This Flash review contains spoilers.
I don’t even know where to start with this episode. “The Man in the Yellow Suit” is actually more low key than you might have expected such an important installment to be, if you can believe it. And you know what? That was just fine. Coming off the cranked to eleven superhero madness of last week’s Flash and Arrow extravaganza, spending a little more time on actual character work, even while introducing Flash’s greatest enemy, was quite a balancing act. I’m impressed.
For all the very “CW” moments peppered throughout “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” and the sentimentality inherent in setting it at Christmas, this one still managed to give us a genuine surprise or two. I’m not talking about the big reveal, I’m talking about in the quieter moments. For example, I really didn’t think Barry would actually go ahead and bare his soul to Iris like that. I thought they were going to drag this out all season long.
I’m glad he did it, I’m glad it’s out there, and I’m glad that they’ve already turned it down on turning Eddie into a heel. I like all of these characters. Although, I must confess, it was a bit of a stretch for me to believe that Iris, brilliant Iris, was really so completely oblivious to Barry’s feelings.
Where else did things succeed? Do I really even need to mention the scene with Grant Gustin and John Wesley Shipp? How about the talk with Joe and Barry when Blake Neely’s music quietly underscored the importance of the moment? All of it was brilliant. Every single important relationship between these characters was addressed in some form this week, and they still managed to give us superhero stuff.
Oh, wait, you want me to talk about the superhero stuff? Oh, alright. Fine. Funny enough, this was by far the least amount of time we’ve had Barry in costume for an episode, even including the pilot. Did you miss it? I didn’t!
Every second that the Reverse-Flash was on the screen was pure joy. This is a character who, as far as I’m concerned, is the absolute peak of the “opposite hero” style of villain. Sinestro didn’t come into his own until a few years ago, and screw Bizarro and his weird syntax and Frankenstein ways, it’s always been the Reverse-Flash who held the most power over my imagination, and who holds the most power over his greatest enemy.
I never thought I’d get to see two speedsters done right on screen, and if I did, I always figured it was in the movies, not on TV. But damn it, we sure got two opposing visions of the speed force this week, and it looked nothing short of spectacular. That shot of Reverse-Flash on the opposite building glaring at Barry? That’s what it’s all about.
If “The Man in the Yellow Suit” failed at all, it was simply by trying to do too much. I loved seeing Amanda Pays as Tina McGee, and I want to see more of her, but she felt a little thrown in. Firestorm looks really awesome, but I’m not sure the whole Caitlin/Ronnie story was particularly well served this week. It felt a little bit too easy to have him come to Barry’s rescue like that.
All in all, though, this was remarkable stuff. They didn’t take the easy way out and try and deliver an hour of spectacle. They gave us just enough info to keep us nervous until the show returns in January. But mostly, they demonstrated once and for all that everyone involved knows how to tell a Flash story that extends well beyond the confines of the villain of the week format.
After a year of “real time” I do feel like we’ve finally reached the end of the first chapter, both for Barry and the show. Long may it run.
Who the hell is Harrison Wells?
Okay, I am now reasonably certain that Harrison Wells is Eobard Thawne, Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash, etc. I say “reasonably certain” because I don’t trust any show that seems to make it so easy for us. That being said, I WILL be satisfied with that explanation.
However…if he can pull the whole “stop hitting yourself” trick, what does that mean? Is he not actually a speedster, and is he more like the other Zoom, who kind of becomes “unstuck in time” so that it appears he moves at super speed? That might explain why he could appear to be in two places at once like that. Also, that tachyon field could just mess with the time perceptions of people outside it.
Anyway, I wrote a big article about the Reverse-Flash that you can read right here. I’m going to have to update it after this episode, but for now, the basics seem reasonable enough if you need a quick primer on the character. Beware, though, there are some potentially major spoilers there.
– Amanda Pays as Tina McGee is back!I repeat…Tina McGee is back! Tina was the love interest/scientific genius of the original Flash TV series with John Wesley Shipp. The file photo on the screen they showed is clearly from that show, too. Nice touch.
She also works for “Mercury Labs” also a nice touch. Why? Because Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick (I can always find room for a Jay Garrick mention) wore a helmet modeled after Roman god/original speedster, Mercury. That’s another nice touch.
So, Tina is working with tachyons particles. Why is this important? Because in Crisis on Infinite Earths, when Barry meets his end, it’s because he is chasing down the tachyon beam that powers the Anti-Monitor’s doomsday weapon. Yes, I knew this without looking it up and it’s a miracle I have even the semblance of a social life.
Anyway, that’s no coincidence, and it’s another piece of the Crisis puzzle the show has been teasing us with since day one. Oh, and that device? It sure looks like the Monitor’s vest/harness, doesn’t it? There’s still more to Harrison Wells than meets the eye, I’m afraid.
I will leave you with this little piece of my imagination gone wild: What if Tina McGee isn’t just coincidentally here, being played by the same actress? What if this is actually the same Tina McGee from the original Flash TV series, who has crossed over into the universe of this version of The Flash? You might say I’m crazy, but…am I? And wouldn’t it be a lot cooler if this were true?
– Gotta love Harrison’s Flash ring. We need to get Barry one of those…
One last thing: Cisco’s revelation that there were two speedsters present at the murder of Barry’s mother was really something, wasn’t it? If Barry is there trying to change the past, there’s a chance he will succeed, which will give us a whole alternate reality to play in. Ever read Flashpoint? Things don’t end well. Unless, of course, it’s a different speedster…
There’s lots to talk about this week, so let’s get talking! We have until January 20th to figure all this out! Thanks for reading….
Mike Cecchini is an even bigger Flash fan than he lets on in these reviews. You can follow him on Twitter at your own risk.