ED. NOTE: Major “Flash” spoilers ahead. If you are not caught up, proceed at your own all-grown-up peril.
FANS OF the CW’s “The Flash” have known for some time that Dr. Harrison Wells (as played by Tom Cavanagh), the mentor/father figure to Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) and his S.T.A.R. Labs colleagues, is secretly the yellow-clad Reverse-Flash. From the show’s first episode, Wells has been guiding Barry, training him to gain full control of his superhuman speed so that Barry can become faster than ever. And now we know why.
Wells’s dark side has been hinted at throughout “The Flash’s” first season. His wheelchair is a ruse, he’s killed when necessary and he has a hidden secret computer (voiced by “Gotham’s” Morena Baccarin) that gives him updates on happenings in the future.
Wells is a man out of time. The Flash is the key to his ever being able to return home. And the name Wells? It’s fake — an obvious speed force-fueled nod to “The Time Machine” author H.G. Wells.
Dr. Wells did indeed kill Barry’s mother — a mystery Barry has been investigating since the show’s beginning. But Wells never meant to kill Nora Allen: he went back in time to kill Barry, but he failed and Nora was a casualty. Wells has been stuck in the past (at least for him) ever since.
All that was revealed to S.T.A.R. Labs wunderkind Cisco (Carlos Valdez), who cleverly figures out Wells’s secret. When Wells confronts Cisco — standing on his feet and giving a round of applause to his smartest pupil — we are witness to one of the great reveals in the recent history of superhero television.
There is no Harrison Wells. The Reverse-Flash is really Eobard Thawne, a distant relative of cop Eddie Thawne (who dates the love of Barry’s life, Iris West). Which explains why the Reverse Flash didn’t kill Eddie Thawne during an episode in which he took out a lot of cops. If anything happens to Eddie, Wells might cease to exist.
And how did the Reverse-Flash manage to kill all those cops while Wells was watching (in a previous episode)? Turns out, Wells — er, Eobard — is so fast that he can create speed mirages and be in two places at once (a trick the Flash can’t yet do).
Cavanagh’s performance as the Reverse Flash has been one of the highlights of the superhero TV season. He’s not stealing Gustin’s thunder, but he is bringing his own lightning.
As if all the bad-Reverse Flash goodness wasn’t enough to make this the series’s best episode so far, fans were treated to another reveal — this time on the not-so-dark side of the speed force, when Barry must reveal to Iris that he’s The Flash, so as to save his city from a tsunami from the new Weather Wizard (Liam McIntyre), but not before finally getting a kiss from Iris.
Did we mention that Wells killed Cisco? Not that it matters. Barry runs so fast trying to stop the tsunami that he goes back in time. And once you mess with the time-stream, nothing remains the same.
Despite being a show about super-speed, “The Flash” has been slowly building toward Tuesday night’s magic moments. Now the real fun begins. Barry’s run through time will surely delay his discovering the truth about Reverse Flash’s secret identity, but the moment of truth is coming. And when red and yellow blurs meet, the collision will only enhance the most enjoyable superhero show in this current wave of comic-book television.