Damn, the Reverse Flash really is a great villain, like he really just managed to elevate this episode to be something beyond a normal Flash episode. That is what makes “The Reverse-Flash Returns” into one of the better Flash episodes this season, it chose to focus on the smaller aspects of the characters rather than the grandiose scale of a full on metahuman brawl. The Flash’s best episodes tend to do away with the larger superhero theatrics and instead focus on how those events are actually effecting our characters. Watching Barry fight the reverse is enjoyable enough, but seeing him struggle with the ramifications of his actions manages to elevate the entire affair. Oh, we also got a bunch of big reveals and a fair amount of strong time travel work that set up exactly why certain things that have happened to our characters are meant to happen.
So let’s start off with the excellent, Matt Letscher manages to absolutely own the return of Eobard and make this episode a thousand time better than it could have been. Watching a semi rough around the edges Eobard struggle and fight Barry in his quest to figure out how to best hurt his hero is fascinating. It is such a distinct performance as opposed to Tom Cavanaugh who’s Eobard had nearly all of his admiration for The Flash. Letscher is just now working up the courage to murder Barry’s mother and destroy his hero, and by only just reaching this point we are opened to a whole new realm of character interactions. Eobard only knows that Barry hates him and that he will die at some point which is what makes their “fight” so great. Barry is not the same man we first saw in season one, and there is clearly a point during the fight in which Barry contemplates murdering Eobard. Barry knows all of the horrible things that will come to pass as a result of letting Eobard survive, but deep down he knows things may be better if they put an end to Eobard in the here and now.
Similarly, it was fascinating watching a few of the pieces fall into place as to why Eobard chose specific people in order to infiltrate Barry’s life. Watching him chat with Wells and realize that that is the moment where Eobard chose to take I’m specifically was a beautiful thing. The sheer look of joy on Letscher’s face as he realized what his future held was both astonishing and terrifying to watch. At the same time watching Cisco taunt Eobard about his future and how Eobard was the one to make all of this was absolutely perfect. It explains Eobard’s fascination with Cisco and why he decided to keep him around despite not being Hartley. By seeing all of these tiny steps begins to fall into place it begs the question how much more Eobard will show up since he now has a basic outline for his evil plan.
At the same time you had some not so great material with Patty and Barry, I mean I thought Patty was gone but somehow she managed to stick around one more week and discover that Barry is The Flash. I have a couple of problems with this. A. she is supposed to be really smart how did she not figure this out sooner. B. Barry’s reasoning behind not telling her is pretty stupid considering nearly everyone else knows he is The Flash. I mean they end everything on amicable terms and it seems possible for her to come back, but what did this drama even add to the story. There had to be a better way of splitting these two characters up and somehow managing to make me feel like Patty is not a smart cop. I mean seriously this is the first time Patty thought to ask if Barry had any connection to STAR Labs, despite his best friends being known to work there? I expect better in general.
The biggest reveal of the night however came in the form of Jay Garrick, if that is indeed his real name. So, as Caitlin is looking for a cure for Jay in turns out the best way to go about this is to hunt down his doppleganger. It just so happens that Earth 1 Jay goes by a different name, Hunter Zolomon. You know, Zoom’s real name in the comics. This raises major questions as to whether we can indeed trust Jay or Zolomon as usually when you have a major character’s name you tend to at least be tangentially related to them. Strong money is on betting that one of them is somehow related to Zoom the question is which one and how.
Overall it was a much stronger return than last week.
Final Grade A-
+The Reverse Flash
+Filling in the pieces
+The Jay Reveal
+Cisco controlling his powers
-Barry and Patty material
-I totally thought Wells in the Reverse Flash costume was going to yell “smoke bomb” when he grabbed Cisco
-Most unexpected “Bye Felicia” ever
-Wally showed up and was slightly less of a dick. Progress.