Okay. This is one of those posts where I let me geek show. Specifically, this is a post about The Flash TV series. Not the one from the 90s, but the current one. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the one from the 90s when I was a kid. But, being a bigger geek now than I was at age 10, I’m more interested in the series that just aired its first season finale.
So if you watch The Flash but have yet to see the finale, this post will contain spoilers. Not because I want to ruin the plot for anyone. But because I want to complain about the inherent problems with including time travel in your story. Also, this is going to make it sound like I don’t love time travel stories when I actually do. After all, Back to the Future is the greatest movie of all time. That is not up for debate.Anyway, on to the spoilery things. It was rumored that one of the major characters would be killed in this finale. The heavy speculation was that it would be the character of Ronnie Raymond, because, while his alter-ego of Firestorm is slated to appear in next year’s DC Comics spin-off, Ronnie never appears in the trailer. And they sure played that speculation for all it’s worth, having him marry the love of his life just before the climax of the episode. Can’t have too many happy endings, right?
Instead, the death came when Detective Eddie Thawne shot himself in the heart in order to erase his descendant, Eobard Thawne, from existence. If you’re versed in Flash lore, you know that Eobard Thawne is the identity of the Reverse Flash, the Flash’s arch-nemesis. He’s from the future, in case you didn’t catch that descendant part.
To catch you up, the writers of this show have spent all season building the conflict between the Flashes, both Reverse and non-Reverse. Through the course of much exposition, the audience discovers that Thawne was trapped in our time period after traveling back in time to kill Barry Allen’s mother. Barry’s the Flash, did I mention that part? Once he did that, Thawne’s sole purpose in life was to make it back to the future. To do that, he stole the identity (and life) of Dr. Harrison Wells, built a particle accelerator which he caused to purposely malfunction, which in turn caused the accident which caused Barry Allen to become the Flash. Are you with me?
Here’s my problem… When Eddie Thawne commits suicide in order to destroy his evil great-great-great-great-great grandson, shouldn’t that have undone everything that was done this season? Wouldn’t that have caused a major paradox? You know, one of those universe destroying events that Doc Brown warned us about in Back to the Future Part II? Without the Reverse Flash, that particle accelerator wouldn’t have been built, at least not as early as it was. Maybe the real Wells would’ve built one eventually. But without that, Barry wouldn’t have become the Flash.
Really, I’ve never understood the Reverse Flash’s need to kill the Flash as a kid. I’m pretty sure the Reverse Flash only gained his powers because he recreated the original accident that gave Barry his powers. So if Barry Allen never becomes the Flash, wouldn’t that eliminate the opportunity for Eobard Thawne to become the Reverse Flash?
Ugh… Time travel makes my brain hurt.
Seriously, though, Back to the Future. Greatest movie ever.