The Flash S1.11 The Sound And The Fury review

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Amazingly, there has never been a DC villain called the Red Herring. If there were, he’d be a shoo-in for this show – some Puppet Master-style evil overseer, confusing the characters with a series of deliberate misdirections.

(We would use some chess metaphor about a “grand master” or “pawns” at this point but chess metaphors in telefantasy are embarrassingly clichéd. Plus, after a recent superb episode of Person Of Interest inverted the entire trope with one brilliant line, we were hoping we’d never have to hear an ominously-delivered “Checkmate” ever again. But sadly, for all its good points, The Flash’s writers didn’t get the memo.)

Be honest, right at the start of “The Sound And The Fury” you thought – just for a moment – that it was Barry phoning up and threatening Wells. Especially when, for the first time in the show, we explicitly see Wells creating the “red” lightning when he runs at super speed (a great “Ooooooo!” moment). This has to be the start of the showdown between Future Flash and Reverse Flash, surely?

But no. It’s Hartley Rathaway, now going by the name of the Pied Piper, who’s out for Wells. The smoke and mirrors don’t end there. Later in the episode, Hartley tells Wells that he’ll reveal his secret and you think he must mean about being a speedster, especially after Rathaway tells Barry archly, “One day this man will turn on you in a flash.” But again, no – he’s referring to the fact that Wells knew his reactor could explode.

This show loves playing with expectations, so once again we’re betting that Wells can’t be as evil as he’s being set up to be. But we wouldn’t put it past the writers to pull off a double bluff. And hey, it’s all part of the fun of the show. (Unlike dopey chess metaphors… why is it never Ker-Plunk?)

The Pied Piper is a curious villain, and not just because his code name only makes sense if you know his comic history (where he did originally hypnotise people with music). Cisco might approve of the name, but you’d have thought that left to his own devices – based on the powers Rathaway has shown – Cisco would have come up with the name “Vibe”… except that may have caused problems in the future.

The Flash Trivia

Andy Mientus, who plays Hartley Rathaway, auditioned for the role of Barry Allen.

Rathaway looks, frankly, bobbins in his costume, but that may be point. He has the appearance of an eight-year-old boy with his anorak hood up and using the rest of the coat as a cloak; maybe that’s why the Flash knocks him down with a playground slap then throws sticks at him. It all looks a bit silly for a super-powered smack down. Hartley does redeem himself, though, with the line “Being scooped up by a guy clad in head-to-toe leather is a long time fantasy of mine, so thanks.” Plus, he’s a good schemer. Just not as good as Wells, clearly.

Speaking of whom, Wells must have some bloody good lawyers. After his press conference, how come he’s not arrested for manslaughter or criminal negligence at the very least?

Elsewhere, Iris’s plot line suddenly takes a turn for the interesting with her new job at Central City Picture Post. Admittedly, it was obvious she’d somehow impress supercilious reporter Mason Bridge by episode’s end, but the fact that she realises she’s only been employed because the editor thinks she has a hotline to the Flash adds an interesting dynamic. As does the fact that Barry, oddly, doesn’t seem in any hurry to help her out.

Grant Gustin is great as usual especially in the sentimental, out-of-nowhere “you were a great surrogate dad” scene with Joe which he sells despite some cheesy dialogue. It also helps that the syrupy moment is immediately followed by a harder-edged Joe telling Eddie to continue the investigation into Wells.

While the action scenes aren’t quite up to standard (they’re fine, just not quite as polished or visually interesting as usual) and the chess shtick is well past its sell-by date, the rest of “The Sound Of The Fury” is quality Flash, playing to the show’s strengths and burying enough little intriguing hooks into you to make sure you’ll be back next week…

The Flash airs on Sky 1 in the UK and the CW in the US on Tuesday nights

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WritersAlison Schapker, Brooke Eikmeier
DirectorJohn F Showalter
The one whereOne of Wellss old colleagues turns nemesis in the guise of the Pied Piper.

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Available platformsTV
Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.