On the D/L – The Flash
Season 1 Episode 15 – “Out of Time”
Yay, The Flash is back after a fairly long break and we’re given something that works on some levels but falls over on others.
We have a nice callback to the first episode with the reveal of a second Weather Wizard. This does feel like part of the overall plan since the original had a brother back in the pilot so it makes sense that he would be given the same powers. He also had a solid character foundation in holding a personal grudge against Joe because he was responsible for the death of his brother. A revenge driven super villain is usually a good place to start so it all seemed very promising here.
The execution left a lot to be desired in many ways. The second Weather Wizard was played really well by Liam McIntyre. He had presence and seemed menacing enough in how driven he was to exact his revenge against Joe but there was nothing to him beyond that revenge. There wasn’t enough done to flesh out this character so he came across as being a little one note. Brilliantly one note I’ll concede but I was hoping for a little more.
Having a personal vendetta gave this episode the potential scope to make it a really tight Barry and Joe story as they work together to bring down a villain that they both have a personal stake in. Too much of the time was spent reminding us of his motivation rather than actually using the time to give us some strong interactions between the characters involved.
At least he brought some really impressive spectacle to the whole thing. His attack on the police station was a great sequence and I like how the writers managed to throw in Weather Wizard’s wand from the comics in a way that made a kind of sense. Even if he never comes to use it as a weapon it’s a cool touch.
The less said about the Barry/Linda/Iris/Eddie love rhombus the better. I’ve never found this plot all that interesting and it seemed to drag the episode down whenever it was featured. Eddie hasn’t been around for a few episodes as well so have his return be coloured by the tired “jealous boyfriend” role is pretty disappointing. His immature behaviour feels off and his rationale for thinking something is different between Iris and Barry seems to pretty much come from nowhere.
It also suffers from the fact that Barry and Linda haven’t been all that well established as a couple. They’ve only had one full episode together before this one and a lot of the same ground was covered. Linda is somewhat jealous of Iris and sees that there’s something more going on between them than anyone is admitting. While this is happening Iris is conflicted over her feelings about Barry and Eddie so just doesn’t know who or what she wants. We also have Barry completely in denial about just how over Iris he is. Nothing about this is working so I’d really like to see it dropped.
Iris declaring her undying love for Barry was so hideously unearned as well. I really don’t see where her apparent feelings have come from and her sudden willingness to cheat on the guy she’s living with makes the character out to be kind of a spoiled bitch. I’ve said before that she has something of a fairy princess complex and expects people to pander to what she wants. Never has that been truer than here. Beyond that it’s really not the time to be doing this given that he dad is in mortal danger. Frustration from all corners where Iris is concerned.
The most interesting aspect of this episode was the development of the enduring mystery that is Harrison Wells. It’s getting to the point where he has made enough mistakes and been sloppy enough that people are starting to question him. Joe has been suspicious for a while and now Cisco is noticing that things are odd about him. This is mostly prompted by the fact that Iris asks Barry if there’s anything weird about him. It all goes back to the murder of Simon Stagg all the way back in the second episode raising a few question marks. Nobody knows that he’s dead apparently but his disappearance is enough to make people wonder. It’s a nice touch to bring back something that seems pretty innocuous at nearly the very beginning of the season and have it spiral into something more important.
It doesn’t take much for Cisco to do some investigating and find out more than he should. Dr. Wells confronts Cisco and tells him everything. It turns out that Wells is Eobard Thorne and comes from the future. His plan to kill Barry the night that Nora Allen was murdered didn’t go the way he wanted and he found himself stranded in the past for the past 15 years. After that his plan alters to making Barry harness the true potential of his powers so that he can harness the speed force and use it to return to his own time. I’m guessing that it’s all so he can try it again but that’s still open to debate at this point.
Naturally this raises a lot of questions. The most obvious being the question of where the real Harrison Wells is. Presumably there would be some sort of record of the guy existing before Eobard assumed the identity especially since he founded a company like S.T.A.R Labs. I wonder if there was a real Harrison Wells who was killed by Eobard Thawne or if there’s something more to that. I dare say we’ll find out but it definitely got my mind spinning.
