As we approach the end of The Flash’s inaugural season, things are getting pretty tense for the Scarlet Speedster. If this was another DC series, things would no doubt be getting more serious and the characters would be growling and mumbling even more than usual. However, this is THE MOTHERTRUCKIN’ FLASH we are talking about here and instead of going darker as the season finale approaches, instead, the showrunners have decided to keep pace with the rest of the season by offering plenty of laughs along with the edge-of-the-seat action and drama. That’s right – The Flash is really showing the other guys how to do it. As always, spoilers ahead.
Last week’s episode closed with the STARS team discovering the Time Vault that Wells has been hiding, along with the Reverse Flash suit and Gideon, the AI system that has been helping Wells with his mission. This week’s episode picks up immediately after last’s, and the audience, along with the team, learned quite a bit about the future from Gideon! In addition to learning that Wells is Reverse Flash, the team discovered that the future Flash will disappear in a crisis, he is married to Iris, and that Barry created Gideon. Plus, he’s also a founding member of something (*cough* the Justice League *cough*) but cuts Gideon off before she can divulge too much information. Of course, as the team is in awe of Gideon and the Time Vault itself, Wells comes back to the lab, forcing the team to flee just moments before Wells catches them (of course). Satisfied that they have the upper hand, the team starts putting together a plan to catch Wells, using Cisco’s memories of the alternate timeline to set a trap and put Wells right where they want him.
We should stop and talk about this trap for a quick moment. See, Cisco and Caitlin are able to put together an invention that will allow Caitlin to walk Cisco through a lucid dream, which will give them the ability to get all of the information that he has been seeing since the timeline was corrected and his death avoided. Sounds pretty awesome, right? The type of thing that can only be created by a genius, right? So, considering just how smart the team is, how is it that they continue to be so oblivious to Wells’ intentions, especially at this point? There is a point in which Wells actually sees them creating this invention and he gives them some information that will help get them to the desired result, yet not a single one of the trio stops to wonder if they have been caught. Instead, they continue to act as if they are smarter than a man who has lived in another man’s body for the past 15 years, who comes from the future, and has managed to effectively deceive not just friends and family but an entire city into believing he is a good guy. This has been a common theme through the series, most annoyingly noticeable in last week’s episode, when the team never thought for a single moment that a shapeshifting metahuman would try to replace one of them! This is a team of geniuses but even an schlub like myself could see right through Wells’ attempt to “help” with the project. But I digress.
After Wells’ advice, the invention works like a charm, and Caitlin and Barry walk Cisco through reliving his own murder at Wells’ hands (or, hand, as the case may be). He describes the incident to the team, including Harrison’s admission that he murdered Nora Allen, he is a man named Eobard Thawne from the future, and that he is Reverse Flash. Armed with this knowledge, they begin to formulate a plan to recreate the events from the previous timeline, assuming that recreating the events will lead to the same conclusion. The one thing that they change? The force field that was created to trap speedsters has now been adapted to repel speedsters, so that if Cisco steps into the field, he will be completely protected from Reverse Flash. We will get back to this.
“Alright, but what was going on with Iris throughout the episode?”, asked no one. Well, since you asked…Iris was (thankfully) left off screen for much of the episode, only being used as a plot device to eventually lead the audience to the fact that Joe doesn’t want Iris to marry Eddie because he doesn’t want her to regret the decision for the rest of her life. This serves to make Eddie a bit miserable and puts Barry in the awkward position of having to try to convince Joe that the woman Barry knows he will be marrying should actually marry the man her father does not approve of, all while trying to catch Nora Allen’s murderer. Her screen time also showed just how impressive Iris’ talents as an investigative journalist are when she finally realizes that all of the craziness transpiring in Central City started with the explosion of the particle accelerator. Welcome to the party, Iris.
Back to the Wells trap.
So, after setting the Wells trap, the man himself rolls into the lab where Caitlin is waiting to put things in motion. In yet another example of how the geniuses of STAR labs have absolutely no street smarts, Caitlin assumes the trap is sprung once Wells decides to go check on Cisco. Cisco sees Wells come in through the door and begins to replay the events of the alternate timeline in an effort to make sure things play out exactly as the team wants them to play out. After Wells’ speech, Cisco steps behind the force field, which should have protected him. Instead, Wells simply smiles and steps right through. As Wells lifts his hand to kill Cisco (again), Joe’s natural instinct comes into play and he fires several shots at Wells/Thawne. Barry speeds into action and manages to catch all of the bullets but one, which hits Wells right in the chest. And just as the audience rightfully guessed, it was actually a trap sprung by Wells, and the man who appeared to be Wells transformed back into the shapeshifting villain, Hannibal Bates, who, apparently, the team completely forgot about. Wells uses this as an opportunity to deliver a great monologue to the team, explaining who he is, where he is from, and even how he wound up loving the working relationship he shares with Barry. After he drops the mic, Reverse Flash shows up on a bridge where Eddie just happens to be preparing to propose to Iris, and kidnaps Eddie as “insurance”. Barry shows up only moments too late then vows to Iris that he will find Eddie. Oh, and Iris, that fashionably late reporter, finally knows Barry is The Flash. Better late than never, right?
While “The Trap” was entertaining and exciting, the entire episode was a lead into the final episodes of the season and it felt that way. The episode sets up where the series will take its audience next, including a run in with Gorilla Grodd, and a team up with Arrow and Firestorm as they combine forces to fight Reverse Flash. Yeah, it’s going to be a hell of a season finale. Before we get there, though, here’s a peek at next week’s episode, “Grodd Lives”.
What did you think of last night’s episode?