The Reverse-Flash is back! What does this mean for Barry? Who the heck is Eobard Thawne? How do the events of this week’s episode tie into the comic book source material? Fortunately, you have Flashback to fill in the bits.
HE’S BACK… — When Cisco (Carlos Valdes) gets a vibe of Eobard Thawne (guest star Matthew Letscher), Barry (Grant Gustin) and the team don’t believe it. But, after an attack at Mercury Labs, Christina McGee (guest star Amanda Pays) confirms that the Reverse Flash is back. Meanwhile, Iris (Candice Patton) and Francine (guest star Vanessa A. Williams) share a nice moment that brings Iris closer to her brother, Wally (Keiynan Lonsdale). Michael Allowitz directed the episode written by Aaron Helbing & Todd Helbing (#211). Original airdate 1/26/2016.
IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME
If this is your first time checking out Flashback, welcome! Keep in mind that this article is not meant to be a review or summary of this week’s episode. Instead Flashback takes a look at characters, elements, themes, and locations and puts them in context to the source material. Think of it as a fantastic companion piece to the television show.
If this is your first time watching The Flash, and you are wondering what is going on, then you should probably stop, go back to season one, and watch from there, as this episode is heavily reliant on your knowledge of the first season. If that isn’t your thing, then here is the quick rundown on Eobard Thawne (aka Professor Zoom, aka The Reverse-Flash).
Though his motives and desires mirror ONE of the Reverse Flash characters from comics, the Eobard we know from comics has a slightly different backstory than the one in the television show.
Eobard Thawne was born in the 25th Century, a time when you could genetically engineer your child. Eobard’s parents tweaked his code to make him super intelligent, but in the process made him very anti-social. On the plus side, Eobard was intensely interested in everything related to the Speed Force, and in a weird time travel twist that is about as wacky as Bill and Ted reminding themselves to remember a trash can, a future version of Thawne travelled through time to kill those that blocked his way, including Professor Drake, the curator of the Flash Museum of the 25th Century. His altering of the timeline allowed Thawne to take over Drake’s position at the Flash Museum, and because of his knowledge of the Speed Force, he was given the nickname Professor Zoom.
Thawne longed for the good ole days of superheroes, and wanted to live and meet Barry Allen. Unfortunately, the Cosmic Treadmill wasn’t calibrated correctly, and Thawne ended up arriving after Barry Allen’s death during the time that Wally West was the Flash. This drove him a “little” crazy causing him to believe he was Barry Allen that was chronicled in the Return of Barry Allen storyline from Flash #73-79 written by Mark Waid, with art by Greg LaRocque.
Even though The Reverse Flash was used quite a bit in the 90s and early 2000s, the character has his origins in The Flash #139 from September 1963. The Reverse Flash was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. There is an interesting reason why the first appearance issue may be important. in that story, a time capsule was sent into space so that future generations would be able to see what things were like in the long ago time. Included in that capsule was one of the Flash’s spare costumes. While it will be interesting to see how it plays out on the television show, it would be a great nod to have one of Barry’s costumes be the one The Reverse-Flash uses in the future.
In an attempt to save Jay Garrick the search begins to find the Jay Garrick of Earth-1. We’ve speculated on the Flashback podcast, that the Earth-1 Jay Garrick may have died, but those theories were dashed, when it was revealed that young Jay Garrick of Earth-1 bounced around from foster home to foster home until he was adopted by the Zolomon family.
Hunter Zolomon was the third Reverse-Flash in comic book continuity, first appearing in The Flash: Secret Files and Origins #3 from 2001. Hunter Zolomon was created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins. Yes, that Geoff Johns, who is now the Chief Creative Officer at DC Entertainment.
Here then is your fast recap on Hunter Zolomon and his love/hate/hate relationship with The Flash.
On the day he was leaving for college, Hunter came home to find out that his father was a serial killer, his mother was dead, and the police were laying siege to his home. That was the day Hunter decided he would become a criminal profiler – getting inside the mind of the bad guys. He moved to Central City, became friends with Wally West (the third Flash), and the two solved crimes together until the day Gorilla Grodd broke Hunter’s back during an incident at Iron Heights.
Hunter begged Wally to use the Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time to keep the incident from happening, but Wally refused, worrying it would cause the time-stream to break. Hunter then hypothesized that because Wally had never had an extreme tragedy in his life, that he should become Zoom in order to make Wally a better hero.
