The Flash underwent a 'rebirth' in tonight's episode - and it involved some pretty sly callbacks to the show's first season.
Spoilers for tonight's season four premiere of The Flash, 'The Flash Reborn', below!
After ending season three on a surprising cliffhanger, Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) returned... but wasn't exactly the same. When Team Flash reunited with Barry, he began spouting nonsense - but some of it was actually pretty familiar.
From a reference to Barry's song to Iris, to a possible reference to the couple's future, Barry's monologuing had quite a bit of hidden meaning. In particular, it included quite a few references to the show's first season.
So, what exactly did Barry say? Click through as we attempt to decode it - and hopefully get a better answer than "This house is bitchin.'"
Many - including those of us at ComicBook.com - have pointed out just how much tonight's episode felt reminiscent of The Flash's pilot. In a way, the episode seemed to reference that directly, with the help of two very particular callbacks.
While Barry is spouting nonsense in the police station, he turns to Caitlin and Joe and says "I'm not like you, Oliver." While it's a moment that's largely played for laughs, it references one of the pilot's most memorable scenes, where Barry seeks advice from his superhero elder, Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell). It not only marks one of the earliest crossovers between the heroes, but it helped give the Arrow spinoff a blessing in a way.
And of course, there's the more notable callback in this episode - when Cisco attempts to bring Barry back to normal by playing 'Poker Face'. The Lady Gaga track appeared early on in The Flash's pilot episode, as Cisco used Barry's Facebook likes to determine what music would help bring him out of his coma.
In a way, the episode also signals a "rebirth" of the show by calling back to its very first villain - Eobard Thawne's version of Harrison Wells.
Throughout Barry's various rambling, he reiterates two lines he's previously said to Wells!Thawne. In the pilot, he confronted Thawne about the particle accelerator explosion, saying "You said the city was safe. That there was no residual danger. But that's not true. So what really happened that night?" And in the show's second episode, Fastest Man Alive, Barry compliments Wells!Thawne, saying "I doubt restraint is how you got to be the man you are today."
Of course, when spouted by season four's Barry, the lines almost take on a completely different context. The first line, in a way, could be seen as a reference to the events of the finale, which sent Barry into the Speed Force to begin with. And, well, the second line can be seen as a metaphor for Barry himself, who's certainly in a much different place than he was when audiences first met him.
While this event technically didn't occur in season one - and well, hasn't really occurred yet at all - it's still definitely worth noting.
In Barry's Speed Force vision during the first season finale, Barry sees a large number of possible futures - him teaming up with the Legends of Tomorrow, him getting his own Flash museum, and the like. But at one moment, we also see a much older Barry, sitting behind the bars of a prison.
Means nothing, right? Sure, until tonight's episode, when a ranting Barry remarks "Your honor, I'm innocent. I didn't do this! I didn't kill anyone!"
For some fans, that seemed like a pretty clear callout to 'The Trial of The Flash', a storyline that ran in the 1980s. In it, Barry was put on trial for the murder of the Reverse Flash, after the villain crashed his wedding and attempted to kill his fiance. Barry ended up accidentally snapping Thawne's neck, and was sent to jail because of it.
So could we see The CW's Scarlet Speedster behind bars? It's still far too early to tell, but there's something about that line worth keeping an eye on. After all, Eobard might be currently gone from the Arrowverse, but another set of villains is supposed to crash Barry's upcoming nuptials.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on The CW.