Ah, mid-season finales: the scene for many a mesmerising moment of television. After proving to do more than just riding on sister-show Arrow’s coattails, The Flash has had a remarkably good opening eight episodes. With Episode 9, The Man in the Yellow Suit, the Scarlet Speedster-centric show heads off into its mid-season finale, answering lingering questions and throwing up a whole host more for its excited audience. Just as a heads-up, at the bottom of this review we give some of our thoughts on just who is the Man in the Yellow Suit, so be warned of potential spoilers ahead. That said, they are merely our theories on what could be around the corner.
As ever with The Flash, the opening moments of the episode are accompanied with our titular hero (Grant Gustin) uttering the phrase, “My name’s Barry Allen and I’m the fastest man alive.” Thing is, is he really? No, we know he really is Barry Allen, but is he really the fastest man alive? In terms of competition for that moniker, we’re not talking about Linford Lunchbox’s 1992 gold medal triumph in Barcelona. Oh no, this is something far more sinister: we’re talking about the Reverse-Flash. Before we get to the (many) possible theories on the whole Reverse-Flash thing – also known as the ‘really fast guy in yellow’ – let’s address the rest of this brilliant episode.
First up, let’s take the action away from our hero and thrust it upon a new kid on the block. After fleeting flashback appearances, plus a ‘hobo in need of some spare chips’ appearance at the end of the recent The Flash vs. Arrow episode, Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) finally arrives in the modern-day narrative of Barry Allen and Team Flash. But Ronnie is no more, he is now merely Firestorm. Hey, if Hot-Rod can become known as Rodimus Prime (that’s a Transformers reference) and Husky Harris can become known as Bray Wyatt (that’s a wrestling reference),
Robbie Firestorm can be called whatever he chooses. Not quite the hero that’s depicted in the DC comic book world, this version of Firestorm is seemingly a raging fire of isolation and confusion, apparently leaving the world of Ronnie Raymond behind and choosing to live his life in the shadows of Central City’s dark corners; he almost comes across in his mannerisms as some sort of twisted, disfigured monster that’s been pulled straight from a classic Universal horror effort. Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) is on the hunt to find her believed-deceased beloved, although RonnieStorm wants nothing to do with her, insisting that Ronnie is gone, only Firestorm remains.
Elsewhere, Eddie (Rick Cosnett) is starting to get just a tad jealous of how Barry is with Iris (Candice Patton), as Detective Pretty Boy thinks that Barry may hold a torch for young Miss West (you think?). Eddie also has his mind set on taking down The Flash after the possessed hero attacked him during last episode’s Flash and Arrow tear-up/team-up. On the Barry and Iris front, though, our hero is realising that the words of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) most definitely ring true; how people like them (The Arrow and The Flash) cannot have regular relationships or allow anybody to truly get too close. Still, Barry puts it all on the line, which could very well prove to have huge ramifications down the line for both Barry Allen and The Flash, and reveals his true feelings for Iris. Then there’s the debut(ish) appearance of Amanda Pays’ Tina McGee. Now Pays played the same character back in the early ‘90s’ Flash series, but here Dr. McGee is a former colleague of Harrison Wells’ (Tom Cavanagh) who now works for Mercury Labs. Despite talking awfully fast and terribly sternly, McGee’s inclusion here ties in with that Reverse-Flash fella, for Mercury Labs have a prototype that the Man in the Yellow Suit is after. And whilst all of this is going on, Central City is engaging in the festive season, with egg nog aplenty.
Now whilst all of the above stuff was all served up wonderfully (as has become a habit with The Flash), the juiciest element of this episode was obviously the appearance of the Reverse-Flash. And what was even cooler is, whilst we knew the villain was to make an appearance in The Man in the Yellow Suit, we were treated to him right out of the gate and then taken back to how he had tormented Barry throughout the previous day or so. As a result, the whole episode has the anticipation factor amped-up as to just who really is this other speedster. Whoever he is, he firmly has the beating of The Flash, with Barry barely even able to catch him let alone fight him or find out who he is. One thing’s for certain, the inclusion of the Reverse-Flash brought a whole lot of memorable comic book-style dialogue with it. A perfect example of this is the villain taunting the Scarlet Speedster, teasing, “We’ve been at this a long time, you and I, but I’m always one step ahead. It is your destiny to lose to me, Flash, just as it was your mother’s destiny to die that night.” Ouch. Way to bring up the mother issues, jerk! Despite Barry getting a complete beat-down at the hands of this yellow-adorned wrong ‘un, he needs answers. After all, this is the arc that has been the one constant thread since The Flash debuted. So the S.T.A.R. Labs crew, along with Joe (Jesse L. Martin) and Eddie, use Mercury Labs’ prototype equipment to lure the Reverse-Flash to them. Just when they seem to have the rogue incarcerated, things go completely tits-up and the Man in the Yellow Suit beats the tar out of Harrison Wells and some other lackeys, gives Eddie some major stink-eye, then zooms off. Another battle with Flash ensues, which results in another schooling for our hero. Just when it looks like Reverse-Flash is going to do some major damage to the Man in the Red Suit (see what we did there?), Firestorm turns up doing his best Johnny Storm impression and sends the bad guy packing before he quickly “flame-ons” and takes to the skies. And that brings an end to a truly fantastic set-piece of action.
