A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
When the audience knows more about something than the characters themselves, narrative storytelling beats can become a bit difficult to capture properly. In many ways you’re essentially waiting patiently for the characters to catch up to where you are and when a story captures that feeling well, it can be incredibly exciting. The Flash returns in fine form in an episode that has no attacking bees but instead brings the protagonists ever closer to the truth and now the final four episodes of the season can be attacked with full speed (pun always intended here). Several vignettes, including the villain of the week, tied in smartly to the main storyline without trying too hard to do so, resulting in a cohesive, exciting hour. Speaking of the villain this week, it was only a matter of time before Everyman made an appearance to wreak havoc in Central City and he certainly made the most of it. The inherent problem of trying to catch someone like Everyman is that he can just touch someone and instantly become their carbon copy – but as they quickly figure out, just because he can look like the Flash, it doesn’t mean that he can run as fast as he can.
The more important story thread, however, remains the revelation from the end of last week. Cisco believes Joe and Barry, but Caitlin is having a difficult time with it and that doubt comes from understandable places. If one is told by someone they truly know and trust that the individual they have been going to class and or working with for about a week is actually a murderer, doubt and fear manifest themselves pretty quickly. A week, after all, is hardly enough time to truly get to know someone. As an added effect, every piece of the alleged murderer’s behavior can mold itself to where that doubt is cemented with certainty – the way they said “Hello”, to how they look at the door… But Caitlin can’t do the same with Dr. Wells, no matter how hard she tries. Their working relationship has been going on for far longer than a week and to simply turn her years of trust into a certainty of criminality is something she simply can’t do. As she reminds Barry, the nine months when he was in a coma were amongst the toughest of her entire life and it was Dr. Wells who had stood by her during that entire time, giving her the strength to continue on each day, not to mention Ronnie’s rescue of sorts not too long ago. How was she supposed to just turn on that man because Barry and Joe have a theory? How could she believe that the man who had helped all of them so much had murdered Barry’s mother?
This is where the Everyman storyline ties in an excellent fashion. Eddie and Barry get a read on the meta-human but as misfortune would have it, he transforms into Eddie and shoots two police officers before running away. The real Eddie is facing a life in imprisonment, with every piece of evidence in existence incriminating him without any alibi. Barry tries to break him out, but Eddie isn’t having any of it and he has a point. If he ran away at that point, his guilt was all but confirmed and he couldn’t break his oath to uphold the law when it was crushing himself. If there’s anyone who can get him out the right way, it’s the Flash. It’s a little odd that when Barry sees “Eddie” at his door, he so easily buys that Joe did use a favor to get him out but perhaps it’s out of relief more than anything else. As it is, Barry is knocked out rather fastidiously and “Barry” ends up with STAR Labs with Caitlyn. His wide-eyed, foolishly grinning behavior is logically off-putting, most likely done for the audience’s sake more than anything while driving home the point that looking like someone doesn’t mean that Everyman can truly become them in any sense. Case in point: “Barry” kissing Caitlin and sending the Internet into a dizzy. Does Caitlin in those two kisses show some feelings for Barry, feelings that might be buried deep down? I’d much rather them be a couple than Barry and Iris, but there’s Ronnie to complicate things.
More importantly, “Barry” (brought down by a great use of the taser by Dr. Wells) in his very existence revealed something to Caitlin that made her rethink her entire position on the Dr. Wells mystery. He inadvertently showed that it was indeed possible to appear to be someone else while being someone else entirely. A part of her that knows that Barry and Cisco would never intentionally lie to her awakens loudly, willing to at least give them a chance at providing her with proof. And they bring it, courtesy of Cisco’s abnormal sound wave detector that picks up a high degree of tachyons, little particles that are indicative of an area having bits of time travel all over it. Underneath the tachyons lies a body, a body revealed to have belonged to the real Harrison Wells. A deadly quiet rings about the morbid discovery, made only more so by another finding. Cisco had never done a complete sweep of the entire STAR Labs complex – there simply had never been a reason to dig deep into all of the remote part of the labs structure that was generally never used, never needed. There’s more tachyons in the labyrinth of STAR Labs, heavily concentrated before a door through which lies the suit of the Reverse Flash. How strange yet how fitting. They had run so far and wide to find the answer that had been hiding underneath their noses the entire time.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“It looks like me… but that’s not me.”
+“Is that a real question?”
+“Proof? What proof?”
+“Well, that was new.”
+“Not too much getting struck by lightning…”
+The score was great this episode
+“Run like a normal person.”
+Why on earth would you ever name your kid Hannibal Bates? Why?
+Caitlin gets a shot at naming the villain: Everyman
+Iris investigating the archives
+The Ingledew’s sign reminded me of Jenny Nimmo’s fantastic Charlie Bone series. Check it out.
+“That’s just an expression, right?”
+The airport sequence with the scanner and Everyman morphing into multiple individuals related to Barry was fun
+“I’ve been working with The Flash.” Gee, was that so hard to do? It makes all of the “We can’t tell Iris” sequences that much dumber in hindsight.
+“I can’t remember…” Everyman not being able to recall who he really was was a tantalizing bit of storytelling I hope they revisit sometime soon
+“One who’s membership is too expensive…”
+/- The Black Canary vignette was nice and I did enjoy Cisco’s photograph with her, but it felt superfluous to the episode as a whole
+/- The initial shot of Dr. Wells underneath the Central City Police Department’s giant, golden plaque that reads “Truth. Liberty. Justice.” was one of the most subtle cinematic shots in the show’s history. Then the camera pans up on it, ruining that subtlety in a moment.
Title: Who Is Harrison Wells?
Written By: Ray Utarnachitt & Cortney Norris
Directed By: Wendey Stanzler
Image Courtesy: Movie Pilot