The Flash: Time After Time

640_flash_ciscoSo, I totally freaked out my sister Tuesday night while watching The Flash. See, she has an art class that she goes to in the evenings and as she was getting home about five to nine, keys jangling in the lock, all she could hear from inside our apartment is me screaming “Oh my God, no!” In a bit of panic, she charged in the door yelling back at me “Are you being murdered!?”

I wasn’t being murdered. But poor, sweet Cisco Ramon was.

No joke guys, I was gutted during that scene. It was so layered and sad and for what could be a somewhat goofy superhero show, it was incredibly touching. Harrison praised him for his intelligence and his heart, he called him a son, but Cisco was a sacrifice he had to make and he made it with compassion but little remorse. When Cisco started to cry, he just looked so young. Because he knew it was coming. As soon as Harrison Wells (or should I say Eobard Thawne) walked into the lab, he knew it was coming. Yet there he stood, a boy still learning to be a man, trying his best to bravely stare death in the face as it came to claim him.

Say what you want about knowing his death isn’t going to stick (he’s alive and well in the promos for next week, not to mention the gleeful talk of time travel coming from all the cast in the latest round of spoilers), that didn’t phase me at all during the actual moment. And that, to me, is the mark of a good show. Of course Cisco’s not really being killed off, but the emotional impact of it wasn’t lost at all.

And that’s true of more than just Cisco’s death. With the introduction of time travel into the show, there’s such an element of unpredictability that’s arisen. Things can happen out of order. Things can happen in more than one way. Tropes and techniques within tv-show storytelling tradition can be tweaked and altered.

Like Iris confessing to loving Barry and finding out about his identity as The Flash.

We’ve seen it now. We know she has feelings for him. This isn’t going to be three plus seasons of seeing if Oliver and Felicity can get their act together. We’re only halfway through the first season and fans of the couple already have that payoff of seeing them confess their love and kiss (and okay, despite it happening at the worst possible moment, it was a lovely kiss). And yet because of Barry accidentally going back in time, we’re back at square one.

But it’s a different square one. He knows she has feelings for him.

I gotta admit here that time travel is one of my least favorite story elements.To anything. Ever. It hurts my head. I am a chronological order kind of girl, and time travel can get confusing fast. And it can be something that really is done poorly when every detail isn’t thought through. But I’m determined to make this work for me. Which may take some charting.

So. At this point:

  1. Eobard Thawne is from way in the future. He went back in time to kill Barry for some reason.
    1. Was he trying to kill Baby Barry (Barry #1) and Adult Barry (Barry #2) followed him into the past or was he trying to kill Adult Barry and they both accidentally went to the past?
  2. Eobard Thawne has been stuck in this timeline since that night.
    1. Did Barry #2 make it back to his correct timeline or is he also stuck in this one, now 15 years older?
  3. In trying to stop the Weather Wizard, Barry #1 went back in time to when he was on his way to the morgue, so a few days back.
    1. The Weather Wizard might not yet know who killed his brother
    2. Joe has not been captured
    3. Captain Singh has not been injured
    4. Cisco hasn’t been killed
    5. Harrison Wells hasn’t been found out
    6. Iris doesn’t know Barry’s The Flash
    7. Iris hasn’t admitted she loves Barry
    8. This explains the “shadow” he saw – it was himself
  4. Will Barry try to get back to his current timeline or stay where he is and change things?
    1. What will that mean for Barry #3, the Barry that is a few days behind?

See? Time travel is confusing for me. And we’re only in the first episode with it. Oh God, I’m going to need help.

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