Having uncovered undeniable proof that the man they knew as Harrison Wells is The Reverse-Flash, Barry, Caitlin and Cisco must set a trap for their mentor. At the same time, Eddie makes a hard decision regarding his relationship with Iris which will leave Joe and Barry unsettled.
The Flash: Rebirth by Geoff Johns.
Even at this late stage in which we know what a villain he is, Tom Cavangh still manages to make "Harrison Wells" into a likable villain. And the episode's closing monologue is easily his best speech yet.
The scene with Cisco in his lucid dream is shot in a very effective manner, with the fuzzy camera work and music emulating a dream incredibly well. The final effect is very trippy.
The special effects for the sequence in which The Flash extinguishes a fire are top-notch.
The sequence in which Barry chases after the bullets racing towards Wells and Cisco is exciting and well shot.
Cisco notes that the photo of The Flash in the future shows Barry wearing a bright red costume with a white circle behind his lighting bolt insignia. This look corresponds with the original costume Barry Allen wore in the comics as The Flash.
Cisco compares seeing the future newspaper to the movie Back To The Future and the photo of Marty McFly and his siblings that allowed him to monitor his timeline destabilizing.
Caitlin notes that the byline for the story says Iris West-Allen. In the comics, Iris West and Barry Allen did get married, though she took Barry's name.
Gideon is about to describe The Flash as the founder of something before Barry cuts her off. Perhaps she was about to say "The Justice League" - the superhero team which Barry was a founding member of in the comics?
Cisco calls Gideon HAL - a reference to the malevolent AI from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
When asking about the possibility of dying in reality if he dies in his lucid dream, Cisco makes reference to the movies Inception (where dying in a dream normally causes you to wake up) and Dreamscape (where death in a dream causes the death of the physical body).
The glasses for the dream device that Cisco wears resemble the shades worn by the superhero Vibe as part of his costume in the comics.
The glasses that Barry wears resemble those from the classic Captain Cold costume in the comics.
Barry extinguishing a fire by generating a vacuum is a frequent feat that The Flash accomplishes in the comics.
Cisco makes a reference to Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and how Dr. Wells killed him in his dream by attacking his heart.
Cisco suggests they may be living in a causal nexus - a state where everything the affects a phenomenon becomes a factor in creating said phenomenon. In this case, by seeing Barry's future costume, this may cause them to change his costume to match the one in the future.
Gideon describes herself as an interactive artificial consciousness.
Cisco says that if he can get access to Gideon's operating system, he may be able to disable her memory core.
The device Barry, Caitlin and Cisco build allow Cisco to see into his own dreams. Caitlin said she got the idea from an article on lucid dream therapy and the idea that it could be used to treat people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The theory is that people will be able to objectively enter their own dreams and face their fears. She has difficulty in figuring out how the subject will be able to talk while this is occurring.
Caitlin claims the amount of electricity needed to trigger lucid dreaming is probably harmless.
Wells helps complete the communications interface for the device, noting that the middle brain lights up with activity during dreaming while the higher brain remains dormant. With both sections stimulated, it then becomes a matter of finding the right frequency to stimulate the language center, allowing the subject to speak while dreaming. Wells suggests starting with a frequency of 45 hz.
The glasses attached to the dream device emit a low-level delta wave that should assist the subject in sleeping.
As Wells begins his attack in the dream, Cisco's blood pressure jumps to 200 over 147. This is well above the threshold for a hypertensive crisis - i.e. heart attack or stroke.
Barry is able to create a vacuum by rotating his arms at super-speed, generating a wind funnel that blows all of the oxygen out of the room.
Cisco creates a speedster-proof force-field to protect him from Wells as they try to trick him into confessing to Nora Allen's murder.
(after seeing the byline on the future newspaper reads Iris West-Allen)
Barry: Iris West...Allen?
Cisco: (beat) Mazel Tov!
(After Barry agrees to talk to Joe about Eddie's proposing to Iris)
Eddie: Oh, thanks! I appreciate it so much. And so will the future Mrs. Thawne. (excited) Iris Thawne! Sounds pretty good, huh?
Barry: (quietly as Eddie walks off) I have a feeling she's going to want to hyphenate.
Barry: You know, I couldn't have done any of this without you.
Wells: I feel the same way about you.
Barry: You ruined my life! All of our lives!
Caitlin: We stood by you after everything that happened!
Wells: I can see how this might be difficult for you to understand, but trust me. Your lives now are so much better because of what I have done for you.
Joe: You don't have to hide anymore. We know you're not Harrison Wells. Just tell us who you are.
Wells: A confession will get you nowhere. You've seen who I am. You know what I can do.
Barry: You want to kill me? Go ahead. I'm not going to fight you but.. just tell the police what you did. Get my dad out of prison!
Wells: I don't want to kill you, Barry. I need you. And... (chuckles) I also did not anticipate, as difficult as the past 15 years have been for me, how much I would come to love working with you. With all of you. And yet, that does not change what needs to happen.
Barry: Then face me now!
Wells: Oh, we will face each other again. I promise you. Soon. Very. Very soon.
