The Flash: Who is Harrison Wells review

For an episode called "Who is Harrison Wells" this week's Flash sure spent a lot of time on things that had nothing to do with him.

This The Flash review contains spoilers.

I gotta say, right up front, they had no business calling this episode “Who is Harrison Wells.” This was a textbook villain of the week installment, and a full-blown cheat one at that, with a villain who we only actually “see” for a few seconds at the very end. The Harrison Wells mystery was nothing more than background noise, and at no greater a level than in other recent episodes. Bad form.

Setting aside my annoyance over this particular piece of false advertising, “Who is Harrison Wells” wasn’t a bad episode. But as I’ve pointed out more than once this year, it’s difficult for a show with a cast of characters this enjoyable to turn in something that’s particularly tough to watch. That nonsense title aside, I never felt like my intelligence had been insulted (which is often how I feel after an episode of Gotham, for example), and The Flash is rarely anything less than entertaining.

It didn’t help that Caitlin kind of came off like a moron this week, too. Her rather naive loyalty to Harrison Wells aside, how she didn’t put the “Barry isn’t Barry” thing together in all of two minutes was a little disturbing to me. That being said, her initial reaction when skeeve-Barry kisses her was pretty hilarious. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m really not looking forward to her becoming Killer Frost.

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Speaking of heel turns that may or may not ever come, how about Eddie? His suspicious behavior in that trailer from a few weeks ago has been explained away as the work of the shapeshifter, so that’s cool. But while I felt positive for ages that he’s got supervillainy in his future, I’m less and less sure every week. It’s the Caitlin Snow formula, I suppose.

Most of this episode’s best moments came between Barry and Eddie, though, strangely enough. Not Barry in costume…just Barry, as a cop, helping Eddie. I’d like to see more of a focus on police work in season two, and I think a perfect way to do it would be to pair up Barry and Eddie more often. I’m now completely invested in their friendship and their working relationship. And if the show does indeed decide to turn him into a Hunter Zolomon type at some point, well, it’ll just hurt that much more. “Get me out of here the right way,” was a perfect way to illustrate his faith in Barry the man, not Barry the superhero.

Speaking of Eddie, it’s nice that someone finally decided to tell Iris some measure of the truth. Even Caitlin got in on the “lying to Iris” act this week, so enough is enough.

But for the second week in a row, The Flash felt more concerned with tying in with characters on Arrow than telling its own story. Both of these shows had better watch their step, because this is a dangerous road to go down. We know they take place in the same universe, and it’s nice that these characters can interact from time to time. There’s no need to do it this many times per season or to get too cute about the whole thing.

Because really, when you look at what has made The Flash so successful this year, it’s been its ability to absolutely stand on its own two feet at all times. It avoided the mistakes of Arrow’s first season. It made us fall in love with nearly its entire cast almost right out of the gate, which is a virtually impossible task for any show, let alone one about superheroes. And it’s managed to keep a genuine mystery dealing with an a-list supervillain burning all season long…one that even keeps Flash scholars guessing.

So stop with the gimmicks, show. Get back to doing what you do best. Fast.

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Although…it was nice to see Barry win a fight for once, wasn’t it?

Flash Facts!

– Caitlin’s dress in that opening was straight-up Killer Frost material.

– Hannibal Bates/Everyman is pretty unremarkable as presented here, but he’s the first character to appear on either of these shows co-created by Grant Morrison. The scene where he shape-shifts into his mother is a clear nod to Norman Bates of Psycho, who had a habit of putting on Mom’s clothes (and identity). Something tells me the Mrs. Bates of this show met a bad end, too.

– Even though I’m down on all the cutesy crossover stuff, I’m totally on board with Cisco modifying and naming Laurel’s “canary cry.” I’m into this.


3 out of 5