At the end of The Flash S1E15, Out of Time, Barry accidentally

travels back in time, finding himself about a day in the past. He then stops at the exact same place and time that he did earlier in the episode, watching dogs bark at each other and a woman missing her taxi.

However, as we saw this same scene play out earlier in the episode, there should be two Flashes standing there. Why wasn't there a second Flash?

  • You're getting into time travel paradox territory here... Just take it at face value and move on. – Daft Mar 25 '15 at 16:32
  • Why aren't there three Flashes? Where did the time-travelling adult Barry go? – phantom42 Mar 26 '15 at 1:44
  • Dr Wells shows us how that happens in that very same episode, and also that the "speed mirage" vanishes after a bit (while in fact it "catches up"). – BMWurm Mar 26 '15 at 13:41
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    @BMWurm But Barry's double-vision wasn't a speed mirage, it was literally another Barry time-traveling. – Nerrolken Mar 26 '15 at 19:21
  • the answer is: they haven't explained that yet. Hopefully more information to come! – KutuluMike Mar 26 '15 at 21:06

Wells describes it as "Temporal Reversion." That Barry didn't travel back in time, so much as he reverted his consciousness to a previous time. Giving him basically a 'Groundhog Day' experience, as opposed to his future body physically traveling to the past.

Clip of Wells warning Barry about disrupting the timeline:

This is obviously different from the time travel Barry will experience later when he goes back in time to his home and battles the Reverse Flash.

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  • Then how come Cisco remembers [insert spoiler]? – Oak May 18 '15 at 15:38
  • @Oak I believe that is part of Cisco's abilities iirc - he doesn't remember so much as vibe himself there across the alternate timeline – Wraith Leader Jun 28 '17 at 20:30

I think that the writers chose this method of temporal reversion to be less confusing and to avoid having to deal with pardoxes and such, however, it runs counter to all the usual time travel examples like Back to the Future and the new Star Trek movies. In those, the character can travel back and see and even interact with their past self. That's a pretty simple thing to understand. This temporal reversion is just odd to me.

There SHOULD be two Barry's there. In the end though, the writers chose this method and we will just need to forget about the usual time travel conventions and move on. I mean, it doesnt line up with how Flash travels through time in the comics at all, but I guess this ISNT a comic book, yeah?

I still like the show, just not this particular delivery.

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    This reads an awful lot more like a comment on Jack B Nimble's answer. – phantom42 Mar 26 '15 at 20:25

I think if the Flash travelling back has the same physical state as the Flash from that time they merge. But if there are biological changes in the body, they are unable to merge and this results in 2 Flashes.

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This method contradicts the future "time travels" but in essence he died in the blast and his mind traveled back. Either that or he merged or "phased into" himself. However, this is an Arrow episode so this isn't cannon for The Flash anyways. This is the Arrow writer's interpretation of time travel, as we've seen other types on The Flash.

  • Why wouldn't be canon? Both shows take place in the same universe. – Rogue Jedi Jun 28 '17 at 20:17
  • I assume you're referring to the events of Arrow S4E08, "Legends of Yesterday". I'm not sure why - this appears to be a response of some sort, but not to anything I see on this page.... – RDFozz Jun 28 '17 at 20:48

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