'The Flash' 2×17 Roundtable: Discussing 'Flash Back'

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 17 of The Flash, “Flash Back,” where we discuss how Barry showed us all what not to do while time traveling, the return of some familiar faces and names, and whether Iris has found closure after Eddie’s death.

What were your overall thoughts on “Flash Back?”

ALYSSA

The Flash is certainly gearing up for its Flash vs. Zoom showdown and this episode proved to be one that was as fun as it was essential. Well, fun if you mean one of your favorite now-deceased characters comes back in this episode and you have to say goodbye all over again. I feel like The Flash is at its best from a plot standpoint when it’s exploring these different time travel and multiverse elements. This was the first episode that we got to see Barry go back in time for a sustained period and watch as he essentially altered the timeline. We knew things that happened during this time, but Barry messing with time gave us some new scenes that expanded upon that time. Oh, Barry, I love you, but you were not smart in this episode.

LIZZIE

Well, that was messy. And complicated. And just …messy. Oh, Barry, I love you, I do, but sometimes (most times, now that I think about it), you’re just as bad as Oliver Queen. You’re just a different sort of pigheaded and oblivious. It looks better on you, because you’re this big puppy, but it’s just as bad as his way, maybe even worse, because at least he’s not trying to hide how much of an idiot he’s actually being.
That being said, there was Eddie. I loved Eddie. I enjoyed Eddie. The video broke my heart. So, at least there’s that.

LYRA

It was a hot mess on not what to do if you want to time travel. I still don’t understand how Barry got away with everything he did. It was also a lesson on how even a train wreck of an episode can break my heart. Pulling Eddie off like that was a sneaky and intelligent move. It gave me and Iris the closure that we needed for Eddie’s character. If he comes back, I’d love it. If he didn’t, I’d be ok too. The chapter of Eddie has closed. Now onto more romances! Give them to me!

So Barry showed exactly how not to time travel in this episode. What were your thoughts on what Barry encountered in the past?

ALYSSA

I feel like Barry could – and should – write a book called, “How Not to Time Travel” because he showed exactly everything you should not do during his little foray back in time. Barry is remarkably smart when it comes to academia, but when it comes to listening to the good advice of others he just fails miserably. But don’t worry, Barry. We still love you.





I really enjoyed this episode because it brought us back to a time that we’ve already seen and with Barry’s changing the timeline gave us a new look at it. Seeing familiar faces like Eobard Thawne, Hartley Rathaway, and Eddie Thawne (sobs) was something that makes you really appreciate a show that can incorporate time travel without misusing it. I loved seeing the chain of effects that came from Barry’s missteps in this past time, including his confrontation with Eobard Thawne when he knew exactly who Barry was. It completely took me by surprise and for a second I feared if we’d be stuck in the past for the next couple of episodes. But luckily Barry used his book smarts to outsmart Thawne and find his way home. Wow, Barry certainly had quite the week with this going back in time and going to alternate universes.

LIZZIE

If there was a list of things NOT TO DO when you time travel, Barry hit each and every one of those markers and then some. In fact, I could almost see it going through his head: No, shouldn’t do this. And then bam, he went and did it. For such a smart guy, Barry can be really dumb sometimes when he lets his heart do all the thinking – and that’s often. In fact, I’m surprised that The Flash writers let him get away with so much – no real consequences other than the Pied Piper being a good guy. I expected it to be worse, much, much worse. I’m still sort of expecting it.
(Also, his reactions? Dude, you time-traveled. Can you at least TRY to pretend that you’re that Barry. I’m not asking for much, just that you TRY)

LYRA

They really should relabel the episode ‘What Not to do When You Time Travel.’ Barry was a hot mess all over. He didn’t know what he was actually doing and jumped in with no plan! I expected Wells to end physically stopping him from ruining the past, in turn ruining the future. Hell, I expected Cisco and Caitlin to do the same thing. Where were they? Barry literally released a dementor into the past. I would imagine that Barry has a diary with a list of things NOT TO DO. This would be added to that list (along with not challenging a giant shark in his territory.)

The timeline has obviously been affected by Barry’s little trip back in time, as we saw with Hartley being on friendly terms. What else do you think might’ve been affected?

