A review of tonight's “The Flash” coming up just as soon as I have a feeling you want to hyphenate…
When Barry reset the timeline with his trip into the past, the show struggled in the next episode, and I worried that the show had taken the easy way out on all the big events that happened right before Barry's adventure in time.
The episodes since haven't really changed my opinion of “Rogue Time,” but they have shown that the creative team didn't intend to just wimp out and stuff all the various genies back in their respective bottles. Cisco remembered his murder in the other timeline, and it all built up to the events of “The Trap,” which redid a lot of what originally happened in “Out of Time,” and was emotionally satisfying in both those ways and the areas where the story continued to deviate.
I certainly don't want Cisco dead, but I appreciated that there was still a fatality from their attempt to trick Wells into confessing, even if the dead person was a one-shot villain from the previous week's episode. And as good as Barry unmasking in front of Iris was in “Out of Time,” it's ultimately better that she figures it out on her own in the new timeline. The show has done Iris (and Candice Patton) no favors by keeping her in the dark for so long about Barry's secret identity, even if it was the other characters choosing (for poorly-supported reasons) to do that to her. If she's going to matter to the series going forward as something more than just Barry's potential love interest – and, depending on how much of the future is unchanged at the end of all these shenanigans, future wife – she has to be shown as having something to contribute to a team full of scientists, cops and superheroes. That she could piece together, largely on her own, the role the particle accelerator played in creating all these metahumans makes her seem smarter, and having her figure out Barry's identity – even if the spark from their fingertips touching would have been a giveaway to almost anyone – gives her some agency in all of this, rather than someone whom other people keep making decisions about without her knowledge.
The nature of “The Trap” meant we had to repeat a few familiar scenes, and in the case of Cisco's murder in the other timeline, we got it twice: first as a dream, then as the failed trap of the title. But this was also necessary to move us into the end game, where all the secrets are out in the open, and the only question is whether the timeline will be messed with any more – perhaps restoring the lives of Nora Allen and/or the real Harrison Wells – and if the show can pull that off in a way that doesn't undo so many of this season's character arcs. Erasing a day in the lives of these people – even a memorable day that included a tsunami, a murder and a de-masking – is one thing. I just don't want everybody to forget all they've been through together this season, and to have to get a third version of Iris figuring out the truth sometime next year.
But I've got faith. Team “Flash” has been too on the ball this season to think anything else.
Some other thoughts:
* Loads of teases of the future in the brief scene where Barry, Cisco and Caitlin got to question Gideon: Iris and Barry are married, Barry is a CCPD director (and a smart enough scientist to have built Gideon himself), Barry will have a costume more closely resembling the classic Carmine Infantino-drawn outfit from the comics, and he'll be a founding member of something, which I'm guessing was meant to be a TV version of the Justice League.
* In the first flashback, when Barry starts having another seizure, Joe tells the doctors, “Help! My son's coding!” It remains a really tricky line the show is trying to walk, in which Joe can think of Barry as a surrogate son (and Barry sees him as a surrogate father), yet no one is supposed to see Barry and Iris as any kind of sibling.
* The business with Barry saving Captain Singh's fiance was more notable for Wells teaching him how to create a vacuum (a familiar trick from the comics) than for anything to do with Singh and Rob. But it felt like a nice nod back to “Out of Time,” where their relationship was also important because Singh was so badly injured by Weather Wizard.
* (Warning: If you don't read the comics at all and don't want any hints at something that might happen to a character on the show, maybe, no need to read the rest of this item/review.) On Twitter today, Greg Berlanti offered the following clues to the remaining episodes: “#Vibe, #Grodd, #Rogues, #ReverseFlash.” We know Grodd is still roaming around down there, and it's not surprising at all that Cold and Heat Wave will be back. As for Vibe? Well, Cisco shares a name with a version of that character, but so far the show has managed to avoid turning him into DC's original break-dancing superhero. So it may be that Berlanti's tease was mainly about the dream glasses resembling Vibe's eyewear in his current comics incarnation, or perhaps being around Reverse-Flash's vibrations could at some point give him powers. I'm hoping it's the former (Felicity on “Arrow” has almost nothing in common with her comics namesake), and not just because the version of the character they've given Carlos Valdes to play is too good to mess with.
What did everybody else think?