The title is a bit misleading. This episode is about the Reverse Flash, but it’s not about his return. It’s about his origin story. When Eobard Thawne speeds into Central City it’s for the first time, before any of the events in season one occurred. He doesn’t know who the Flash is, or Doctor Wells. And he hasn’t killed Barry’s Mom. This version of Eobard Thawne isn’t out for revenge; he just wants to get back home. But he is still evil, so he’s willing to kill to achieve his goal.
Barry is still reeling from Patty’s choice to leave town. Though unfortunately she isn’t gone yet. And she’s as pushy and annoying as ever. Patty even lays down an ultimatum for Barry. If he’ll admit he’s the Flash, she’ll stay. Otherwise she’s going bye-bye. Well Barry isn’t ready to make her a part of team Flash, for her own safety, so instead he says goodbye. Now I’m glad they didn’t have Zoom kill her off, like Barry imagined, but I’m not sorry she’s gone.
In an attempt to draw out the Flash, and find out where he is in the timeline, Reverse Flash creates a catastrophe. It’s a runaway chemical truck that only the Flash can stop. And Barry does so by using his super speed to remove the lug nuts on all the tires, so that all the tires pop off, and the truck grinds to a stop. And now that the Reverse Flash has seen The Flash in action, he’s able to determine where he is in the timeline, and what he needs to do to get home.
The Reverse Flash attempts to Kidnap Doctor McGee, and Barry tries to stop him. But seeing the Reverse Flash is off-putting, and The Reverse Flash gets away, with Doctor McGee. To help find her, Harry tries to help Cisco get a handle on his vibe ability, by developing cool electronic goggles that trigger and sustain his vibe state. This is a look right out of the comics. And when Cisco uses his ability in this new way, he sees the Reverse Flash kill Doctor McGee.
*DC Comics ‘VIBE’
But that event takes place almost four hours in the future, after McGee builds a device to send the Yellow Speedster back to the future. So this gives team Flash time to find her. But not much time.
Christina McGee isn’t the only one running out of time. Francine, Iris’ Mom, is in the hospital dying. Joe takes Iris to see her, possibly one last time, and she’s finally able to forgive her. But the one person missing is Wally. He’s been avoiding Francine because he’s scared, and angry. So Iris goes to talk with him. And at first it seems like her words fell on deaf hears. But later, Wally goes to the house to ask Iris if she’ll go to the hospital with him. And of course she agrees. It’s a cool Brother and Sister bonding moment.
Time is running out for Doctor Christina McGee. The machine is built, and the reverse Flash attempts to vibrate his hand through McGee’s chest and grab her heart. (“KALIMA!” From Indiana Jones and the temple of Doom) But before the Reverse Flash can do the deed, the Flash arrives to put him in his place. This leads to a race, as the yellow speedster tries to outrun the scarlet speedster. And this time Barry is faster than this younger Reverse Flash, and runs him down.
Barry, still angry about the Reverse Flash killing his Mom, beats the snot out of Eobard Thawne, almost killing him. But Barry eventually does the right thing and stops the beat down, taking Thawne back to Star Labs. They put him in a cell in the pipeline. But that’s not the end of things. The timeline has been disrupted, and Cisco is about to pay the ultimate price. By stopping Thawne from getting back to the future to fulfill his destiny, they’ve warped the timeline, and Cisco is being torn apart. And to save him, Barry reluctantly has to agree to let Thawne go, and help him get back to the future.
Since there is no Delorean available to make the time jump, Barry has to combine his speed with Thawne’s to send him forward in time. Even though they all realize that this trip is where Thawne learns all about them. And this trip is what sets him against them in the first place. But they have to do it. They have let Thawne go and do what he’s destined to do. So Barry helps Thawne get back to the future, thus fixing the disrupted timeline, and saving a grateful Cisco.
What about the Turtle? Caitlin and Jay discover that he’s dead. And Jay suspects that Harry Wells is behind his murder, which he is. But that can’t be proved, and Harry disputes it. But what is Doctor Wells doing with the brain tissue he collected from the Turtle? Will he replicate the dampening field ability, and use it to trap Barry? And then will he turn Barry over to Zoom, so he can get his daughter back? Only time will tell. Stand by!