Mid-season finales really are an interesting concept. These finales effectively provide networks with two separate seasons within a single season to not only entertain and please audiences but to also draw in viewers for the next season. As such, many of these not-real-finales generally lead to some big reveal and leave audiences with a cliffhanger that is guaranteed to bring fans back once the snow starts to keep people indoors a bit in late January, early February. The Flash continues to set itself apart from the pack, as last night’s “finale” wound up tying up more loose ends than were left dangling by the end and even without that cliffhanger, viewers are definitely going to be returning once the new episodes begin airing. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
The Man In The Yellow Suit starts off pretty typically for a holiday episode. There is some tree decorating (Flash style), egg nog, and even some gift exchanges, though these were severely disproportionate to each other in terms of the thought that went into those gifts. What is truly interesting about this scene is that it demonstrates that Barry’s affection for Iris is not lost on her man, Eddie Thawne. Why is this important? Well, as fans of The Flash comic book know, Eddie Thawne was the most likely suspect when it came to who is wearing that yellow suit, so the bit of jealousy that shined through could have been taking as foretelling and could easily be the string that leads Eddie to become Reverse Flash in the first place. More on that later. Iris, of course, laughs off the jealous comment, insisting that she and Barry are simply friends. Pretty sure Biz Markie would have something to say here.
Meanwhile, having left the egg nog drinking after getting a call from work, Joe West is investigating an unusual case (are there any other kind of cases in Central City?), this one involving a death at Mercury Labs that seems to have been caused by a collision at super fast speed. Once witnesses are questioned and confirm that a yellow blur was seen at the time of the killing, Barry immediately sees this as a chance to avenge his mother’s murder. Again, fans of the comic book already knew where this was leading, and, oh man, we knew it was about to get good! After a half a season of waiting, we were finally going to get that Flash vs. Reverse Flash fight we have been waiting on! Reverse Flash eventually finds Barry and it seems that he even thinks he has some sort of relationship with Barry, a relationship that had led them to know each other very well. Not to ruin the surprise but after their first real encounter, it’s Reverse Flash 1 – Flash 0.
But, this is the mid-season finale! One awesome villain wasn’t enough for this episode. Oh no, not by a long shot. So, in order to make us giddy with the possibilities, the creators behind the show decided that it was finally time to bring back Caitlin Snow’s lost love, Ronnie Raymond, as another character that many of us have been waiting for: Firestorm. The interesting about the Firestorm subplot is that it led Caitlin and Cisco to go off on their own, and showed that they are willing to keep secrets from Dr. Wells. Until now, it almost seemed as if the duo would follow Wells anywhere without question. Seeing them take the initiative to not only investigate something on their own but to actually keep their investigation secret shed a bit more light on the characters’ personalities and made them seem more real. Not only that but it also shows that they do feel a bit of distrust towards Wells, otherwise things would have gone differently. Unfortunately, the Caitlin/Ronnie reunion didn’t go the way Caitlin had expected and even led her to wish that Ronnie had actually died in the explosion in which he had supposedly died.
In yet another interesting plot point, Barry wound up having two father/son talks that tugged at the heartstrings unless you are made of wood. First, after losing to Reverse Flash, Barry heads to prison to discuss this failure with his father. See, after 14 years trying to find the guy that killed his mom, Barry finally had him within his grasps but the murderer still slipped away. As he admits this to his father, the audience learns that the reason Barry is so effected by this is that he feels that he could have freed his father had he just caught Reverse Flash and brought him to justice. Papa Allen dismisses this, instead encouraging his son to finally live his life for himself. It was a touching moment that made the audience remember just how human and how young Barry really is. In the end, he is a kid whose parents were taken away from him, and he has always been helpless to change this reality. The other heart-to-heart came in the form of Barry’s adoptive father, Joe. While this one didn’t reveal much in the way of revelations, it did highlight the love that Joe feels for Barry and for better or worse, Barry may as well be Joe’s son.
All of this, of course, while being very interesting, very entertaining, and very informative, was simply icing on the Reverse Flash cake. Audiences wanted as much Reverse Flash as possible and the series delivered. After the initial ass-whopping that The Flash took, the STAR Labs team devices a trap to lure in the villain in an attempt to capture him. Instead, this leads to Reverse Flash giving Wells a hell of an ass kicking and a brief meeting between Thawne and RF, which almost seemed to hint that Thawne was indeed the man in the yellow suit. Almost. And here is where we get to the meatiest part of the episode.
Ever since the beginning of the series, theories about Dr. Wells’ true identity have run rampant. Some assume that Wells is Barry from the future (a theory that does have some legs but isn’t likely); some assumed that Wells was none other than Hunter Zoloman, another villain to hold the “Reverse Flash” title. The problem with the Zoloman theory is that we already have Eddie Thawne, which is definitely a take on the comics’ Eobard Thawne, aka, Reverse Flash. While last night’s final scene seemed to lend to the Zoloman theory, it seems a little too early for the series to cash in those chips, even if some of us are sick of the mystery at this point. Then again, considering Gorilla Groot is a huge part of Zoloman’s origin story and he has already been alluded to and featured in the series several times, perhaps that’s exactly the direction the showrunners are taking. The safe bet is that the mystery will be drawn out a bit longer and that much of what we have seen so far is simple misdirection.
The Flash continues to please on all levels and is that rare show that actually gets better with every episode. While it may not have been a cliffhanger episode, The Man in the Yellow Suit was everything that it needed to be and I, for one, cannot wait until the series returns next year.
Do you have any theories on Wells’ true identity? How did you feel about last night’s episode?