If you were watching last night’s episode of The Flash, Tricksters, for any other reason that seeing Mark Hamill reprise his role from the 90’s Flash series, you may have been watching for the wrong reasons. That being said, many came for Hamill but they stayed for the absolutely wonderful episode that the original Trickster brought along with him. As always, spoilers ahead.
The episode opened with a spectacular fight scene between Flash and Reverse Flash – as a matter of fact, it was the fight that started Barry on his path to becoming The Flash. In the flashback, in slow motion, audiences were treated to the fight that eventually leads to Nora Allen’s death and the battle was brilliantly played out. The effects were stunning and the punches brutal; in short, it was a fight fitting a superhero/supervillain showdown. While there were a few scenes in the episode that were able to almost match these opening moments, there was only one moment that may have surpassed it. More on that later.
After the Flash-back (see what I did there?), viewers returned to the present day where Barry is hot on the trail of linking Harrison Wells to Nora Allen’s murder. Now that Barry’s blinders are finally off with respect to Wells, it is all but impossible to ignore the implications of the evidence. He and Joe West are working hard to crack the case when a new threat is quite literally dropped onto Central City in the form of bombs disguised as gift boxes attached to falling balloons. The perpetrator immediately identifies himself via an online video taking credit for the attack and refers to himself as “Trickster”, much to Cisco’s disappointment. West recalls that about two decades ago, a similar character was caught that went by the same name:
Alright, that may not be how it went down in this particular timeline and Barry’s Flash has a bit less padding in the suit than his television predecessor, but the result remains the same. Joe and Barry decide that the best course of action would be to grab some red licorice and head over to visit the original Trickster (Hamill) in his Hannibal-Lectoresque cell to get some answers. Here’s where the episode gets fun.
Hamill’s portrayal of Trickster is zany, over the top, cartoonish, looney…in a word – “perfection”. The character is Flash’s equivalent to The Joker and Mark Hamill’s experience playing the Clown Prince certainly shined through in last night’s episode. There was no doubt left in any viewer’s mind that the character is completely out of his mind and it was easy to side with Flash on this one.
After speaking with him in prison, and taking a quick moment to say “hello” to the elder Allen, Barry and Joe head to Trickster’s old hideout to see what other nastiness is available to the new copycat. They discover the hideout has been completely cleaned out and learn that a bomb, a big one, was one of the items that was stolen. Of course, the copycat Trickster winds up releasing another video, this time teasing the authorities with the bomb which he says is hidden somewhere in the city. As The Flash systematically searches Central City, Wells tries to convince Barry that the bomb threat was just a trick and urges him to give up the hunt in order to search for the real threat. Unfortunately, Barry has absolutely zero trust in Wells these days and chooses to ignore his former mentor and, instead, continues his search for the bomb.
This behavior is something that was a common theme throughout the episode, with good cause! After all, Barry has discovered that the man he has admired for most of his life may be the man who murdered his mother and sent his father to prison. With Mason Bridge missing and Barry convinced that Wells has everything to do with the disappearance, Barry’s tolerance for Wells has reached an all-time low and being the man that he is, i.e. a good man, Barry is almost helpless to hide his feelings for Harrison. This leads Barry down the wrong path more than once, including the search for Trickster’s bomb. It is quickly revealed that Wells was right all along (of course) – the bomb was a trick; a simple diversion so that Trickster could carry out his real goal: breaking the real Trickster out of prison. To make matters worse, the weight of his decision to ignore Wells is immediately dumped on Barry’s shoulders when the Tricksters decide to take his father hostage during their escape.
As it should, the disappearance of his father leads the younger Allen to a dark place, and only a heart to heart with his adopted father, Joe West, can add a little light to an otherwise dark tunnel. This is a scene during the episode that definitely matched the awesomeness of the opening scene and the characters’ emotions could be felt through the screen. This resulted in one of the most emotional, well-acted scenes in the series and again spoke to the relationship between Barry and Joe. Seriously, this is probably the best father/son relationships on television and it just keeps getting better.
The Flash always gets his man and thanks to a tipoff from Iris, who just so happens to be at a party that the Tricksters decide to crash, Flash races to City Hall to stop the villains from killing the richest citizens of Central City. Thanks to his decision to ignore Wells yet again, Barry runs right into a Speed-style trap when the new Trickster attaches a bomb to Flash’s wrist that is set to detonate if the Scarlet Speedster’s speed falls below 600mph. As he is running and the STAR Labs team is doing their best to come up with a solution that doesn’t end with Barry’s death, Wells decides to talk Barry through vibrating at the natural frequency of air, so that he can run through a wall, leaving the bomb behind. Wells’ description of how it feels to be a speedster is not lost on Barry, who not only follows Wells’ instructions, leading him to run through a truck and remove the bomb from his wrist, but stores the information for later, when he will actually have time to wonder just how the hell Wells understands what it’s like to be The Flash.
Throughout the entire episode, audiences were treated to more flashbacks, most of them revolving around Wells and his wife before Nora Allen’s death. Turns out that Wells STILL isn’t the man the audience was led to believe. Instead, the real Harrison Wells was killed by time-trapped Eobard Thawne, who also stole Wells’ identify and appearance thanks to a handy-dandy little device, in an attempt to jumpstart Wells’ particle accelerator tests. Yes, it’s all a bit confusing but time travel usually is.
Tricksters demonstrated that a series doesn’t necessarily need to take itself too seriously in order to give audiences exactly what they want to see. The episode was good ol’ comic book fun while still presenting audiences with enough drama to keep them engaged. There was more revealed about
Wells Thawne but fans are nowhere near knowing all of his secrets, Flash’s secret identity is no longer a secret to many around him, and by the end of the episode, Barry is learning to put on a false face, much like Wells/Thawne. However, with all of the great content, one moment truly had all of geekdom cheering – Mark Hamill uttering the words “I am your father”. Oh, man.
Here’s a peek at next week’s episode!
What did you think about last night’s episode? Did you love seeing Hamill reprise his role? What else do you think Wells/Thawne has up his sleeve?