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Recap / The Flash (2014) S1 E20 "The Trap"

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Team Flash sets a trap for Thawne, hoping to trick him into confessing to murdering Barry's mother.


  • Actually a Doombot: Eobard Thawne is shot, but it's actually Hannibal Bates masquerading as him, persuaded to do so by the real Eobard in exchange for freedom.
  • Artifact Title: Ultimately, Eobard knows every step of Barry and co. all along, so their plan to capture him becomes pointless.
    Barry: It was all a setup. We thought we set a trap for him, but he — he set a trap for us.
  • Becoming the Mask: Thawne admitted that he came to love working with Barry and the rest, not that it stops him from pursuing his evil goals.
  • Body Double: Thawne uses the shapeshifting Hannibal Bates as one.
  • Bookends: Luke, You Are My Father playing out in both the opening and closing acts.
  • Broken Masquerade:
    • Thawne's façade as the kindly Dr. Wells comes to an end, and the protagonists discover the truth about him. Well, at least some of it.
    • Barry unknowingly gives Iris a shock while in the Flash suit — the same shock she received while he was in the coma.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Stinger of episode 3 showed Eobard had installed a security camera in Barry's lab at CCPD.
    • Cisco's entire arc in "Out of Time".
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In a flashback, Iris gets mildly shocked when she touches Barry. When she touches The Flash at the end of the episode, the same thing happens, thus finally figuring out that The Flash is Barry.
    • Eobard's security camera installed in Barry's lab at CCPD that was shown during The Stinger in episode 3; it turns out to be a part of a much more extensive surveillance network.
  • The Chessmaster: If Thawne had not proved himself this before, he certainly has now.
  • Continuity Nod: The flashbacks, set during Season 2 of Arrow, open with a news report about the increasing crime in Starling City as Slade's army starts making their move.
  • Downer Ending: Eobard out-gambits Team Flash and kidnaps Eddie as "insurance".
  • Dramatic Irony: Shortly after learning that in 2024, he'll be married to Iris, Barry is jokingly told by Captain Singh to never get married, almost literally bumps into the future Mrs. West-Allen, and is told by her current boyfriend if his own intention to propose. This all happens in one scene, too.
    Eddie: Iris Thawne! Sounds pretty good, huh? [leaves]
    Barry: I have a a feeling she's gonna want to hyphenate...
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Eobard's new hideout appears to be underground, yet it has some computers in it.
  • Event Title: Double Subverted. The title seems to refer to Barry and co.'s plan to capture the man in yellow. Turns out, Eobard is the one who sets the trap for them.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Thawne, of all people, is ultimately revealed to be this once he reveals himself.
  • Evil Is Petty: Apparently Thawne killed Nora Allen because he was angry that Barry escaped.
  • Faux Affably Evil: This is Eobard Thawne's true personality, and he reveals it to the heroes at the end of the episode.
  • Flashback B-Plot: The episode flashes between the present-day and the time Barry was in a coma. A deleted scene would have added another flashback to the episode, from Caitlin's point of view.
  • Flanderization: An In-Universe example. When Eobard killed Cisco in "Out of Time", the former was saddened by the fact that he had to do it. When Cisco revisits the event via "dream machine", Eobard has a full-on Slasher Smile.
  • Foregone Conclusion: This episode establishes Barry will have a costume switch, marry Iris, become Da Chief of the CCPD and invent Gideon. It also establishes that Oliver will go by the codename Green Arrow.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a bunch of little hints that Thawne is actually Bates. Such as him raising his hand, without vibrating it. He also takes off his glasses with his left hand, a key tell in his previous appearance. Bates wears shiny dress shoes as Thawne, but it has been shown several times that Thawne almost always wears sneakers. But mostly the whole slipping past the barrier meant to block out speedsters and being unable to dodge the bullets.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The article mentions Hawkgirl, who will be in the Legends of Tomorrow spin-off.
  • Hand Wave: "If it never happened, how can Cisco remember it?" "I don't know. I don't know. I think the important thing is, he does."
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Before the trap, Thawne tells Barry that he is lacking in confidence and that he alrady has all he needs.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Barry tells the others how he traveled through time in "Out of Time"/"Rogue Time".
    • Barry, Cisco, Caitlin and Joe find out about Eobard Thawne and that he traveled back in time to murder the young Barry Allen, not Nora Allen.
