The Flash Season 2, Episode 11 Recap And Review: The Reverse-Flash Returns


With everything else going on in Barry Allen’s life right now on The Flash, the one thing he definitely could do without is the return of his greatest villain to date.

I’m not talking about Zoom, though the Season 2 Big Bad is certainly ding all he can to earn that title. No, I mean the infamous man in yellow, the murderer of Barry’s mom, the Reverse-Flash. There’s no way he should still be running around considering we saw him get wiped from the timeline during the Season 1 finale, but a lot of seemingly impossible things happen on this show, and we saw him with our own eyes last week.

Considering this week’s episode is called “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” the producers and writers definitely weren’t hiding him from us. But along with the how and why of his return comes another very interesting question: Is this even the same Eobard Thawne we’ve encountered before, or a different one entirely? Just about all possibilities are on the table, so let’s speed into this one and seek some answers.

Not-So-Fast Recap: Cisco Ramon and Harry Wells aren’t the closest of co-workers. As they argue for the umpteenth time, they get an alert on a runaway chemical truck. The Flash is already on patrol, as Barry has been avoiding work so he can avoid Patty Spivot. The truck has been rigged to drive fast and straight, but the Flash is able to remove all of its tires at super-speed and barely save the day.

At S.T.A.R. Labs, Jay Garrick and Caitlin Snow have some surprising news: The Turtle is dead. We know Harry killed him, but they don’t. Flash speeds back to see what’s up, but he’s watched by Eobard Thawne, who’s pleased that he discovered what time period is home to the Flash.

Not in so many words, but Jay accuses Harry of doing something to Turtle. Barry calms them by suggesting they all focus on closing the breaches, and while everyone splits up, Jay mentions his continuing distrust of Wells to Caitlin.

It’s awkward at the lab between Barry and Patty, and while she seems to want to talk, he definitely does not. Iris West overhears part of their conversation and suggests that he doesn’t have to let her leave, but she doesn’t get to elaborate as Joe West arrives with the news that her mother doesn’t have much time left.

Nothing has changed for Cisco and Harry, who are still squabbling. It’s about Cisco’s Vibe powers this time, though Wells gets an idea about how to isolate the trigger. He asks Cisco to meet him in the Time Vault, then scares the crap out of him by arriving in the Reverse-Flash outfit. Turns out fear is the best trigger, and Harry proves it by touching Cisco. He gets a vibe about Reverse-Flash and knows the villain is back.

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Specifically, Reverse-Flash has gone to pay Tina McGee a visit. The Flash speeds over to face him, surprising Thawne by knowing his name. Still, Reverse-Flash recovers quickly and decks Flash with one punch before speeding off with McGee.

Joe wants to know how Thawne could be back since he was supposed to have been wiped from exitence. Harry has a theory that he has to illustrate with a drawing; essentially, this Reverse-Flash is from before the Thawne they knew jumped back in time to kill Barry’s mom, which is why he’s still around. Would getting rid of him save Mrs. Allen? Sadly no, says Harry, because her death is a “fixed point.” Call it the Doctor Who theory of time travel.

Caitlin also fills Barry in on Jay’s condition (he’s dying, unfortunately). What can they do to save him? She thinks they need to find his Earth-1 counterpart and … give Jay some of his cells. Sounds dangerous. Or gross. Or both. Elsewhere, Reverse-Flash wants McGee to figure out a way to put tachyons to use to help him get back to his own time.

Time for the feels section of our show. Iris visits Francine in the hospital, and the daughter forgives the mother she’s never really known. Tears flow, including some from Joe.

Patty and Barry have another convo, this time about the fact that she didn’t know he helped S.T.A.R. Labs with anything. He drops the ‘l’ word in the process, catching Patty off guard since he never said it to her before. Barry says he wishes things were different and his life wasn’t so complicated, but he’s sorry — and she is too.

Looks like Harry has souped up Cisco’s goggles, which will charge his brain with extra fear and electricity. Science stuff. I wouldn’t put those on, but Cisco does, and his Vibe abilities are greatly enhanced. He locates Reverse-Flash pretty quickly, but unfortunately, he also sees Thawne killing McGee.

Alas, the S.T.A.R. Labs team calms him down, with Harry realizing that what Cisco saw was happening three hours into the future. They still have time to save Tina. There’s another problem at the police station, where Patty reveals to Joe that she’s deduced that Barry is the Flash, and his attempt to lie about it doesn’t work.

We’re not quite done with talky stuff, because Iris has gone to see Wally. She lectures her little brother about not seeing Francine, using the death of Eddie Thawne to make a point about telling people how they feel when you get a chance. Will he listen?

