In tonight’s episode, what happened 15 years ago takes center stage even as we are treated to a wonderful performance by Mark Hamill in the present day timeline…and if you thought you knew everything about that night, do we have surprises for you! All this and more, in an outstanding episode of THE FLASH!
SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
We’re going to take this a bit out of order…or rather, we’ll put a few things back IN order so that we aren’t jumping all around different timelines. Let’s start with the Trickster(s) tale…
A new Trickster has shown up in Central City, with bombs floating down on a children’s playground. The Flash saves the day, but now we’re stuck with the mystery of a new Trickster while the old one is still in Iron Heights. Joe and Barry visit James Jesse in a scene reminiscent of “Silence of the Lambs”, but they don’t learn a lot. Later on we find that the new Trickster is NOT out to merely copy the old, but is actually out to free him from prison. There is a connection in the Flash TV-verse between James Jesse and Axel Walker…a bloodline connection, as Jesse claims to be Walker’s father! Together, they plan a heist at the Mayor’s fundraiser, using a poison they slip into the champagne. For insurance, they kidnapped a cop’s father on their way out of prison…Henry Allen! As the Flash arrives to stop them, Axel plants a bomb on Barry’s wrist that will explode the minute he goes below 600 miles per hour!
Wells talks Barry through his first vibrating-through-walls event (or in this case, vibrating through a semi). The ease with which Wells can describe how to do this will later give Barry some pause. For now, he’s just glad that the bomb was left behind and that he can take an antidote back to the party. At the end, both Tricksters are off to prison, and Henry also must go back…but not before learning who the Flash really is, and not before getting to see the inside of S.T.A.R. labs.
A secondary story line concerns the disappearance (actually the death) of Mason Bridge. Iris is determined to investigate the disappearance of her mentor, but Barry and Joe realize the danger that could be found in that search. Eventually, they get some help in throwing Iris off the trail (back to that in a bit).
The big reveals all go back 15 years ago, and only in part to the Allen household (where it appeared to this reviewer that the man in yellow is the one who actually took Barry back to the street and away from the fight – please tell me if you saw it that way or not, as I may have missed it here). The big reveals concern Harrison Wells, his wife, and the wreck that killed her. But first…
After the events at the Allen household, the Reverse Flash learns that he has used up all his speed, that there are no more time jumps left. He pulls off his mask to reveal…a face that is most definitely NOT Harrison Wells!
How can this be? Well, let’s look at Harrison and his wife, happy in their lives together and looking forward to a day when they can make their dream of S.T.A.R. Labs a reality. But, driving home they come across spike strips planted by this mysterious man in yellow (now in civilian clothes). Wells’ car flips and he is struggling to get out while his wife is dying. He sees this mysterious man and asks for help…but there is no help here!
The man introduces himself as Eobard Thawne.
I know, how can THAT be when Wells has introduced himself as Thawne just a couple of episodes back? Stay with us…
Thawne tells Wells that he knows S.T.A.R. will successfully open in 2020, but that he needs this all to happen MUCH sooner. He attaches a device to Wells and to himself…killing Wells and taking on his appearance!
Okay, back to present day, now that we know more about Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne. Barry has one more reveal…rather, he reveals his secret as the Flash to Eddie in order to gain Eddie’s help in throwing Iris off the Mason Bridge case. Eddie’s story of Bridge supposedly going to Brazil appears to work for now. Afterward we find that Joe, Barry, and Eddie are uniting to further investigate Wells, whom Barry now believes to be the “Man in Yellow”.
SUMMARY: This was an outstanding episode of THE FLASH on so many levels. In fact, any one of the storylines could have been strong enough to drive an episode on its own. Having been a fan of the original FLASH series in the 1990’s (and being a Mark Hamill fan as well), it was a real treat to see him reprise his role as the Trickster. In fact, I’m not sure reprise is the right word so much as that he reinvented the role. Hamill’s performance was spot-on, with a mixture of his old Trickster role with a little bit of his Joker voice-overs from the Batman animations. Still, I’m just as taken by the revelations about Wells/Thawne. The scripts keep adding new levels of complexity that make this character more compelling by the week. That’s all without mentioning the addition of Barry’s ability to vibrate through solid objects, a great treat for any long-time Flash fan. A great episode all around – what do YOU think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.