First off – The Flash is one of the best superhero series to be put on TV since the first season of Heroes (we won’t talk about the following seasons for obvious reasons). The Flash has done something rare, it is captured the intricate “feel” of the comic book and brought it to a mainstream audience without cheapening itself along the way. It has given us homages to the 1980’s TV series while bringing the Rogues Gallery of villains to the screen. The series of a stunning hit – a fantastic mix of special effects, solid writing, and the hint of bigger things to come.
More importantly, it has given us a larger story arc of the Reverse Flash who has, from the first episode on, been manipulating Barry Allen and his cohorts. The Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) is an uber-villain from the DC universe, the kind of criminal worthy of a hero. Cunning, always two steps ahead of the hero, with the same speed powers as the Flash, he is purely sinister.
As a science fiction (and other genres) writer I tend to pick apart movies and TV differently. I look at them from a story-telling perspective. You have to know something, good writers are often a bit evil. We like planting little seeds in stories that later turn out to be big important things down the road. So while I was mowing the yard I went back in my mind to think, “how could the writer’s be messing with us?”
It hit me like a proverbial (and punny) bolt of lightning. I contend that the writers of The Flash have provided us with an important clue as to the conclusion of the battle with the Reverse Flash that is coming. Moreover, they have done it from the first episode. The only way Barry Allen can beat Eobard Thawne is with the aide of his future self – and we are going to see the future Flash in the finale.
Why do I say this? Here’s the reasoning…
- The news article that has appeared from episode one on, “Flash Missing – Vanishes During Crisis,” an article from the future, is something Thawne is fixated on. So have we as viewers, but for the wrong reason. We were so caught up in Dr. Wells being Reverse Flash we didn’t see how significant this clue is. Why would Thawne, from the future, fixate on this article – where it only talks about the Flash disappearing? Why not look at one about the Flashes funeral, or some other instance? Plain and simple – as revealed this week in the details of the article, Flash and Reverse Flash both disappeared while fighting.
- We know that article changes. In one episode it disappeared – along with all references to the Flash. The fact that it does not update saying “Flash returns!” means that in the future, Thawne and future Barry fight. Both disappear back in time. We know where Thawne went. Future-Flash’s destination is unknown, but he IS out there. We’ve been told that from the beginning.
- We don’t know where the future Flash went. Neither does Thawne. While he went back in time he doesn’t know where his greatest adversary is – the future Flash. We don’t know either. He is watching that article wondering and worrying where his enemy is.
- To be blunt, present-day Barry Allen is no match for Thawne. Even the intricate well-planned trap they built for him in this last week’s episode was, not only evaded by Thawne, but turned against them (Joe killed Everyman as a result.) Even if Barry brings in his allies, (Arrow, Canary, Firestorm) none really are a credible threat to Thawne. Only Barry is, and everything Barry has learned about the speed-force is from his enemy. Thawne has experience on his side, he’s been fighting future Flash for a while. Young Barry can’t hope to beat his adult-versions greatest enemy – not without outside help. Future-Flash could be that tipping point.
- Thawne is waiting for the right moment to unleash his evil plan. He needs Barry’s speed force to get home – we know that. He could have killed Barry at any time. We all assume the tipping point will be when he has his speed-force built up. What if he is awaiting the arrival of his greatest enemy – Future Flash? Or better, he’s fearing that arrival. Or that arrival is part of his evil plan? Hence one of the fixations to the news article.
- This week Cisco pointed out the difference in the Flash’s suit – the white background on the lightning bolt logo. Why would the writers waste precious on-screen lines on that? Because it will be important. Why? Because we as viewers are going to see both Flash’s at some point and they had to plant in our minds that was the difference. Who knows, that logo may play a key role in their battling Reverse Flash (maybe the two Barry’s switch costumes to confuse him – who knows?)
Need a refresher? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAtQC7VG0zM
Future Barry/Flash would be the only person that could convince present Barry to not change his mother’s fate. Remember the show Quantum Leap? Remember the episode when Sam jumped into Lee Harvey Oswald. In the end he didn’t prevent the assassination but Sam learns he did save the life of Mrs. Kennedy – who, in his timeline, was also killed. You could almost picture the same events playing out. “Barry, in my timeline my dad was killed that night. Yeah, he’s in jail for you, but at least he’s alive…” While present-day Barry is fixated on his mother’s death, changing it would change who he is. Only Future Flash can drive that point home to him.
In short, I think the writers have given us the clues from day-one of the series. We have been masterfully misdirected by their cunning into focusing on Dr. Wells/Thawne rather than stepping back and looking at the big picture.
Then again, I could be totally wrong…but I don’t care. The fact that I am thinking about this at this bizarre level of interest is only proof that The Flash is a great TV series. Only three more episodes this season! #TheFlash #Flash