The CW’s The Flash returned last night after a month-long hiatus and it was a doozy of an episode. I can’t remember the last time I gasped so much in one hour. My Twitter feed exploded, and with good reason. It wasn’t just one reveal last night, it was several.
Warning: there will be spoilers in this article.
The episode starts normally enough. A new meta-human terrorizes Central City but this one has a history with our heroes. Mark Mardon (Liam McIntyre) (the second Weather Wizard and brother to Clyde Mardon, who Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) shot and killed in the first episode) is back for revenge and targeting Joe.
Events escalate quickly when Mardon shows up at the precinct and Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui) is hit by lightning when he saves Joe. He winds up in the hospital, where we finally get to meet his fiance and find out he may lose the use of his legs.
This is the first real casualty of the show and an indication of the direction of the episode. Mark kidnaps Joe and takes him to the pier, bloodied and looking worse for wear.
Iris (Candice Patton) and Barry (Grant Gustin) race to rescue him and the show then proceeds to throw more curveballs our way. Undoubtedly the adrenaline of the events around them led to that kiss, even though I didn’t expect Iris and Barry to get together so soon.
This relationship began to grow in the first episode but I imagined the writers would draw it out longer. Still, it’s not going to be easy since Iris finds out that Barry is the Flash right after the kiss when he says, “I didn’t want you to find out this way”, before running off to save the day. As Patton revealed at Paleyfest, this secret coming out will feel like a betrayal to Iris so expect a fallout after this.
Meanwhile, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) investigates the night they captured the Reverse Flash. In perhaps the biggest surprise of the night, Harrison (Tom Cavanagh) confronts Cisco at S.T.A.R. Labs – walking. He reveals himself to be the Reverse Flash but that’s not all. When Cisco asks about the night of Nora Allen’s murder, Harrison admits that Barry’s mother was an unfortunate casualty and he was there that night to kill Barry.
You can imagine, on top of everything else, that at this point I was all but screaming at my television.
Harrison reveals his real name as Eobard Thawne who, in the comics, is Professor Zoom and the first Reverse-Flash. Cisco makes the connection to Eddie and Harrison vaguely replies: “Let’s call him a distant relative.”
Ready for some predictions? Harrison/Eobard is from the future and Eddie is his present self which is why the Reverse Flash didn’t harm Eddie when they confronted.
In an episode chock full of big events, scenes, and reveals, the confrontation between Cisco and Harrison stands out above them all. In a fabulous turn by Valdes, Cisco starts crying as he learns the truth about Harrison. He’s angry and shocked and disappointed and betrayed. The knife digs even deeper when Harrison says he was nervous for everyone to find out, but especially Cisco, whom he considers as a son.
Then Harrison, in a twist of events I refused to believe would happen until it did, kills Cisco. I can’t imagine Harrison will be around for Season 2 after this.
But is he really dead? Probably not – at least not if the end of the episode, the preview for next week’s episode, and the fact that we’re going to meet Cisco’s brother is anything to go by.
So how does the episode end and could Cisco live? As Barry runs up and down the beach to create enough wind to stop the tsunami that Mark Mardon is creating, he ends up running so fast he travels back in time.
We already know time travel is an element of the show, but this is the first time we’ve actually seen it happen. Barry realizes what’s happened and then – blackout, end of the episode.
This show works so well because The Flash allows itself to take pride in being a comic book adaptation. It’s very self-aware and colorful. It presents ideas and plots that are absurd but abundant in comics without making fun of them. It doesn’t get everything right (the current love square is duller than anything) but when it does, it’s fun. It does a good job of straddling the line between presenting very real, serious danger while still knowing it’s supposed to be pure enjoyment and heroics.
If this was only episode 15, I can’t wait to see what the rest of Season 1 has in store. That’s something to reflect on itself – this show hasn’t even finished Season 1. Keep running, Flash, I’ll be keeping up for a long time to come.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Share your thoughts in the comments!