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[TV Review] ‘The Flash’ Episode 2.11 – “The Reverse-Flash Returns”

What happens when our hero’s greatest nemesis returns from the grave?  A whole damn lot, it seems.  In the midst of trying to come up with a way to not only stop Zoom, but close the Earth-2 portals, Team Flash comes to a horrifying realization: Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), better known as Reverse-Flash, has returned.  But how?  Didn’t he bite it at the end of the first season’s finale?  Yes, but that’s the beauty of time travel.  At some point in the future (which is where he hails from), Reverse-Flash will always exist.

What follows is a desperate fight that ultimately culminates in Barry beating Thawne without killing him, giving him a measure of closure that he never really had last year.  On the flipside, due to a time travel paradox that has the ability to kill Cisco, he has to let him go and send him…back to the future.  Terrible joke, I know, but the exact same one is made within the episode itself.  Will we see Thawne again?  Undoubtedly.  After all, he can’t be Barry’s #1 nemesis if he stays gone.

On the subplot side of things, Barry’s relationship with Patty is burning down all around him.  After her revelation last week that see is moving away to another city to go back to school, he’s kept her at arms length.  His erratic behavior causes her to act on a hunch and after pouring over old case files, she comes to a realization: Barry is The Flash.  When confronted about it, however, Barry refuses to confirm her theory.

The logic on Barry’s side of the equation is that he doesn’t want Zoom to find out about her and hurt her as a result.  I’d say there’s a good chance Zoom was aware of her already, but now that she knows the truth, it doesn’t matter one way or another.  He’ll come for her and with Patty a long way away, will Barry be able to save her when he does?  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Team Flash is also on edge due to the death of Turtle, which has now been discovered.  Harry Wells is rightfully suspected and it will be interesting to see how things play out once they fully realize it.  He might have the right reason for his clandestine operations (saving his daughter), but his methods…as always…are highly questionable.  Will they be able to reconcile them when the truth comes out?  Will he be forgiven?  I’m curious to find out.

The Wally/Francine subplot is still a dud for me.  Iris is a nothing of a character anymore.  At least when she was playing gullible reporter/potential love interest during the first season, she served a purpose both professionally and narratively on the series.  Now we never see her at work and Barry has moved on with his love life, so all we get from Iris is her standing in the background and occasionally lecturing Wally and her father.  She’s a nothing of a character and I honestly wish they’d get rid of her if they aren’t going to rectify that.

As for Wally himself, he’s still incredibly underwritten.  As a result, the entire subplot rests on Joe.  Jesse L. Martin is more than capable of shouldering the dramatic weight of it all, but on episodes like this where he’s less involved, it falls apart.  Interactions between Wally and Iris have no weight whatsoever and just end up coming off as padding.  If there’s any big flaw to be found within this season, it’s this subplot and those two characters.

Jay Garrick’s Earth-1 doppelganger being named Hunter Zolomon was a cute nod to one of Zoom’s aliases in the comics. I doubt there’s any connection there beyond a reference for fans, but it made me smile nonetheless.  The Caitlin-Jay romantic subplot remains an interesting one, but not much time has been spent on it so far.  At this point, I’d rather they amp that up and cut back on the Wally/Iris stuff.

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