Even with Flash encountering a villain more of a half-hour nuisance than a genuine menace, the overarching storyline was more than enough to keep the momentum racing along as we build to what’s all but assured to be a dynamic season finale.
Central City is dealing with a rash of thefts as ordinary people are seemingly committing crimes yet swear they’re innocent. Eddie and Barry team up to bring the criminal down and learn it’s Hannibal Bates, a particle accelerator enhanced crook who can mimic the appearance of anyone he touches.
Barnes aka Everyman was a pivotal character in ’52,’ the last great universally praised creative effort from DC. It’s a bit pricey, but I highly recommend tracking it down and reading it as it shows how compelling the DC Universe can be without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. [Order it from Amazon here: 52 Omnibus]
Since Wells isn’t sure Barnes won’t steal Barry’s power, he warns Barry not to contact him as the Flash, which leads to Barnes stealing Eddie’s identity and gunning down two cops earning Eddie a nice comfy seat in jail.
I really liked Barry not thinking clearly and breaking Eddie out after realizing the possibility of Eddie being stuck in prison for a crime he didn’t commit just like his father. Barry is still a young hero and should make mistakes so it was good to see him blow this call just as much as it was great to see Eddie and his unwavering goodness get Barry back on track and put him back in police custody.
For the record, I hate body snatcher episodes. Even when the characters know they’re looking for someone who can shift identities they become 10 times stupider when a familiar face starts acting strange like when Eddie magically appears at Barry’s doorstep or Barry suddenly kissing Caitlin. It always makes the characters look silly when they should be on high alert for anything remotely suspicious. After some more goofy gaps in logic like Wells letting Caitlin and Iris bring a knocked out Barnes back to police custody without ensuring he would stay knocked out the entire trip, The Flash takes him down thanks a serum Caitlin whipped up. In a nice wrap up of the Everyman subplot, he’s locked up in the STAR Labs prison swapping identities, but gets stumped when Wells asks what he looks like and realizes he can’t remember. I know a wide shot would be crazy expensive, but every so often it’d be nice to get a glimpse of everyone who is under STAR custody.
While most of Barry’s escapades this week were underwhelming, the episode did feature one of the best Arrow/Flash best team-ups as Joe and Cisco head to Starling City and meet Capt. Lance and Laurel. Granted this was just a week after the last team-up with ‘Arrow’ characters, but I’m enjoying the sense of a connected universe between the two shows. The producers have likely tackled all the potential combinations now so to keep it fresh, we really won’t need any more until the CW Justice League assembles. BTW, does it annoy anyone else that the Justice League doesn’t have a cool catchphrase like ‘Avengers Assemble’ or ‘Titans Together!?
Joe and Cisco want some information on the accident that killed Tess Wells secretly assuming they could find some more clues as to Harrison Wells’ identity. They do at the crash site as they uncover Wells’ body. Lance wants to call it in, but Joe assures him the man responsible will come after everyone if his identity is discovered. It was a treat seeing the two fathers/father figures sharing notes on parenthood and being on two sides of hurtful potentially relationship shattering lies. And for sheer fun, Laurel having a geeked-out Cisco design a Canary Cry for her (which could be a collar piece to simulate the comic version’s metahuman power) provided she take a picture in Canary gear with him was tremendous. Cisco’s fanboy expression perfectly complimented Black Canary looking like a celebrity meeting an overly excited fan.
One aspect of Barry’s storyline that played out exceptionally well this week was his interaction with Caitlin, who didn’t want to believe that Wells is the Reverse Flash. Just like Cisco could easily buy in thanks to his nightmares, it made sense for Caitlin to not abruptly turn on her mentor/friend who she rightfully pointed out has saved Barry numerous times including this fight with Barnes. But even she has to face reality when Cisco reveals the test results of the body are conclusive that they never knew the real Harrison Wells.
But that’s not all for the surprises as Cisco does an analysis of STAR Labs and uncovers Wells’ secret base complete with Reverse Flash suit, but more shocking to Barry is the newspaper from 2025 saying he has gone missing in a crisis. There’s definitely no turning back on the Wells’ confrontation now and I can’t wait to see how the show pays off Flash’s rematch with The Reverse Flash aka Harrison Wells.