    • Iris finds out that Barry is the Flash.
    • Eddie finds out he's Eobard's ancestor.
  • Irony: In a flashback Thawne muses to himself that despite his hatred for Barry, Fate conspired that he would have to turn Barry into the Flash in order to get home.
  • It's All About Me: Both a mild case and subverted - upon learning of their relation, Eddie assumes that whatever Thawne was up to revolved around him. Thawne quickly corrects him, saying he was merely "insurance."
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Barry asks Gideon if she can keep Team Flash's incursion into Eobard's room a secret. She says that she'll do anything Barry asks her to, since he is Gideon's creator.
  • Moment Killer: Eddie was going to propose marriage to Iris when the Reverse-Flash kidnaps him.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Gideon tells Barry he is a "founding member" of something, but Barry changes the topic before she can say more. In the promo comic Gideon actually does gets the word Justice out. Barry Allen was in fact the leader in the League's first appearance, The Brave and The Bold #28.
    • The 2024 newspaper names Oliver as Green Arrow, not The Arrow.
    • Along with Green Arrow above, Hawkgirl is also name dropped.
    • The glasses that Caitlin invents to help Cisco remember his dream strongly resemble the shades worn by Vibe in the comics.
    • While Cisco's creating his glasses, Barry's wearing some with very thin slits that are identical to Captain Cold's comics eye wear.
    • Eobard tells the team that all of them have better lives because of his actions, possibly referring to saving Cisco and Caitlin from becoming Vibe and Killer Frost.
    • Barry unknowingly gives himself away as the Flash to Iris. In the comic, it was because he talked in his sleep; here, it's because of a static touch.
  • Oh, Crap!: This episode might as well be a montage of the cast members making that horrified expression on their faces.
  • Out-Gambitted: Thawne had surveillance on Barry and all of his friends, and so he knew all along that they were onto him and that they had set a trap for him.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Joe bluntly did not give his blessing to Eddie when the latter informed him on plan to propose to Iris.
  • Red Herring: Based on the title of the episode, there seem to be a number of points where Thawne is deliberately leading the heroes into a trap, including being the one to set the frequency on the dream machine, calling Barry to a building that's on fire (which as far as anyone is concerned he may have started himself), and instructing Barry to rotate his arms to put out the blaze. However, these ultimately appear to be fruitless. The titular trap happens in the climax.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shipper on Deck: Joe thinks Iris/Barry is a much better match than Iris/Eddie, and says so quite bluntly to Barry when Barry asks why he pulled a Parental Marriage Veto on Eddie.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Thawne has cameras everywhere. Turns out he's been doing it for years.
  • Stable Time Loop: Cisco sees the Newspaper with Barry in the classic Flash costume and shows his admiration for it, and muses that if he altered Barry's costume accordingly it would've been inspired by seeing that newspaper.
  • Taunting the Unconscious: A flashback has Thawne taunt a comatose Barry. Thawne is disguised as Dr. Harrison Wells at this point and totally alone with Barry who is in his care, making this Nightmare Fuel as he tells his unconscious patient how easily he could kill him right now if he didn't still need him, but once that's no longer the case Barry will die.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: From Eobard's perspective Barry did something to him in the future that counts as this, and even though Present Day!Barry hasn't done it yet (and possibly never will given how screwed up the timeline is), Thawne is adamant that there will be a reckoning. What Barry actually did has yet to be revealed, though.
    Eobard Thawne: It's been an education, watching you grow up all these fairs and soccer games. No hint, no sign, no trace of the man you will be one day for whom I have nothing but hate. And to be clear, nothing is forgiven. There will be a reckoning. I promise you, Barry Allen, that you will die.
  • This Was His True Form: Of a sort. When Bates/Thawne dies, he reverts to the featureless and eyeless form that he'd taken on when he admitted that he couldn't remember his original appearance.
  • Wham Episode: Definitely qualifies due to all the Internal Reveals and the end of Thawne's kindly professor facade. And this time, there's no time travel to undo it.
  • Wham Line: Gideon tells Barry that he is her creator, and she will always obey any order he gives her.
  • Wrong Guy First: Why Joe pulls the Parental Marriage Veto; he believes Iris loves Barry more than Eddie, and knows that if the relationship goes any farther and they realize that, they're only going to get hurt. Considering the events of "Out of Time", he might have a point.