In Review: The Flash, Episode 34 “The Reverse-Flash Returns”

Great action and drama, featuring the return of "the" Flash nemesis.

The Flash, Episode 34 “The Reverse-Flash Returns” Broadcast on January 26, 2016

Written by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing

Directed by Michael A. Allowitz

“Previously on The Flash,” Eobard Thawne kills Barry’s mother in the past, but the Flash and his friends erase him from existence. However, due to time travel, Thawne has arrived in the present, after he was killed. Patty is leaving to attend CSI school in Midway City. Wally West appears at father Joe’s door and brings some attitude. He’s also breaking the law while competing in illegal street racing, doing so to pay for his dying mother’s hospital expenses. Zoom is revealed to be holding Harrsion Wells’ daughter hostage, spurring the doctor to save this daughter by killing the recently captured Turtle so he can use his DNA to take down evil speedster.

After assisting the Flash in stopping a runaway truck, Jay and Caitlin arrive in the control room at S.T.A.R. Labs to tell Cisco and Harrison that the Turtle is dead. Cisco calls the Flash back to base, who is seen by Thawne. “I’ve finally figured out what time period the Flash is from,” he tells his A.I. Gideon. “Now let’s find a way home.” Cue title card.

In Turtle’s cell, Jay is suspicious that the villain died the night he was captured, insinuating Harrison’s involvement. Barry breaks the two up, saying they need to focus on stopping Zoom. At Central City Police Department, Patty confronts Barry on his behavior towards her. He doesn’t feel the need to talk to her because she’s leaving, though he’s trying to break things off with her so she doesn’t become a potential target of Zoom who would harm her because of her relationship to the Flash. She leaves, with both of them unhappy. Iris then enters and Barry brings her up to speed with Patty. Joe enters next, telling Iris that her mother is soon to pass and if she wants to speak with her, now is the time. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Wells’ work is interrupted by Cisco’s arrival. The young man believes if he can learn to control his powers he could better help stop Zoom; he needs “Harry’s” help. After some discussion, Wells has a realization and tells Cisco to meet him in the Time Vault. Cisco is incredibly creeped out in the room and emits a high pitched yelp when Wells appears wearing the Reverse-Flash’s outfit. “I figured out your trigger. Dopamine floods the brain. And the quickest way to achieve that result — Fear!” And he grabs Cisco by the throat, causing him to vibe. After his vision is complete, Wells asks, “What did you see?” His mouth agape, Cisco answers, “The Reverse-Flash. He’s here.” Cue first commercial break.

An excellent story by the Helbings packs a lot into this episode, yet nothing seems rushed or shirked. Having Thawne back was really cool, with Matt Letscher being outstanding as the arrogant, obsessed Reverse-Flash. Time travel anomalies are always fun, and the Helbings explain how Thawne can be running around in this episode, doing Doc Brown proud. Thawne’s confrontation with the Flash was great; Grant Gustin does a great job every time he shared the screen with Letscher. As much as I enjoyed those scenes, I was really taken with his scenes with Shantel VanSanten as Patty. Those were gut busters to watch — I wanted him to get with her, but it’s understandable why he does what he does. I was in a constant tennis match state of mine, sympathizing with one, while angry at the other, and in a span of seconds I’d switch sides. This was terrific to watch, and the final scene of the show was an outstanding moment for the characters and the actors. Tom Cavanagh and Carlos Valdes are a terrific pairing, with their opening scene fantastic. I also like how neither of their characters likes the other, yet they have to work together; this is a great source of tension and dramatic irony.

The good: The script, the actors, the effects. Nice recoil from Barry when Patty gets too close, cool Cisco accessories, and Cisco is turning into the Xander Harris of this show — he just can’t leave well enough alone.

Fun lines: “Don’t slurp. Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” “Good to know,” “…a time line remnant,” “If you want to stay alive, learn,” “Joe and I help out every…once in a while,” “I don’t know. Never done this before,” “The only thing that does make sense…”, “Catch me if you can,” “Ramifications…”, “I became better than you!”, and “No one of consequence.”

The final line: Great action and drama, featuring the return of the Flash nemesis. Overall grade: A


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    One Comment
  • Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux)
    27 January 2016 at 4:40 pm -

    This was definitely the best episode of the season so far.

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