“Come On! I’m Going To Be Late!”
Welcome back Flash fans!
Wow. That’s how you come back from a month long hiatus! To say that last night’s episode of the Flash, “Out of Time”, a game changer would be a massive understatement. In this single hour of television we caught a glimpse of the future and how bad our hero’s struggle will be. It’s time to get into it folks so as always…
Let’s be honest here, “Out of Time” was a slow burn episode, and for good reason. As we crest closer to the season finale, the ultimate end game is starting to take shape. So let’s take care of the easy stuff first and then jump into the meat of the episode, aka: “the last 10 minutes”.
The geometric prism that has become Barry’s love life was the weakest element last night by far, but that’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining to watch…in a weird reality TV kind of way. The writers have struggled to make Iris someone we can root for, and her sudden about face concerning Barry as soon as he caught the eye of another woman has not been doing her any favors, which is a shame. I really like Candice Patton, but these arcing 180 degree personality shifts are getting old really fast. From a narrative perspective, by making Iris become jealous and catty because she is no longer the center of Barry’s universe makes her look petty and downright shallow, the exact opposite of what we should be feeling. It also makes us feel worse for Eddie and Linda, both very likable characters who don’t deserve the disservice. To make matters worse, by creating this shift in character it will make it even harder to root for Barry and Iris as a couple in the future. It’s one step too far into soap opera land (trademarked CW moment) and right now I really wanna see Eddie punch Barry in the face and Linda slap the hell outta Iris. Maybe multiple times.
Ok, enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.
After the awkward bowling Barry leaves to investigate a murder at the morgue. On his way he sees, what appears to be, an echo of himself. Freaked out, he stops for a moment to look around. Nothing unusual. So he carries on. Which leads us to the reveal of a new Weather Wizard! For those who have read the comic this wasn’t much of a surprise as Clyde Mardon, the Weather Wizard from the pilot, never really held the name. Instead it was his brother, Mark Mardon, who became known as the master of all things meteorological. Story goes that while Clyde was the genius who created the ability to harness the weather, he could never control it. Mark on the other hand had a talent for it and became extremely powerful. We basically have the same thing with their TV counterparts. While Clyde did make a cool tornado, he wasn’t really developed as anything more than a speed bump to get us into the Flash universe. Well, that’s not entirely fair. He was also a crucial piece of Mark’s character, giving him a personal vendetta against Joe and therefore making him already twice as complex as his younger sibling.
Mark on the other hand, while having plenty of dastardly motivations to wreck havoc on Central City also showed a finesse in the powers he shared with his brother. Between creating hail shaped hadouken, to channeling lightning in a variety of ways, Mark has shown that he is a far more dangerous opponent than Clyde. We also have to give props to the writers for working in the Weather Wand from the comics. While it was a weapon against the villain instead of his source of power, it was a nice nod to the source material as well as gave the production staff an excuse to make a really cool look lightsaber.
On the flip side of this equation, Joe is obsessed with catching Mardon and will not stop until he puts Mark in jail. Jessie Martin handled each moment with finesse and even had a chance to show some nice passive detective work when he notices the radio say its a clear beautiful day in Central while he’s driving through a torrential downpour. It was subtle but showed how much Joe pays attention to his surroundings. As soon as something didn’t jibe, he knew. It’s an ongoing trait we’ve seen since the beginning and it’s always satisfying to see characters retain useful traits instead of making poor decisions. Also Jessie Martin. That’s it. He’s just so awesome he needed another shout out.
Which brings us to the heart of this week’s episode: Harrison Wells. Since his introduction, Wells has been one of the most interesting characters because of what we knew about him and more importantly, what we did not. That mystery was brought to a head this week as Cisco began to seriously question the good Doctor’s motivations revealing that everything is not what it seems. In the process it gave us a perfect moment to allow Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh to really step up their game and bring home an amazing performance that had me on the edge of my seat. The entire episode had framed the concept that Cisco and Wells developed a father and son relationship, which became all the more devastating when Cisco discovered that his mentor was The Reverse Flash.
We have to give a huge shout out to the editors of the episode as they masterfully cut back and forth between the Weather Wizard plot and Ciscos discovery and conversation with Harrison Wells. It’s the entire reason I believe we should have really named this episode “Reveals” or perhaps “Revelations” because that’s we had. In a moment of pure showmanship Wells, upon being discovered, comes clean to his protege about his origins. For the first time we hear Wells say his real name: Eobard Thawne. That’s right folks, Eddie is a red herring, at least for the moment. Eobard/Wells reveals that he’s stuck in the past trying to steal Barry’s speed so he can, in a method yet to be revealed, return to the future. Everything to this point has been a lie to make sure he can do exactly that.
This was a huge reveal. Wells is responsible for making the Flash into the hero he is and despite his macabre motivations he seems to, at some level, really care about Team Flash. He wants Barry to be a better brand of hero in order to preserve his own future. It’s a crazy concept that elevates him beyond that of a tyrant bent on world order or a madman wanting to watch the world burn. Eobard/Wells wants to make the Flash a shining beacon that will last into the far future. Unfortunately for Cisco, this means that Barry can’t find out about his motivations. Gigantic props to Carlos Valdes for playing this scene pitch perfect. As the scene develops we see Cisco realize he’s about to die. The sheer terror on his face was chilling and watching Wells execute his surrogate son was heartbreaking. It’s a moment that cause me to audibly gasp.
The end of the episode keeps the pressure going though as Joe is kidnapped by Mardon, forcing Iris and Barry to hunt Joe down. As they get close, Iris breaks down and tells Barry that she can’t stop thinking about him and they kiss. It’s meant to be a huge moment, and for Barry is absolutely earned. For Iris though, it’s yet another 180, but you can’t help but feel like this might be the start of an Iris we can route for. Get to it writers!
Mardon, who sees them at the city’s shore decides that everyone needs to pay for his brother’s death. In a moment of sheer willpower, the Weather Wizard conjures up enough force to create a giant tidal wave to crush Central City under a blanket of water. Barry, unable to find Mardon contacts Caitlin who was woefully underused in this episode, to find out the only way to stop the tidal wave is to create a wall of air by running back and forth as fast as he can and even then, it may not be possible. Without an option to easily escape Iris, he is forced to change right in front of her. While the kiss may not have felt earned, watching Iris’ face as she see’s her best friend/potential love interest turn into the mystery man of her dreams certainly did. I just hope this doesn’t give her yet another reason to flop back on the romantic angle.
The conclusion of the episode gives us a ton to chew on until next week as Barry runs so fast he seems to have broken the time barrier and flung himself back 48 hours to the exact moment when he saw his doppleganger after bowling. It was a nice bookend to the start of the episode as he realizes that he bounced around in time. But what does this all mean? Is Cisco gonna die again? Will this all play out again with slight changes? What will happen? I honestly have no idea. All I know is that the show would be making a huge error if they undo all the work of this episode next week. While it’s clear certain moments will be tweaked *cough* Cisco’s Death *cough*, other moments need to happen such as the kiss and Cisco’s discovery of Wells.
So we have 7 days to figure it out. Until then my friends!