Review: ‘The Flash’ S02E11 – ‘The Reverse-Flash Returns’

By January 27, 2016

On this week’s episode of The Flash, we learned that Patty can, in fact, put two and two together, Eddie’s sacrifice was basically for naught and this time-travel thing is really hard. Let’s take a closer look at ‘The Reverse-Flash Returns,’ shall we?

So, everyone get their flow charts and notebooks out, because this week’s episode requires a bit of concentration and possibly a diagram or two. When Eobard Thawne popped up at the end of last week’s episode, I just assumed that he was the Reverse-Flash from Earth-2. But you know what they say about assuming things, right? Yeah, turns out that this is our friend Eobard Thawne, you know the one who impersonated Harrison Wells all those years, who has somehow managed to stumble upon a loophole in the whole space time continuum thing going on. Only this is before all of that happened… as Harry mentions later on this episode, this is Thawne’s origin story; how he learns about everyone in this timeline and all of that stuff.

Turtle’s death comes as a shock to everyone, with Jay throwing accusations in Harry’s direction (go with that, Jay! You’re on to something!). Without the ability to use his meta-powers, they are back at square one when it comes to stopping Zoom. Cisco decides he needs to figure out how to use his Vibe powers to their advantage and enlists Harry’s help. Harry figures out Cisco’s powers are triggered by a surge of adrenaline, so he develops a set of glasses to simulate the physiological response in Cisco. It’s during the initial discovery that Cisco vibes and figures out the Reverse-Flash is back in action. The race is now on for Barry to find and neutralize Thawne before he makes it back to his own time. The team manages to capture Thawne and imprison him. So, all is good, right?

Yeah, not so much. Cisco starts getting unexplained nosebleeds, and I’m not gonna lie, I thought that Harry’s glasses had done something to him. Nope, I was foiled again, when it turned out that the bleeding was a precursor to a bigger problem. Turns out, because of the alteration to the timeline, Cisco was actually phasing out of existence. The only way to stop it was for the team to send Thawne back to his own time, because that was what was supposed to happen. Since Barry destroyed the tachyons that Thawne was going to use to get back home, he is forced to use his speed to supplement Thawne’s in order to basically fling him through time. When Thawne is safely back in his own time, Cisco comes back into existence and the day is saved, at least for now.

Once again in the I don’t care department, Francine is coming to the end of her life and Joe urges Iris to go and see her mother before she passes. Iris does and tells Francine that she forgives her. Iris then confronts Wally about him not going to see his mom before she dies, telling him about her regrets when Eddie died. In the end, he asks his sister to accompany him and she does.

And finally, in the it breaks my heart department, Barry spend the entire episode pushing Patty away for two reasons; he doesn’t want to stand in the way of her dreams and have her look back and regret anything, and he also doesn’t want her to be someone else that Zoom, or any other bad guys, can use against him. He manages to convince himself that he’s actually doing it for her benefit. As she’s getting ready to leave, Patty finally puts those detective skills to work and figures out that Barry is actually The Flash. When she confronts him about it, he denies it, even though she tells him if he admits it, she’ll stay. Patty leaves to follow her dreams, but not before she basically tricks Barry into revealing his alter-ego to her.

Okay, so, I liked this episode, although I’ve got to admit I did find it rather frustrating. The whole time-loop thing kinda pissed me off. Sure, I get it in a theoretical sense, but then what was the point of Eddie’s sacrifice? And how can Thawne be alive at any point in the future if his entire family line was wiped out in the present? It cheapens the moment and basically gives the showrunners a huge loophole that they can trot out anytime they want to virtually erase anything that has previously happened. Not a fan of this type of storytelling, at all. Actually really disappointed that they’ve gone in this direction. I guess it was inevitable, given that we’re dealing with both time-travel and the multi-verse on this show, I just think it’s a bit of a cop out.

And speaking of disappointing storylines… how many times do we have to have the whole ‘my super-powers mean we can’t be together’ storyline in a superhero telling? I really like Patty and Barry together and I am not at all happy about, not only the end of their relationship, but how it ended as well. Although, I’m glad that Patty finally figured it out and then actually called out her own stupidity at not putting it all together sooner. A bit of character development is never a bad thing. I guess, ultimately, this paves the way for Barry and Iris to be together (I’m sorry for the involuntary gagging noise that just happened on my part!) as was prophesized by one of Gideon’s future newspapers last season. Getting Eddie and Patty out of the way seems to be leading to that way, anyway. We’ll have to see how it all plays out, but if you couldn’t already guess, I’m not a fan of the idea. The showrunners are going to have to do something really special to win me over on this one.

Overall, I think this was a pretty solid, albeit, slightly confusing, episode. As you can tell, I’m not a fan of this particular story arc and I think it’s pretty cheap storytelling. What I’m really missing, however, is Zoom. It seems like far too long since the big, big bad of the season has made an appearance and I think the episodes are suffering for it. Hopefully this villain of the week formula they’ve got going on is going to go by the wayside through the back half of the season. I’ll keep my fingers crossed, anyway.

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Erin Parisien
Erin is a writer, a comic-book geek, a movie nerd and a pop culture junkie... all long before it was cool! She's the senior Editor and a writer over at and can always be found behind a keyboard, because it's all about the words. Follow her @erin_the_novel over on twitter.
  • Chris Skalicky

    I didn’t mind Wells’ explanation of Thawne’s existence mostly because it allowed me to give myself a big ol’ pat on the back. His explanation, though a bit confusing, is pretty much how I had rationalized in my head this whole thing. If you think about it, Eddie’s death should have undone everything in season 1 and before. I was glad to see the show explain it (or at least try to) of why nothing has changed. The time remnant allowed Eobard to exist in the future because he had not yet gone back in time to kill Barry’s mother… My head hurts now.

    I was also a little annoyed with Patty (whom I really like) as she put it all on Barry after she made her decision to leave. Then she has to pull a trick on Barry to just prove to him and to herself that she was right.