THE FLASH Season 1, Episode 19 'Who is Harrison Wells?'

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Pollard

Who is Harrison Wells? is not only the title of this particular episode, it’s also the question of the hour. We viewers know exactly what has gone on – that the Wells (Tom Cavanagh) we see is merely a shell of a body inhabited by the time-travelling Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash – but Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Co. are still in the process of figuring this all out for themselves.

We start things off here with Barry noting how he is now faster than ever, with it being almost like he is being chased by his past. Yeah, in case actions were not enough to imply this, the show makes sure that all viewers are on the right wavelength by slapping them in the face with this notion. It’s okay, the tone of The Flash is charming enough that it can get away with this hammering home of its point for now. Whilst debating this notion, The Flash casually speeds his way to Coast City – the home of a certain Hal Jordan – in order to grab some pizza for the waiting hordes at Chez West. With Barry, Joe (Jesse L. Martin), Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) looking further into the possibility of Wells being Reverse-Flash (which he totally is), it soon becomes apparent that Caitlin isn’t necessarily of the same thought process as those around her. After all, to her Harrison Wells is a man who has been a mentor, has stood by her, and helped her deal with traumatic moments like the loss of her husband-to-be, not to mention her reputation, during the whole particle accelerator accident that changed the landscape of Central City. Whilst Cisco is all for ‘Wells is totally a bad egg’, Caitlin is not so easily swayed.

On the villain-of-the-week front, this week we get the show’s spin on DC’s Everyman (Martin Novotny… with a little help from plenty of others), aka the shape-shifting Hannibal Bates. Basically, as well as pulling his name from Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates, this is a rogue who has similar powers to Marvel’s Mystique and Morph. Much like a few of the more recent episodes of The Flash, Everyman largely plays a side course to the overall narrative of the show; that being the mystery behind Harrison Wells. That said, the use of Everyman does lend itself nicely to a few moments, such as a telling kiss between Caitlin and Barry (who is actually Everyman) and the plot of Eddie (totally not the real Eddie) landing himself in hot water for supposedly shooting some cops. Yes, as in that awesome moment from the recent Flash trailers, where a grinning Eddie takes out two cops, was all merely a ruse and was just Everyman posing as Detective Pretty Boy. And there we were hoping that this was something more telling and in line with the Thawne name…

In an effort to (literally) dig the dirt on Wells, Cisco and Joe take a trip to Starling City, the former home of Harrison Wells. It’s here that we get to see the awesome coming together of Joe West and Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne), with Captain Lance helping Joe and Cisco to check out the site of the fateful crash that took the life of Wells’ ‘one true’ years prior. Of course, they end up finding the body of the real Harrison Wells. Whilst that is a major breakthrough in this particular arc, the bigger joy was seeing Jesse L. Martin and Paul Blackthorne sharing some screen time together. These two are often the MVPs of their respective shows, and it was brilliant to just see them share some back and forths. Hell, we even got to see a little of the lighter side of Lance, which is a nice change of pace to the constantly pissed off version of the character we’ve seen in Arrow ever since he found out that daughter Sara (Caity Lotz) was dead. Angry Lance is always great, but it was just nice to see him having a few lighter moments with Joe here.

Additionally, we also got to see Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy) appear during the Starling City visit of Joe and Cisco, and this worked on several levels. Not only did we get to see Cisco develop a new version of the famed Canary Cry for Laurel, the character of Laurel Lance actually comes across rather well. Yes, the very same Laurel Lance who is as dull as dishwater, as unappealing as a wet fart, and as intimidating as an Andex puppy throughout the majority of her Arrow run. Granted, her role here is likely 5 minutes of screen time at best, and said screen time is generally spent with Carlos Valdes' ever-likable Cisco Ramon, but Laurel Lance comes across as an enjoyable part of the episode. Whilst we aren’t seasoning any slices of humble pie just yet, the character’s spark and appeal here should be noted for sister-show Arrow. Her inclusion also lends itself to Cisco quipping about how he’s been “playing with sound waves lately”, which could very well be a nice piece of foreshadowing.

When Who is Harrison Wells? comes to a close, the confrontation between Barry Allen and Harrison Wells etches closer as Barry, Cisco and Caitlin discover Wells’ secret S.T.A.R. Labs lair (y’know, the one which houses Gideon, the Reverse-Flash suit, and that features a “Flash Missing” headline from a 2025 newspaper. It was also nice to see a few teases of possible developments down the line; such as what was Caitlin Snow about to say when she “frostily” turned up at Wells’ door before being swiped away by The Flash?; and will there be any further development on Wells turning up at CCPD HQ to give his regards to Detective Thawne?

The villain on show here, Everyman, was used cleverly throughout the episode, particularly when alluding to Caitlin having romantic feelings towards Barry, and the transformation of the rogue in to a little girl when held captive by Caitlin and Iris (Candice Patton) was a brilliant idea from the writers of the show. Still, Iris West continues to be a character who has very few, if any, redeemable characteristics at this point, coming off as a stroppy teenager in nearly every episode. Again we find here giving grief to Eddie for holding certain information back from her. The same Eddie who is a cop and who she is aware obviously deals with sensitive and confidential information on a daily basis.

Another slight negative of Who is Harrison Wells? is that two of the most anticipated scenes of the final part of the season turned out to be completely bogus. By that, we’re referencing the moment when Eddie shoots two cops and then the moment that we get to see The Flash vs. The Flash. Of course, these two happenings would end up being nothing more than just Everyman causing trouble. Still, this didn’t particularly hurt the episode or the show as a whole, and there’s still plenty of significance and consequence ahead for the Scarlet Speedster.

As well as being set to confront Wells imminently, it appears that Barry’s focus could soon be switching to the super-strong, genius-level intelligent, psionic-powered beast known as Gorilla Grodd. Whatever happens, there's only four episodes left of The Flash and they're set up to be must-see TV.
 


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