[SPOILERS for those not caught up on The Flash ahead.]
Season 1 of The Flash seemingly saw the end of Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash. The signature Flash villain was erased from existence when his own ancestor sacrificed his life so that Eobard could never exist. For most of season 1, Thawne was played by Tom Cavanagh, who was pretending to be Harrison Wells. But the real Eobard Thawne was actually played by Matt Letscher (Scandal) before he took over Harrison Well's body. Letscher portrayed the character briefly in season 1, but in last week's episode he reappeared, once again introducing the Reverse-Flash to the show.
Since the initial tease that Reverse-Flash would be returning to the show, fans have wondered how Barry Allen, aka the Flash, would react to his return. After all, Barry (as portrayed by Grant Gustin) has been through a lot recently. How will this added layer of turmoil affect Barry's life, and how is this version of Reverse-Flash different from when we last saw him?
In an interview with The Flash writer and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, TVLine had a lot of great information about how Thawne's return could shake things up a bit. First, he talks about Matt Letscher's portrayal of the character and how this version of Reverse-Flash varies from when we last saw the character.
“You got little glimpses of Matt Letscher last year, but this is his first full-fledged episode. What’s fun about this episode is we’re meeting the Reverse-Flash before the events of last season, so he doesn’t know Cisco, he doesn’t know Caitlin, he doesn’t know this version of Barry, and he hasn’t [traveled back in time and] killed Harrison Wells yet, either. All of that is in the future for him.”
So this is a version of Eobard Thawn that doesn't have all the memories and baggage that Tom Cavanagh's version contained. However, we can probably expect Team Flash to keep all their prejudice for Reverse-Flash. And speaking of Tom Cavanagh, the actor has returned to play Harrison Wells in season 2, but the Earth-2 version instead of the Reverse-Flash from season 1. Kreisberg had a few words on the differences between each version of Harrison Wells.
“Last season, Wells was fundamentally a bad man who’d been put into an impossible situation. This year, he’s a fundamentally good man who’s also been put into an impossible situation. But while there is the similarity of working cross-purposes against the team, it’s all coming from a very different place. He really feels like he’s between a rock and a hard place. I think he’s going to be faced with: Barry or Jesse?”
In short, and as evidenced by last week's episode, things don't look good for Barry Allen and his team. Kreisberg hints that Barry will likely hit an all-time low in future episodes, which will help him discover what it means to be a superhero.
“Barry was determined to sort of say, ‘That’s not true, I am going to be happy.’ And then his dad gets out of prison and decided to go on a walkabout. And then he meets this great girl and the relationship gets ruined. Everything that Wells predicted has sort of come true. Barry will turn his attention back toward Zoom, thinking, ‘If I could just beat Zoom, I’ll finally be happy.' Barry doesn’t realize that he’s the star of a TV show. Oliver [Queen] is used to the never-ending battle against evil, but Barry hasn’t quite gotten his head around that yet!”
It will be interesting to see how all of this story and drama unfold, especially with Eobard Thawne to shake things up. Since the character is one who doesn't yet know Team Flash, perhaps he could work with them against Zoom, or perhaps he will team up with Zoom to take down the Flash. In any case, Barry has a lot on his plate in the coming weeks including new villains and the ultimate confrontation with Zoom.
The Flash airs Tuesdays @8pm on The CW. Arrow airs Wednesdays @8pm on The CW. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays @8pm on The CW.