The Sound and the Fury sees DC’s Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) make his Flash debut. Whilst his issues are mainly directed at Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), this episode also gives us a timely look into Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) first day on the S.T.A.R. Labs job. There’s also career progression for Iris (Candice Patton), and further concern from Joe (Jesse L. Martin) that maybe Wells isn’t quite who he seems.
One of the more positive aspects of this latest entry from The Flash is that we get to see a little more focus on the S.T.A.R. Labs’ crew. The opening moments of the episode even seen Wells being very hands-on with guiding Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) through one of his regular hero moments. When Hartley Rathaway, aka Pied Piper, turns up on the scene to cause chaos, we soon find out that Hartley is a former S.T.A.R. Labs’ employee. Not only that, he was pretty much the one-time protégé of Harrison Wells and someone who knows about some of Wells’ dirty little secrets. Using sonic-based attacks, Rathaway goes to work on Central City in order to gain the attention of his former boss.
Elsewhere, Iris West is hired by Central City Pictures News. Iris sees this as her big break, although it soon becomes apparent that she has only landed the gig down to her blog posts about The Flash. When she tries to investigate “real” stories, she’s quickly shot down and asked if there’s any Flash news that she has.
To put it out there, it’s likely fair to call The Sound and the Fury the weakest episode of The Flash to date. That’s not to say it’s a particularly bad episode, it’s just not quite up to the standard that the show has so often reached. It isn’t helped by a villain that truly feels like he’s stepped off Smallville’s ‘villain of the week’ conveyor belt. In fairness, the tormented backstory of Hartley Rathaway does lend itself to showing how Cisco became a part of S.T.A.R. Labs, although Hartley’s inclusion also seemingly brings far too many unwanted chess puns with it.
The arc of Iris West in this episode is also one that just doesn’t quite feel right. Due to a few blog posts about the Scarlet Speedster she gets picked up by a large newspaper and expects to become some sort of Lois Lane-esque investigative reporter? It seems far-fetched, and she is rightly called out on the fact by Mason Bridge (Roger Haworth), who asks the same questions that many viewers will be thinking. But then when the episode sees Harrison Wells make a public apology about how he was actually aware that there was an element of risk involved in turning on the particle accelerator, Iris is just made to look a little stupid. Wells ends up answering only one question from the journalists amassed at his apology, and the question happens to be from Iris. Okay, fair enough, we can live with that. It’s when Iris then calls this “gumption” that doesn’t sit well. Err no, it’s called a friend of a friend doing you a favour. But then Iris’ progression throughout The Flash has sometimes been a little misplayed and mishandled. The Sound and the Fury is a prime example of this.
Another irk with the episode is how it took Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco so long to realise that Hartley Rathaway actually wanted to get caught and brought to S.T.A.R. Labs. Most of the audience likely picked up on that a good 5 minutes before these supposed master minds. It’s also seemingly a given that The Flash begins every single fight by stating “It’s over”. Additionally, it was a tad strange to see Barry go back to introducing himself as “the fastest man alive” at the start of the episode, especially how last week he said how he wasn’t the faster man alive after his encounter with the Reverse-Flash. What changed in a week? Did we miss something?
Despite being the weakest episode to date, The Sound and the Fury was generally a decent enough outing for the show. Again though, a lot of the brighter moments of the episode centred on the mystique surrounding Harrison Wells. That and the always-great chemistry between Barry and Joe. We were also treated to seeing Wells use super speed to get around in day-to-day tasks, but his powers are waning, throwing up further intrigue as to what is around the corner. And that corner is also likely to see Firestorm (Robbie Amell) appear in some form, with several teases to his reappearance dotted throughout the episode. But it’s with Joe’s growing concern about Wells where some potentially great moments and plot twists lie, and now Detective West has got Eddie (Rick Cosnett) also working incognito on looking into Wells’ story.
Sadly The Sound and the Fury often felt merely so-so unless it was focussing on Harrison Wells and the tease of his big secret. Oh, and the brief mention of The Royal Flush Gang get a smile out of us. When it comes down to it, a lacklustre villain and a more introspective approach seemed to be the order of the day for The Sound and the Fury. Whilst certain moments of character development shone through, the episode as a whole was often left wanting.
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