Well, on the one hand, I was right about a lot of last week’s kind of rushed but admittedly pretty awesome climax being undone by the very end of the episode.
On the other hand, for the way it developed this week, I really don’t mind it. While this isn’t as strong an episode, it’s still a very good follow-up.
Picking up in the aftermath of last week, Barry has come to realize he’s traveled backwards in time. His first impulse is to act on that classic impulse that comes with future knowledge – staying two steps ahead to move things in a good direction.
The idea that Barry quickly detains Mardon based on that future knowledge, while admittedly kind of cheap, is also pretty damn amusing in terms of its execution. Besides, given how much of the rest of that future knowledge gets thrown back in his face (as is often the case in these stories to teach people not to screw with space time), no sense not letting him at least have this one.
The time travel admittedly isn’t the main focus of the episode, though it does still see a good amount of focus. Besides just introducing it, the main aim of that plot really helps in re-establishing why Harrison is still as trusted as he is. For as sometimes cold and calculating as he can seem, sometimes he is right- as he is in telling Barry not to mess with the flow of events based on future knowledge.
The blowout DOES also address one of my issues from last week, and even seems to hang the proverbial lampshade on it – after how quickly the prior episode cleared the road between Barry and Iris,this week threw a bunch of hurdles right back into it. Barry’s unflagging optimism is actually kind of sad to watch as his attempts to re-stage the situation again just get more people mad at him rather than bringing anyone closer.
Besides the time travel, this week marks the return of Leonard Snart and Mick Rory, now up Snart’s sister Lisa (Peyton List) as well. One of the things I have to hand to how the show has handled these characters – even when they lack their signature weapons, they still find ways to make the team formidable threats. Yes, even with the sometimes hilariously hammy performance by Dominic Purcell as Rory/Heat Wave.
Said threat is brought up in full swing with a storyline that puts Cisco (thankfully still alive after last week) into focus. For a character we’ve seen every week, this is our first real look at his life outside of STAR Labs, and while it’s a sort of story we’ve likely all heard told before, it’s played well. At the point where when Snart decides to motivate Cisco by threatening his brother (Nicholas Gonzalez)- a man the show has established he is somewhat estranged from- the scene hits pretty hard. It’s not overwrought, but you can’t help but feel for the guy in that moment.
Actually, I know I already gave him a direct shoutout last week, but in light of this week as well, I do have to again express my satisfaction with how Carlos Valdes has played Cisco on the show so far. For a character that was initially just a humorous support, he’s done a lot with really showing some of the inner conflicts the guy has going on behind the smiles and easygoing nicknames. Makes me that much happier to see that plot point from last week was undone – it was a great scene, but it’d be a shame to lose Valdes after a performance like that.
For an episode that could be somewhat cynically seen as resetting the status quo, the overall episode doesn’t actually feel like. Even though the events have been undone, the fact Barry remembers them means we will likely see their shadow over future events. Plus, the introduction of time travel makes this feel more like a new chapter in the story has begun rather than business as usual.
On that note, I have to say, I’m pretty excited for next week’s episode. It may not be as much of a game changer as the last few weeks have been, but the idea of Mark Hamill returning to the screen to appear as the villain the Trickster has me pretty sold on seeing how Tricksters turns out.
-Does a good job of running counter to the ‘I can make everything right cause I know the future’ idea
-Another great week for Carlos Valdes
-While the time travel is something of a game changer, it gets backburnered in lieu of the Rogues storyline
-The fate of Mason at the end of this episode is something had kind of seen coming. Not all bad, but it was inevitable, really.