‘The Flash’ 2×11 Roundtable: ‘The Reverse-Flash Returns’

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of The Flash and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down episode 11 of The Flash, “The Reverse-Flash Returns,” where we discuss x

The Reverse Flash returned and we got to see his origin story play out. What were your thoughts on that?

ALYSSA

I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I love who Reverse Flash is and who he is to Barry because of the emotional implications, but I was afraid that his return would be a triumphant one-off that would spell the end. But in fact Eobard Thawne’s return was about more than just an infamous villain of Barry’s past returning – it was a look at what happens when you mess with time. This wasn’t the Reverse Flash we knew from last season – that knew exactly who Barry Allen was and what would happen. This is a Reverse Flash who’s origin story was just beginning, and there was something so intriguing about that. One of my favorite things about Reverse Flash on this show has been the emotional confrontations with Barry. They’re on another level. Barry Allen isn’t a hateful person, but Reverse Flash brings out the hate within him. It’s personal. My favorite part about Thawne’s return was that big emotional moment when he was locked away in the pipeline. We finally learned why Reverse Flash hated Flash so much: he wanted to be The Flash but couldn’t. That’s why he ruined The Flash’s life. It somehow made it even more painful and made me angrier about the whole thing. But I liked that the show let Reverse Flash return to his time, hinting that there will be another future Flash-Reverse Flash showdown down the line.

LIZZIE

Time-travel is a complicated thing, but like someone who’s watched her fair share of time-travel shows and read her fair share of time-travel stories, I figure out pretty fast that this was all meant to be. This is what made it personal for Thawne. In a way, that made it better, and it made it worse. I knew they were going to have to send him to the future. I knew it wasn’t going to change anything. And yet, for a moment there, I hoped they did. I wanted it.

Not at the expense of Cisco, though. No way. I can’t do this without my Cisco.

LYRA

I was confused for about 50% of the episode. We’ve done a lot of time traveling but this was just blowing my mind. Every time time travel is introduced it has it’s own set of rules and I’m not quite sure what holds true for The Flash. Can I get a manual?

Nevertheless it was nice to see The Reverse Flash to understand how far Barry has come. Once upon a time Barry thought the biggest challenge he would have to face was this villain. Now we knows that the world is bigger than he ever imagined. He could and will continue to strive even through the worse of times.

The Flash -- "The Reverse Flash Returns" -- Image FLA211b_0017b -- Pictured (L-R): Amanda Pays as Christina McGee and Matthew Letscher as Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

There was an amazing scene with Iris and her mother where she told her that she forgave her but regretted what could’ve been. What did you think about that scene?

ALYSSA

This was a scene that Iris and her mother needed to have, but I was always afraid they’d never get to have. A lot of times we’ll see people realize too late that they should’ve said goodbye, should’ve forgiven someone before it’s too late. Luckily Iris realized this before it was too late and she got to clear the air with her mother. She got to tell her that she forgives her. That she’s not angry with her anymore. She’s just sad about what could’ve been. For Iris her disappointment stems from the fact that she’ll never know what it would’ve been like to grow up with her mother and brother. She never got to know them, and now her mother is being taken from her.

There’s a moment after Iris has visited her mother that she’s overcome with emotion and tells Joe, “I barely knew her.” Despite that feeling of betrayal, we saw Iris come to a place where she understood the severity of the situation – her mother is dying. While she has no allegiance to her considering she barely knows her that doesn’t change the fact that she’s her mother and that a part of her cares for her. Because Iris knows that she would’ve regretted clearing the air with her mother the same way she regrets not being able to tell Eddie how he was her everything.

LIZZIE

A part of me was screaming: DON’T FORGIVE HER, IRIS. It’s too easy. The rest of me was too busy crying to pay attention to the screaming part, though. Because, in the end, the things Francine did wrong (and there were a lot of those) weren’t as important as Iris getting that closure, and the chance to say goodbye to her mother. Her tears, as she hugged Joe, and tried to make sense of why this encounter with a person she barely knew was affecting her so much, were all of us who have ever lost someone. You can’t make sense of grief, and I’m kind of glad Iris didn’t try. It made it all more real.

Candice Patton is a great actress who doesn’t usually get enough material to show her range. She did this episode, and she hit it out of the park. And I’m really, really happy all her emotional scenes this season have had to do with the family dynamic. We don’t need shipping to come into it, not now. Not for the rest of the season, I’d say. Barry is not in the right place. She is not in the right place. And the possible relationship is better served by treating it with respect it deserves. Give Iris time to deal with the changing family issues. Give Barry time to deal with how much of an idiot he can be/was. And then, next season, who knows?

