Has anyone else wished they could time travel these last 3 weeks? The sudden series break (for the CW to promote iZombie) has been a cruel torture when we all knew what was coming up these next few episodes: the first time travel, more Rogues..... and Mark freaking Hamill! Yet in this unexpected delay, much has happened. A new Flarrow-verse team up show has been announced (not yet named) featuring many characters from both shows including Ray Parker/Atom, Captain Cold & Heat Wave, Martin Stein (it’s safe to assume Ronnie Raymond will follow) and most bizarrely Caity Lotz (Sara lance/Black Canary) whether somehow resurrected or as a new character. We may well see seeds of this spinoff planted in the remaining episodes this season. Especially within the upcoming crossover episode 18 titled “All Star Team Up”. For now though, let’s jump in the Delorean back to the present and focus on this week’s events in Central City. This trailer’s promised “the last 5 minutes will change everything”.... and they weren’t wrong. Warning, you may need a Baymax level hug after watching.
Out of Time – Following the death of his brother Clyde, Mark Mardon is back in Central City looking for revenge on Joe for killing him and sporting much more honed weather control powers. Meanwhile when evidence connecting Harrison Wells to the death of Simon Stagg emerges many of the team start to question if he’s wheelie all he claims to be.
Talk about coming back with a vengeance! Or more specifically Flash Hard with a Vengeance as a nice exchange between Joe and Mark gives a clear Simon Gruber vibe; “yeah Clyde was no saint but he was family” and they'll clearly be hail to pay. In every way this is an upgraded Weather Wizard encounter from the season opener (to which the opening flashback connects extremely well). Liam “I’m Spartacus” McIntyre really nails both the calm and stormy villain moods to give a very well rounded performance. He really sells Mardon as not being an evil person but motivated by hatred and vengeance to do terrible things. Next up, the effects and rendering of the weather powers really impresses. From the slow motion lightning escape to the climactic surfer’s paradise they look stunning and feel a good formidable challenge for The Flash. Unlike several previous encounters the show allows these events to have significant consequences as Captain Singh gets hospitalized and maybe even paralyzed. It’s curious that at the hospital we finally meet Singh’s unnamed finance and it isn’t Hartley/Pied Piper as per the comics. This is a shame but makes considerable sense considering the scene in question. The "To be continued" ending implies we’ll get at least one more welcome episode with McIntyre/Marton, and considering next week is “Rogue Time”, hopefully we’ll see him join Captain Cold’s ranks for a recurring character. Though all of a sudden, the use of “Time” in the title takes on a whole new meaning. Full kudos to the ever dependable Cisco and one of his best naming meta-jokes to date “you’d have to be a Weather Wizard.... ooooh I’ve been waiting since week one to use that”. On a final weather related note you have to give the story full credit for actually feeling relevant in this episode. Though it was the main story it certainly was not the dramatic focus. We have seen the villain of the week element feel the wrong kind of weak in some previous episodes when compared to the secondary element of progressing the season’s big running plots. So it’s really great to see these events still matter following all else that transpires.
The last third of this episode didn’t just deliver the odd bombshell but a full blown blitzkrieg! Some are too spoiler heavy to discuss but those trailer featured are fair game and of course the biggest concerns Harrison Wells revealing himself as having Flash/speed force powers. The episode does a great job of foreshadowing this reveal by linking in both Iris’s STAR Labs investigations and Joe’s past murder suspicions to give the likes of Barry and Cisco enough cause to doubt or at least question their wheelchair bound friend. Continuing from Weather Wizard themes of coming full circle, it’s great to see the show going right back to episode 2 and placing significance on Harrison’s killing of Simon Stagg rather keeping it as a WTF for the sake of it. As Cisco delves back into the Reverse Flash encounter from December, the reveals and explanations of how both Harrison and the Yellow Suit shared a room and conversed are handled very well as Cisco learns things were more theatrical than they appeared. We’re treated to a few final pieces of gorgeous double meaning dialogue before the penny drops as he claims Buster Keaton was “after his time”. Then the final closing encounter and villain “this is my evil plan mwuh ha ha ha” speech is just incredible. Harrison reveals his true comics name confirms his intent, and therefore hinting at the big comic’s storyline the show runners have said they’ll be adapting (Flashpoint looks the current favourite). As soon as the two confront, we’re waiting for that snap rash action that just doesn’t come Harrison teases us and holds the tension as indulges Cisco’s questions.
Then of course, we have time travel! The episode does just enough to explain the how as Barry’s forced to run faster than ever before, but keeps us nicely in the dark about any form of control over it. While many of the big events of the episode ultimately feel like they’re only there to be erased/over and written by Barry’s next Groundhog Day, they’re so much fun we really don’t care. After 14 weeks of going nowhere, it’s great to see something real finally go down between Barry and Iris. Even if it’s just for this moment; it creates an end game we want to reach. The biggest moment and most fatal prompts a full blown Vader “Noooooooo” but from the recent trailers released, we know thesaid departed character is still very much alive in the weeks to come. While all of this is great, the “timey-whimey” danger light is still flashing in the background. The more The Flash sets itself to undo, the greater the risk becomes of depowering future moments of peril and danger. We really don’t want to be thinking every time something bad happens “It's ok, they’ll just go back and change it”. How the conclusion of this episode plays out will be the show’s biggest test to date but we’re all unanimously rocking the pom-poms on the sidelines, cheering it to succeed.
The saddest thing about this episode is how quickly the Linda Park story arc appears to ending. The early double date awkwardness was great to watch, but both she and Eddie appear all too quick to notice the “Barris” bonds as just too unbreakable. While this is a shame because Malese Jow has done such a great job with Linda that we’ll miss having her around, it does shift the looming Barry/Eddie rift up a gear. Barry’s made his move and from the punching clip in the trailer it won’t be long before Eddie finds out (well he is a detective after all).
There’s always pressure on big signposted episodes like this to deliver, but yet again The Flash shows it has the superpowers to deliver them fast and furiously. Suddenly the compass needle of the series is left spinning helplessly while we're anxious, anxious, hanging on to see which direction it will take. Just don’t make us wait another 3 weeks!