Who is Harrison Wells? That fundamental question was the driving force of this week’s episode aptly titled “Who is Harrison Wells?” (I do wonder where they come up with these episode names). It was a question we as an audience have known the answer to for a few episodes now, but one the characters on the show are only just playing catch up with. Now both we and they know that Harrison Wells is not himself, literally. Both we and they know he has a secret room where he likes to hang his suit and enjoy the newspaper after a long day at the office and both we and they know that the person they have spent all this time with is also the Reverse Flash. What they still don’t know though is his true identity.
Is this device of being ahead of our characters and seeing if they can figure it out the best way to tell a compelling story? I’m not too sure. If they were completely up to speed and this episode was the end of the all wondering and discussing and investigating then I may have been satisfied. But they are still yet to find out that Wells is in fact a man out of time, a man out of place, a man out of dimension, the man known as Eobard Thorne. Will this next discovery span episodes of whispering around the S.T.A.R. Labs water cooler, pizza get-togethers at Joe’s house or late night meetings at the police station crowded around Barry’s board of newspaper clippings? I really hope not.
Speaking of whispering around S.T.A.R. Labs, Barry and Caitlin could have these secret conversations about Wells annnnywhere else, but they wait until they get to the only place where they know he would be only so he can walk in on them and interput in a sinister way. Then Caitlin proceeds to use the work place computers to Google “is Dr. Wells evil” while he’s out of the room, couldn’t you do that on computers he doesn’t have access too? Seriously? This week Joe and Cisco leave for Starling City in order to investigate the scene of the car accident that killed Wells wife Nora and find out if it can tell them anything more about him. But they’re so busy rushing to leave that they can’t even bother coming up with a decent alibi. Hell Cisco doesn’t even call in sick for work he just leaves so that Dr. Wells doesn’t “get suspicious”, smooth guys, leaving out of the blue without any prior warning is what I’d do too if I didn’t want to way to draw attention to myself. It’s this real world logic that this episode fails in in spades.
Now don’t get me wrong I can buy in to super speed, super strength, shape shifting etc. But everyday logic, things I know to be true in the real world being changed to serve a poorly written script are things I cannot stand for and will always pull me right out of the story. When Joe and Quentin Lance discover a buried corpse Joe asks if he can keep it hush for a while. He asks this to a fellow honorable officer of the law, that he’s just met, for the first time, and he agrees. Ok ….. Then after rendering a known dangerous criminal unconscious Iris just says “let me take him in to the police station” somehow getting him in her car, popping him in the back seat hand cuffed and then taking a leisurely drive to the police station gossiping away with Caitlin the whole trip.
Instead of gee I don’t know, maybe calling the police? Maybe getting a squad car to come down and escort him to prison? Right …. Something that also gets massively glossed over up until this point is how Detectives Joe and Eddie file reports on how they stopped this week’s criminal or what happened to the suspect they were trailing with odd circumstances to their crimes. With so many meta-humans every week, they must spend hours racking their brains to come up with creative ways to make their reports believable to their superiors and not mention that The Flash turned up every time. And come to think of it, why is there a huge car park out the front of the S.T.A.R. Labs headquarters like it’s some kind of sports arena? Hell as far as I’ve seen there’s only a single lab, a reactor chamber, two hallways and a secret hidden room inside manned by three employees, seems just a tiny bit excessive. Oh! Oh! And why have a hand scanner lock to open your secret evil scheming room if it works on anyone’s hand, what the Hell kinda security is that?!
Now I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the team finding out Harrison Wells is in fact a completely different person while dealing with a meta-human who can change in to a different people. It was cool to see Danielle Panabaker and Candice Patton as Caitlin and Iris getting some action scenes when the shape shifter took their form in a fight and seeing his final form as an eyeless slimy skin man was disturbing in a neat way but outside of that shape shifting villains have been done to death.
Finally the future newspaper headline specifically uses the word crisis, “FLASH MISSING IN CRISIS”. In the famous “Crisis on Infinite Earths” comic storyline a catastrophe occurs resulting in the destruction of countless parallel universes and ending when the Barry Allen version of the Flash sacrifices his life to save the day (he would remain dead in comic book lore for 23 years 1985-2008). As a result all the multiverses (the parallel universes of DC characters) are destroyed and only one single universe remains. Is this what Eobard Thorne is trying to stop Barry from doing from? From destroying the multiverse and in turn the parallel universe he was originally from and has been so desperately trying to get back to? Who knows? Perhaps a giant telepathic super-genius gorilla will have the answers? Guess we’ll just have to tune in next week to find out.
Review by Dylan Boaden.