After a few weeks of focussing on Firestorm and character development, this latest offering of The Flash returns to the tried and tested ‘villain of the week’ formula, with Weather Wizard back… ish. Whilst the show’s pilot episode featured Clyde Mardon (Chad Rock) under the same villainous moniker, this time it’s brother Mark (Liam McIntyre) who is the Weather Wizard and after revenge for his sibling’s death. Of course, the man responsible for putting a bullet through Clyde Mardon is Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin).
Elsewhere there’s an unplanned double date when Barry (Grant Gustin) and Linda (Malese Jow) end up sharing a bowling lane with Eddie (Rick Cosnett) and Iris (Candice Patton), and this serves to make it clear that there is still clearly some sort of chemistry between Barry and Iris. It’s also good to see Eddie get a decent chunk of screen time for the first time in what seems like an age, and much needed it is, especially with his potential role going forward. Again though, the character of Iris often comes across as irritating to the audience as where she makes appearances tends to be far too convenient for the most part.
Much like the villain of the week appearance hark barks to the show’s earlier moments, so do certain other facets of Out of Time, such as the death of Simon Stagg (William Sadler) being brought back into play. And then there’s the reappearance of Reverse-Flash. On that front, Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is starting to get the feeling that something isn’t quite right about Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and it appears that there was something a little off about when the Man in the Yellow Suit infiltrated S.T.A.R. Labs in the mid-season finale. But things get even worse for Cisco when Reverse-Flash actually turns up on the scene at just the moment that Wells vanishes from his wheelchair during a half-arsed distraction by Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). And then we get it, the big one, the letting of the cat out of the bag as Harrison Wells reveals to Cisco:
a) He is the Reverse-Flash.
b) As many have speculated, he is Eobard Thawne – a distant relative of Eddie’s from the future.
c) He’s been stuck in this timeline for 15 years and needs Barry’s speed to return “home”.
d) And yes, he did indeed kill Nora Allen, although that was unintentional – he actually meant to kill Barry!
Yeesh! Talk about a bombshell. A recent video promo for the remainder of Season 1 teased huge things for The Flash as a show, and now it’s gone and played one of its trump cards already. How the reveal was done was utterly brilliant, too, with Wells’ explanation to Cisco feeling like the unveiling of a Bond villain’s master plan. Then there’s the genuine emotion involved in the scene as Wells/Thawne explains how he cares for Cisco and views him as almost a son… before he promptly kills him.
Whilst this is all going on at S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry goes with Iris to try and rescue Joe from the clutches of Weather Wizard. It’s here that we get some further revelations, this time involving this particular pair as Iris finally reveals here love for Barry and the two kiss. If this wasn’t enough, he’s then left with no choice but to undergo a quick change on the spot and become The Flash in order to try and hold back a tsunami that is threating Central City. So yes, another cat out of the bag: Iris West now knows that Barry Allen is indeed The Flash.
The thing is, as the Scarlet Speedster is trying to up his speed in order to prevent this attack on Central City, he goes so fast that he actually travels back in time, tying into an earlier moment where Barry thought that he saw his double running alongside him. As such, with the “present” Barry now back at the start of the episode, that essentially means that the show could reset what we’ve already seen unravel here in Out of Time. Captain Singh (Patrick Sabongui) may not get injured during a Weather Wizard attack, Harrison Wells may not reveal his plan to Cisco, Cisco may not die, and Barry may not let Iris in on the fact that he is the Sultan of Speed. In fact, it seems more likely that Barry will use his knowledge to take Weather Wizard down before he can kidnap Joe or torment Central City, meaning many of the above won’t come to be - it smells just a tad of Smallville’s 100th episode debacle, where Reckoning saw Lana Lang die before it was erased from happening and instead Jonathan Kent would bite the bullet.
Out of Time is arguably the best episode of The Flash to date. The fact that so much of it may be undone will likely rub some up the wrong way, but it’s good to take those moments as just teases of what could possibly be ahead. We now know Harrison Wells’ true agenda, so let’s see how things play out from here. And despite all of the big-hitting moments, there was also a lot of subtlety at play with the writing, such as little things like how the mood would slowly change when Weather Wizard was on the horizon. In fairness, the Mark Mardon version of the villain was far better than Clyde Mardon, and Liam McIntyre brings a nice edginess to the character. Then there's the usual stellar work from the likes of Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanagh, with Carlos Valdes another who shines this week.
Either way, The Flash scored big with this outing. What’s more exciting is there’s still eight more episodes left to see if the season can top what we’ve seen unravel in Out of Time, and there’s the intrigue of just which parts of what we saw tonight will still come to be. Considering what was revealed here, it throws up the question of what could top this. You'd have to think a few lowkey episodes may be up next before things really start to amp up again as we head towards the season finale.
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