The Flash, Ep. 1.15, “Out of Time” boasts a heady script, stunning performances and an explosive reveal

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The Flash, Season 1, Episode 15, “Out of Time”
Written by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing
Directed by Steve Surjik
Airs Tuesdays at 8pm ET on the CW
The Flash has had a long and complicated history to say the least. These complications all began with “Flash of Two Worlds!” a landmark comic book story published in 1961, that introduces Earth-Two, and more generally the concept of the multiverse, to DC Comics. Long story short, by the 1980s, the DC Universe was drowning in these parallel Earths and multiple continuities and so the writers over at DC decided to solve these problems with Crisis on Infinite Earths, a reality-bending crossover event that removed the concept of the Multiverse, and depicted the deaths of many long-standing superheroes. The goal was to streamline the world and history of the DC heroes and make them more accessible to new readers. A main story point in Crisis detailed the heroic death of Barry Allen as he tried to save the universe. As such, it is one of the most important events in the history of DC comics, and made Barry Allen, arguably the most important character in the DC Canon. In bringing the Scarlett Speedster to the small screen, comes the challenge of addressing these parallel universes – time travel – and plenty of complex story lines to juggle simultaneously. So part of the fun in watching the series (at least as an avid reader of the comic book), is watching how well they adapt the mythology of the fastest man alive – and boy are they doing a fantastic job. Only halfway through its first season, The Flash dropped a bombshell with its fifteenth episode “Out of Time;” an episode packing enough twists, turns, special effects, and deaths, that it easily could have been the season finale. This is not only one of the most exciting and shocking instalments of The Flash, but one of the best TV episodes of the year so far.
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Many comic fans were left disappointed when the Weather Wizard (a key member of the Rogues) was killed off so quickly back in the pilot episode, so this week, those same fans should be happy to see a different version of the Rogue pulled directly from the comics. Our hero(es) faced a new challenge as a the new Weather Wizard aka Mark Mardon (seen for the first time since the pilot), emerged, seeking revenge for the death of his brother Clyde (the pilot’s villain). Blessed with the same weather-controlling metahuman powers, the new Weather Wizard proved as proficient as his sibling when wreaking havoc; first by storming the police station in one memorable action packed scene, and later, by kidnapping Joe and creating a massive tidal wave that could wipe out most of Central City. And thanks to Cisco, the Weather Wizard’s signature weapon from the comics is also introduced into the show; in this case, it’s a device meant as a weapon to be used against him (The fact that the writers were able to work in Weather Wizard’s wand in a different way, is a nice touch). A lot happens in “Out Of Time,” but what’s really important is how Barry accidentally travels back in time when attempting to stop the tidal wave in the episode’s climax. We knew time-travel would eventually be introduced in the series, but apart from its early foreshadowing (when Barry sees a double of himself at the busy intersection), was anyone expecting this storytelling device to be introduced so early on? Barry going back in time has the potential to undo nearly everything that happens in this episode, but it can also overly complicate things moving forward (just like in the comics). Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg, recently stated in a press screening that “the fun” of next week is seeing the ramifications of Barry’s actions and how they will change what viewers have already seen. Clearly not everything will be undone by the time travel (though it’s safe to assume Cisco will be saved), but will this act purely as a narrative cheat? It will be interesting to see how the writers deal with the ongoing consequences on the silver screen.

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Iris was inevitably going to find out Barry’s secret identity one way or another, and the scene in which Barry reveals himself to Iris right before dashing off to save the day is a breathtaking sequence, and perhaps the first and only time, the two actors have shared the chemistry needed to believe in their love for each other. Candice Patton gave possibly her best performance to date, and for the first time she isn’t overshadowed by Malese Jow. But again, the question remains; will this event be erased in the upcoming weeks – and if not, how will it effect their relationship and relationships with Linda and Eddie?

Unsurprisingly, the scenes that revolve around Dr. Wells and Cisco are the real heart of this episode. Wells has been the most interesting character on this show since the start, partly because we never really knew his full motivations (up until this episode’s big reveal that is). Despite his sinister actions, Wells came across as genuinely well-intentioned, and someone who truly cared for Barry, Cisco and Caitlin. And while viewers have been speculating on his true identity and what exactly he wants or needs Barry for, we were never really sure if he was actually a danger to Barry or not. This week Cisco uncovers the truth when he reconstructs the containment trap set for the Reverse-Flash to figure out how exactly he escaped. As it turns out, the entire scene was staged, in order to eliminate any suspicion that Wells was the man in the yellow suit. And just as Cisco discovers this fact, Wells walks in, catching him red handed. This led to a huge moment of revelations in which we learned that Wells is trapped in the past against his will and needs to find a way to harness Barry’s powers in order to bring him back home to the 25th century. In an emotional scene, Wells reveals that his real name is Eobard Thawne, and that though he loves Cisco like a son, he must murder him for discovering his secret. “Forgive me, but to me you’ve been dead for centuries” he tells Cisco while driving his fist right through his heart. Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh did a superb job of highlighting their father/son bond, bringing so much depth to the character in the most heartbreaking scene of the series so far. Hopefully this big reveal doesn’t just turn Wells into another standard villain. Now that the cats out of the bag, it will be interesting to see what the writers do with his character. It’s definitely a strong payoff to the episode but a scene no less, that kills of a fan favourite, and reveals the show’s biggest mystery. Where do we go from here?

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Whatever reset buttons get pushed in the upcoming weeks, it won’t erase the sheer enjoyment I had in watching this episode. The Flash has been a mind-bending ride, and is never afraid to slow down now and again. This super-stylish sci-fi super hero series brings a fresh approach to the mind-bending genre material. Even with its echoes of sci-fi thrillers past, and stories from the original source material, the writing team continues to find ways to keep it fresh – right down to the final act.

– Ricky D

Flash Facts:

In the midst of so many jaw-dropping scenes, the smaller moments might be overlooked, but are still well worth mentioning:

Cisco’s movie pick this week is the 1928 silent classic The Cameraman, Buster Keaton’s last great film.

We later learn that Cisco is a huge fan of The Walking Dead.

So that was a really terrible double date…

While investigating the Central City Picture News’ interest in Harrison Wells,

Barry learns that reporter Mason Trollbridge has solid digital evidence on the good doctor. This evidence will no doubt come up in the upcoming weeks, but how big of a part will Mason play in the show? In the comic, Mason doubles as The Clipper, a hero who acquired his name from his practice of clipping off the tops of the ears of criminals he did not kill or imprison, with the intention that they could never again pass as honest men.

If Flash does change the past, let’s hope he saves Captain Singh from getting hurt again.

Harrison informs Caitlin that he can easily track Ronnie Raymond’s location – making me think Firestorm will be back sooner than later.

Dr. Wells: “He’s taking being hunted by a revenge-seeking meta-human rather well.”

Cisco: “I call it the Wizard’s Wand!”

Reverse Flash: “Dr. Wells, we meet at last. I’m not like The Flash. In fact you might say I’m the reverse.”

Dr. Wells: “Forgive me, but to me, you’ve been dead for centuries.”

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