Barry is taking the revelation about Jay being Zoom hard. He’s comparing it to his trusting Wells in the first season, and vowing not to make the same mistake again. Barry is working hard at trying to find a way to improve his speed so he’ll be able to beat Zoom when they meet next.
The title of the episode, Flash Back, becomes apparent as Barry comes up with a truly bad idea. The earlier Wells, eventually revealed as Reverse Flash Eobard Thawne, knew a lot about the Speed Force and helped train Barry when he first emerged from his coma. Of course, Thawne is dead or lost in time or whatever you want to call it. So Barry uses his not wholly reliable time travel power to go back to when that Wells was around after being inspired by an off hand comment from Wally West at dinner at the West’s house.
No one thinks this is a good idea. Cisco and Caitlin are kind of nice about it. Wells, as he’s wont to be, is a lot more direct and tells Barry at length why this is a bad plan. Barry, bound up in his new obsession, goes ahead anyway.
Barry jumps back to when Eddie was still alive and the STAR Team was fighting Hartley Rathaway, the Pied Piper. Barry confronts his earlier self and takes him out of the action to try and give himself time to talk to Thawne/Wells. Naturally, this doesn’t go as planned. Not only does Barry underestimate Wells, but there’s a complication from his trip through time that catches him by surprise.
A lot of odd things happen to Barry in the past. He gets to talk to Eddie again, and does something pretty cool for Iris. He and Wells match wits and neither of them get what they want all the way. Barry’s trip doesn’t remain as secret as he’d hoped, either. That’s the problem with working with both geniuses and metahumans- it’s hard to keep all the angles covered. This isn’t helped by Barry ignoring the advice of almost everyone he’s talked to and pretty much every sci fi story about time travel, and changing a few things.
Barry gets at least a bit of what he wanted and returns to his present. Wells, before Barry left, warned him that he would change things and that only Barry would be aware of the changes. Sure enough, when Barry comes back, there’s a very noticeable difference that no one else knows about.
One thing recurring through this episode was a constant reference to a “Speed Formula.” This is something Barry is currently obsessing over as part of his quest to best Zoom. There is a Speed Formula in DC Comics, connected to a speedster, but it’s not Flash. One of the two it is linked to has appeared on the show, so this could be foreshadowing.
What I liked: It was nice seeing Eddie again. The trip through time is an effect they do well on the show. Barry’s run in with himself was interesting and worked. I’m very intrigued by the focus on the Speed Formula.
What I didn’t: This whole thing was a bad idea and I suspect we haven’t seen all the ramifications yet. Barry needs to occasionally realize he can’t fix everything and everyone. This show was bad enough, but I’m really worried that Barry’s current obsession is going to lead to a lot worse before he snaps out of it, probably after some horrible tragedy.
I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. There were some interesting ideas but some really bad ones as well. I wonder what else Barry has knocked off track and not even realized he’s done it.