TV Review: The Flash - Season 1 Episode 19 "Who Is Harrison Wells?"
EPISODE 19: "Who Is Harrison Wells?"
SYNOPSIS: Joe and Cisco head to Starling City to get more information about Dr. Wells, while the rest of Team Flash battles a new shape-shifting villain back at home.
RECAP (Beware of spoilers!):
Who is Harrison Wells? That is the major question we've asked this entire season. And while we, the audience, have been let in on more secrets than Team Flash, tonight we are finally all on the same page! My favorite episodes of THE FLASH are those that take surprising steps in developing the Flash vs. Reverse Flash storyline, as well as have strong, fun villains, and as little drama between Iris and Eddie as possible. While there were certainly some ridiculous moments that made me roll my eyes (e.g. the Barry coma… err… knockout), “Who Is Harrison Wells” delivered a solid episode and is setting up what is sure to be an exciting finale. Only four episodes left!
Six months of investigating Dr. Wells in Central City hasn’t turned up many leads, so Cisco and Joe decide to take the show on the road – to Starling City, the location of Dr. Wells’ car accident. With the help of THE ARROW’s Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne), the duo receives more information about the crash; but pictures aren’t enough. They want to reinvestigate the crash site...fifteen years later. At the scene, Cisco uses his tachyon detector to uncover a shallow grave, which contains the decomposed body of the real Dr. Wells. Earlier, Caitlin wasn’t in complete agreement with her friends’ suspicions about Dr. Wells. After all, the good doctor has saved Barry’s life many times and helped her during the worst six months of her life – when the accelerator exploded and she lost her fiancé, as well as her professional credibility. But after the DNA test, not even Caitlin can dispute the fact that Dr. Wells truly was a different person after the accident.
Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) also makes an appearance in the episode, proving fanboy Cisco is the best Cisco. I always love Cisco’s excitement over new gadgets and naming metahumans, but his nerding out over Laurel Lance ("Black Canary") was one of my favorite scenes from THE FLASH yet. Not only did he modify her sister’s sonic weapon, renaming it the “Canary Cry”, but he also got the most hilarious fan picture with Laurel in her Black Canary gear. Laurel made him promise never to show it to anyone, but I hope we get to see it again. In fact, I would like to see it on one of Cisco’s cherished t-shirts (loved the Mario Bros. one tonight, by the way).
Meanwhile, back in Central City, Barry is battling a new villain, Hannibal Bates (“Everyman”). I assume DC took his name from Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates? Bates has the ability to shape-shift by assuming the likeness of anyone he touches. Since the accelerator exploded, Bates has been using his power to commit robberies. But when he shape-shifts to look like a beloved bank employee and steals jewelry from a safe deposit box, his cover is blown. Based on the woman's stellar reputation, Eddie, the detective assigned to the case, knows a metahuman must be involved. And his theory is proven correct when Bates tries to sell his loot to a jewelry store. The store employee realizes the items are stolen, and alerts the police. However, when Eddie and Barry arrive on-scene, Bates escapes by changing his appearance and disappearing into the crowd of passersby.
Back at the lab, the team uncovers a pattern of similar robberies, which started a month after the accelerator exploded. Did anyone else get a laugh at how good that police database must be in order to quickly populate a list of insanely specific cases - someone was caught red-handed on video but still proclaimed their innocence? Anyway, the first victim on the list claimed his roommate, Hannibal Bates, set him up, which tips the team off to their suspected metahuman. Eddie and Barry go to Bates’ house, where they talk to his grandmother. She claims she hasn’t seen her grandson in a year. However, of course, this is really Bates in disguise. Did anyone else get a total PSYCHO vibe from this – a character named Bates pretending to be an elderly mother figure?
Bates escapes and starts shape-shifting again. However, it’s too dangerous for Barry to use his powers to apprehend him. After all, Bates’ powers could create two problems. First, he may be able to assume the persona of the person he touches, which would give him the powers of The Flash. Second, if he assumes the entire physicality of the person he touches, he could become The Flash, then take his mask off and know about Barry. So, Dr. Wells tells Barry to run like a normal person and no touching! This gives Bates the perfect opportunity to assume the identity of Eddie and kill two police officers, who were responding to the accident. The dash cam captures the video of the murder, which leads to Eddie’s arrest.
Captain Singh tries to tell the District Attorney that it wasn’t Eddie who committed the murders, but the evidence is too strong and he is taken into custody. Barry feels guilty about the situation and uses his speed to free Eddie himself, something he couldn’t do for his dad. But Eddie tells Barry to take him back and get him released the “right way”.
Barry rushes home to take a quick shower before heading back to work on Eddie’s case, but there’s a knock at the door. Eddie has been released! C’mon Barry, don’t be stupid! Of course it’s not Eddie! When Barry turns away from “Eddie”, he is knocked unconscious and Bates assumes Barry’s identity. He drags Barry upstairs and takes his S.T.A.R. Labs ID. Suddenly, there’s another knock on the door. It’s Caitlin, who escorts “Barry” back to the lab so he can see a new serum she has concocted, which is meant to subdue Bates’ powers long enough for them to catch him.
