroes sometimes 43 minutes isn’t enough to tell the full story. Superhero shows like this one have multiple characters and multiple conflicts and cramming all of that can be tough. This is one of those episodes. It has a wide range of stories that don’t fully connect. But to the episode’s credit it does have some great, dramatic, and fleshed out moments.

The story is that Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) of Earth 2, in trying to trigger Cisco Ramon’s (Carlos Valdes) vibe powers, leads to Cisco having a vision of the return of the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher). An attack on Mercury Labs later confirms that he has indeed returned (it turns out he is a timeline remnant predating the death of Barry’s mother protected by the speed force to keep the timeline intact). With the help of Cisco’s powers Barry (Grant Gustin) manages to subdue and imprison Eobard before he kills Mercury Labs’ head Dr. Tina McGee (Amanda Pays). Meanwhile Iris (Candice Patton) prepares to say goodbye to her mother Francine (Vanessa Williams) and Patty Spivot, (Shantel VanSaten), as she prepares to leave Central City for college to become a CSI, discovers Barry’s secret identity.

The highlights of this episode lie in the moments with Thawne. This episode is where his origin story, leading up to the events of the first season begins. Letscher not only establishes the rage and insanity the character has (which would often carry through in future episodes) but also the fascination with those he would be involved with in the previous season. The conversations he has with Cisco and Harry are incredibly intense and Letscher’s expressions of bewilderment and fascination with these two are incredible. It makes you truly believe that these people made an impression on Thawne and ties in perfectly to his actions involving them in season 1. One of the other moments was his interaction with Barry. The way Thawne talks to Barry you can sense the sadness in his voice of how he could never be the Flash, the anger he has towards his foe, and at the same time the inner fanboy in him of talking to the man he once idolized. There’s a great and sad irony in the way all these characters seal their fates.

The bond between Harry and Cisco is one that not only develops in this episode but one that would continue to develop over the next couple of season (cementing him as my personal favorite Wells). Despite the constant bickering between the two, when Cisco starts to fade Wells goes into a massive panic showing that he does have some care for Cisco. This is furthered when he addresses him for once as Cisco whereas all other times (in this season specifically as in later seasons he addresses Cisco as Ramon as a term of affection) he addresses him as Ramon.

Barry’s realization that he has no choice but to send Thawne home ultimately solidifies the latter as Barry’s greatest nemesis. The two can try and try to overcome one another but it will always come at a price.

Barry and Patty’s romance meets a devastating end in this episode. Patty’s reaction discovering that Barry’s the Flash is played great. She doesn’t get angry at him for hiding it. If anything she shows to be quite understanding of why Barry hid this information from her. This makes it extremely devastating when Barry ultimately refuses to admit to it leading to her having a tearful breakdown.

Iris’ goodbye to her mother was yet another well acted moment in this episode. Many people of the Flash fanbase hate Iris now but this is one of her best moments. Despite the fact that the two never knew each other it doesn’t change the fact that Iris is still devastated to see her go and even more saddened by the fact that her mother and Wally couldn’t be a part of the happy moments in her life. Seeing Iris tell her mother that she is not angry with her is one of the more heartwarming moments in it all.

This episode’s main problem is that it has too much going on with it. It has no clear area of focus. But when it has to convey the deep moments in its storyline it succeeds. It ended two plotlines but also marked the beginning of the end for the third. And true to the episode’s title it was very entertaining to see the Reverse Flash return.

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