ALYSSA

Honestly, Barry is lucky that the timeline wasn’t altered significantly – at least as far as we know – during his visit back to one-year prior. One of the things I was terrified about was that Eobard Thawne would’ve found a way to sustain himself and we’d had not one, but two problems on our hands here. But the only immediate effect that we noticed as a result was Hartley Rathaway being an ally rather than a nemesis. As for what else could be changed, well, honestly I have no idea. Everything that is front and center appears to be pretty much the same, but if there’s anything we’ve learned on this show it’s that messing with time has its consequences.

LIZZIE

Something, PLEASE. I don’t even want this to happen, I just need it, for continuity’s sake. You can’t tell me all of Barry’s fumbling did nothing. That just does NOT compute. I need this to have consequences, for my peace of mind. Common sense dictates that something else get messed up because of this. I’m begging here.
Whatever it is, it’s not something that relates directly to the team – but maybe it’s something that’ll affect Barry going forward? Something with Joe? With Iris? I’ll take anything at this point, as long as something happens.

LYRA

Can I be honest? I didn’t even think of that. I was so focused on the Eddie video that I didn’t notice Hartley being nice to them. *covers face* I did like his change in attitude. He’s always been one of my favourites because of his slightly flirtatious commentary when kidnapped. Hartley is a positive change in this world and I’d love to see him back because he’s ridiculously smart. As for people that have been affected…I have absolutely no idea. Maybe that random officer who came into Barry’s lab missed his big break? Or how about someone being scarred for life by the appearance by the dementor. Damn. I might have to watch the episode again. It’s going to be the most random thing. I knowwww it!

Iris has been unable to move forward romantically since Eddie’s death last season. Do you think she finally found some closure in this episode?

ALYSSA

We really haven’t seen too much of Iris struggling with Eddie’s death. It was a focus in the season premiere, but it’s existed as something beneath the surface up to this point. But when you think about it; think about how Iris has struggled in the romantic department whether that’s with thinking about moving forward with Barry romantically or this new guy she’s started dating, it all comes back to one thing: she’s not over Eddie. While I count myself as someone who ships Barry and Iris, I cannot and will not deny that I absolutely loved Iris and Eddie together. They were a couple that had a health, loving relationship and they helped each other grow as people. And I was completely devastated when Eddie was killed last season. I don’t think I’m over it even to this day.
Perhaps the most heartwarming/heartbreaking scene of the night came when Barry presented Iris with a video that he had recorded of Eddie from his trip back in time. I knew from the moment Barry asked Eddie to say something to Iris for her “birthday video” in the past that Barry was going to show it to Iris, and I was going to be a heaping pile of tears on the ground. And I was correct. We got to see Eddie’s message and Iris’ reaction. Eddie telling her that he wants Iris to have happiness even if it’s not with him was really something I think she took to heart. While it’s not going to be an instantaneous fix, I think Iris is more open to opening her heart to someone again. So in a sense she has gotten some closure. She doesn’t feel so guilty anymore. She can live her life and know that by being happy she’s not betraying Eddie; she’s honoring him.

LIZZIE

In a way, I think so, yes. I think the thing that really killed Iris was not just that Eddie was gone, but that they were left in such a limbo. When you are with a person a long time, you’ve had all the conversations, the what would you do if I was gone, what would you want, etc. Eddie and Iris did not get to that point. And so, even if Iris mourned him, and even if she wanted to believe that Eddie would want her to be happy in his absence, nothing compares to hearing Eddie say these things.
That doesn’t mean it’s like a switch being flipped, and boom, Iris is now 100% over Eddie, no. Grief is a process, and for all that sometimes The Flash asks us to make absurd leaps of logic, they’ve treated Iris’s mourning with the respect it deserves. No one gets over losing the man they thought they were going to marry in a few months. She might not get over it in a few years. But now that she’s dealing with it, now that she’s facing it head on, she’s got a chance to actually come out of this and be as happy as Eddie would have wanted her to be.

LYRA

Absolutely! Eddie’s video reaffirmed their love. It showed her that it was time to move on. What they had was real and she’ll never forget the way he made her feel or how much he loved her. It might have not ended the way she wanted but he died a hero who only wanted to keep her safe. As she moves forward in her life she’ll look for men that have the qualities that he once held. Look out men. You’ve got an amazing man to live up to!

