“The Flash” certainly hasn’t been afraid to race through plot twists in its freshman season, and the March 17 episode, “Out of Time” promises to be a game-changer in terms of the show’s trajectory.
“With no disrespect to any of the other directors or episodes that we’ve produced, I think this is the best episode we’ve ever done,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told reporters at a recent preview screening. “It’s everything that ‘The Flash’ can do as a TV show — I feel like this episode delivers in spades. It’s got amazing visual effects that you just don’t see on television; it’s full of heart; it’s full of romance; it’s full of genuine scares and it’s really the best version of the show.”
Below, Variety has an exclusive sneak peek at “Out of Time,” plus a list of 7 things we’ve learned about what’s coming up on the hit CW series, gleaned from the preview screening and the show’s recent PaleyFest panel.
1. Double dates are always awkward
As our exclusive clip illustrates, double dates are rarely fun — and they only get more uncomfortable when two of the four participants are harboring feelings for each other while seeing other people…
“It’s fun, because Barry’s oblivious to anything being wrong with the date,” star Grant Gustin (Barry Allen) told Variety at PaleyFest. “He had a great time. There aren’t any immediate repercussions, but it’s a first step in a series of things that create some issues for Barry’s current relationship.”
“Like most guys, Barry is a little bit unaware and oblivious, and maybe even Iris too,” Candice Patton (Iris West) admitted. “With their relationship, sometimes they are unaware of how close they are and how that looks to other people, and so you’ll definitely see that in the episode, how awkward that makes it for Linda [Malese Jow] and Eddie [Rick Cosnett], who are watching these two people, and they can see that there’s more than meets the eye. Barry and Iris can’t see it for themselves.”
2. Harrison Wells has a lot of secrets
The audience now knows that Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is the so-called “Reverse Flash,” but his loyal team at STAR Labs is still oblivious … for now. Will that change in “Out of Time”? Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow) told Variety, “In Episode 15, Cisco [Carlos Valdes] really starts to question who Dr. Wells is and what’s going on, and Caitlin obviously doesn’t want to believe that there’s anything unsavory happening. She has so much faith in Dr. Wells, it’s like, ‘fine, you wanna look some things up, go for it. I’m not afraid of what you’re gonna find.’ And unfortunately, that comes back to bite her in the butt. It’s a really interesting journey with Wells, and as an audience member, you get to see a lot more of him.”
On the PaleyFest stage, Cavanagh defended his duplicitous character: “Harrison Wells is just a guy who wants to get home — I think we can all relate to that in some aspect. If a couple of people have to shuffle off the coil for that to happen… None of them were good people anyway — maybe some of them were.”
As for why it looked like the Reverse Flash was fighting Dr. Wells while the duo were trapped together in Episode 9, Kreisberg promised that explanations are forthcoming: “In Episode 9, we showed you a whole bunch of things that don’t seem to be possible, but you’re going to get the answers to what happened in Episode 9 very soon and how you were able to see what you saw.”
3. Iris will embrace her comic book roots as a reporter
Cisco isn’t the only one with suspicions about Harrison Wells; Iris’ Picture News mentor, Mason Bridge (Roger Howarth), has also noticed that something smells rotten at STAR Labs. Patton told Variety that we’ll get to see more of Iris’ work life as the season progresses: “It’s great to play that because I think that’s how we know Iris in the comic books and it’s always great for me as an actress and as a woman to play a strong, motivated woman on TV, so it’s great having Iris in Picture News. I think it gives her an opportunity to help Central City in her own way by investigating all the mysteries that are happening in the city. Over time we’ll see more and more of her helping investigate what’s going on.”
4. Love is in the air
Patton also previewed that Episode 15 is a big one for Barry and Iris’ relationship. “Central City is under attack and Barry comes to the rescue and it’s a pressure-point situation where Iris is kind of forced to deal with her feelings because she thinks that this could be the end of her life — it’s a really great moment for Barry and Iris fans,” she teased. “A lot of questions that weren’t answered in Episode 9 will be answered in that episode by Iris, about how she really feels about Barry.”
Not coincidentally, Rick Cosnett previewed that Iris and Eddie are about to hit a rough patch. “Things get more and more tense between Eddie and Iris… it’s difficult for them,” he told Variety at PaleyFest. “I think Eddie is just so madly in love with Iris that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep her.”
5. Never work with children or talking apes
As the new PaleyFest trailer for “The Flash” revealed, Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) will soon come face to face with iconic comic book villain Gorilla Grodd. “I’m working with a big monkey!” Martin enthused on the PaleyFest panel. “He wasn’t actually there when we were working, but it was a bigass monkey.”
Kreisberg declined to give details about Grodd’s return, simply teasing, “He’s coming back, and he’s mad. Really mad.”
6. The Rogues are returning
Grodd’s not the only recognizable character coming back to “The Flash” — Episode 16, titled “Rogue Time,” sees the return of Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell), along with Captain Cold’s sister, Lisa (Peyton List). “[Captain Cold] comes in with the same flavor he brought last time except now we’re adding to that flavor,” Gustin told Variety of Lisa Snart’s introduction. “She’s also manipulative, it’s kind of a manipulative group – he’s very protective of her and we’re able to use his sister against [them].”
Episode 17 will feature Mark Hamill as The Trickster/James Jesse, a character he originated in CBS’ original “Flash” series opposite John Wesley Shipp. “He’s amazing, that was really surreal, that was definitely the most surreal thing that’s happened to me on the show,” Gustin admitted of the “Star Wars” thesp’s guest spot. “He’s so humble and sweet and nice to work with, and he busted his ass and really went there with the character. The threat that he poses is connected to Barry’s father and that obviously will always heighten things for Barry, so he wants to get this guy real bad.”
7. Comic book fans are in for a treat
Not only will “Out of Time” explore the concept of time travel in the series — an integral part of The Flash’s mythology in the comics that Gustin says “will change the course of the rest of the season, and everyone’s lives” — Kreisberg also teased that “there’s a fairly big Flash storyline from the comic books that we’re going to tackle.”
The show also plans to introduce either Wally West (Iris’ nephew in the comics) or Bart Allen (Barry’s grandson), who both served as The Flash’s sidekick in the comics before taking over the mantle themselves. “That’s our hope,” executive producer Greg Berlanti said at PaleyFest. “We’ve already been picked up for a second year so I think if we were gonna do something like that, we’d do it next year.”
SPOILER ALERT: Click here for our postmortem of Episode 15, “Out of Time,” with interviews from the cast and producers.
“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.