[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Flash Season 1 finale.]
The final episode of The Flash's debut season didn't disappoint, delivering emotional payoffs, cast sacrifices, and a cliffhanger sure to have fans holding their breath until the first look at the show's next season is offered. As further evidence that the show's writers aren't shy about revealing some of the surprises in store, the episode also offered even more glimpses and hints of Barry Allen's future.
But with two regular cast members presumably killed off, a hint at yet another DC Comics speedster, and a villainous look at a S.T.A.R. Labs employee, fans will rightly have some questions. Thankfully, the producers are already offering plenty of answers - even if they may raise as many new questions as they answer. It should be obvious: SPOILERS lie ahead.
The mysteries of parallel timelines and universes set to be explored in season 2 are all well and good, but what about the death that presumably sent Eobard Thawne's future out the window, ending him decades before he was ever born? We speak of course of Detective Eddie Thawne's sacrifice, choosing to take his own life just days after his descendant, the Reverse-Flash informed him that he never amounted to anything.
The death came as a particular surprise, and as showrunner Andrew Kreisberg explains to THR, it wasn't a decision made lightly - and it may not mean Cosnett is gone from the show permanently:
"When we decided to name him Thawne, we hoped the audience would suspect Eddie was the Reverse-Flash because of his last name. We always knew Eddie would be his ancestor, but we weren't quite sure how we would end the season. The way things were moving forward, it felt like it was the best thing to do for his character... It's one of those terrible things. The story sort of tells you what it wants to be and as much as it broke our hearts, we knew this was the way the season needed to end.
"The great thing with our show... is just because you are dead doesn't mean you're not coming back. Especially in the world of The Flash, which involves time travel and real hardcore science fiction, there's always a way for Eddie to return and we hope Rick will."
While showering Cosnett with praise, Kreisberg was sure to clarify that although anything is possible in the realm of The CW's DC Comics universe, Eddie's death should be taken as it appears for the time being. In other words: seeing Thawne's body pulled into the unexplained singularity opening above Central City seems as good an option as any for keeping their options open.
Of course, as is typically the case with The Flash's brand of time travel and changes to history, it may not be wise to look too closely at the details. For instance, if Eddie's death means Eobard never existed - hence his disappearance - then why did all of his prior actions remain in place? That question, like actor Tom Cavanagh turning back into the real Eobard (played by actor Matt Letscher), may be better left unscrutinized for now.
That being said, Kreisberg claims that fans may not have to overlook or altogether ignore too much of their time travel/multiverse science. But even the most basic rules of time travel may be subject to change, since Tom Cavanagh's place in the cast will not be coming to an end:
"Our time travel, hopefully holds together as much as it can. It doesn't completely obliterate all of their memories of Eddie and everything, but it has the desired effect of "harm to Eddie means harm to Tom Cavanagh's character.
"Tom Cavanagh will be back. That is not in question. Tom Cavanagh will continue to be a regular."
The most obvious explanation for Kreisberg's comment is that Cavanagh would reprise his role as Harrison Wells - the real Harrison Wells - who, as fans understood it, was murdered not long after Nora Allen. Thawne's death returning Wells to life is a leap in itself, since there are far more victims of Thawne who should, by that logic, also be resurrected. How much fans would be able to ignore that problem to see Cavanagh play a more lighthearted, fun-loving Wells is up for discussion.
On the other hand, the season finale left Barry leaping headlong into a black hole opening up over Central City - which means expectations are hard to narrow down at present. Could more time travel or parallel timelines be the answer for Cavanagh's return? Only time will tell, but Kreisberg also confirmed that more cast members will also arrive, which may or may not include the famous speedster whose signature hat made a surprise appearance in the episode.
"We are going to introduce a few more speedsters next year and a bunch more villains. How they and those villains come about is part of the surprise of season two. We're really excited... we are so proud of this season of television. It really is a high mark for all of us and we feel a great deal of pressure and anxiety to live up to it, because it's been so well received. As proud and as excited as we are about everything we've done this year, we really are just as proud and excited for all the things we are planning coming up and hopefully people will continue to take this ride with us."
Will you be ready to take the ride, and give the writers the benefit of the doubt that all the twists and character deaths will be honored as they should be going forward? Or are you unsure about some of the cliffhangers and mysteries left unresolved?
Be sure to share your own thoughts on the first season of The Flash, and where you think the cliffhanger leaves Barry, Central City, and The CW's larger universe in the comments.