Eddie: You might as well take that mask off. I know it's you, Wells. Or whoever you really are.
Reverse-Flash: Well... allow me to introduce myself. (removing his mask) My name is Eobard. Eobard Thawne.
Eddie: I don't understand. Why do you have my name?
Reverse-Flash: Why? Well, because we're family, Eddie.
Eddie: Funny I haven't seen you at any reunions or weddings.
Reverse-Flash: (laughs) That is funny. And the reason for that is because as far as those guest lists are concerned I haven't been born yet.
Eddie: So that's why you didn't kill me that night at STAR Labs? This whole thing... it's been about me?
Reverse-Flash: Not a chance. You, my friend, are simply my insurance.
(speaking to a comatose Barry Allen)
Wells: You look so young... And I could kill you. Right now. So easy. What I wouldn't have given... all those times before to have you like this. So... helpless. But fate... fate's tricky, isn't it? I come here to destroy you. And then to get home I have to be the one who creates you. (chuckles) I will say... it's been an education. Watching you grow up all these years. Science fairs and soccer games. No hint, no sign, no trace of the man you will be one day. For whom I have nothing but hate. And to be clear... nothing is forgiven. There will be a reckoning. I promise you, Barry Allen, that you will die.
Barry refers to the events of 109 and how The Reverse Flash said they would be fighting for centuries.
The April 25, 2024 newspaper discussing the Crisis in which Barry Allen disappears makes mention of Starling City's Green Arrow, The Atom and Hawkgirl being present for the fight with The Reverse Flash which preceded The Flash disappearing. This reveals that, at some point, Oliver Queen will adopt the name of his comic book counterpart in the DCTVU. Hawkgirl has been confirmed as part of the cast of the so-far unnamed spin-off series that will also feature The Atom.
The newspaper also confirms that Barry and Iris get married in the future, as the article is written by Iris West-Allen.
Gideon confirms that Barry Allen becomes the director of the CCPD CSI Division in the future.
Gideon only knows Harrison Wells as Harrison Wells and does not understand the question when asked who Wells really is.
Gideon further confirms that Wells came to the past to kill Barry Allen and that he killed Nora Allen because he was angry about Barry Allen escaping at some point. Confusingly, Gideon also claims that Wells goal is for Barry Allen to be The Flash
Gideon says she will happily obey any command Barry Allen gives her - including not telling Wells of their discovery of "The Time Vault" - because Barry Allen created her.
Eddie asks Joe for permission to propose to Iris. Joe refuses, because he believes Iris truly loves Barry and she will have a miserable life if she marries the wrong man before realizing that.
Cisco refers to how he and Joe discovered in 113 that Barry is destined to travel back to the night his mother died.
Barry refers to the events of 115 and how he time-traveled back one day as well. He theorizes that Cisco's visions of being killed by Dr. Wells are actually memories of the alternate timeline.
The information Cisco gleans from his lucid dream matches what he learned before his death in 115 - how the energy readings for the Reverse Flash trap don't make sense and how they instead generated a hologram of The Reverse Flash. He hears but does not seem to remember the Reverse Flash's real name - Eobard Thawne.
We see Captain Singh's fiancee Rob for the first time since 115. He is among the people The Flash saves from the fire.
Iris' research into the various odd things in Central City leads her to conclude the particle accelerator explosion at STAR Labs was responsible, that The Flash got his powers from there and that The Burning Man (i.e. Ronnie Raymond) worked there.
Joe West kills Hannibal Bates (a.k.a. Everyman) whom Wells released and convinced to impersonate him in exchange for his freedom.
Wells had surveillance cameras set up watching Cisco and Caitlin's apartments, The West home, Barry's lab and the newspaper Iris worked at among other locations that enabled him to spy on Barry, Joe, Iris, Caitlin and Cisco at all times from The Time Vault.
As Barry, as The Flash, assures Iris that he will rescue Eddie, a blue spark passes between them. This seems to reawaken Iris's memories from the alternate timeline in 115 as she suddenly realizes that Barry is The Flash.
As the episode ends, Wells takes Eddie to his hideout in the sewer. He introduces himself to Eddie as Eobard Thawne. He is confirmed to be from the future and Eddie Thawne's future descendant though we still don't know from how far in the future he's traveled.
In the flashbacks, we see the first meeting between Wells and Joe West, where Wells convinces Joe to let him take Barry to STAR Labs despite Joe having a bad feeling about him.
In the flashbacks, we see Iris talking with a comatose Barry shortly after Eddie Thawne asked her out for the first time. She credits Barry with saving her and her father's relationship in the wake of her mother's death and making them a family again.
In the final scene of the episode, we see Eobard Thawne confessing several things to the comatose Barry - chiefly of how he came back in time to kill The Flash but how returning to his own time requires him to turn Barry Allen into The Flash.
The Bottom Line
A powerful episode that is surprisingly free of the series usual light humor and witty dialogue. Still, the plot is pushed forward though we don't really know any more about Eobard Thawne and his precise motivations than we did last week. We do learn a fair bit about the future of the show, however, and Tom Cavangh turns in his finest villainous monologue yet in the show's final minute.