LYRA

It was rushed but perfect. There was nothing else she could’ve said to the woman because she didn’t know her. She did something that I don’t even think I’d be capable of. Her heart is bigger than imagined.

The Flash -- "The Reverse Flash Returns" -- Image FLA211a_0418b -- Pictured (L-R): Candice Patton as Iris West and Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

We also saw some development with Iris and Wally where she gave some big sisterly advice about seeing his mother one last time. What did you think about that and their relationship moving forward?

ALYSSA

I thought it was very mature of Iris to reach out to Wally and basically communicate through the same sentiment that she shared previously: she felt betrayed. Here Iris went on growing up without her mother – believing she was dead only to learn that her mother actively chose to leave. She understood exactly where Wally was coming from, and yet she didn’t want Wally to have to deal with the fallout if he didn’t get to tell his mother he loved her one final time.

Iris knows firsthand how it feels to miss out on the chance to tell someone you love goodbye; to not be able to tell them how much you love them; to not be able to let them know just how important they were to you before they are taken from you. That’s what happened with Eddie. While the pair had begun to reconcile following a brief separation where Eddie believed he’d never stand a chance with her – that Barry and her were meant to be – they were in a really good place before Eddie sacrificed himself to save them all. But Iris never got to tell him that he was her world, and that’s something she didn’t want Wally to have to deal with if he didn’t go see his mother for one last time. What was great about Wally finally coming around to what Iris had to say was that he asked Iris to come with her. It was nice to see that Iris and Wally are developing a bond between them. They won’t become the tradition siblings overnight, but they’re starting to get to a place that’s good for the future of their relationship.

LIZZIE

I liked it much more than I expected to. I’m still not completely sold on Wally, but, with Francine gone, Joe and Iris are his only family. Well, Joe, Iris and Barry. So, what Wally does to integrate himself into the family unit moving forward is the story. Iris, being the big sister she never got to be, got things off to a great start in this episode, and what’s even better, Wally LET her. He reached out to her. He doesn’t have to do everything right, and he doesn’t have to know how this works, but I wish he would just try. That’s all I need. For him to try.

LYRA

Their relationship is being introduced in the small increments needed. There is no rushing into them being family or best friends. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to building bonds that survive through thick and thin. And things are definitely going to get worse before they get better.

Patty learned that Barry is The Flash, and she gave Barry the chance to tell her the truth. And he still didn’t. What are your thoughts on that?

ALYSSA

Honestly I’m heartbroken for both of them. I’m heartbroken that Patty put herself out there – declared that she would put off her dream of becoming a CSI to make things work with Barry because she wanted to, because maybe she was in love with him or she was damn close to it. I was heartbroken for Barry because he is so terrified of more people he cares about getting hurt because of him that he couldn’t accept Patty’s offer no matter how much you know he wanted to. But then again I’m still angry at Barry for him continuing to lie even when Patty has called him out for it. She knows the truth. That should’ve made things easier and instead it only served to complicate matters. And now at this point while I’m hoping she returns to Central City in the future, I’m afraid we won’t see her for a while, and that’s a shame because Patty was an incredibly important and beloved character this season on The Flash. No matter how long she’s gone – be it a short while, a long while, or permanently – I’m going to miss her so very much.

LIZZIE

All my goodwill towards Barry, the kind, gentle Barry of Season 1, has gone out the window with this Patty storyline. I still love him, he’s always been one of my favorites, if not MY favorite character on this show, but right now I’m not very happy with him, and I just …I have to be harsh. Tough love and all.

Simply put, Barry’s an idiot. His idiocy is reaching S1-S2 Oliver levels, and that’s saying a LOT, especially considering I never thought Barry could even get close to that. Barry was always the smartest one, the one who made FUN of Oliver because he was so obtuse and damaged. Well, good job, Barry. You’re losing to Oliver Queen in the “How Stupid can you be?” game, and you’re losing by a country mile.

His whole excuse about not wanting Patty to miss out on CSI school was pure BS. He was afraid. Afraid of admitting it, afraid of letting her in, afraid of loving her and putting her in danger, afraid of the possibility of losing her, afraid of falling in love….just …afraid. And fear won. Barry’s supposed to be a superhero, but in this, he let his insecurities beat him.

And he also treated Patty like an idiot. I mean, she knew. She was willing to give up everything for him. She wanted to be his partner. And the worst thing is, Barry wanted that too. He just wasn’t strong enough to grab it.

LYRA

I understand both of their sides and it’s utterly frustrating. On one hand Patty deserves to know. She’s a grown woman who knows what she wants and has proven herself to be trustworthy and an ally. Barry shouldn’t decide for her. On the other hand it’s Barry’s secret. He shouldn’t be forced to reveal the truth if he isn’t ready. Question is, will he ever?