In a controversial story, Zoom attacked Linda Park (Wally’s wife at the time), causing her unborn twins to die during the attack. Wally was able to defeat Zoom by locking him in a time loop, thus preventing him from becoming a threat in the future… until eventually he did become a threat to the Flash in other storylines.
With Zoom, Hunter Zolomon AND Eobard Thawne running around this season, I can’t wait until Max Mercury, Johnny Quick, or the Red Trinity make their appearances in the Arrowverse. Actually, Max Mercury showing up in the show as the Zen Master of Speed would actually make for some great storytelling if DC/Warner Bros. were interested in going down that path.
While we really don’t need to spend a lot of time talking about Cisco’s history, I did find it very interesting that Vibe now has a pair of glasses like his New 52 counterpart.
I also continue to love the animosity between Harry Wells of Earth-2 and Cisco as they constantly badger each other.
We’ve seen Flash vibrate through walls (S01-E17 Tricksters), before, but this week we saw one of the Flash’s most important powers – changing a tire in seconds flat. I wish I had those powers when I was younger, as my high school truck had a flat tire once or twice a week for nearly three years. Sadly, I couldn’t find any connection between the Steele trucking company and DC Comics. Sure, there’s John Henry Irons, but that hero is Steel, not Steele.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Patty Spivot made an odd comment to Barry this week. She said she was surprised he worked with Star Labs. With the death of Harrison Wells, and the fact that a multi-million dollar tech building is in the heart of Central City, one would guess that everyone would know by now that Barry owns the facility.
The Hunter Zolomon reveal took place at Hoffer Park in Central City. While there isn’t a connection to the DCU that I could find (this is where you come in, Dear Reader), Christian Hoffer, formerly of The Outhousers, used to write a weekly wrap up of the latest episode of the Flash. With last week’s reveal that Russell Glosson might be tied to a now defunct Flash podcast, I wonder if the creators are now including Easter Eggs and nods to hardcore fans of the show.
Have I mentioned lately that even though I talk about Batman a lot, Flash is actually my favorite hero? Why else would I write this article each week. (Smily, winky face).
What is the Einstein Riddle? Supposedly, it is a riddle written by physicist Albert Einstein when he was a young boy. It goes something like this:
There are five houses in five different colors in a row. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The five owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage. Other facts:
1. The Brit lives in the red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The green house is on the immediate left of the white house.
5. The green house’s owner drinks coffee.
6. The owner who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The owner living in the center house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The owner who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
11. The owner who keeps the horse lives next to the one who smokes Dunhill.
12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The owner who smokes Blends lives next to the one who drinks water.
The question is: who owns the fish?
It’s a pretty good logic problem, and the answer, Dear Reader, can be found below. Interestingly, Einstein said 98% of the world would not be able to answer the riddle.
IT’S CALLED A SECRET IDENTITY FOR A REASON!
Dr. Harrison Wells(deceased)
- Eobard Thawne (as Dr. Harrison Wells)
- Dr. Harry Wells (Earth-2)
- Dr. Caitlin Snow
- Dr. Cisco Ramon
- Detective Joe West
- Dr. Martin Stein
- Mrs. Clarissa Stein
- Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper)
- Felicity Smoak
- General Wade Eiling
- Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)
- John Diggle
Bette Sans Souci(deceased)
- Dr. Henry Allen (out of prison)
Iris West(in another timeline)
- Iris West-Allen (in the future)
- Iris West (via spark touch)
- Leonard Snart (Captain Cold)
Detective Eddie Thawne(deceased)
- Ray Palmer (The Atom)
- Brie Larvan
- Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
Hannibal Bates (Everyman)(deceased)
- Gorilla Grodd
- Lyla Diggle (Harbinger)
- Jay Garrick (The Flash of Earth-2)
- Dr. Henry Hewitt
- Jefferson Jackson (Firestorm)
- Linda Park
- Malcolm Merlin/Al Sa-Her/Ra’s al Ghul
- Vandal Savage
- Kendra Saunders (Hawkgirl)
- Cater Hall (Hawkman)
- Thea Queen (Speedy)
- Patty Spivot
And that should be everything! What did I miss? What did you catch? Use the comment section below to share your thoughts on this episode, and until next week – RUN, BARRY! RUN!
Next week, Tar-Pit enters the fight!
FLASHBACK: THE PODCAST
Want to hear Matthew Peterson and I sit down to discuss this episode in detail? If you are a Major Spoilers VIP, look for the Flashback Podcast hitting the VIP site very soon![signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]