There’s a new metahuman in Central City causing all kinds of problems, but they’re difficult to describe.
Let’s bitch it out…
In the wake of the accusations levelled against Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), the Flash team splits up: Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Cisco (Carlos Valdes) head to Starling City to investigate the old Wells crash site while Barry (Grant Gustin), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) and Wells remain behind to investigate Hannibal Bates, a shape shifter thief.
The case of the week is one of the best The Flash has concocted because it completely plays into the overarching narrative. Eddie (Rick Cosnett) and Barry are forced to work together to solve the crime and the extra screen time allows Cosnett to do more with Eddie than we’ve seen nearly all season. Bringing him in on Barry’s secret identity has opened up new opportunities to include Eddie and the dynamic between the two pays off with a storyline that is one part buddy cop, one part awkward love affair*. Forcing the former adversaries to work together is a nice change of pace…at least until Eddie is framed for murder.
*There’s a weird moment of gay panic when Eddie and Barry visit Hannibal’s grandmother and are forced to sit close together on a single small couch. Their discomfort is evident when they both quickly stand the moment that she leaves the room. Later, when it looks like Eddie will go down for the shooting of two cops, Barry whisks him away to a deserted area where the two grip each other close (part of this erotic tension is caused by the sheer proximity of the actors to each other and the camera – it’s a strange directorial choice).
With Eddie effectively sidelined, ‘Who Is Harrison Wells’ brings both Caitlin and Iris (Candice Patton) to the fore. Despite Iris’ anger at Eddie’s secret keeping, she’s still in love with him (although she might want to refrain from running into Barry’s arms whenever something bad happens lest she fan the flames of Eddie’s discomfort). Things get comical when Barry is knocked out by the shape shifter and his identity is stolen, a move that allows Grant Gustin the opportunity to play Barry in an entirely new way. Obviously there’s hilarious awkwardness in his interactions with Caitlin and the kiss is a nice callback to the sexual chemistry between the two back in ‘Crazy For You’. By the time that the impostor is subdued and Iris arrives, it’s clear that the group’s staunch refusal to tell her the truth will once again bite them in the ass, as it predictably does when Hannibal takes the form of a young girl who cries abduction and slips away in the ensuing melee.
The climax at the airport is a foregone conclusion the moment that the team discovers that Barry can successfully touch Hannibal without the chameleon inheriting his powers. That doesn’t make the face-off against a parade of shape shifted allies – including kick-ass versions of Caitlin and Iris – less difficult. Plus anything that makes me recall fights from Terminator 2 has to be considered a win in any book.
Meanwhile in Starling, Joe and Cisco enlist Detective Lance (Paul Blackthorne) to help them investigate the crash site where Wells lost his wife. Since ‘Tricksters’ showed us how Eobard Thawne came to steal Wells’ life, none of the events involving the Tachyon detector or the skeleton offer any real surprises, though it is nice to see some of the Arrow crew in another capacity, particularly Lance who is much more chill here than he has been on his own show for the last few episodes.
The retrieval of the real Wells’ body means that our characters are now nearly caught up on all of the existing secrets. They now know that they haven’t been working for Wells and, in the coda, Cisco uses the Tachyon detector to discover the secret room located at Star Labs. Inside they find confirmation that Wells is the Reverse Flash when they find his suit and – as confirmed in the preview for next week and made evident in the future newspaper from April 25, 2024 – the mystery man is from the future. With only four episodes remaining, the secrets are coming out!
- Laurel (Katie Cassidy) approaches Cisco when he’s in Starling to ask for help modifying her sister’s Sonic device. Their mildly flirtatious banter is serious fun. This may just be the most fun that Cassidy has ever been on these shows.
- Also: I love that Cisco’s payment for revamping the Canary Cry is a convention-esque publicity still with him and the Canary in costume.
- On the road, Joe and Detective Lance discuss the latter’s strained relationship with Laurel, which can clearly be seen as commentary on how Joe is keeping secrets from his daughter. It’s a little too on the nose for me, but it does help to reinforce the fact that a) Iris needs to be told and b) Lance needs to move on.
- In the episode’s most emotional moment, Caitlin confesses to Barry that she doesn’t want to believe that Wells is a villain because he saved her life (metaphorically) following the events of the particle accelerator. It’s a good reminder that Barry isn’t the only one that has been burnt by Wells’ betrayal.
- Barry (when Eddie asks if there’s a metahuman capable of amazing things): “Is that a real question?”
- Eddie (to Iris, about Joe’s decision to take a few days off): “Like father, like daughter, I guess.”
- Caitlin (when Barry asks her to hold off talking to Wells for his father): “I can’t believe you’re pulling the dad card. Dirty pool, Barry.”
- Cisco (as Joe uncovers a hand buried by the crash site): “Okay, see I thought it was a foot but a hand is just as bad.”
- Barry (after Caitlin slaps him in the face): “Seriously? Why did you hit me?”
Your turn: what did you think of Barry and Eddie’s team up? Were you excited to see Barry and Caitlin kiss, even under impostor conditions? Does Iris’ insistence on transporting the prisoner confirm that she needs to be brought into the know? Are you surprised that Joe and Cisco find what they need so easily? Did you like seeing Laurel and Lance out of the shadow of Arrow‘s dark direction? Sound off below.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on The CW. Next week: we’re laying a trap for Wells. Here’s a preview