What it says on the box.
Title: “The Reverse-Flash Returns”
Director: Michael A. Allowitz
Writers: Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing
Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Matt Letscher as Eobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot
Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick/The Flash / Hunter Zolomon
Candice Patton as Iris West
Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West
Vanessa A. Williams as Francine West
Amanda Pays as Christina McGee
Morena Baccarin as the Voice of Gideon
Aaron Douglas as Russell Glosson / The Turtle
Patti learns Barry’s secret, Cisco gains a greater understanding of his powers, and the Reverse-Flash returns.
We have the original, unmodified Reverse-Flash here, and Matt Letscher puts his own spin on the evil speedster that works well. We also see the West family coming together in a credible manner.
While the introduction of Hunter Zolomon is likely an important moment for the show, I have some words about how and why he was introduced this week under “Low Points”– even if it is more of reflection.
This episode features a number of problematic moments that might be overlooked, individually: the ease with which Barry’s double-identity could (and would) be discovered, the arbitrary effects of timeline tomfoolery, and Cisco’s out-of-character gloating to the Reverse Flash’s face.
Then there’s the matter of Jay Garrick’s doppelgänger. Garrick certainly could have one but, given the number of changes between the two Earths’ timelines, he wouldn’t necessarily have one. There’s no way, for example, that the two Garricks will lead parallel lives at this point, given their divergent stories, and produce identical descendants. Now, the show may posit that, somehow, no matter what else changes, Garrick has a doppelgänger. If they’re going to posit the principle, it should mean something. Here, the existence of the Earth-One Garrick/Zoloman gets dismissed as useful in a waste-of-time visit to a park that doesn’t need to happen, given that Zoloman’s inability to help is based on reasons Garrick knew and could have easily explained. I realize they probably wanted to introduce Hunter Zolomon, but that introduction could have been handled in a number of ways that made more sense.
The episode has too many wasted opportunities and arbitrary developments.
Originality: 2/6 The basic timey-wimey premise underlying the episode’s main conflict has been done many times before.
Acting: 5/6 The actors get several character moments, which they handle well.
Emotional Response: 4/6 So much could have been done with the Reverse-Flash, and hopefully, will be. However, the ease with which time travel can undo death, plot developments, and so forth, ultimately undercuts emotionally involvement, especially if it can be accessed whenever the plot requires it.
In total, “The Reverse-Flash Returns” receives 30/42