Attention: spoilers for season 8, episode 19 of the Flash.
The Flash wasted the best Reverse Flash twist the show has offered in years. Just one episode after his return, Matt Letcher’s Reverse Flash was suddenly killed off and replaced with another version of the character. The shocking return of Tom Kavanagh in “Reverse Flash” made the villain the main villain of the season.
The 8th season of “Flash”, the 19th episode titled “Negative, Part One” was filled with unexpected events that are of great importance for Barry’s next fight. Barry’s risky plan to turn Matt Letcher’s new version of Eobard Tone into a speedster turned out to be a disaster, but not as one might expect. Despite the death at the beginning of the episode, Kavanagh’s Reverse Flash somehow manifested itself in the body of the good Tone and tore off his face. What exactly happened has not yet been explained, but it seems that Barry’s decision to endow him with speedster abilities created a path for Negative Forces to fully restore the evil Tone with all his abilities. It seems that Barry, Mina, the other Tone and Iris were pawns in a complex scheme to make the Reverse Flash a whole again.
What happened in the penultimate episode of the season was certainly a unique way for the series to make Barry’s greatest enemy a threat again, but unfortunately it came at the expense of Letcher’s subtle new approach to the speedster villain. By bringing back the actor and having him portray a version of the Reverse Flash who gave up on the pursuit of speed, “The Flash” presented a compelling Reverse Flash twist filled with storytelling potential. What he was doing with his character was more amazing than anything the series has done to him since Barry convinced him to cancel “Flashpoint.” That’s why it’s disappointing that the series just used it to herald the return of the evil Tone.
Despite the fact that Kavanagh’s performance was well received, Letcher has long been called upon to reprise his role as the original Reverse Flash, as his character image was also met with a lot of praise. The character did make a recent appearance in Legends of Tomorrow, but he hasn’t been a part of The Flash story since season 3. Kavanagh’s version, on the other hand, has since had quite a few villainous episodes in the series. Flash could continue his current course by immersing himself in the journey of the new speedster Tone and exploring if he can stay on the right track.
Admittedly, it makes sense that the show wasn’t just going to turn Thawne into a hero on a permanent basis. With all the history he has as Barry’s greatest villain, it seems right that their rivalry should remain intact in one form or another. At the same time, The Flash could have done much more with Matt Letcher’s Eobard Tone. If the series had found a way to give one character speed without killing the other, the series could have pitted good and evil Tones against each other. Such a battle would be an exciting confrontation either in the finale or at some point in season 9 of The Flash.