Another question surrounding the whole notion of Wells/Eobard’s relationship with team Flash also comes up. Throughout the season Wells has definitely shown what seems to be genuine affection for those he works with. There’s even a really genuine father/son style interaction between Wells and Cisco in this very episode. I wonder if it’s all been acting on his part or whether he’s lying about everything being a means to an end. Nothing’s ever simple here and I love it.
I suspect the internet broke when Barry traveled through time here but in all honesty how could it not be predicted? In the last episode there were a couple of longish discussions surrounding time travel theories and the overt statement that Barry has and will travel through time to the night of his mother’s murder.
The early scene in this episode where Barry finds himself running next to himself pretty much told me everything I needed to know about what was to come. It was really obvious from the way the scene was framed. Everything about it was really distinctive right down to a woman yelling for a taxi so since I’ve seen similar things before it wasn’t tough to figure out that this was about to happen.
Having Barry travel through time to the start of the episode pretty much negates everything that happens after it and there was a real sense of knocking everything over towards the end. Firstly we have the death of Cisco at the vibrating hand of Wells/Eobard as Caitlin discovers that Wells doesn’t need to be in a wheelchair. Combine this with Iris finding out Barry’s identity as well as declaring her love for him in practically the same moment and we have a big fat reset button waiting to be pressed.
My prediction is that next week will involve all of the game changing stuff going on in this episode to be undone in some way. We the audience know the true identity of Wells but something tells me that Cisco won’t find out again until much later. Similarly something will play out differently that will prevent Iris from learning the truth as well as undoing the declaration of affection. It may play out differently but that seems to be the way it’s heading. There were simply too many revelations for an episode so far away from the end of the season.
So far they seem to be using time travel in the way that I feared might happen. Having it used as a device to undo major plot revelations is something that never turns out well. Star Trek: Voyager was all too fond of that reset button and Smallville did a similar sort of setup for the 100th episode of that show. I really don’t see any way out of what happened this week. At minimum Cisco will survive for sure since -as far as I know- he’s sticking around for the rest of the season.
I also had an issue with the way it has been built up. Last episode Barry learns of the possibility and this week he actually does it. It would have been far better if Barry ran into the future version of himself and not have that pay off for another couple of episodes. It all feels a little too dramatically neat and it would have been nice to have the whole thing built up more gradually. The writers on this show enjoy a mystery so it’s a shame they didn’t let it be one for a little while longer. I do concede that next week could pretty much prove me wrong here and I’ll happily admit that when reviewing that episode.
An uneven episode that seemed to create some real potential for disappointment in the following episodes.
The second Weather Wizard was a fun villain with a solid motivation that somewhat paled in the execution. He came across as something of a one note angry villain who had nothing more than a grudge against Joe. There was plenty of scope to explore the personal stakes for Barry and Joe in this episode rather than a fairly by the numbers metahuman plot.
Visually the Weather Wizard part of the plot was fantastic with several memorable scenes of him using his powers to wreak havoc in interesting ways. The personal highlight for me was his attack on the police station as that definitely established him as a powerful threat.
The love rhombus between Barry, Linda, Eddie and Iris has pretty much run its course as far as I’m concerned. I’m pretty fed up of the constant dancing around the issue and the artificial lengthening of the time taken to bring the characters together by giving them diversionary love interests before they inevitably realise who they are really supposed to be with. This episode had all the annoyances associated with this sort of story. We get the immature behaviour from Eddie, Linda feeling completely sidelined by Iris as well as Barry’s cluelessness about who he really wants. Throw in the fact that Iris annoyingly doesn’t know what she wants and there’s a recipe for irritation.
Iris declaring her love for Barry was completely unearned as well especially since her Dad was -for all she knows- about to die. Not to mention her willingness to throw away a relationship with a guy she’s living with. It doesn’t cast her in a good light at all.
The revelation of Wells’ true identity as Eobard Thawne adds more layers to the enduring mystery. Knowing who he really is makes things more interesting in the future and knowing a little about what his full plan is makes me wonder what else he’s up to. There surely must be more to it.
I didn’t feel that time travel was particularly well handled here. First of all I feel that it’s a little too soon after Barry learned about it for him to actually do it and it all seemed like an obvious setup to undo all of the game changing revelations that we got in this episode. There’s no way that they will stick through next week since Barry knows almost nothing and aspects of the series will be completely derailed if they’re allowed to stick this soon. I could be wrong and writing a more humble review next week but we shall see.