Barry has time traveled to the day before Mardon’s tidal wave and tries to fix it before it happens.
The beginning of the episode is basically Barry pulling a Groundhog Day on the beginning of the previous episode. He’s reliving the same day and freaking out as things repeat exactly as they already had. He’s also jumping things ahead a little bit by using his knowledge of what already happened. However, his peculiar behavior tips off Wells that Barry traveled through time. Wells is particularly familiar with this as a time traveler himself. He urges Barry to do everything exactly as he did the day before and to not tell anyone, including himself, what happened. Predictably, Barry can’t listen to Wells and allow the tidal wave or Captain Singh’s injury to occur again. He captures Mardon before he can hurt anyone. Wells tells him that time will find a way to replace the tragedy he just averted with a different one. Barry tries to run himself back to the future, but he can’t recreate the event. In the meantime he has to continue to dodge questions about his behavior and crime solving prowess from Joe and the others.
Barry also finds that things aren’t exactly the same as they were the last time. He goes to meet Linda and they have the conversation that they were probably going to have before Mardon tried to destroy the city. Linda breaks up with him because she can tell that he care for Iris more, but the two split amicably and she tells him to go for it with her. Unfortunately, without the impending disaster, Iris hasn’t had a reason to search her feelings. That means she doesn’t realize that she loves Barry. Instead, she ends up feeling some resentment toward him when he tries to tell her that that’s how she really feels. Another change is that Cisco has the chance to go to his brother Dante’s birthday party. His brother is an accomplished pianist and his parent’s favorite (and a bit of a tool). The whole event puts Cisco in a drinking mood. That’s when that new tragedy rears it’s ugly head.
The tragedy comes in the form of Captain Cold and Heatwave. They’re back in town and have just usurped a crime family. There’s also a new member of their team: Lisa Snart (aka the Golden Glider). Lisa poses as an engineer at the bar where Cisco is and lures him into a trap. Snart kidnaps Cisco’s brother and forces him to build new guns for he and Heat wave and a gun that turns things into gold for his sister. They take the guns for a test drive and the Flash shows up to stop them. However, with Cisco as a hostage, he’s not able to take action against them and they get away. When he returns to the crime scene as Barry, his day gets worse. Eddie punches him in the face for making a move on Iris. Barry’s day is getting worse and worse. Eventually, Wells allows him to confide what’s gone on and offers some explanation as to why things might be happening this way. The point is that changing the past wreaks havoc on things. His day gets even worse when Cisco walks back into STAR labs. Snart only wanted one other thing from Cisco: the Secret identity of the Flash. When Snart threatened to destroy his brother’s hands, Cisco gave up the secret. True to his word, Snart released Cisco and his brother, but Cisco was distraught about what he had done.
After things get to their low point, everyone starts trying to mend these bad situations. Joe goes to talk to Iris about the situation with Barry and Eddie and tells her she’s got to do a better job of making them both believe how she claims to feel. Cisco, decides to leave STAR after failing Barry. However, Wells takes him back to the same room in STAR where the Reverse Flash was being held. Wells repeats an alternate version of the speech he gave in the previous episode before killing Cisco. This time, the speech is meant to encourage Cisco and to make him realize that the rest of the team cares about him. Caitlin also does Barry a big favor by explaining to Iris and Eddie that Barry is suffering from “lightning psychosis”. The couple buys the excuse and forgive Barry for his recent behavior.
The Flash races off to take on the Rogues Gallery (Barry’s name this time) and has a confrontation with Snart. The two lay everything on the table, with Snart admitting that he likes being a criminal and that he won’t give up on the thrill. He also has a broadcast set up that will tell everyone the Flash’s identity if he doesn’t stop it. After a bit of back and forth Barry and Snart come to a tenuous agreement. Neither of them will try to completely destroy the other and Barry won’t try to run Snart out of town as long as Snart stops killing and stays away from his family. While everyone else is making things right, the Reverse Flash pays a visit to Mason Bridge. He kills Mason the same way that he killed Cisco in the alternate future and destroys the evidence that Bridge was collecting. When Barry sees the news of Mason’s death, he takes Cisco’s place as the one who becomes suspicious of Well’s and calls Joe in to tell him about his new theory.
- Cisco’s not dead
So, I’m sure no one expected that he would actually stay dead. Still, I was relieved that there was no time travel shenanigans that resulted in him getting killed again. The show needs Cisco around.
- Barry takes Cisco’s place
This was unexpected for me. Now that Cisco doesn’t know Well’s secret, it’s Barry who’s on his trail.
- Barry’ single
I’m not sure that this would be a “favorite” part, but it was notable. Instead of getting Iris back or keeping Linda, Barry managed to lose both of them. Nice going Barry.
You’ve gotta love how loaded so many of Well’s conversations are. Tom Cavanagh’s always said that he plays up that part of the character and it really shone through in the episode. When he cautions Barry about the dangers of time travel there’s obviously a double meaning with regards to his own situation. It does raise a lot of questions about what exactly Well’s (yeah, I’m still calling him that) motivation was when he traveled back in time. He already said that he didn’t intend to kill Barry’s mother and stated that he wants, or wanted, to kill Barry. Does that mean that he went back in time and ended up altering his own future somehow? Or, maybe he’s trying to mess up his future timeline somehow. In the comics we know that Thawne realized that he could erase his own existence by killing Barry Allen in the past. That is, until the “Flashpoint” storyline where he reveals that Barry going back in time to save his mother made Thawne a paradox that could exist without Barry being alive. The show may not be using that exact story line, but it’s a possibility. There’s really a lot of possibilities, though. Time travel is confusing.
Another thing that’s confusing is, what happened to the Barry from the moment future Barry traveled back to. It looked like he just vanished when Barry ran by. So, maybe the time jump was small enough that he just pulled a Superman and erased the day he lived through. However, usually in comics time travel means splitting or splintering reality. That would mean that there’s still a future where Barry has just disappeared and Mardon’s tidal wave is hitting the city. For the time being, I’m going to assume that Barry’s just undone the day and move on with that method of thinking. The only real damage that he’s done is knowing how Iris feels without her realizing it and having Snart know his secret identity. Given Snart’s personality, I don’t see any reason for him to go back on his word. So I don’t think that’s going to be that big of a deal. All in all, it seems like he’s in a better situation than he was with Mardon on the lose. Taking that into account, Well’s warnings might’ve been overblown. What’s going to be more interesting is what Wells is going to do if Barry figures out who he is. We all saw that he didn’t hesitate to kill Cisco, but he needs Barry. What to do, what to do…