Who is Harrison Wells? This is the big question and the mystery that has haunted the cast and viewers of “The Flash” since the very beginning. We’ve known he’s the Reverse-Flash for quite some time, known he’s the Eobard Thawne version of the character for a while, and known how he got here and now for just a few weeks. But it’s been a slower process for the characters in the show to realize all this, and now it’s all coming to a climax. Add in a trip to two other comic book cities, and a shape-shifting villain, and we’ve got a full plate this episode. Meet me after the super-speed jump for my review of “Who Is Harrison Wells?.”
Friends and Foes
We open on a fanboy or girl’s dream, an Easter egg that sent many of us into nerdgasms. The Flash, while doing his usual intro monologue about being the fastest man alive, runs to Coast City, passing a sign welcoming him to the city, the “home of Ferris Airlines,” and of course, Green Lantern. During the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics, the Hal Jordan Green Lantern and the Barry Allen Flash were the best of buddies, sort of like how Superman and Batman used to be, upcoming and misinterpretive films notwithstanding.
The Flash was there picking up pizza for a planning meeting with Joe, Eddie, Cisco, and Caitlin regarding Harrison Wells being the Reverse-Flash. Joe and Cisco are headed to Starling City, Arrow’s territory, to find out what they can about the accident that killed Tess Morgan. Caitlin is still unsure of this, and begs out. I’m getting a very bad cold feeling about this. If her loyalties lie with Wells, is it possible that the potential future Killer Frost might just be a pawn in Wells’ game like Grodd?
This one is relatively new as far as comics characters go, the villain of this episode is based on Everyman, who first appeared in 2006. His real name is Hannibal Bates, yeah, a combination of exactly who you think it is – Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. He is a particularly nasty piece of work, a shapeshifter, who by eating some part of a victim’s body, to obtain their DNA, he can change into an exact duplicate of them. In the comics, this bizarre power set came from experimentation by Lex Luthor, and he has partnered in the past with Cupid, a villainess who has recently plagued Arrow over on his series. His name was even on Arrow’s infamous list of people who had failed his city.
Here on “The Flash” Everyman is played by Martin Novotny, who most recently, and perhaps appropriately, appeared over at “Bates Motel.” The television version is a bit more family friendly, as he only has to touch a victim to take on their form, and utilizes the other actors throughout most of the show. What is most notable about his ‘true form’ is his striking eyeless resemblance to the Inhuman Gordon over on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Who would’ve thought that having no eyes would ever become ‘a thing?’
While Joe and Cisco are off in Arrow-land, Eddie and Barry make for difficult partners in tracking the new metahuman in town. The two don’t have the best track record under the best conditions. Nobody bought Caitlin’s ‘lightning psychosis’ explanation, I mean, come on, not even Lois Lane at her dumbest would fall for that. And then there’s the Flash Fact from the comics that the Allens and Thawnes have never gotten along.
Cobalt Blue aside, the two have mutual jealousy regarding Iris, and Eddie’s lying to her has split them up. He could very well spill the whole Flash secret just to get her back. In the meantime, this unlikely duo work together to investigate Hannibal Bates. Their prey’s powers working by touch keeps Barry at bay and from using his speed. It also makes it easy for Bates to kill other cops as Thawne.
The TV version of Everyman has made a career of framing folks for crimes they didn’t commit since the particle accelerator accident – so notably he’s not an anomaly like Deathbolt. So what’s he’s done to Eddie is nothing new, it’s proving that Eddie is innocent that is the hard part. Thankfully this solidifies Barry and Eddie’s relationship (and even leads to the safe confession to Iris at the end), but then things get worse.
Everyman has already been Eddie, so he’s able to get to Barry and become Barry. When Caitlin shows up, talking like she knows all, Everyman follows her back to STAR Labs as Barry. Fun with cast members, as well as juicy fodder for coming soon reels, continues when faux-Barry kisses Caitlin, and Wells zaps faux-Barry. More shenanigans of the like fills the slow spots of the rest of the episode, because, let’s get real, we don’t care about Everyman, we care about the Reverse-Flash and the mystery of Dr. Harrison Wells.
Seeing Joe and Cisco interact with Quentin Lance and Laurel Lance AKA the Black Canary is actually just the kind of thing one would have expected and liked to have seen during that first official crossover. I loved that Cisco improved, and named, the Canary Cry. This is fun, almost as fun as seeing Starling City in the daylight. One has to wonder however after last week and this week, does “Arrow” need a ratings boost from all this Flash attention? It has not been the best of seasons for “Arrow” as far as I’m concerned…
Joe and Quentin get on well, and that’s good to see, and wish we could see more of it. At the site of the Morgan/Wells accident, Lance’s coffee rises out of his cup, like when Barry’s mother was murdered, and just before Barry was struck by lightning. Cisco says it’s from tachyons – from time travel. I guess that’s another clue toward the idea that the lightning bolt is Barry, traveling back through time after being killed in the Crisis.
What the Frak?
Speaking of the Crisis… this show, and “Arrow” for that matter, is beginning to get like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings with its multiple endings. One of them is shocking, but let’s do the not-so-exciting ones first. Joe and Cisco find a body in Starling City, a perfect DNA match for Harrison Wells, meaning when Tina McGee said Wells was a completely different person, he was a completely different person. This also convinces Caitlin, warding off a possible chill.
Later, while Wells is at police headquarters, subtly threatening Joe in that wink-wink-nudge-nudge way he has, the rest of Team Flash have found a secret room at STAR Labs… the Braille room. Not only is it full of tachyons, but Barry’s speed touch opens its doors. The first thing they see is the costume of the Reverse-Flash, and then the second thing they see is the holographic newspaper from 2024, about the Flash vanishing after the Crisis. Now what?
Next: “The Trap!”