The Flash “Flash Back” Review (Season 2 Episode 17)

After the giddy heights of last night’s big crossover episode – which you can read my thoughts about here – it would’ve taken a series-best episode of The Flash to be anywhere near as entertaining. While “Flash Back” didn’t quite hit those highs, it was a still a step up from last week’s disappointing outing.

Of course, as a time travel fan, I’m always excited when Barry punches his way through the fourth dimension. Here, we had an added, Back to the Future II style twist as Barry visited Central City one year earlier, arriving in the middle of season one. With a goal of getting Eobard Thawne to help him increase his speed, Barry’s mission was pretty much guaranteed to hit complications from the start, which always means fun times for the audience.

That said, for someone with a genius-level intellect, Barry is an absolute dolt when it comes to dealing with time travel and world-hopping. He made some questionable decisions during his Earth-2 trip, but here, he takes countless unnecessary risks, starting with breaking from his initial plan when he arrives early. He then plays things way too obvious with Thawne and changes the outcome of Hartley’s imprisonment. Now, things ultimately work out for the best – I particularly like how this gives Hartley a chance to become a reformed villain like in the comics – but it’s frustrating to see Barry being such a dolt with how he handles his time-travelling escapades.

Still, the way things played out was plenty entertaining, with welcome return appearances from Hartley and Eddie, and a bunch of great doppelganger humor between the two Barrys. The highlight, though, was seeing Tom Cavanaugh slip into Eobard-Wells mode again, a reminder of the creepy menace that fueled much of the excitement throughout the first season. The scene Barry and Eobard shared in the latter’s hidden room was stellar, and showed that Barry, however much he bungles up a situation, can make things work in his favor.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!