Major spoilers for The Flash episode “Out of Time” below, so speed away if you don’t want to ruin it for yourself.
To borrow a few words from Oliver Queen, there has always been something off about The Flash’s Harrison Wells. Ever since the ending of the pilot showed he is still able to walk and that he hails from the future, fans have been obsessively trying to figure out what his deal is. The midseason finale turned quite a few heads when it revealed that he was the Reverse-Flash, but there were still plenty of questions that needed answering, and fortunately this week crossed one of those off the list. “Out of Time” finally answered the question “Who is Harrison Wells?” The answer: Eobard Thawne, better known to comic book fans as Professor Zoom, one of Barry Allen’s greatest enemies from the comics.
Back in “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” the S.T.A.R. Labs containment field wasn’t able to hold the Reverse-Flash despite everything working properly. This week, Cisco decided to investigate what went wrong that night, specifically to see if Wells had anything to with it, and recruited Caitlin to distract their boss why he was snooping. Unfortunately for him, Wells saw through her ruse and raced back to S.T.A.R. Labs when her back was turned.
Announcing his presence to Cisco, he gave his true name and demonstrated his speed-mirage effect to show how he made it look like Reverse-Flash beat him up several months back. More importantly from all this was that he admitted he killed Nora Allen 15 years ago, though he claims that the young Barry was his target rather than his mother. $10 says that a future version of Barry (who we know left a blood sample in the past) traveled back to stop Wells from killing his younger self, and in the process Nora was accidentally murdered.
As for his goals, Wells (we’ll keep calling him that for consistency) is just a man who wants to go back home to the future, and he needs Barry Allen to do it. Not wanting to leave any loose ends, Wells murdered Cisco, but not without regretfully telling him that he had grown fond of him. While attempting to stop Mark Mardon’s tsunami from hitting Central City, Barry ran so fast that he accidentally traveled back in time and wiped away most of the events of this episode, including Cisco’s death and Wells divulging personal details. So while viewers now know his true identity, it will be a little longer until the other characters discover who he is. Or in Cisco’s case, rediscover.
Despite this revelation, and in keeping with series tradition, there are still several questions left to be answered, such as how Wells ended up in the past in the first place and how he plans to take Barry’s speed to get back to his own time, centuries in the future. Nevertheless, this episode had all the makings of a season finale, and with two more months worth of episodes, it’s hard to imagine how anything will top the bombshells dropped tonight. Concerning Barry’s time travel, next week’s previews shows him telling Wells what he did; and knowing what we know now, the stranded Wells will likely attempt to use Barry’s notched-up speed as his ticket back home.
One especially important thing to wonder about is how Eddie Thawne will fit into all this. Wells called Eddie a “distant relative,” and considering Wells comes from the future, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Eddie is Wells’ ancestor. So far, Eddie has barely had any contact with Wells (though don’t forget how Reverse-Flash stared at Eddie in “The Man in the Yellow Suit”), but tonight’s episode opens up new possibilities for interactions between them. The recent Paley Fest trailer showed us Eddie is heading down a dark path, so perhaps Wells may have something to do with his fall from grace. It’s also important to remember that there is more than one Reverse-Flash in the comics, so just because Wells has identified himself as Eobard Thawne doesn’t mean that we won’t one day see Eddie as a Reverse-Flash.
We’ll follow up on these exciting events when The Flash returns next week with the episode “Rogue Time,” which will feature Barry going up against Captain Cold, Heat Wave and Cold’s sister Lisa.