It happened. The mystery of Harrison Wells has been solved, and even if we saw most of it coming, I feel safe in saying it still had most of us on the edge of our seats. Now the only mystery is this: Why were these incredibly anticipated scenes tucked into an otherwise average episode?
I'm not saying "Out of Time" was bad, mind you, but if you took out the Wells business it wouldn't stand out against any of the other Freak-o'-the-Week episodes that characterized The Flash's early run (pun, as always, intended). The Weather Wizard from episode one has a brother who was in the plane with him when the particle accelerator exploded, so he also has weather powers, but much better ones. He comes to Central City to kill Joe for shooting his brother. He starts a big tsunami, but the Flash runs fast enough to solve the problem (by making a big wall of speed, if you were wondering). Admittedly, there's a big development in that Iris tells Barry she loves him, they kiss, and Barry reveals he's the Flash to her, but it's more of a development moving forward, and all the scenes with them getting all touchy-feely while Eddie Thawne and Linda Park look sideways at them were extra-annoying this week.
But who cares about any of that when we finally learn the secrets of Harrison Wells?! The build to Wells' reveal have slowly accumulated throughout the season, but come to a head when reporter Mason Bridge tells Iris that Wells was the last person to see CEO Simon Stagg alive; Iris asks Barry about it, who says it's ridiculous; Barry mentions it to Cisco and Caitlin, and Caitlin says it's ridiculous; but Cisco, remembering Joe's suspicions about Wells from the last few episodes, decides to take another look at the containment field that was supposed to trap the Reverse-Flash in "The Man in the Yellow Suit" but mysteriously failed.
He asks Caitlin to waylay Wells at Central City's one eatery, the coffee shop, which is a bad move because Caitlin has all the deception skills of a child caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Wells deduces something's up, and runs out at top speed back to STAR Labs (leaving Caitlin to witness his empty wheelchair), and finds Cisco and the containment field… and the hologram of the Reverse-Flash Wells programmed into it.
Because Harrison Wells — excuse me, Eobard Thawne, eventual descendent of Iris' soon-to-be-jilted beau Eddie Thawne — is of course the Reverse-Flash, but he wanted to divert suspicion away from himself. That included a hologram for inside the force field, while he used his incredible speed to make a duplicate of himself (if this is confusing to you, all I can say to comfort you is "Speed Force") in order to look like the Reverse-Flash attacked Wells. Eobard is from the future, who went back in time to the year 2000 in an attempt to kill Barry, but accidentally killed Barry's mom, and then got stuck in our time. And he's spent the past 15 years trying to create the Flash, and then bring him to his maximum Speed Force power — all in an attempt to get back to the future.
For all my doubts about Cisco, actor Carlos Valdes nails this scene. As Wells/Thawne reveals what he's done and why, without any remorse whatsoever, Cisco looks devastated. His character has always been immature, which works in Valdes' favor here, because he can look like he's just seconds away from bawling uncontrollably, like a child — Wells' child. Wells even says he thinks of Cisco as a son — he's "grown fond" of him — and the mention of Cisco's real shitty family earlier in the episode wasn't just a coincidence. Cisco has obviously idolized and respected Wells more than anyone in his entire life.
Then Thawne stabs Cisco in the chest with his high-speed knife hand. Cisco dies instantly.
Here's the best thing about this scene — it literally wouldn't have worked as well with anybody else. What made me dislike Cisco as a character initially has also made him the show's beacon of innocence. I know that this sounds weird, but bear with me: Cisco seems like he belongs on another show, a younger kids show, like Power Rangers. He's not only harmless, but he doesn't even seem to realize that people could be so evil, even after all the crazed metahumans the SuperSTARS have fought. When Wells kills Cisco, it's like he's killing a puppy — innocent, defenseless, and practically incapable of processing the horror of what's about to happen. Well done, Flash writers. Well done indeed.
And well done for putting Cisco's death before Barry's attempt to block the Weather Wizard's tidal wave. If you had ended the episode with it — as many shows would have — I would have had time to see what was coming, which was of course Barry running so fast he travels back in time to the day before. But you didn't give me a chance to rest, and thus when Barry pops back to an earlier scene in the episode — one where he seems to see his own reflection — it was a surprise. A surprise where I grinned and said, "Of course!" almost instantly, but a surprise nonetheless.
So it turns out "Out of Time" (wah waaaaah) is really the first episode of a two-parter, and Barry will have a chance to change the future next week. Obviously, Cisco's death is going to be #1 on that list, but the Flash didn't know about Cisco or Wells' real identity before he zapped himself back, so it'll be interesting to see how that works out. I just hope that Barry takes the first five minutes to take out the new Weather Wizard and get him out of the way.
The Flash has a much more interesting story to tell — and I feel there's absolutely no reason we shouldn't get right to it.
• Cisco and Wells watching Buster Keaton together in the beginning was a nice touch, but admittedly I may be biased because I love Buster Keaton. Dude was a genius.
• Everyone thinks that Barry and Iris were being super-creepy at the bowling alley, right? They didn't even look like they had romantic feelings for each other, but they kept touching each other's faces. I don't blame Linda or Eddie for being squicked out.
• Awesome Flash Powers o' the Week: Barry pulling Joe out of their car in slow-motion while a lightning bolt slowly makes its way into the car.
• Joe doesn't want anyone telling Iris that a murderous meta-human is hunting for him. Is there anything people can tell Iris? Jesus.
• Komic Konnections: In the original Flash comics, the Weather Wizard controlled the weather with a weather wand. So the weather wand wasn't a device used to stop the Weather Wizard from controlling the weather. If you were wondering. Weather.
• I hate the cliché that cops refuse to accept help when being hunted by bad guy with personal vendettas against them, but it's extra stupid when that bad guy can shoot lightning bolts out of his hands. No, Joe. You can't do this. You will die. Go to your desk and shut up and stop trying to get yourself killed.
• I fully expect that one of the things Barry will undo over the course of next week's episode is undo revealing his Flash-iness to Iris, which will be super, super-annoying.
• Oh, Captain Singh got blasted with a lightning bolt and can't walk. I imagine this will get undone too. It'll be kind of shitty if it doesn't, especially since Barry should know when the Weather Wizard will enter police HQ looking for Joe.
• I have a suspicion that Barry will inadvertently also prevent Cisco from discovering Wells' secret, meaning he won't be killed, which means the audience will know Wells' identity as the Reverse-Flash, but no one else. That's kind of annoying, but I guess we've all known it anyways, so maybe it's not such a big deal.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.