CISCO: What’s going on? What do you see?
FLASH: A dead body.
CISCO: Barry, you’re in a morgue. You’re going to have to be a little more specific than that.
The Flash returns with a two-part episode that may redefine the show.
Or it might not….
Title: “Out of Time”
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
Written by Todd and Aaron Helbing
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Candice Patton as Iris West
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Liam McIntyre as Mark Mardon / Weather Wizard
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Rick Cosnet as Detective Eddie Thawne
Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh
Malese Jow as Linda Park
Roger Howarth as Mason Bridge
Chad Rook as Clyde Mardon
A new Weather Wizard storms into Central City intent on avenging his brother’s death. Cisco learns the truth about the Reverse Flash, a major character dies, another is injured, Central City faces disaster, and Iris and Barry admit their feelings for each other.
Except, of course, the episode ends with time travel.
We’re learning more about Harrison Wells, who remains the show’s most interesting character. While his revelations develop from the source material, we remain uncertain about his full motivations, or his limitations. As a result, he makes a far more compelling villain than the vengeful Weather Wizard.
The ability to travel in time was part of the Silver Age Flash mythos, and it can work. However, it weakens the impact of almost everything that happens in the episode, since it can all un-happen. It also threatens to weaken the impact of future episodes for the same reason.
Originality: 2/6 A decent episode overall, it owes most of its content to the long history of The Flash. A key scene comes most notably from 1975’s Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, though this particular threat and response has been used more than once in comic books.
Acting: 5/6 Carlos Valdes has a lot to handle this week as Cisco Ramon, and he meets the challenge.
Story: 4/6 We have a face-paced story, though its true value will only be known when we see the second half next week.
Emotional Response: 5/6 An emotionally powerful episode, blunted by the final development. Granted, I don’t especially want to see Cisco Ramon stay dead.
Overall: 5/6 The episode handled the superheroics well enough. The romantic complications are fine, in and of themselves, but the developments felt forced. Iris, as written, just comes across as fickle.
In total, “Out of Time” receives 32/42
As soon as they bothered to focus on a random pedestrian doing something trivial but noticeable I figured time travel was imminent. The double Barry noticed and the other big ticket items Cisco being killed, Iris finding out that Barry is the Flash, etc all screamed “reset button alert!”.
I think time travel stories can be interesting but they need to hobble the ability in some major way, which it appears they may be doing next week. It can’t be used too much or too conveniently.
There is a reason multiple Miles O’Briens eloquently stated “I hate temporal mechanics.”
The parts with Iris seemed more a means to and end, in order for Barry to run that fast, he needed something to motivate him, and that seemed to do the trick.
Oh, and I forgot to mention one of the biggest reveals, Harrison Wells’ real name. It was a name we sort of expected to be associated with someone else, not him, eh?
I’m questioning to myself how much of a reset button we get. First of all, Barry doesn’t know Cisco was killed. So, he can’t really do anything about that. Second, he does know Iris has feelings for him, so that doesn’t really change either. And, neither of those characters know the future/past, so they are unlikely to change their reactions.
But it doesn’t necessarily matter what they do or don’t know. Barry will take different actions, which could easily mean that everything will be reset. We just don’t know how yet.
Barry may not know those things now, but if it all happens again, he could go back again and again until things are “right”.
Judging by the preview for next week there are other consequences that might limit what he does in that regard, but one bit in particular appears to negate most of the other things that happened this week.
I think it would be interesting if somehow wells retained his memory between Barry’s time jumps but that might be too tricky.
I’m banking on them not killing their fanboy stand-in. Not this soon, anyway.
Thanks for the fix. Is there a decent primer on BBCode that would tell me how to do it right next time?
Gah… I fail at spoilering! Don’t read that message if you don’t want them.
I’m curious how they handle this time travel long term. Flashpoint Crisis dealt with Barry saving his mum and that the future him being powerless and ordinary.
I’m with Fez on the “big ticket items” – they screamed “reset!” and as such, a very disappointing episode.