[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Flash Season 1, Episode 15]
After a few weeks off, The Flash returned with a bang - and an episode packing story twists, bombshells and special effects most at home in a season finale. The showrunners have confirmed that there's plenty more where that came from, but there's little doubt this episode has set characters and villains on a brand new path towards the season finale - and introduced a game-changing new superpower for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).
Those who've seen "Out of Time" will have much to discuss and clarify, and we invite all fans to share their own thoughts and predictions in the comments below.
Comic fans may have been disappointed that the Flash villain who possessed the powers of the classic Rogue 'Weather Wizard' was dealt with so quickly in the pilot episode. Luckily, "Out of Time" brought a version of the Rogue pulled directly from the comics - played by Liam McIntyre - with refined mastery of weather and the elements. Understandably, Mark Mardon - caught in the same disaster, and blessed with the same powers as his brother - holds Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) responsible for Clyde's death.
Thanks to Cisco, the Weather Wizard's signature weapon has also been introduced into the show's fiction; first channeling his powers through a standard magician's wand, updated versions of the Rogue saw him equipped with a... less magical version. In this case, it's a device meant to break the link between Mardon and the ambient electricity of the atmosphere.
The wand works once, but Mardon isn't so easily swayed. Joe is kidnapped and told that vengeance for Mardon isn't limited to just the detective, but his daughter - and every other resident of Central City. Crafting a tsunami forcing Barry to travel faster than he ever thought possible, fans are left wondering whether the tactic worked or not, since Barry's troubles are soon amplified tenfold...
Harrison's Secret is Out
When "The Man in the Yellow Suit" finally brought Reverse-Flash out into the open, we speculated that there may be more behind the events than appeared at first sight. That suspicion was shared with Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), who reconstructed the containment trap set for the Reverse-Flash to find out why he managed to escape - with some startling results. Simply put: the Reverse-Flash was never caught in the trap to begin with.
The Reverse-Flash's presence, his speech, and the entire scene was staged, presumably intended to throw any possible suspicion off of Wells himself (and allow him a chance to acquire the Tachyon device for himself). But no sooner is Cisco's discovery made then Dr. Wells arrives to confirm the real bombshell.
His true name is Eobard Thawne.
Comic fans will be able to connect the dots, as Eobard Thawne is the most famous version of the arch-nemesis in DC Comics history. Wells doesn't stop there, however: he confirms that he hails from centuries in the future (as a descendant of Detective Eddie Thawne), and that he may be responsible for a an Allen murder, but it was Barry who he intended to kill years earlier.
Viewers know what really happened, as it was Nora Allen who lost her life, apparently trapping Eobard ('Harrison') for the intervening years. Hence the false name, knowledge of the future, and desire to push Barry to his limits - explaining that Barry's powers are what he needs to return home.
Intent on keeping his secret safe, Thawne turns to a trusted tactic of homicidal speedsters, vibrating his hand through Cisco's chest, and leaving him for dead.
The showrunners previously revealed that Barry's first experiments with time travel (unintentional or otherwise) would be taking some cues from Groundhog Day, and it didn't take long for the first hints to drop. But fans had little idea of just what Barry's glimpse of another speedster could really mean for the story at hand - leading The Flash to finally break the barrier of time itself.
The sudden revelation that the 'other speedster' was Barry from just over a day later may under-cut some of the show's other shocking moments, since he can now presumably act with some knowledge of the future. Any sci-fi or comic fan will see how the show's fiction may have just been split wide open, but a move like this isn't made spontaneously. Hopefully, that is.
In the midst of so many jaw-dropping twists, the smaller subplots might be overlooked, but are still worth keeping an eye on for upcoming episodes:
- Barry's relationship with Iris is brought back into the forefront, with a terrible double date revealing Iris still has feelings for her adopted brother - leading Eddie Thawne to make his concerns known. Linda Park arrives to discuss the matter with Barry, but Joe's kidnapping sidelines the story for now.
- While investigating the Central City Picture News' interest in Harrison Wells, Barry learns that reporter Mason Bridge has solid digital evidence on the good doctor. Evidence that Wells will no doubt be interested to hear about.
- Captain Singh is hospitalized after Mark Mardon's attack on the CCPD.
- When Barry is forced into action in Iris' presence, he has no choice but to reveal that his superhero identity.
Be sure to share your own thoughts on these twists and reveals, and where you think Harrison Wells, Barry, and those closest to him are headed in the next episodes!
The Flash returns next Tuesday @8pm with "Rogue Time". Check out a preview of the episode below: