Episode 115 “Out of Time”
[Photos: The CW]
Oh, my stars and whiskers. Did that just happen? That just happened… and then it didn’t.
We knew the time travel was coming. There have been hints since the very first episode, and now we start to get payoff for all the setup.
We begin at the beginning, with Joe and his partner barely missing the Martin brothers as they make their escape in the plane. New footage gives us our first look at Mark Mardon, Clyde’s older brother. Clyde, you remember, was the first meta-human with weather-controlling abilities, and it seems here that Mark got the same powers. This is consistent with the comics, where scientist Clyde developed the weather control technology first before Mark co-opted it for criminal purposes.
Here, Mark is back to exact revenge on Joe for killing Clyde, and he doesn’t much care who gets in the way. So naturally, Joe wants to be the stubborn mule and take the fight to Mardon rather than hide at headquarters and put other people at risk. So when Mardon shows up at headquarters and fries Captain Singh with lightning (and why isn’t anyone shooting him by now?), it only serves to fuel Joe’s determination to take Mardon down before anyone else gets hurt.[And just for a moment, let’s ask not only why no one took a shot, but at the very least why didn’t anyone in uniform tackle Mardon from behind? Surely someone could get close enough to take him down. And how did he get away from a building full of cops? Oh, wait. Because commercial break.]
OK. So Captain Singh is now in the hospital, likely paralyzed, and we meet his boyfriend/fiancée for the first time. And we have more ham-fisted “inclusion” writing here. Over on another site, there was a comment to the effect that all this scene was missing was the “The More You Know” tag at the end, as it was a pretty blatant effort (along with the moment when Barry spilled Captain Singh’s coffee all over the new jacket) to pop up and remind everyone “remember Captain Singh’s gay, because inclusion” and now back to our story. They’ve done this before and it felt forced then, too.
Ultimately, Mardon manages to get his hands on Joe, despite everyone’s efforts to avoid it. And Mardon has it figured that instead of killing Joe, he’s going to take out someone close to Joe. Eye for an eye, and all that. Which has him calling Iris to tell her where to find them.
OK. Let’s put a pin in that and circle back. Because we will, in more ways than one.
Iris gets a little bit of a decent thread this time, except for the double-date drama that results from her and Eddie “bumping into” Barry and Linda at the bowling alley. It’s a setup for two different threads: Iris finally confessing to Barry how she feels about him, and Eddie coming to see Barry as a rival for Iris. I still think the show should have left Linda in Wally West’s universe, but we get what we get, and it lays groundwork for Iris and Barry to get together at some point down the road. Because they do. That’s canon. We just won’t get there anytime soon.
Iris does, however, get brought in on a suspicion her mentor has about the disappearance of Simon Stagg. Mason knows that Wells was the last person to see Stagg, and there’s ample suspicion that Stagg is dead, even though there’s no body to be found.
Mason’s not the only one to have suspicions, as Cisco starts to delve into just what went wrong with the containment field. And this is where the show cranks it up to 11.
No, really. There are major spoilers ahead.
Cisco figures out that the “trapped” Reverse Flash is actually a hologram, and that Wells has something sneaky and suspicious going on. This is just as Wells — who’s figured out Caitlin is trying to distract him — leaves his wheelchair at Jitters and speeds back to STAR Labs in time to confront Cisco. Our young genius has figured out part of it, and Carlos Valdes does such a great job in this scene, because you know — and it’s clear Cisco knows — that the kid’s not coming out of that room alive.
Cisco is very obviously crushed by the knowledge that his beloved mentor is actually a killer. That betrayal of trust is enough to dispirit anyone, but for it to be Cisco, it’s like kicking a puppy. And then…
Wells admits to being Eobard Thawne. And then, Wells admits to killing Nora Allen, only he was aiming for Barry. And now he’s been stuck in this time. So in order to access whatever forces allow him to get back to the 25th century, it all depends on Barry Allen becoming the Flash, so Thawne has worked this whole time to make sure Barry gains his speed powers so that Thawne can tap into them and get home.
He kills Cisco with a vibrating hand to the heart.
And the kicked puppy has now been drowned.
Now, most shows would have this as the season finale and we’d all be wondering just how it’s going to resolve itself. But since this isn’t the season finale, there’s clearly more going on, and this is just the warm-up. Because it is.
Now, let’s circle back to Mardon at the docks with Joe. Iris and Barry get there in time to see Mardon bring in a tidal wave big enough to destroy the city. (I guess we’re ignoring the fact that Central City is land-locked, being as it’s the DC Comics equivalent of Kansas City). And we get two big reveals here: Iris confessing her feelings to Barry, and Barry becoming the Flash in front of Iris.
So we get this:
Immediately followed by this:
Now, these are pretty big moments for the show, and they pay off so much setup from the season. And then…
Barry figures if he can run fast enough, he can build up a wall of wind to deflect the tsunami. So he gets moving, and he pushes his speed so much that he travels back in time — roughly 24 hours or so — and essentially undoes everything we’ve seen in this episode.
Well, almost everything. Barry still has Iris’ confession in his head, so he knows she said it, but now she hasn’t said it yet. And now Cisco’s not dead yet. And there’s no tsunami yet. And since we’re getting Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and Golden Glider next week, odds are that Barry will deal with Weather Wizard fairly quickly in the episode and move on to other issues brought on by the time travel trip.
Of course, the more compelling aspect of the next episode will deal with the consequences of time travel. How much changes? How does that affect everyone?Will the universe try to strike back and put things in balance?