The Flash: Tricksters

"If Wells is the murderer... then why is he trying to help me?"

In an episode that feels just as episodic as last week’s cliffhanger, we begin to learn more about Eobard Thawne and Harrison Wells, only to find out nothing we thought we knew was right; meanwhile, another villain joins The Flash cast.

This episode was a mix of flashbacks to Barry at the time of his mother’s murder and Barry and the team in the present day. As the flashbacks unfold we slowly find out more and more about what actually happened at the time to the Man in Yellow, Harrison Wells, and we begin to understand some of the contradictions in Wells’ behavior. In the meantime, Barry and the STAR Labs team are trying to solve the mystery of who's imitating the work of the serial killer known as the Trickster.

I don’t think it’s a mistake that Barry became supercentered on his father after the events of the previous episode. Think about it. One of his father figures is just not so any longer; he’s quickly lost all trust in Wells through suspicion. When the copycat Trickster attacks the city, his promise to his Dad to get him out of jail is seriously heart-wrenching. When Henry’s taken hostage (has anyone on this show not been taken hostage?) Barry’s totally freaked.


I can’t decide if Iris has shining moments in this episode or is a complete Whineabee Reporter. I only saw her “investigate” tonight by asking the men in her life to investigate on her behalf. Shouldn’t she be trying to get into Mason Bridge’s computer or something? For that matter, forget Mason’s disappearance–does it really take Joe West to make the connection between the computer problems caused by the Reverse Flash in the last episode and the disappearing Bridge? Why isn’t Linda Park concerned? Still, I thought the moment when Barry took her laptop was fun. I’m divided on whether they need to keep Barry’s identity from her. I don’t think she would blab, and I don’t think it would be more dangerous than not knowing.

Mark Hamill was one of the most entertaining things about this episode, which is amazing, because without him the character of the Trickster comes off as basically a Joker clone. In this episode, he plays a serial killer who attacks families in a park. Or does he? I was impressed by the level of acting Hamill was able to shove into this role. He reminds me of Jack Nicholson in the original Batman film - but this Trickster’s tricks aren’t nearly as terrifying. His son/protége is similarly unimpressive. I hope he comes back though, and that his character gets a little more developed. Possibly as a member of the Rogues? Their final “grand plan” - poison rich people at a charity ball and collect their money in exchange for the antidote - is a seriously hackneyed cliché. It does, however, allow Barry to further showcase his powers… and gather even more evidence, even if it’s subjective evidence, about the true identity of Harrison Wells.


AKA Eobard Thawne. We penetrated further into the past of a specific timeline today with Eobard Thawne. Now we know that at some point in the future Eobard Thawne from the past will meet Barry of the future and follow Barry of the future back to the time of Barry’s mother’s murder. He ran out of juice in the past, just managing to escape Future Barry, then killed and replaced the past Harrison Wells using some weird device. I was heartbroken for Wells and his wife at the time of the car accident. But now we know the man known as Wells is a disguised version of Eobard Thawne. Who, by the way, actually reminded me of Eddie in appearance. He will stop at nothing to get back to his own time, and will milk Barry for his speed in order to do it.

Let’s give Eddie a mention. After punching Barry last episode, he now gets to know Barry’s identity – and becomes part of the search for more information on Wells. He also works with Joe and Barry to get Iris off the scent where Wells’ is concerned; it remains to be seen whether or not she’ll take the initiative and start doing some real investigation.

Bits and pieces

While I complain about the villains for this week, I do want to give props for the initial attack on the children’s park. There was something beautiful about those deadly umbrella-gifts.

Some of the action shots when Barry and Thawne are fighting are just freaking amazing.

Does anyone not love the final reveal between Barry and his Dad?

Not a lot about Cisco today - sad me! Weird speculation - could Thawne/Wells’ costume could be reversed somehow? If so, I bet Cisco figures out how.

Quotables

I caught one Star Wars reference - “I am your father” - but I got the feeling there were more!

Trickster Elder: “It’s my Breaking Bad season five! What? They had cable in prison."

Trickster Elder: (after Barry gives everyone an antidote) “That can’t be sanitary."

Overall

This gets 3.5 out of 4 injections of gibberish chemical :)

9 comments:

Patrick said...

This episode was SO much fun, for so many reasons. JRS, I think it's funny that you said without Mark Hamill the Trickster comes off as basically a Joker clone, considering for many Hamill has been the voice of the Joker for the past 20 years. Yes, the "master plan" ended up being somewhat generic, but it was still an enjoyable story.