At the lab, fake Barry does what I have been waiting for the entire season; he kisses Caitlin! Since real Barry doesn’t seem to be attuned to Caitlin’s signals, it was fun to see this whole will they/won’t they finally play out. They kissed and Caitlin was totally into it, which shows us where her feelings lie. Later scenes of Caitlin awkwardly interacting with the real Barry were especially hilarious (and telling). At that same time, Iris shows up to point out something she discovered in the “Eddie” video. He shot the policemen with his left hand; Eddie is right handed. Suddenly, “Barry” is tased out of nowhere via Dr. Wells, who shows that the fake Barry is also left handed, whereas the real Barry is right handed.
Which brings me to my major annoyances from this episode... First, Barry, who has super healing powers, is knocked out for what seems like at least two hours. Wouldn’t that be bordering on traumatic brain injury status? And all it took was a slap from Caitlin to wake him up? Then, for some stupid reason, Caitlin and Iris decide to take Bates to the police station IN THEIR OWN CAR instead of calling the police themselves. Unsurprisingly, Bates gets away by turning himself into a small child and making it look like he was being kidnapped. So stupid. Maybe Caitlin and Dr. Wells expected this to happen and wanted to be able to re-capture him later for the Pipeline, but what is Iris’ excuse?
After running analysis on Bates’ blood, Barry and co. realize he can’t assume Barry’s powers, so the “no touch” policy is no longer in effect. Using a cell phone tracker, the team finds Bates at the local airport, and Barry heads there with Caitlin’s supression serum. After a super badass slow-mo fight, where Barry fights versions of Iris, Caitlin, Eddie, and himself, he injects the serum into Bates and is able to imprison him in the Pipeline. With the real murderer in jail, Eddie is freed. Of course everyone knows The Flash exists, but now that the justice system knows there are metahuman villains running around, this could open up a whole new can of worms.
On the Iris front, Eddie is still struggling with lying to her about The Flash. After some icy interactions at the beginning of the episode, Eddie’s time in jail makes him realize that he needs to be honest with his girlfriend. And while he doesn’t tell her the identity of The Flash, he does admit that he has been working with him, which is why he has been acting so weird.
Joe has two heart-to-hearts tonight. First he talks with Captain Lance about forgiving Laurel’s secrets and lies, “Sometimes we lie for love.” As we all know, the situation is the opposite for Joe and Iris; he has been the one keeping secrets. When Joe is telling Captain Lance to forgive his daughter, he’s hoping the same will happen for him when Iris eventually finds out the big secret. The second discussion happens between Joe and Dr. Wells, only this is a bit more passive-aggressive and hostile. Dr. Wells asks how Starling City was and Joe asks Dr. Wells if he has been back recently. Dr. Wells tries to steer the conversation into connecting over their shared personal losses, their wives, but it’s obvious that there is more bubbling under the surface here. Both men are leery of each other and Joe doesn’t do a great job of hiding his emotions. But does Dr. Wells know the suspicions don’t end with Joe and have, in fact, permeated his entire team?
STINGER: After the accelerator exploded, Cisco designed a 3D model of S.T.A.R. Labs to pinpoint what malfunctioned. At first, he only investigated the pipeline and cortex, but now that they think Dr. Wells tampered with it, he has been looking at the entire building. Using the map, and Cisco’s tachyon detector, Barry, Caitlin and Cisco uncover Wells’ secret room. Barry’s handprint opens the door - I guess it wasn’t specifically calibrated to Wells’ hand - and the group discovers the Reverse Flash suit. But more importantly, they see the future paper, which still says, “Flash Missing, Vanishes In Crisis.”
DC UNIVERSE EASTER EGGS:
- The episode started off with a huge Easter egg, with Barry speeding to Coast City to get some pizza for the group. Apparently it’s considered the “best in the west”. As we have talked about briefly before, Coast City is the home of the Green Lantern.
- And not only that, a welcome sign outside of Coast City also shows an advertisement for the aerospace company, Ferris Airlines. Hal Jordan was a test pilot for that company before becoming the Green Lantern. There have been lots of Green Lantern Easter eggs in both ARROW and THE FLASH. Should we expect to see him appear on either show sometime soon?
- When Cisco gives Laurel her "Canary Cry" device, he says he’s been “practicing with sound waves recently”, alluding to the fact that he will become Vibe.
COOL ALTERNATE USE OF "THE FLASH" POWERS: Another high-speed pizza delivery. If you could use Flash speed to get pizza delivered from any pizzeria, which would you pick?
FAVORITE QUOTE: After seeing Dr. Wells’ secret lab, Cisco says what everyone is thinking, “What the frack?!”