This week sees Barry revisit his past in the strongest time travel-themed episode yet …
When The Flash pulls out its time travel card, it always makes for an exciting episode, and this one was no exception. In fact, it has got to be the best time travel episode of the lot – it just balanced the humour, the characters and the drama so well.
Revisiting the events of season one could have been a rubbish bit of naval-gazing on the show’s part, but actually it was a masterstroke, as it allowed the writers and the audience to reflect on how much the characters have grown since last year. In particular, having Cisco unknowingly foreshadow his vibing by commenting that everyone thinks he has special powers was a lot of fun.
Drama-wise, the meat of the episode was seeing Barry meet with the Reverse Flash once again. It’s not that the Earth-2 version of Harrison Wells is any less interesting that Season One’s big bad, but the animosity between Barry and his nemesis always made for good TV. Likewise, the Time Wraiths were a fun break from the usual metahuman-of-the-week format – even if they did seem to have wandered over from Doctor Who.
It was also nice to see Eddie back in the show, which lead to a touching final message from the character. The same goes for the twist that Barry’s meddling with time actually had a positive effect – as Pied Piper became an ally to the STAR Labs gang rather than an enemy.
The only blemish on the otherwise brilliant episode is the internal inconsistency over time travel. Back in season one, Barry took his previous self’s place in the timeline when he went back to the past. Here, however, he comes face to face with the younger Flash. Fair enough, this arrangement does make more logical sense, but it now creates an annoying plot hole that is not explained.
Still, if you shut up your inner nitpicker, this was a thoroughly entertaining installment in a season that is reliably on the upwards slide as it reaches for its finale. Like Barry said, sometimes you first need to go back to go forward.