An Idiot's Guide To Understanding and Discussing CW's
1. Just a few quick notes before we get right into it. This is going to be very HEAVY on the idea of theoretical time travel. If you don't accept that idea, you'll get lost VERY easily.
2. While I will make mention to and even recommend certain Flash comics (and completely steer you away from others entirely), you do NOT have to have ever read a single comic to enjoy or understand anything that is happening, has happened, or will happen.
3. I'll be mentioning the Flash's parent show, "Arrow," as well. You may have heard of it.
FLASH FACTS: (so far)
Forensic scientist Barry Allen (age 25 or 26) was struck by lightning a little over a year ago, the same night that Dr. Harrison Wells particle accelerator exploded, "gifting" various citizens of Central City with super powers. When Barry was eight years old, his mother was murdered by an impossible yellow blur man who moved like a ball of lightning. This man has been revealed as an enemy the Flash "hasn't made yet," calling himself "Reverse Flash." Barry's father Henry is in jail for the murder of his wife Nora, and Barry was raised by family friend, Detective Joe West.
Barry also fell in love with his adopted step sister Iris. Yikes.
Dr. Wells, despite being a friend to Barry and his co-workers/team at Star Labs, has been revealed to have been the Reverse Flash all along. He has a contact with a computer located in his timeline (circa 2400) named Gideon and constantly makes mentions of the future. His distant "ancestor" Eddie has joined the Central City PD on the same night the particle accelerator exploded, also dating Iris West. Ready for it to get confusing?
What they never told the casual viewers... or rather they did, but "in Reverse" was that while the show was based on the Flash comic books, they never specified which ones. Normally I'd spare you the history lessons, but this is very important and tied directly into this season of the show/my speculated season finale. The CW Flash series and all the characters are based on the DC New 52 Flash series. New 52 was the direction DC shifted after an event called, "Flashpoint." We'll get to that.
The Flash that came before New 52 and Flashpoint was VERY different. It was also the universe/history that Eobard Thawne's Reverse Flash hailed from, as he doesn't exist in the New 52. What this means (and take a second to realize all the implications here) is that Eobard Thawne NEVER existed in the history of characters' of the original timeline. This means:
Nora Allen was never murdered, Henry Allen didn't go to jail, Joe West didn't adopt Barry, Harrison Wells and Tess Morgan were never killed, and oh yeah... the particle accelerator never exploded, so no metahumans.
Well, wait. What about the Flash/Reverse Flash?
This is only speculation on my part here but is backed up by 75 years of proof from the comic and a VERY important, if not confusing line of dialogue from the most recent episode about the "Speed Force." Essentially, the particle accelerator didn't turn Barry into the Flash, the "Speed Force lightning" did. I'll leave it at that, 'cause it gets VERY confusing diving in any further.
Now Thawne (that's Eobard, not Eddie) has broken with comics history a tad with the whole body switch/powers losing thing. BUT... we don't know how he gets HIS powers in the show. In the comic, he replicated Barry's experiment, but "in reverse." He mentions that Wells builds the particle accelerator in 2020 and it's successful. Successful things don't tend to blow up and kill thousands of people/gift them with superpowers. I think it was originally intended for clean energy or something. Does it explode in 2040? Does something happen to it that grants Thawne his powers? We don't know. I'm betting it was not needed to give Barry HIS powers.
So where is this all headed? If it follows the comics, Barry will learn about this other life he lived happily with both of his parents, he'll go back and prevent the murder, and we'll end the season where Flashpoint began.
A world screwed up by Barry Allen changing the timeline.
For those of you wondering, you're absolutely correct: Absolutely NONE of Eobard Thawne's plan makes any sense or is even remotely "Good."
Thawne has the luxury of knowing how events will play out being that he's from the future. The second he kills Nora Allen, he changes the entire course of history. It was entirely possible Barry never even ends up as the Flash. The particle accelerator explosion could have killed him, let alone all of Central City. He now has super powered metas to deal with, something he's NOT prepared for, and they CAN change history (as evidenced when Blackout steals Barry's powers and Gideon's paper changes).
He tells Harrison Wells that the particle accelerator goes online in 2020, but he needs it to happen "a few years earlier." Being as he's stranded in the 21st Century with fuck-all to do, and his particle accelerator doesn't open until 2013... he really couldn't just wait SIX years?
If Thawne's initial goal was to kill young Barry Allen, and he's left behind in the past... even without superspeed, what was to stop him from like waiting a week, killing Barry in school? Did he suddenly realize that without Barry becoming Flash, he won't become Reverse Flash? THIS WOULD'VE HAPPENED IF HE KILLED BARRY IN THE HOUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE!
The Thawne we see in the flashback comes from a later point in time chronologically, but an earlier point in Walls/Thawne's life. Even if he is from an alternate timeline, this still leaves the possibility open for Barry to meet and battle the original appearance Reverse Flash after this season.
For more on the comic background to this whole WACKY season, check out:
The Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years
The Life Story of The Flash
And keep watching the series to see if I'm right, or Barry really does need a "particle accelerator." Either way, everything will change come the finale... in a Flash.