Time is running out for our heroes to find Reverse-Flash, though they are on high alert for tachyon activity. WHile they wait, Caitlin tells Barry that Jay doesn’t have an Earth-1 counterpart, and he suggests that she simply ask him about it. Joe has something even more pressing to tell Barry, which is that Patty knows. Oh yes, she knows. That can wait, though, because Reverse-Flash is making his move, and Barry has to hurry.

Tina’s death scene arrives, but Flash is able to vibrate through the wall and punch Reverse-Flash just in time. He als wrecks the tachyon machine, telling his foe that he’s now stranded. That leads to a super-speed chase through the streets of Central City, but Flash is fast enough to run down his opposite number, and Joe has to talk Barry out of beating him to death with super-speed body blows.

Thawne is placed in the Pipeline in a cell from which he can’t vibrate out. Barry wants to go talk to him, but Harry cautions him against disrupting the timeline even further, since this Thawne has yet to discover who the Flash really is. I’m starting to get a time travel headache again, but Cisco is even worse off since his nose is bleeding.

Caitlin has her heart to heart with Jay, explaining that her dad died of MS and she doesn’t want to see another man she cares about fade away. Jay claims there’s a good reason he has no doppleganger, but he’ll have to show her tomorrow.

Apparently unconcerned about damaging the timeline himself, Cisco visits Thawne in his cell and gloats about how the villain gave him his Vibe powers. Or he will, anyway. In Thawne’s future and Cisco’s past. I’ll draw a diagram sometime.

Patty asks to meet Barry so she can put all her cards on the table. She insists that she knows Barry is the Flash and says she’ll stay if he does. He sticks to his guns and denies it again, causing her to run out in tears.

Man, Thawne’s cell is a popular place. Barry stays safely in the shadows but asks Reverse-Flash why he has so much hate for the Flash. His story is that he hadn’t always. Thawne used to be obsessed with the Flash, idolizing him to the point where he recreated the accident that gave him speed — and was successful. Unfortunately, Eobard learned he was fated to become Flash’s greatest enemy, which in turn led him to dedicate himself to being the opposite. His reverse, if you will. Barry shakes it off, announcing that their race is over and Thawne has lost.

Barry is called away again because Cisco is having seizures. Even worse, it looks like he’s fading away. A frantic Wells explains that they’ve messed with the timeline too much by keeping Reverse-Flash in the present, and it’s affecting Cisco via his powers. A tortured Barry reveals tha he destroyed the tachyon machine, so they’ll have to find another way.

Reverse-Flash smirks as he’s already figured out that they must have caused a time paradox. Harry has a short chat with him before Flash arrives, ready to lend enough speed to his foe to send him back to the future. Wells warns Barry that this is the moment where Reverse-Flash learns all he needs to know about the Flash and S.T.A.R. Labs and that nothing can change that, but he also says at least they can save Cisco, and Joe thinks maybe Barry can at last put Thawne behind him.

Around the old particle accelerator track they race, and after a portal to the future opens, Flash shoves Reverse-Flash through it. He speeds back to the lab to hear the news that Cisco will be okay.

The next morning, Jay and Caitlin go for a walk so that he can point out his doppleganger. Except he’s not Jay Garrick after all, but Hunter Zolomon, since he was adopted at an early age by another family. Jay also reveals that his DNA was mutated when he got his speed, so Zolomon’s DNA wouldn’t help anyway. They have to catch Zoom. Though I suddenly just had another thought …

Wally stops to see Iris and says he will take her advice and see Francine. He asks Iris to go with him, and she agrees. Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco wakes up and thanks Barry for what he did. Joe takes his virtual son aside and gives him a pep talk about how he’ll always face tough choices as the Flash and have to let go of certain people or things, and Barry vows that he’ll be ready.

In the final scene, Barry gets a call from a panicked Patty, who says there’s a man with a gun on her train to Midway City. Flash zips over to find it was a “false alarm.” As Flash departs, Patty sees him run beside the train and says, “Goodbye Barry.”

OMG Moment of the Week: In terms of action, it had to be when Barry vibrated through the wall to save Tina. For sheer coolness factor, I’ll go with Cisco’s upgraded Vibe goggles.

Comic Book Reference of the Week: So about Hunter Zolomon … In the comics, he’s a criminal profiler who eventually becomes Zoom. I’m not sure that’s where the series is headed, because we’ve been led to believe that Zoom is from Earth-2, but it’s certainly something to file away.

#SnowJay Alert Level: We’ll hold firm at Orange. Caitlin at least insinuated that she cares about Jay. But we already knew that.

Next: The Flash Season 2, Episode 10 Recap: Potential Energy

Final Thought: Though I do worry at times that this series will get a bit too wrapped up in its high concepts, this was a clever way to turn a former Big Bad into a Villain of the Week, something you don’t see all that often. The Patty stuff was a bit over the top, but that seems to be behind us for now.