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In the Flash Season 1 finale "Fast Enough,"

Barry opens a wormhole in order to go back in time and save his mom.

During the planning for this, he is told he'll only have 1 minute and 52 seconds, which is enough time to

save his mom

but, as Barry says, not enough time to

stop Thawne from going home

However, if Barry wanted to stop Thawne, then

Why did Cisco and the rest of the team help reconstruct Thawne's time machine? Why not just keep him locked up the whole time?

Hopefully I put the right amount of spoiler tags in! I didn't want to ruin anything.

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The show doesn't explain this very well, and the reasoning seems to vary as the plot progresses, but the basic idea appears to be that Thawne is the only person who knows

how to safely send Barry back in time to save his mom.

He's only going to help them in exchange for the STAR Labs team helping him.

As long as STAR Labs is giving Thawne what he wants, he has no reason to double-cross them. Plus, as long as Barry is around, there is someone available to fight back if he tries. He convinces them to fulfill his requests, and once it's time, to let him out of his cell. Once Barry

goes through the wormhole, they have to leave it open for him,

and since none of them are fast enough to stop him, Thawne is free to do what he wants.

That appears to be the crux of the deal. Thawne will help them, if they let him out, with everyone knowing that once Barry starts his trip, Thawne's just going to run back home uncontested.

Unfortunately, this breaks down at the end, because Thawne is still in his cell when Barry leaves. Why not just leave him there? Maybe by that point they figured he'd kept up his end of the deal, they may as well just get rid of him, it's not really clear.

It's also interesting that, when Barry comes back, Thawne somehow knows what happened. How did he know, and what did he expect to happen if

Barry had succeeded in saving his mom?

  • I got the impression Thawne knew Barry didn't save his mother because he made it back in time to stop him, since they had said earlier Barry couldn't do both – childcat15 May 21 '15 at 18:39
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    I assume that's what we're supposed to think, but... IMO he spent more time not saving her than if he had done it. – KutuluMike May 21 '15 at 19:20
  • Although saving his mom would have involved a, probably lengthy, fistfight with younger Thawne. Maybe his tearful goodbye was still shorter than that showdown would have been – childcat15 May 22 '15 at 14:53
  • I always assumed Thawne knew because he could still remember killing Nora, which he couldn't have if Present-Barry had taken her to safety like Future-Barry had with Past-(Little-)Barry - or he would at least remember living both versions of events, like Barry did his first time travel. – BMWurm Aug 12 '15 at 12:26
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Maybe they felt like they owed him since he could possibly help Barry travel back in time to see his mother

  • Maybe, but given that he killed Nora in the first place, and the general hatred and mistrust everyone has toward him, it didn't seem like they felt overwhelmingly grateful. I got the impression it had more to do with a deal, I'm just wondering why they made that deal in the first place – childcat15 May 20 '15 at 4:49
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    Do you have any evidence to support this claim? If not, this is probably better suited as a comment. – Often Right May 20 '15 at 6:25

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