Thursday, May 21, 2015

Superheroes, Time Travel, & All Things Nerdy

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of television.  I have been for years and probably always will be.  This time of year is always one of the toughest as season and series finales happen.  For those shows that aren't returning, you hopefully get closure that makes sense.  But for those that are coming back in the fall, we should get a great cliffhanger.  Tuesday night, we got a great season finale from The Flash.  I'm late to the party when it comes to superheroes.  Yeah, I've always known about them and have loved what I had seen, but I had never been a typical comic book nerd.  I still don't buy comic books, but the influx of Marvel and DC information into popular culture has begun to feed the curiosity I've always had.

So, as I mentioned, this season finale was amazing.  It had everything I had hoped for:  an awesome superhero pitted against a fantastic super-villain, closure to a season-long story line, that aforementioned cliffhanger, and unexpected twists.  But there was also time travel, another topic of which I've always had interest (see some of my previous blog posts).  I always like to see how different authors, writers, etc... do interpretations of time travel.  Because it's still all theoretical at this point (and some would say impossible), there is plenty of room for artistic license.  Most of the time, I try to take the information and rationally prove or disprove it in my own mind.  Tuesday night was no exception.  In order to explain it, I'll have to give you a synopsis of this season.

Barry Allen is a forensic scientist for the Central City Police Department that was exposed to the effects of a particle collider malfunction at S.T.A.R. Labs.  Dr. Harrison Wells, the scientist who founded the laboratory, nursed Barry back to health but discovered that the explosion gave him the power of super speed.  During the season of catching other gifted "meta-humans" that turned to lives of crime, Barry moves fast enough to travel briefly back in time to not only see his mother's murder, which his father was blamed & jailed for supposedly doing, but finds that another speedster (which they dubbed the Reverse Flash) had been the actual murderer.  **Please note that if you haven't watched the season and plan to, there will be spoilers in the rest of this synopsis.**  Barry learns that Dr. Wells, his wheelchair-bound mentor, actually is Eobard Thawne, a criminal from the future that traveled back to the past to kill Barry's mother to demoralize him from becoming the Flash naturally.  After killing Nora Allen, Thawne finds himself trapped in that time period with no way of getting home.  He then arranges the death of the real Dr. Wells, assumes his full identity (complete with facial features), and sets up future events that result in the particle accelerator accident to help Barry become the Flash sooner than happened in his original timeline.  Barry finally is able to capture Thawne, but is presented with a proposition.  Another particle accelerator Thawne built is the key to Barry being able to return to the past once again.  By running fast enough and colliding with the particle, it would open a wormhole that would allow a window of traveling to the past in order to prevent Nora Allen's murder.  In exchange for this information, Thawne asks to be allowed to return to his own time.  Barry finally agrees, creates the wormhole and returns to his childhood home.  Instead of preventing the murder, though, and possibly changing his entire timeline, Barry uses the opportunity to say goodbye to his mom, then returns to present time to stop Thawne from returning home.  A battle ensues with Thawne gaining the upper hand and is about to kill Barry, when an unexpected twist happens.  One of Barry's friends and coworkers is Eddie Thawne, who also happens to be Eobard Thawne's ancestor.  Just before Barry is about to be killed, Eddie shoots himself, causing Eobard to be erased from existence.  As the show goes off the air, we see the Flash attempting to stop the wormhole from becoming a full-fledged singularity that destroys the entire Earth.

Confused?  I hope not.  Intrigued?  I definitely hope so.  Of all the events in that episode, the erasure from existence of Eobard Thawne was what piqued my curiosity.  Follow me on this.  If Eobard Thawne had never existed, the following items would have changed:  Nora Allen would not have been murdered, Barry Allen might never have followed his guardian Joe West's footsteps in working with the police department, he possibly wouldn't have met Dr. Wells (the real one), a particle accelerator accident would never have occurred, Barry wouldn't have become the Flash until much later...the list goes on and on.  But the only thing that seemingly changed was Eobard never existing.  The rest of that current universe apparently continued on as if nothing had happened.  My initial reaction was "this does not make sense".  We should have seen immediate differences that would  have reverted everything back to the way the timeline would have been had Eobard not existed.    Then I started thinking about the situation with an emphasis on alternate universes.  Eobard time traveling to kill Nora Allen set about a chain of events that changed major points along a timeline...or did they?  Could the act of time travel have also been enough to jump to an alternate timeline, the points of which we saw played out this season?  If so, did the blanking from existence of Eobard Thawne only affect him because he was from a different timeline?  Only way I could see that happening was if somehow Eddie Thawne came from the same timeline as his descendant, Eobard, and his suicide would then have the effect we saw.  In some time travel and alternate universe theories I've read, even the simple acts of making a decision (going left instead of right, eating a sandwich instead of soup, etc...) can be what causes alternate universes to be created.  Theoretically, an infinite number of universes exist to cover every single possibility of events that could occur.  So the act of killing Nora Allen could even have created this alternate timeline/universe.

Clearly I've put too much thought into all of this and have spent more time on it than I probably should have, but these are the things that play out in my mind while I am performing other daily menial tasks.  I look forward to seeing how the writers handle this, if they even do.  They could just gloss over it with an "it is what it is" view.  For the sake of entertainment, I'm okay with that but Analytical Me is having issues with it.  Did any of you watch The Flash at all this season?  If so, did you have similar thoughts?  Or are you now reading about this for the first time and are gathering opinions?  I'd love to hear your opinions on The Flash, time travel, alternate universes, superheroes...whatever thoughts this blog has stirred up inside you.  As an extra bonus question:  if you could go back in time to prevent a completely awful event in your life, knowing full-well that changing that event could alter everything else that happened to you after that (including even really great events), would you do it?    Feel free to comment here or you can hit me up by e-mail, text, Twitter, or Facebook.  The ways to reach me are almost as numerous as the number of alternate universes that may or may not exist. 

Until my next blog, I wish all of you Godspeed.  (Get it?  The Flash?  Speed?  Very punny...)

1 comment:

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