Patty calling him under a false alarm was her final play. She showed him that she could handle and would keep his secret. When Barry is ready she’ll be there to help him as a friend or more. It’s still early in the OTP game and anything can happen.

The Flash -- "The Reverse Flash Returns" -- Image FLA211a_0319b -- Pictured (L-R): Shantel Van Santen as Detective Patty Spivot and Grant Gustin as Barry Allen -- Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

We saw the continued evolution of Cisco’s metahuman ability with the help of Harry. What do you think about Cisco’s new ability to see the future and those goggles?

ALYSSA

I’m loving Cisco’s journey this season because it’s showing that he’s evolving as something more than the comedic relief and heart of the team. Don’t get me wrong I love those two things about him, but I’m excited for him to get an arc where we can really dig deep into his character. Seeing the evolution of his metahuman abilities is really fascinating, and I love seeing Cisco discovering it. I loved this development in his ability – to see the future. It really came in handy this week, huh? A part of me really likes that Harry is working with Cisco and helping him learn to control it. Granted it’s clear that Wells would like to use Cisco’s abilities possibly to help them locate Zoom and in turn save his daughter. But a part of me can’t help but hope that Wells is sort of developing ties to Earth-1 and hope that he comes to a point where he genuinely cares about these people.

LIZZIE

Cisco is one of the best parts of The Flash. He always has been. What I’m loving more and more is not just Cisco, it’s his whole interaction with Harry. Not only do they play well of each other (Cisco is the disobedient child, Harry the reluctant parent), but you can feel an undercurrent of actual affection in their interactions. Sure, Harry wants to save his daughter. He’d do anything to save her. But I don’t think he anticipated he’d come to care for someone while he was doing that “anything.”

That aside, Cisco’s abilities are cool, the goggles are kind of awesome and the whole thing with him seeing the future is surely going to come in handy. Until it backfires and we’re all left to try to pick up the pieces. Because that’s what’s coming, right? Right?

LYRA

It’s scary! He started disappearing when the timeline was messed with. And it’s only going to get more dangerous as the story unfolds with Zoom. It’s also really exciting. It will present Cisco with independent story lines and struggles that will make him struggle, grow, and become a better person.

We saw Caitlin work hard to find a way to save Jay that didn’t involve stopping Zoom and getting his speed back. But we learned that it’s not possible – that stopping Zoom is the only way. What do you think about Jay’s fate?

ALYSSA

At this point since things seem hopeless for Jay I want to believe that he’ll be okay in the end. But my gut is telling me that this story won’t be a happy one. Stopping Zoom will prove to be an immeasurable task that will surely see a casualty along the way, as did going up against Reverse Flash. The likely casualty, to me, is Jay but not as a result of him not having his speed. I believe we’ll see Jay fight to stop Zoom and ultimately meet his end by sacrificing himself to save the team. We’ve seen that Jay is trying to or perhaps has already come to terms with his fate. He knows he’s dying, but he won’t risk people’s lives to save him. He’s a hero. It’s not what he does. Being a hero means understanding that you have to make sacrifices. And not all heroes survive. I want to believe that there are happy endings on The Flash, but last year proved that once you start believing that bad things happen. Seeing as the midseason finale ended on a happy note, I think it’s safe to assume that the season finale will end on a not-so-happy note. Sorry, Jay, but I think your time is about to run out.

LIZZIE

First of all, can we talk about Jay’s doppelganger and the possibility that he’s Zoom? I mean, the name can’t just be a coincidence, right? Right? Barry’s too skinny, but Jay could actually WORK. And the name has to mean something. Whatever it is, I think this is going to come into play at some point. Either that or the writers are just trying to psych the comic fans out. Which, possible, but not likely.

So, back to Jay …meh. I’m only interested in his possible evilness. I think he’s toast either way, and I can’t say that I’m going to shed many tears. I just don’t find him interesting. I mean, Harry is not such a good guy and I want to keep him around forever. Jay is just …bland, and Caitlin’s whole thing with him feels a bit forced to me. She doesn’t want to lose someone else, but the question is, does that mean she wants to have Jay? Or is she just trying to prevent him going the same way as Ronnie?

LYRA

I think Jay will survive all of this (he’s too sweet and beautiful to die!) In some twist of fate they’ll get his abilities back and he’ll have to return to Earth-2 to take care of his world. Caitlin’s support and friendship will keep his head above water until that time comes.

What are your thoughts on “The Reverse-Flash Returns?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!

Join us for another The Flash roundtable next Monday!

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.

Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, This Is Us and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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