The Flash: 2.17 Flash Back
Only last week I was asking whether we would see season one villain Hartley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper, back on the show and here he was thanks to a great time travel episode that took Barry Allen back to the events of season one's The Sound and the Fury. Travelling back to convince the original Harrison Wells (aka evil Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne) to help him run fast and defeat Zoom, we got a glimpse of the earlier days of and it proved to be one of the best episodes of season two yet.
Of course the idea that Barry could travel back, replace his earlier self for a couple of days and get what he needed was never going to go do well and there were some interesting developments as Wells / Thawne realised that Barry was a future Flash and the arrival a time wraith threatened Central City. It was a rather nasty creation, looking exactly like a Dementor from Harry Potter (and referenced several times during the episode). With two of the old season one villains back in play, the episode needed a new threat and this was a nasty little addition.
It was only in watching the old 'evil' Harrison Wells that you could see how different this version was to the Earth 2 character that has played a prominent role in season two. Tom Cavanagh gave us a colder, reserved and more cunning Wells and the scene where he confronted an imprisoned Barry was a tense moment that took the episode in an intriguing new direction - a change in the history of the show. Cisco and Caitlin discovering that Barry was from the future carried through to the present day and the 'surprise' turn of fate of Hartley Rathaway, who arrived at the end to defeat the time wraith. Now that he is one of the good guys I am interested to know if he will be a continued presence on the show.
Going back in time is also a great way to revisit long lost characters and it was nice to see Rick Cosnett's Eddie Thawne back. His loss has been felt in season two and this was great epilogue to his character as Barry took a video message for Iris's 'birthday' to carry back to the present and give her some closure. But there were also plenty of fun moments to enjoy; the Flash vs the Flash and Cisco's comment "What is it with you guys? You think I have ESP or something; I can't just magically sense where things are."
In the end, the Barry got the answers he needed - the advance speed to travel across to the alternate universe and stop Zoom. But Flash Back was also a fun opportunity to revisit characters past and compare just how far the show has come. Personally it reminded me that the show used to be more fun and the evil Harrison Wells was a great sub plot in itself; while Zoom has been a fantastic addition to the show, too often season two feels like it is treading water. I hope the upward trend since the visit to Earth 2 (Trajectory aside) continues through to the season's end.