Even from 30 years into the future, Eobard Thawne is messing with Team Flash’s present. Is he truly on a road to redemption? Or is Reverse-Flash destined to dupe the good guys yet again?
Following her own visit to 2049, Iris remarked to Barry that, crazy as it seems, she suspects that imprisoned Eobard actually cares about his “little runner” aka Nora (you know, in a paternal way). And viewed through a certain lens, nothing Thawne has said outright contradicts that. So what are we, the viewer, to make of him possibly turning over a new leaf?
“In line with Team Flash in all the seasons, they really are into redeeming people or letting people be redeemed,” showrunner Todd Helbing reminds. Just this season, “When Barry couldn’t stop phasing and he was in the Pipeline cell, there was a conversation with Nora about, ‘Can people be redeemed?’ She even asks, ‘What about Thawne?’ and Barry gives his answer that he hopes he can. So we’re playing with whether that’s possible with somebody like Thawne or not.”
Longtime viewers, though, have seen this movie before and anticipate that Thawne will be revealed to be playing some masterful, villainous game, by helping Nora travel into the past and help Team Flash battle the Cicadas. Because viewed through another lens, much of what he has said from his cell can be interpreted as calculating, at the very least, and ominous, at most. After all, he did “begrudgingly” teach Nora how to access the Negative Speed Force, and emerge “a little but negative” as a result. And if that was not enough — SPOILER ALERT — the newly released synopsis for the Season 5 finale (airing Tuesday, May 14), says, “Barry faces off with his oldest and most formidable nemesis, Reverse Flash.”
“The great thing about having Tom Cavanagh [in the role] is that just looking at that guy, you want to believe him” when he presents himself as caring, Helbing says. “There’s a lot of double speak with Thawne, but at some point he’ll just say what he feels. Everybody will see if he’s being truthful or not.”
Viewers will also learn exactly what that countdown clock outside Thawne’s future prison cell is truly about. (Most recently, he said to Nora, somewhat cryptically, that his “time on this Earth” is almost up.)
Across the final three episodes of Season 5, starting this Tuesday at 8/7c (read our May Sweeps/finale preview here), “There are a lot of explanations about everything,” Helbing promises. “I don’t want to give anything away, but that [countdown] plays into what we’ve seen already with him.”