Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Barry finally realizes his plan is terrible on The Flash

Tom Cavanagh
Tom Cavanagh
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)

It’s an inevitable part of any season of The Flash—sometimes occurring multiple times per Big Bad arc. Barry comes up with a terrible plan. Everyone else knows it’s terrible, but Barry insists he has to do it anyway. And pretty much every time, that plan blows up in Barry’s face. It’s just a part of his character we’ve had to accept over the years, and it’s no different in “Timeless”...at least until the last minute.

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Barry’s plan to defeat the Forces without helping Nora kill them is to travel back in time and prevent them from being created in the first place. Their creation happened the same night Team Flash fired up the Artificial Speed Force, which explains the different colored lightning that emanated from the rooftop beam. Barry and Iris both have a little bit of all the forces inside them, as they are effectively the parents of Fuerza, Psych, and the Still Force. Hey, it all worked out so well last time Barry and Iris were parents, so why not?

Traveling back in time is one of the big no-nos for Team Flash, as Cisco is quick to remind everyone. Doing so could create another Flashpoint, screw up the timeline, and cause more problems than it solves. Iris is definitely not down for this plan, and Cisco has his strong doubts as well. Barry thinks he can prevent any timeline confusion by...well, going back in time and finding Harrison Wells in the year 2000, relaxing at home with his wife. It’s a little strange to see Tom Cavanagh here just a week after the news that he’s already left the show, but we were promised guest appearances and here’s the first one.

You may recall that “Timeless Wells,” as he’s been dubbed here, has the ability to relive any point in his life, and he seems content to use this extraordinary power to watch old West Wing episodes with his loved one. He does agree to help Barry, as he can use his timelessness to protect the current timeline with a time bubble and...well, he just seems to be making up his powers on the spot, but it’s fine. The question now is not whether Barry can pull off his mission, but whether he should try to do it at all.

Kayla Compton, Victoria Park, Candice Patton
Kayla Compton, Victoria Park, Candice Patton
Photo: Bettina Strauss (The CW)

Iris doesn’t think so, so she enlists Team Citizen in a plan to track down Nora and try to talk some sense into her. Kamilla is able to use her Cisco-enhanced camera to view Iris’s force energy and use it as a divining rod to track down Nora. The search leads to the old Allen house where Barry’s real mother met her end, and leaves us wondering once again why nothing has been done with this house in the years since. Presumably Barry owns it now and is just leaving it intact in case he ever feels like revisiting the worst night of his life.

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Nora isn’t there, but Psych is, leading to Iris’s fear-induced vision of Nora telling her she’ll never be good enough for Barry. Meanwhile, Dion shows up at STAR Labs just in time to temporarily derail the time travel plan. Turns out he’s not too excited about the prospect of being separated from the force that has made him a god.

What Barry really needs at this point is a good old fashioned pep talk from Joe. Hey, it’s been a while! Joe makes an analogy between his attempts at parenting Wally and Barry’s relationship with the Forces, but it doesn’t sink in right away. What separates this occasion from most of Barry’s previous botches is that it does eventually sink in, after he and Wells go back in time and nearly complete the deed. At the last minute, after witnessing the birth of the Forces, Barry decides he was wrong all along, and chooses to let them live. Growth!

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It’s not all for nothing, however, as Barry and Iris realize they have the power to bring Alexa back to life. More importantly, we’re finally given a proper goodbye scene between Cisco and Wells, even if there’s no way of knowing for sure whether this will end up being their final scene together. After all, a Timeless Wells could show up at any...uh, time.

Stray observations 

  • Remember back in the third episode of this season when Wells appeared to see something in STAR Labs that was never explained? Tonight we learned that he saw himself, and evidently decided there must have been a good reason for him to be there, so there was no need to tell anyone else.
  • Caitlin mentions that Frost was locked away for life earlier this same day and gets no reaction at all, not even from Barry, who wasn’t around for any of that. Really touching stuff.
  • Wells nudges Cisco toward accompanying Kamilla out to San Francisco, which could mean Carlos Valdes’s exit from the series is imminent.
  • In last week’s review, I mentioned that the next season of The Flash would be the last. It turns out I must have read that in a newspaper from an alternate timeline, because I can find no evidence of such an announcement now. I guess there’s no telling how long the Flash will run.
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My debut novel Charlesgate Confidential is now available from Hard Case Crime.