Wells, Wells, Wells… Although we’re beginning to wonder if he may actually be “The Man In The Red Herring Suit”, Wells and his machiavellian machinations are certainly making this show one to watch. The episode may drop a heavy hint that he’s the Reverse-Flash, but it drops it so heavily, we’re almost sure it’s misdirection. Especially as, for readers of the comics, the arc plot seems to be heading in another, familiar direction. No spoilers here, we promise, but if you want to know what we’re referring to, Google “Flashpoint”. The fact that Flash comic fans still can’t say for certain one way or the other which way the show’s heading says a lot about how canny the writers of the series are being.
This is certainly a great episode for big revelations, but it also has the action and drama to back it up. The quip count is significantly lower than usual, replaced by a whole bunch of well-written and effective heart-to-hearts. Most of them involve Barry – Barry and his dad, Barry and Joe, Barry and Iris – and Grant Gustin acts his socks off in all of them; he’s really good at saying a lot with subtle frown or gulp. But best of all is the chat between Cisco and Caitlin. Danielle Pananaker manages to sell the idea that it was really distressing to see Ronnie in his current state when everybody watching the show is thinking, “He looks seriously cool.”
Out Of A Job
Cisco doesn’t get to name Firestorm of Reverse-Flash this week. He’ll be getting sulky.
It’s good to see the show being confident enough to indulge in so many lengthy character scenes and not feel that it has to insert a one-liner or punch up every five minutes. Perhaps that confidence comes partly from the fact that the action that the episode does serve up is superb. It’s surprising, though, that the producers didn’t call it “Flash Versus Flash” because that’s clearly the main hook of the episode.
The effects are great throughout, and the big showdown in the sports stadium is very impressive. This is a lesson for SHIELD to learn. The scene – with the same dialogue – could have happened in just another alley, but the writers of The Flash know it needs something a little extra to give it a visual flourish. And it works.
Even the Barry/Iris plot works this week, mainly because the awkwardness between them now that Iris knows Barry loves her feels more authentic than Barry pining and Iris not noticing. Now, if we can just entice Felicity back…
Half a star off for Firestorm vying for a name change to Deus Ex Machina, but apart from that, another top notch episode of this year’s best new telefantasy series.
Caitlin: “I used to play this game in my head. What would I give up for just one more minute with him? My house? My career? The rest of my life? Today I finally got that minute. And I wish I hadn't. Seeing him like that, what he's become… Dear god, I wish he had just died that day.”
Although Iris seems pleased, Barry’s gift to her is a little creepy. He may be the hero of the show, but he’s showing some serious bunny burner tendencies.
We get to see STAR Labs’ rival, Mercury Labs, in this episode. So here’s a theory for you. There’s a character in the DC comics universe called Max Mercury who was a ’90s reinvention of a Golden Age character called Quicksilver (renamed because of the Marvel character created in the meantime). He also has super speed and is closely associated with various versions of the Flash. So, since it looks like we’ll be seeing more of Mercury Labs in future, keep your ears peeled for any employees called Max.
Amanda Pays plays Tina McGee, who was in the ’90s TV version of The Flash. Which one, you might be thinking – Pays or McGee? Both, is the answer. Tina McGee was a scientist who worked at STAR labs in the earlier series, and was that show’s Barry’s love interest; she was played by Amanda Pays. But this can’t be the same character (unless something really meta and timey-wimey is going on) so the fact the character has the same name has to be a massive Easter egg.
Carry On Flash 1
“Technology’s fertile crescent” next to a picture of Dr Tina McGee? That sounds awfully like a euphemism. Oh look, and there’s a publicity still of her from the ’90s series of The Flash at the top right.
Carry On Flash 2
“I didn’t sleep much last night,” says Caitlin. “Me either,” says Iris who’s just moved in with Eddie. “Too much information,” thinks Caitlin.
Keep It Under Your Hat
Joe says to Eddie that they’re the only two people on the force who know about meta-humans and to keep it that way. So how are they going to explain to the members of Eddie’s task force what happened at STAR Labs? Haven’s favourite running gag of a gas leak is hardly going to cut it.
Ronnie Or Not
Ronnie may not just be suffering amnesia when he says, “I am not Ronnie Raymond.” The comics version of Firestorm is two identities sharing the same body.
Unexpected Cameo Of The Week
Hang on – what was the Diviner from Agents Of SHIELD doing in Wells’s secret room? (Okay, we doctored the podium with the Kree glyphs, but we’d never noticed how much it looks like a giant version of the Obelisk before.)
The Flash airs on Sky 1 in the UK and the CW in the US on Tuesday nights.