Barry still wants to learn how to get faster. Must be Tuesday. Caitlin and Cisco try to help but concede, what if he just physically can’t go faster? That night at dinner, Iris tells Barry about her date with her new boss, but that she’s still sort of hung up on Eddie. He tells her she’s the only person that will know when she’s ready to move on. Wally arrives later and talks about how well his school work is going, and that reading the journals of Enzo Ferrari and Ferdinand Porsche inspired him, which inspires Barry to have the worst idea of all time: go back in time and pick Dr. Wells/Eobard Thawne’s brain about how to go faster.
There’s a plan to it of course. Barry will knock his old self out and get Wells to teach him, but Earth-2 Wells, who has literally been right about everything this entire season, tells him not to do it. Too much could go wrong and he could even figure out who he is. Once again they disregard his Chicken Little routine and go for it, seeing up rules of what not to talk about and the perfect date to travel back to: when they apprehended Hartley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper (Season 1, episode 11). Barry says his goodbyes, even though he’ll barely be gone long to Cisco and Caitlin, and takes off. While running through time, he sees haunting images of the past, and is attacked by some spectre that knocks him out of time too early.
Barry watches his encounter with Rathaway and seizes the opportunity to knock himself out. Unlucky for future Barry Allen, past Barry Allen is a scarper and the two Flashes tussle over the knock-out juice Caitlin gave him. Future Barry eventually catches him and says it will all make sense one day, and drugs his past self. He then runs to Rathaway and takes him out the way he did originally, by tossing police batons at him. They lock Rathaway in the pipeline and Barry remembers that devices hidden in Rathaway’s ears are his means for escape and points this out to Cisco in a non-descript way. Afterward, he finds Dr. Wells and gets to asking about getting faster. Wells, clearly suspicious, agrees to help with the “speed equation.” Meanwhile at CCPD, Joe enlists Eddie to look into Dr. Wells when the previously-seen ghost, which looks a lot like the Dementors from Harry Potter, appears and attacks. Barry runs to CCPD, but it disappears before he arrives, leaving him to gawk at the still-alive Eddie.
As Barry investigates the mess left behind by the ghost, Joe thinks he’s acting weird towards Eddie because of his feelings for Iris, and not because he’s seeing a friend that’s been dead for a year. It’s very clever and cute. Barry returns to STAR, where he tells the team he saw the ghost earlier. Dr. Wells tasks Cisco with tracking it and brings Barry into another room for a private chat, because just like Earth-2 Wells said he would, he figured it out. Barry wakes up chained to Dr. Wells’ wheelchair where his mentor-turned-enemy… turned hopeful mentor again is shouting, asking him who he is and why a Time Wraith is chasing him. Wells can’t figure out who this Barry is but that doesn’t stop Barry form trying to coax him into helping him manipulate the speed force. It doesn’t work naturally, because Wells can only concentrate on what his presence means, that Barry wins and he fails. Wells goes to kill Barry, but he thinks on his feet and offers a solution: You make it home, but when you leave it creates a singularity and he needs to be faster to stop it. It’s not entirely a lie either!
Meanwhile on the other side of the lab, Cisco Rick Rolls Hartley and asks how his gauntlets work. Caitlin does work in the upper part of the lab only for the Time Wraith to appear and chase her into Rathaway’s cell with Cisco. The beast starts breaking the glass, and despite their pleas for Wells and Barry to help (to no avail), Cisco and Caitlin are forced to give Hartley his gauntlets back. The good news is he manages to make it work, and scares away the Time Wraith… for now. It becomes apparent afterward that the Time Wraith is after Barry, though they do a good job of not telling Caitlin and Cisco that it’s called a Time Wraith. They get to work on repairing the gauntlets again and Wells tells Barry to go figure out how to stop this thing on his own at CCPD (but also has a cool “All the other speedsters just try and avoid them in their travels” line).
Back at CCPD, Barry looks over the Wraith’s mess once again, but when he sees Eddie he takes a chance to concoct a reason for him to make a video message for Iris. Eddie conveniently doesn’t notice Barry is holding an iPhone 6+. At STAR, they enlist Hartley to help repair his gauntlets when previously knocked out (and left in an alley) Barry returns, panicked, asking about “The other Flash.” Future Barry (present Barry?) arrives and that’s when noodles really start baking. He explains things in as basic a way as he can, and Wells helps out without giving away that he knows what’s going on. Dr. Wells then takes Barry aside and gives him a device to make him faster, expanding on Tacheon Enhancement, but for now he needs to go home.
It’s time for Barry to go back to the future, and the good news is since he goofed up and the team knows what happened, they have a year to figure out how to stop the Time Wraith. Barry runs and runs but is quickly pursued by the wraith, who begins to impede on his speed. Past-Barry runs down to knock it away, allowing Future-Barry to break through and return to the future. As he lands in STAR Labs, which appears to be seconds later for Caitlin and Cisco, the Time Wraith isn’t far behind and it begins to suck the life out of him. Lucky for Barry, his mishap has turned Hartley Rathaway into a good guy, and his gauntlets destroy the Time Wraith.
Nothing seems all the different from his trip to the past, but there is one subtle (albeit actually major) difference – Hartley’s parents love him again. Barry and the team take the formula from Wells/Thawne which has a lot of very complex looking numbers and letters. I trust he knows what it all means. Later, Barry finds Earth-2 Wells, who still can’t find Jesse and reveals that his wife had to convince him to have kids, but after they had Jesse all he wanted in life was her love. Barry tells him to trust that in the long run he made the right decisions, just like Barry did! Get it!?
That night, Barry goes home and finds Iris looking at photos of Eddie. He pulls out his phone and gives her the same reason he told Eddie in the past (“Making a video montage for her birthday”) and plays the video for her. Eddie tells her everything he loves about her and highlights it all by saying she’s the type of person that doesn’t even need him. She can do anything on her own. It’s eerily prophetic! That night Barry holds up Jay Garrick’s helmet at STAR Labs and promises he’s coming after him.
You can watch a preview for the next episode, airing on April 19, using the player below!