This season on The Flash, Barry Allen has been dealing with Zoom, the demonic speedster from Earth 2. For most of this first half, we’ve seen the main antagonist not only send other villains from Earth 2 to battle the Scarlet Speedster, but also hand Barry a brutal beatdown in “Enter Zoom.” Dealing with one evil speedster is bad enough, but when the show returns from its winter hiatus, it’s going to get worse when Barry gets a return from his arch-nemesis from Season 1: Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash.

Actor Matt Letscher, who plays Eobard in his original form, will return to The Flash next month in Episode 11, appropriately titled “The Reverse-Flash Returns.” Here is what executive producer Todd Helbing (who also wrote the episode) told EW about Eobard’s new role:
His impossible return to Central City puts a member of the S.T.A.R. Labs team in unexpected danger, forcing Barry to make a life-changing decision.

While Tom Cavanagh played Eobard for the majority of The Flash Season 1, it was revealed in the “Tricksters” flashbacks that the time-traveling criminal stole Harrison Wells’ DNA to take his identity in 2000. In the Season 1 finale, Eobard’s ancestor Eddie shot himself, thus making it so Eobard never existed. As Eobard reverted to his original appearance and faded away, he told Barry about how he doubted he would be able to get along without him. How Eobard could come back from that is indeed “impossible,” but hey, this is The Flash. What constitutes “impossible” has loosened considerably in this world.

“Eobard

There are a few possibilities that could explain Eobard’s return. One is that this isn’t the Eobard fans know well, but instead his Earth 2 counterpart, who either has his own speed or some other kind of power. However, the “impossible return” aspect suggests that this is the iteration the viewers are familiar with. Another possibility is that Eobard somehow made his way from another timeline, thus escaping his fate in the main timeline and allowed to cause more trouble in the present day. The third option is that this isn’t really Eobard, but another villain masquerading as him. However, if that’s the case, then Team Flash should ideally have more luck taking that individual down than they did with the real deal last season.

It’s also worth mentioning that if this ends up being the real Eobard, and Letscher is set to appear in future episodes, perhaps this will lay the foundation for learning more about his history with Barry’s future self. It was clear throughout Season 1 that those two go way back (and way forward), and when Barry spoke to him in “Fast Enough,” he described their relationship as being “enemies, rivals, opposites, reverses of one another.” At some point it would be nice to learn what kicked off their feud and how Eobard got his powers.

The Flash will return with new episodes on Tuesday, January 19 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.

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