Time Warp: Time Masters vs. Speedsters vs. Time Wraiths

While the headline is a reference to the famous song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, I’m less interested in the TV version that’s airing on Fox tonight and more interested in what the actual heck will happen on tonight’s episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

For the past few months, an ongoing conversation on social media has been “Why are the rules of time travel different for speedsters and Team Legends?” The simple answer: Time Wraiths deal with speedsters (as seen in ‘Flash Back’ and ‘The Race of His Life’) and, before the big twist was revealed in ‘River of Time’, the Time Masters dealt with Team Legends.

That answer worked and was accepted for a while…but now we have a speedster on Legends of Tomorrow–Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), aka Reverse Flash–who will be teaming up with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), and Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) to form the Legion of Doom. As we saw last week, Thawne traveled back to 1942 to help Darhk deal with some Nazis after the Legends had foiled his original plan of obtaining an atomic bomb. Tonight, it looks like Thawne’s sticking around in that era a little while longer.

Here’s where the questions start arising. A Time Wraith first came after Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) when he traveled back in time a year to ask Thawne how to improve his speed. While in 2015, Thawne told Barry that Time Wraiths have never come after him because he hasn’t been reckless in his travels (which is extremely debatable considering the fact that he lost his speed after going back in time and killing Barry’s mom). Back in 2016, Hunter Zolomon (Teddy Sears) told Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) that he’s been trying to avoid Time Wraiths as well as he’s created time remnant after time remnant in his own attempts to be the fastest. In the Season 2 finale, by creating a time remnant himself, Barry was able to successfully draw out the Time Wraiths, watching as they turned Zoom into Black Flash and flew him into the Speed Force.

As The Flas has made very clear: Time Wraiths do not like speedsters messing with time. …So how does Thawne get to go back to World War II and not be hunted down by them but when Barry travels back a year, he has to defeat one by the end of the episode? One could definitely assume that messing with a major global event such as that would make the Time Wraiths incredibly angry…but the Legends are presumably going to be dealing with him, instead.

Let me make myself clear. I completely understand that every show has their own things that they need to focus on. The Flash deals with the Speed Force and Legends deals with the team protecting history. Why bring a speedster on at all, though, if the Speed Force is supposed to be his own judge, jury, and executioner?

Now, I have absolute faith in the writers and believe they made an interesting and fun choice in bringing the Reverse Flash onto Legends…but there’s no harm in being cautious of continuity. I really hope that in the coming weeks, this issue is addressed as it’s definitely something to think about, but for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy tonight’s episode, ‘The Justice Society of America’! (Are you ready to see Martin Stein singing “Edelweiss” to a room full of Nazis?)

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