When The Flash returns from midseason hiatus on Tuesday, Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) will be on trial having been framed for the murder of Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker (Neil Sandilands). It's a moment that fans of The Flash have been anticipating, due in no small part to it being an iconic comic storyline of the same name: "The Trial of The Flash."
But "The Trial of The Flash" is also something that The CW series has been teasing almost since the show premiered back in 2014. With all the timeline changing, breaking, and bending Barry has done over the course of the past three and a half seasons, fans may have dismissed some of the hints and clues along the way as possible futures or things that Barry had prevented from happening at all while others are a lot more obvious, particularly with hindsight being 20/20. Yes, when you go back and look at the totality of The Flash since its premiere, it becomes pretty clear that Barry's long been heading towards a date with the law, and it's something he simply can't outrun. Here are five times The Flash has referenced "The Trial of The Flash."
Barry Behind Bars
During the first season finale, Barry figures out how to travel through time -- by running there. As he ran to the past to save his mother, Barry runs past various visions of time. He sees the past, the future, and maybe even alternative worlds. One of the things he sees clearly is a vision of himself in prison garb talking to someone on the phone. The vision-Barry is very obviously in jail, and that's exactly where Barry ends up in the upcoming winter season premiere.
When Team Flash brought Barry back from the Speed Force during the Season Four premiere, the Barry Allen they initially got back wasn't quite the Barry Allen they watched sacrifice himself to the Speed Force during the final moments of the Season Three finale. The freshly rescued Barry didn't just have some serious facial hair, but he also didn't make any sense. In addition to scrawling an odd series of symbols (that may or may not be bitchin') Barry was also speaking gibberish. Some of that gibberish was a then-curious line: "Your Honor, I'm innocent. I didn't do this! I didn't kill anyone!" During the premiere, the line was just proof of how messed up Barry was by the Speed Force. Now, it feels an awful lot like a direct reference to Barry going on trial for a murder he didn't commit.
In the Season Three episode "Abra Kadabra" the same-named criminal from the 64th century shows up in Central City stealing technology. It turns out that he's trying to use the technology to build a time machine and get back to the future. That plan gets foiled by Barry and Gypsy (Jessica Camacho) -- who has been chasing Kadabra as he is a dimension-hopping criminal as well -- arrives to take him to Earth-19 to face justice. Before she takes him away, however, Kadabra tells Barry that they are still enemies in the future and name drops DeVoe. While that itself is a small nod to pretty much everything happening this season, it's also worth noting that Abra Kadabra has a significant role in the comic book "Trial of The Flash" arc as he brainwashed the jury to convict Barry.
"Flash Missing in Crisis"
A little bit less a direct nod to "The Trial of The Flash", but still significant nonetheless, the future newspaper headline seen back in Season One didn't just reveal that Iris West (Candice Patton) would someday marry Barry Allen, it also hinted at another iconic comic storyline, one connected to the "The Trial of The Flash". You see, Barry flees to the 30th century with Iris, but after only a few weeks of peace "Crisis on Infinite Earths" kicks off, and while that would serve to consolidate the various "Earths" of the multiverse, it also saw Barry captured by the Anti-Monitor so that he could not stop his evil plan to destroy the Earth. Barry manages to escape and ultimately sacrifices himself by making a speed vortex to stop Anti-Monitor.
"We're going to need more diapers."
Another moment from Barry's A Beautiful Mind phase (thanks, Cisco!) in the Season Dour premiere, the line "we're going to need more diapers" was thought by many to be a reference that the Tornado Twins are in Barry and Iris' future. Now that Barry is in jail, that possibility seems even more likely. Why? Well, like the Crisis headline, this isn't a direct reference to "The Trial of The Flash", but more a reference to the aftermath. After fleeing to the 30th century, Barry and Iris get to be happy together. At least for a little while, considering that he's soon kidnapped by Anti-Monitor. But during that brief time, Barry and Iris conceive twins, Don and Dawn Allen -- better known as the Tornado Twins. And whether we've seen Dawn Allen already, there is one thing that is certain: twins do require a lot of diapers, and in comics, "The Trial of The Flash" is a lead in to how the Allen twins end up existing.
The Flash returns this Tuesday at 8/7c on The CW.