The backstory about Thawne was certainly interesting, though at the end of the day I'm not sure it really changes much for us. We knew Thawne had come back in time to kill Barry. We knew he got stuck in the past, and was using Barry & his abilities in order to juice himself back up so he could return to his time. Whether he'd always been Harrison Wells or whether he took over that identity doesn't really change anything. The only significant bit of information was that Thawne has essentially moved up the Flash's timeline by 6 years or so, potentially altering Thawne's past. And that brings me to something from the very first episode. At the end of the premiere, Wells/Thawne looked at a newspaper that talked about the Flash vanishing in a "Crisis"(a significant term in DC Comics lore, along with the reference to red skies). The date on that newspaper was April 25, 2024. Was that the date in his original timeline or the new one? If it was the original, has that "Crisis" now been pushed up too?

But honestly, the real highlights of this episode were the father/son moments between Barry & Henry. The scene right after Barry saves his dad from the knives was one of the best moments those two have had, and that's a high bar to clear(I think their best might still be the conversation when Henry tells him "The man in yellow has taken enough, don't let him take any more"). That look of joy on their faces when they get to share in the wonder of Barry's powers was fantastic. Plus I'm sure John Wesley Schipp was glad for the chance to spend some time in locations other than the prison. :)

I was a bit surprised that he unmasked for Eddie, but hey at least it's a way to work him back into the stories. Though now that means leaving Iris in the dark is getting pretty ridiculous.

I did notice one blatant slip on Barry's part. If I'm not mistaken, he spoke to the crowd at City Hall using his unaltered voice, a crowd that included Iris. Not to mention the original Trickster, who he'd previously spoken to at the prison. Whoops!

J.D. Balthazar said...

I have a kind of out there idea. The fact that both time travel and crisis are being used this early, makes me believe that this timeline is going to shift radically in the future. Perhaps with two major differences. One, the obvious, Nora Allen isn't killed. Two, as a byproduct of the Flash stopping Reverse-Flash, Harrison Wells and his wife are never killed. So that way Harrison Wells gets to continue as an actually good person in the future, and possibly add Tess as a new secondary character.

The changes although drastic to Barry's history, wouldn't necessarily change the world. Arrow continuity could conceivable remain the same. This the only reason I can think of that the reveal that Eobard Thawne stealing Harrison Wells face has relevance. If we're going to eventually meet the real Harrison Wells.

As for the Trickster, I was having so much fun watching Mark Hamill getting to finally act out his Joker instead of just hearing his voice, that I didn't really care about the villain plot. I've got to say, he's most definitely improved as an actor since Star Wars, which gives me hope for Episode VII.

TJ said...

Great episode! But I must admit that I'm getting that Janeway-time-travel-headache again...

Josie Kafka said...

Ditto on the praise for this episode. This show is so much fun!

JD, I like your theory about time travel and timelines. I wonder if that's why DC wants to keep the TV shows and film separate: so they can go hog-wild on the TV shows, and keep the films more intelligible. (Or does DC not exercise the sort of control over their shows that Marvel does?)

Is it too spoilery to say that your different-timelines theory might also make sense of the casting info we have on the Brandon Routh, etc., spinoff?

Serena + Pumpkin said...

I wonder if, when Thawne took over Wells' body, there's a part of Wells still in there? And that may be why he can both care for Barry and Cisco but still be ruthless? I don't know, maybe I've been watching too much Vampire Diaries. Somehow, part of Wells must be in there, at least his genius brain.

And how cute were Harrison and Tess? Broke my heart that they died (?), although I'm unclear if Thawne took on Wells's form and killed him, or if they cohabitate like Firestorm.

JRS said...

Was it just me or did anyone else see Uatu the Watcher in the previews for next week? Bald guy a white toga?

When Wells got taken over was anyone else reminded of Fringe and the shapeshifters?

Interesting ideas, JD. I'm wondering if the Flash will end up having to make sure his own mother dies. I hope not.

Patrick said...

JRS, if they did add Uatu the Watcher they'd wind up in BIG trouble, since he's a Marvel character, not DC :)

JRS said...

Got a better look at the trailer online - seems to be a bald gentleman with skin covering eyes. Looked like the Watcher for a minute, but not. Any ideas?

Cesare said...

Yes, when Thawne transformed into Wells, I did notice the similarities with Fringe. Maybe instead of a Watcher we'll be getting Observers?