Did anyone notice the new voice over intro now includes King Shark, Trajectory, and Jay as Zoom? I love these show runners; you can tell how geeky they get over their jobs. Each week it gets harder for me to come up with increasingly more clever titles than the actual show episode name. “Flash Back,” c’mon! How could I beat that?
On this week’s episode of Post-Traumatic Zoom Disorder, Barry & Co are channeling their scorn from Jay Garrick’s betrayal to tirelessly studying for a solution to increase Barry’s speed. Caitlin’s research illustrates that Barry, Reverse Flash, and Zoom are all technically moving their legs at the same speed, but the amount of time each speedsters’ feet touch the ground varies. Zoom, according to her calculations, is 30% faster than Barry, and it pissed him off. Well, about as pissed off as puppy dog Barry Allen can be. Everyone is on edge: Cisco’s vibing keeps getting set off by Jay’s Flash Helmet, Barry has commandeered Wells’ see-through glass board of Crazy Equations, Caitlin still can’t believe that she made out with a murderer, and Wells is grumpy because his daughter flashed out of Central City.
Inspiration strikes Barry when, at the West Family Dinner, Wally talks about the latest developments on his latest engineering project at CCU; he’s been studying the journals of past engineers to to come up with new ideas. Barry nearly speeds out of there, but resists because Wally is the last person in Central City who doesn’t know that he’s The Flash.
Barry shares his theories with the rest of the Flash Lab crew: Cisco is for it, Caitlin is skeptical, and Wells is aggressively against the plan. I’m with Harry Wells on this one: Barry has gotten way too casual with the prospect of Time Travel. Does The Butterfly Effect not exist on Earth-1?!
The episode switches gears into Expositional Heist mode when Caitlin and Cisco voiceover “Plan Flash Back:” Barry is going to travel to season one’s “The Sound and Fury” when Hartley Rathaway makes his first appearance to Team Flash as the ex-S.T.A.R. Labs physicist bent on revenge against Professor Wells/Thawne. At that point, Team Flash is unaware of Wells-Thawne’s true body snatcher identity or the possibility of Speedster Time Traveling. Yeah, this plan is effing rough. Caitlin provides Barry with a horse tranquilizer to knock out his season-one-self for six hours so that he can get the information from Wells that he needs. We’re in, we’re out BADA BING BADA BOOM.
As Barry runs through what I like to call the “Speed Tunnel,” he closes his eyes so he doesn’t see spoilers. Maybe. That’s what I like to think because he so damn adorkable. When he opens his eyes, a shadowy ghost that makes everyone tweet “OMG DEMENTOR” follows Barry into 2013. It’s a Time Wraith, and it does not like it when speedsters use the Speed Tunnel. It’s like the trolls that creep underneath the bridge that the billy goats need to clamp across to get to the green, grassy fields!
Barry makes an early exit and sees his Red-Emblem Self confronting Hartley aka The Pied Piper. I almost forgot how solid this show has been from the beginning of its run; Barry hasn’t because he repeats his own cheesy, superhero lines like the nerd he is. Cisco would’ve been proud.
When Pied Piper’s sonic gloves blast past!Barry for the first time, current!Barry seizes the opportunity to whoosh the two of them into and alley and tranq his past self. Yeah, it’s not a good plan. Past!Barry resists and the two Flashes struggle against each other, which doesn’t make too much sense because current!Barry is waaaaaaaay faster than Barry from season one! I guess our Barry stows away his younger body somewhere and takes him into the lab to past!Caitlin and past!Cisco and Thawne-Wells.
Barry changes history, no big deal, by preventing Hartley from escaping his Pipeline cell when he suggest to Cisco to confiscate his sonic earbud-bombs. Dammit, Barry, stop stepping on butterflies! Barry takes the down time to ask wheelchair-Wells for help with his Crazy Speed Equation. He does not do well at being chil, but luckily the Time Wraith interrupts the awkward, totally-out-of-character conversation by attacking the CCPD, including past!Joe and alive!Eddie! Eddie, my marshmallow!
The Time Wraith also throws off the priority list of 2013 Team Flash, and dealing with Hartley goes on the back-burner. Unfortunately for Barry, the wraith tips of Thawne-Wells, and he privately knocks BArry the f*ck out and handcuffs him to his wheelchair in his Room of Requirement. Oh yeah, Wells is crazy as hell. I almost forgot.
Barry lies to Thawne-Wells about the future and tells him that the Reverse Flash’s plan worked. Wells is surprisingly like “ok cool.” It’s just so bad. But he helps him by giving Barry encrypted information on a Speedster USB because he is still at the point where he is desperate as hell to go home. Even Hartley helps the team. I mean, there’s always a level of suspended disbelief, but we are thousands of miles above sea level at this point, and I’m totally fine with it.
When past!Barry wakes up and walks into the lab like, “I’M BARRY NOT HIM,” Cisco appropriately freaks out and friendship tests both Barry’s with Star Trek trivia. Awwww, Cisco thinks he and Barry are Kirk and Spock. Together, they formulate a plan to lead current!Barry through the Speed Tunnel again and have the Time Wraith follow him. That way, Cisco and Caitlin have a year to figure out a way to defeat the wraith when Barry arrives back from the past. The Wraith is about to give Barry the Kiss of Death (“Did you even go?!”) when Hartley appears with the Wraith Weapon and destroys it. Alright, he’s a good guy now. I wonder what other changes Barry made to their timeline?
In one of my favorite moments of the episode, Barry — who hasn’t told Iris about the quick time travel trip — shows Iris a video on his phone that “he just forgot about, but he found it:” it’s Eddie telling Iris why he loves her.
Barry, in the time travel messiness, still had time to run an Iris errand to help her heal her broken heart. WestAllen is getting there, baby!