In “Out of Time” on The Flash, two episodes ago, a whole lotta jaw dropping things happened. Secrets were revealed and a major, and beloved, character died. Suddenly The Flash had marked itself as the kind of series that isn’t afraid of high stakes, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Lost.
Because I am averse to spoilers, and because I don’t read comic books (beyond Richie Rich), I was left wondering where the series was headed. With such huge changes to the overall story, hadn’t The Flash raced ahead of itself, leaving little to explore in the episodes — hopefully seasons — to come?
I should have trusted Greg Berlanti and his creative team because this week, in “Rogue Time,” the audience exhaled a collective “Whew!” when those changes were reversed. (Get it, reversed? See what I did there?) The Flash found a way to literally back up everything and head in a different, albeit safer, direction. But, wow, for one episode, I was floored.
Let’s spot the differences between “Out of Time” and “Rogue Time” on The Flash.
The biggest and most important difference is that Cisco is NOT dead. In “Out of Time,” Cisco got too suspicious and investigated some stuff that didn’t add up about Dr. Wells. Sure enough, he found out that Dr. Wells is the Reverse Flash. Dr. Wells came upon him in the S.T.A.R. Labs chamber of secrets, walking on his own two feet. Poor Cisco must have been on overload. He found out that Dr. Wells could walk, that he had been lying all along, that he killed Barry’s mother, and that he was from the distant future, all the while in the back of his head thinking, “Game over.” Dr. Wells killed Cisco using his super vibrating hand, just after telling him that Cisco was like a son. Ouch!
In “Rogue Time,” Barry traveled back to the day before when Cisco was alive and well. Sure, he ended up being kidnapped and tortured, but he came out alive. Furthermore, that chamber of secrets scene had a completely different twist. It was like watching something through a fish bowl; Dr. Wells came in and confessed that Cisco was like a son, but in a compassionate and — more importantly — non-stabby way.
Part of me knew that Cisco wasn’t going anywhere; Carlos Valdes, who plays Cisco, is in the opening credits. But part of me thought it was possible that they had planned to kill a main character from the get-go. While Cisco is great for comic relief, and a smart member of the team, and a sweetheart, he’s not central to the show. Really, they could have gotten rid of him without destroying any part of The Flash. But they didn’t! And I’m so glad!
One other thing that got cleared up for fans is why the heck Dr. Wells is the Reverse Flash. Mike Brown, resident comic book expert, said in his very first review that we had seen the alter ego of the Reverse Flash from the start, referring to Eddie Thawne. Eddie is the Reverse Flash in the DC comic books. So we’ve been scratching our heads trying to figure out who Dr. Wells really is. Now we know. He is Eobard Thawne, a distant relative of Eddie’s.
You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’
The second biggest difference between “Out of Time” and “Rogue Time” is how Iris feels about Barry. In “Out of Time,” Barry was dating reporter Linda, which brought out the green-eyed monster in Iris. On top of that, her father got kidnapped, and it looked like Central City was about to enjoy the effects of global warming sooner rather than later. All of those high-adrenaline situations prompted Iris to confess to Barry that she has feelings for him. And then he showed her his… Flash suit!
However, Barry messed with the timeline when he jumped to the past. Because he breaks up with Iris, prevents Joe from getting kidnapped, and keeps the tsunami from even becoming a thing, Iris doesn’t realize she loves Barry. I yelled at the TV when Barry took Iris to Jitters for coffee and started gushing his feelings, “Barry, you fool!” Of course she shut him down! She was still living in a safe world where she has both Eddie and Barry on the hook. I was super excited to see the two of them come together in “Out of Time” (I am not a fan of Eddie), but it makes more sense to keep them apart from a TV-making standpoint. So, no joy for Barry.
Chamber of Secrets
Getting back to Dr. Wells, in “Out of Time,” he was realizing that the walls were closing in on him, so to speak. Mason Bridge, a reporter, was putting together a piece about how Wells killed Simon Stagg. Joe still had suspicions about the role Dr. Wells played in Barry’s mother’s death. And, as we discussed above, Cisco was putting too many pieces together. So Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne got backed into a corner and came out vibrating.
Jump ahead to “Rogue Time,” and Dr. Wells is able to maintain his secret. He visits Mason Bridge at work and, after nabbing all the hard drives and whatnot, shoves the ol’ vibrating hand through a brick wall AND Mason’s chest. (Really, the man should work in construction.) In the futuristic chamber where he talks to Gideon and stores his Reverse Flash suit, he checked the timeline and all is well, meaning The Flash disappears sometime in a few years from now.
The Flash characters are still left in the dark about the true Dr. Wells. How fun is it, however, that we, the audience, know way more than they do? There are still questions, like why he wanted to kill Barry when he was a kid, and why he lost his running/time-jumping ability, and how he’s related to Eddie. But thanks to Barry’s jump back in time, we have many more episodes in which to discover Eobard’s true mission.