This week saw the returns of several familiar faces and names from season one. Who did you enjoy seeing most?

ALYSSA

There is no question, just one answer: Eddie Thawne. While Eobard Thawne and Hartley Rathaway were definitely highlights of the episode, the only thing I cared about was seeing Eddie again. It was like he’d never left; that he’d just been on vacation and not gone from the world. I really enjoyed getting to not only go back in time to one singular moment but being able to explore that time a little and really dive into that sense of nostalgia as we relived certain events of season one with knowledge of everything that has come after up to this point.

LIZZIE

Eddie, for sure. The thing about Eddie is, for all that he was, in name at least, the other half of the WestAllen love triangle, he was never a guy we hated. Or, fine, he wasn’t even a guy we disliked. He was just a good guy who fell in love with a girl and tried to do right by her. Which, in my book, would have been enough, but he also ended up being the hero who, for all that Barry got the glory, essentially saved the city. Eddie sacrificed himself, his future, so everyone else could live.
But, now that I’m done gushing over Eddie, I have to say I sort of enjoyed Eobard-as-Harrison. I sorta missed the guy, what can I say?

LYRA

Eddie, of course. God…I just want to hug him close and do something unthinkable like save him or something. But I know it would be useless and mean that the Reverse Flash would win. There’s no way I would take away that sacrifice from Eddie. (No matter how much I want to. Just had to repeat that so you know how much I want Eddie back.) You could see it in Barry’s eyes too. It was like looking at a ghost who died a heroes death. He was thinking about everything he could and only coming up with getting the video for Iris. If only Eddie knew what Barry did, I think he would be so grateful to say goodbye to the woman he loved in the most heartwarming way.





His body did fall through that anomaly…who’s to say that he isn’t out there? On a different Earth? Maybe not the same man but still the same face. *shrug* The Flash has pulled some crazy stunts. Whose to say they can’t do this?

Now that Barry has the equation for getting faster — thanks, Eobard Thawne — do you think Barry’s ready to face Zoom?

ALYSSA

I feel like this season Barry has learned a lot about what it takes to go up against Zoom. He’s learned the hard way not to be over-cocky or to underestimate Zoom by any means and the lone thing missing has been the speed component. I remain convinced that, while Barry being as fast or faster than Zoom will certainly help him, that it won’t be speed that determines the victor in this battle. It will be intellect and motivation that will ultimately spell victory for Barry. Zoom already believes he’s won, so Barry can use that to his advantage. Not to mention Barry isn’t fighting just for himself: he’s fighting for his friends, his loved ones, and the people of both Earth-1 and Earth-2. This is so much bigger than him. Plus, he won’t be alone in his fight. So while I don’t feel like Barry is ready right this moment to face Zoom, I do believe that Barry will be ready to face Zoom not long after because he’s much more aware of it takes to not only go up against him but to ultimately prevail.

LIZZIE

No. Wait, how can I put this more clearly? No freaking way. Barry is not ready, because although Barry now possesses the knowledge he needs to face Zoom, he still isn’t in the right mindset to beat him. Sometimes I think we’d make the perfect superhero if we could combine Barry Allen and Oliver Queen, because the things Oliver lacks are the things Barry has in spades, and viceversa. In this instance, Barry needs Oliver’s laser-like focus and willingness to do anything –and I mean anything, to get Zoom. I’m not saying he’s gotta kill him outright, but I am saying that Barry, at this point in the game, is not just mentally strong enough to take on a foe like Zoom and prevail, because he’s not willing to do anything, to sacrifice anything. And the sad thing is, I think Barry WILL get there. I just don’t want to speculate as to HOW.

LYRA

Nope. It was too easy. I know, I know big words. But we’ve still got plenty of episodes to go. This is only episode 17. There is some crazy big plot point that will make sense but only be revealed at the very end. Zoom can’t be the evil that has been ahead of them every step of the way, and no matter what world. I bet that’s not even Jay, Zoom I mean. For all we know the Zoom that looks like Jay has been jumping around Earth collecting all the speedsters powers and not killing the ones that look like him. Why? Because of sentimental value. It’s his pretty face after all.
What are your thoughts on “Flash Back?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!
Join us for another The Flash roundtable when it returns April 19.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
 
 



 

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