To say that Season 8 of The Flash has been one of wild curveballs would be a serious understatement. Between Joe West's "death" in "Armageddon", the escalation of Iris' time sickness, the death of Frost, and last week's one-two punch of the return of the original Eobard Thawne (played by Matt Letscher) and John Diggle finally dealing with that mysterious green cube from the Arrow finale, The Flash has pulled out all the stops this season. But this week's penultimate episode of the season, "Negative, Part One", threw fans yet another wild twist and now Tom Cavanagh is opening up about getting to see Thawne in ways fans may not have seen coming.
Warning: spoiler's for "Negative, Part One" beyond this point. If you haven't yet seen the episode, you should turn back now.
In the episode, viewers find out exactly what Deon (Christian Magby) wants with Thawne (Cavanagh) as well as the reason for Iris' (Candice Patton) time sickness through a series of pretty wild revelations that start with a shocking scene: Deon kills Thawne, using the Still Force to age the man centuries in an instant, discarding his practically mummified corpse on the floor of his cell on Lian Yu — but not before promising him that he will still get everything due him. By the end of the episode, we find out in a horrifying fashion exactly what that means. It turns out that when Barry took Thawne's speed, it erased the Negative Speed Force, destabilized the other Negative Forces, and sent them on a mission to get revenge on Barry (Grant Gustin). The Deon we've been seeing this season is actually Negative Deon and he's responsible for making Iris sick so that it would, in turn, weaken the rest of the forces. While that's an extremely villain thing to do, it still gets worse. After Eobard (Letscher) gets speed powers — thanks to a power share from Meena (Kausar Mohammed), Deon uses that to resurrect the Thawne fans are most familiar with. Cavanagh's Thawne literally emerges from Eobard, back and more powerful than ever.
While the idea that one couldn't keep Cavanagh's Thawne/Reverse Flash down for long is itself not a surprise, exactly how Thawne ended up back on top is a twist that few could have predicted and as Cavanagh told ComicBook.com, it's exciting to him that the series was able to pull off such a big surprise.
"That's interesting to me. I like that, because, especially for people that know the show well and probably in many ways better than I know the show, that's nice to hear that because you always wonder, is this week just a telegraph? One of the great things about the arc coming right now, I think, is that the writers' room took the opportunity to show Thawne in ways that we haven't often seen. Normally, when it's the iconic Flash versus Reverse Flash and the analogy I like to use is their fingers hovering over the triggers, right? Ready to use their superpowers and in this edition, Reverse Flash, Thawne has no superpowers, so he's really at a low because when you take something that identifies a person away from them, they're sort of unmoored and cast adrift and that was an unusual emotion to play while playing somebody who's always 10, 15 years ahead of everybody else, and I really enjoyed it."
Cavanagh continued, "There are various iterations of this line in the show over seven or eight years, it's been somebody saying 'yeah, he always has a plan' and he really does.' It's one of the reasons his kind of intelligence and dedication to this bond, crazy as it is, it is a bond between Flash and Reverse Flash, and his dedication to that bond has him genuinely extra and super and over prepared for what's to come and it just felt like a lovely change because for once, I think we see him… someone else has the upper hand, in terms of preparation, which is a rarity for him."
For Cavanagh, the wild twist for Thawne was one that he said had to feel new and original to him due to his care for the character he's crafted for so long, and ultimately, he feels the writers did a "marvelous" job.
"Every time we're going to use Eobard Thawne, I would say I'm overprotective, but I think that it's a bit of a conundrum because actors, this is the reason I do the show and yet at the same time I don't want to oversell it and overexpose it," Cavanagh said. "It's really crazy. So, in other words, even though I love playing the Reverse Flash, I don't want to play the Reverse Flash because I feel that you don't want that to be diluted because when they come together, Flash versus Reverse Flash, it feels in many ways, in terms of villainhood, the purest our show gets. And so, in this one, I thought 'Will it live up to the is it worth telling category?' And it certainly does. It feels new and original."
He added. "The arcs are deep-rooted in The Flash, and I think they did a marvelous job."
The Flash airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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