Last night’s episode of The Flash made a few changes to season one’s timeline while still leaving a lot of events intact. It also helped the story move forward in a major way while showing the effects of time travel in different ways. We learn that there are more speedsters than Barry had imagined, we learned that Time Wraiths exist along with their purpose, and we’re treated to a familiar face as Eddie is finally able to give Iris a proper goodbye. So despite not having an official villain in the episode, it provided answers, along with new questions, that will have huge consequences for the rest of season two moving forward.
Frustrated with himself over not being able to see how Jay was using him, Barry decides to travel back in time to use Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne from season one to improve his speed. After Wells figures out that Barry is from the future, they form an uneasy, but necessary, alliance in order to stop the Time Wraith and send Barry back to his timeline with the information he needs. During the chaos, the Pied Piper’s timeline is changed. Now working with Team Flash in the future, he helps the team finally get rid of the Time Wraith. The episode ends with Barry having the information he needs to become faster, and Hartley Rathaway/Pied Piper officially being part of the team.
What I liked
For an episode that should be considered a filler, it actually has a few ramifications for the main storyline. Like its protagonist, the show never stands still. It’s constantly moving forward even when dealing with an episode that has nothing to do with the main story arc. It expanded the world of The Flash with the introduction of Time Wraiths, and set up the idea of more speedsters in the future. It also added Hartley to the team, which I’m sure will have ramifications as well from a changed timeline point of view. Also, the return of Eddie and his message to Iris will finally allow her to move forward with her life. The idea of Barry using the knowledge he obtained from one of his greatest villains in order to stop another archenemy is brilliant. The Flash shows that it is not afraid to drastically change things up on the fly. It’s a constantly moving and evolving show that has limitless potential. And this season has excelled in showing off it’s innovation when it comes to storytelling.
What I disliked
There isn’t much to dislike about this episode aside from some lingering questions. And considering that those questions will most likely be answered soon, they take nothing away from the episode. The biggest question is how does Hartley’s new involvement with the team changes things as far as the timeline is concerned? It was stated that the Reverse Flash storyline concluded the same, but how did Hartley’s alliance with Team Flash affect the resolve? Surely, he didn’t just sit on the sidelines as everything played out exactly like it would have without his involvement. One person added to the team’s timeline, especially someone as gifted as Hartley, changes it drastically. What happened in season one now that Hartley is a part of the team?
There is also the problem that the team was introduced to time travel extremely early. How does that affect them in early season one leading in to where they are currently in season two? There are a lot of questions dealing with the huge, and bold, change this episode added to the show. And unfortunately, we will have to wait for answers.
This episode of The Flash could have easily phoned it in and just remained an introduction to Time Wraiths. Barry could have traveled back in time and got the information he needed without ever being discovered. Instead, the show changed everything moving forward in one episode that, judging by the previews for it, didn’t seem like it would amount to nothing more than The Flash taking on another creature/villain. And for that, The Flash continues to deliver the type of writing and character development that has made it one of the best superhero shows currently on television.