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Filled with compelling drama and Barry's emotional angst, "The Reverse-Flash Returns" diverges from the up-beat action that fans of The Flash have come to expect.
The Reverse-Flash Returns could have been a good episode, if it weren't for The Flash's almost-masochistic desire to focus on Barry and Patty's bland "romance."
While the titular foe's homecoming poses the largest threat to the well-being of Team Flash, it is the emotionally charged hurdles that elevate so much of the episode's drama.
Given the importance of Reverse-Flash to Barry's overall story, and all the complicated temporal mechanics required to bring him back, the hour would have worked a lot better without that story.
This episode succeeded in fleshing out the rivalry between Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne while also giving just about every main cast member some compelling dramatic material to work with.
Barry sure did have a lot of guilt laid on his shoulders in this episode; he bared some of the weight responsibly but shrugged a good portion of it off as if it were only a matter of circumstance instead of anything with real gravity to it.
The Flash catches up to his evil opposite and whales on him good.
In any case, there's a nice layer of tragic inevitability to the revelation that Barry and Thawne's fates are essentially linked, with the two forever reliant on each other, not unlike positive and negative electrical poles.
The science in The Flash can be more than a little confusing. Ultimately, it matters little in "The Reverse-Flash Returns." It's the emotions that count.
All I want to do is kind of vibe out over the possibilities of that Hunter Zolomon scene from Episode 11, because Jay Garrick has really been such a disappointment as a character overall.
Some of the greatest hope I have for The Flash moving forward rests in hipster universe HR and his investment in building Wally as a deus ex machina for when Barry falls apart.
It's really upsetting to see a TV show let you in on all of the plot lines for an entire half-season by spoiling their outcome.
The Reverse-Flash Returns is absolutely a perfect example of the show not only continuing important story elements from the first season, but improving on them.