“When I stick my hand through Cisco Ramon’s chest in season 1, it’s a stunning and shocking and visceral—no pun intended—turn of events and one of the highlights (lowlights?) of The Flash television series canon,” he says. “And of course, both Cisco and I went on do a number more years on the show, right? And yet it didn’t dissipate how shocking that moment was.”
Cavanagh is proud that the end of “Negative, Part One” still feels shocking, even though most viewers “who have ever watched the show before” were probably aware that his Thawne would likely return in some form, despite his apparent death at the beginning of the episode.
“Think about that for a second: When you think about all the different shows you [watch]when’s the last time you had a moment [that you didn’t see coming]? Hopefully, you have a lot of them but, those moments are so gratifying to the viewer. And there’s so little to do with Letscher and Cavanagh and so much more to do with the sculpting of the moment, the storyline brought forth by the writer’s room.”
Part of the trick, Cavanagh claims, is that the story plays on our desire as viewers to believe in that version of Thawne’s turn to the light, that both his love for Meena and his desire to be a good man for her are real.
“We’ve traveled alongside these two guys and we’ve spent time with them, so it’s visceral and unexpected when something like this occurs. And I think the writers’ room did a great job of supporting such a shocking moment by the story that leads up to it,” he says. “Because you’re allowed to believe certain really good things, and you want to believe those good things. You want the dark to extinguish a little bit. You want to savor the light.”
Yet, at the end of the day, The Flash will always come back to the central conflict between Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne, because it is a driving emotional force behind the show, and has been since the beginning.