Just when you think you can relax and take a breath, we get one of the now-customary scenes of Harrison Wells in his secret Wells-cave (that term will catch on, we’re telling you!) as he is revealed to have what looks to be a Flash ring that houses the Reverse-Flash outfit. Dun, dun, dun, DUN! Attaching the Mercury Labs tech to the suit, Wells gives out a chilling Merry Christmas in a voice that just so happens to be that of the Reverse-Flash. But only 5 or 10 minutes ago Wells was receiving a Stone Cold Steve Austin-style ass-whooping from the Reverse-Flash?!?! And just why did Reverse-Flash attack pretty much anybody that came near him yet paused and took a closer look when it came to young Eddie Thawne? Then there’s the issue, as pointed out by Cisco, that there were two speedsters present at the death of Barry’s mother. There’s literally a dozen different theories and possible explanations for all of the above, but let’s have a look at a couple.
Given how Wells was smashed around by the Reverse-Flash, as seen by our own eyes and by the marks left on the face of the head of S.T.A.R. Labs, that instantly suggests that Wells isn’t the Reverse-Flash. The fact that Wells is seen with a Flash ring that homes the Reverse-Flash suit could then take you down the route of thinking that maybe there are two Reverse-Flashes. Could the key to all of this be Eddie Thawne? After all, why did the Reverse-Flash pause when he put eyes upon Detective Pretty Boy? Given how long-time Flash foe Professor Zoom, one of the Reverse-Flashes (there are a few), also goes by the name of Eobard Thawne, many presumed that the inclusion of “Eddie” Thawne was to be the show’s adaptation of the Professor Zoom character. There’s the option that the Reverse-Flash who torments The Flash in this episode is actually an ancestor of Eddie’s, or there’s certain logic that suggests that this Reverse-Flash may actually be a future version of Eddie Thawne. But why would a future Eddie want to come back in time and cause Barry Allen such pain? Well that could very well lie in how things play out between Barry and Iris, or more-so Eddie and Iris. Whilst Barry and Iris may not actually end up together, Barry’s reveal of his love for Iris could cause her to break things off with her current beau. And if Eddie found out that Iris had feelings for Barry, then was to find out somewhere down the line (possibly with a nudge from Harrison Wells) that Barry Allen was actually The Flash… man, that may just send Detective Pretty Boy off the deep-end at some point in the future, and would certainly give him a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the Scarlet Speedster. But if the Reverse-Flash we saw in action in The Man in the Yellow Suit is a future Eddie or an ancestor of Eddie’s, then who really is Harrison Wells? Many fans were left scratching their heads when it was announced that Tom Cavanagh was joining The Flash to play the character of Harrison Wells. In a show that is loud and proud of its comic book roots, it was deemed odd that Wells, a person who does not even exist in the DC comic book world, would play such a pivotal role in the series. So again, who really is Harrison Wells? When all is taken into consideration, one would have to think that Wells could very well end up being revealed to be Hunter Zoloman, a Reverse-Flash known as Zoom (not to be confused with Professor Zoom). Despite this particular version of Reverse-Flash being generally viewed as a villain of the Wally West version of The Flash, Wells shares many characteristics with Zoloman. The biggest one is that Hunter Zoloman is constantly pushing his Flash, Wally West, to become a better hero, which we’ve seen Harrison Wells regularly do to Barry throughout The Flash so far. Another power of Zoloman is that he doesn’t actually have super-speed, instead relying on time manipulation to get his dirty work done. Then there’s the varied speech pattern of the character, and Tom Cavanagh often delivers Wells’ dialogue in a slightly erratic way, although that does seem to be a slight quirk of the actor’s in general and not just something he’s putting on for The Flash. And then there’s the other speedster who was present at the death of Nora Allen, the red lightning that young Barry saw. You’d have to think that the red blur young Barry saw was actually the future Flash coming back in time to prevent the death of his mother at the hands of the Reverse-Flash. That then ties in nicely with why The Flash is missing in the future newspapers that Wells regularly checks on. Unless, of course, the show were to introduce another Flash as the person young Barry saw. That seems far too much of a stretch, though, and we’d fully expect future Barry Allen to have gone back in time to try and save his mother, which is something that has been seen before in the Flashpoint comic book arc and adapted in the animated Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. If the show does take some inspiration from Flashpoint, that could certainly pave an interesting path for Season 2 of the show. And breathe…
So there you have it, not just a review, but some of our theories on just what the hell is going on in The Flash and what may be around the corner. Safe to say, The Man in the Yellow Suit was a fantastic mid-season finale, full of some truly memorial moments, both in terms of visuals and of performances (John Wesley Shipp’s Henry Allen delivering a heart-felt, emotive speech to Barry was fantastic). Whilst the inclusion at the end of the episode of Firestorm on the scene did feel a tad shoehorned, the episode as a whole had a real epic feel to it, leaving fans with plenty of questions to ponder whilst the series is on its mid-season break.
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