After last week’s charming interlude with the Atom, Felicity Smoak, and Brie Larvan (aka the Bug-Eyed Bandit), The Flash gets back on track with the whole Harrison Wells mess. We start with Barry running out to Coast City (hometown of the Green Lantern. Fan service!) for pizza. He returns it to the team, who’s investigating just what happened to Harrison Wells all those years ago and what his motivations are now. Joe and Cisco decide to go to Starling City to investigate Wells’ mysterious car accident 15 years ago – when the time travelling Eobard Thawne killed him and took his identity – but Caitlin’s strangely resistant to the idea of investigating Wells.
We then cut to a bank vault, where a woman is emptying all of the safety deposit boxes into a duffle bag. She turns, looks up at the camera and we see that it’s security footage of the crime. It’s being shown to the same woman in CCPD interrogation, where she tearfully insists that it isn’t her. Stranger still, her record is completely clean prior to this robbery.
Iris shows up at the CCPD, where she asks Eddie where her father is. Eddie explains that he took a couple of days off, and leaves it at that. Way to cover for Joe, Eddie! Iris gets grouchy about that, because she’s Iris and her only point on this show is to be unlikable.
In a nearby jewelry store, we see a man selling a sizable amount of merchandise to the jeweler. The jeweler recognizes a serial number on one of the rings as one of the stolen items from the bank and he calls the police.
Barry and Caitlin try to talk about the Wells investigation, but she’s insistent that Wells can’t possibly be the Reverse Flash. Their conversation is cut short when Eddie calls Barry, telling him that he found the bank thief trying to sell the fenced goods. He gets made and the mysterious man beats him savagely before assuming the identity of a passing civilian and disappearing into the crowd.
Back at the lab, Wells warns Barry that he needs to be careful around this metahuman, as his ability to assume the identity of others means that he could potentially “become” Barry, compromising the Flash’s secret identity. Of course, that’s a moot point given that everyone in Central City knows that Barry is the goddamn Flash, except for Iris. Seriously, Barry gives up his secret identity like candy on Halloween. The team looks into past cases similar to the woman arrested for the bank robbery and they find a string of similar cases leading back to one: a man named Jake Fisher who said that he was framed by his friend Hannibal Bates.
Over in Starling City, we see Joe and Cisco talking to Captain Lance, who hands them the accident report from the night of Wells’ car crash. Laurel enters and asks Cisco if she can speak to him in private. Laurel explains to Cisco that she know’s Barry’ secret, and that she is the Black Canary. Cisco adorably geeks out before Laurel gets to her point: she needs help modding her sonic devices to be more effective.
Back at the lab, Caitlin is doing research on Wells when she decides to go to the man himself to talk to him about the situation. Wells, not needing to pretend that he’s paralyzed, is walking freely around his house when Caitlin shows up and knocks on his door. She’s snatched away by Barry, who brings her outside and asks her what the hell she’s thinking. She confesses that if Wells is indeed the Reverse Flash, all of the work she’s done for S.T.A.R. Labs is invalidated and a lie. Barry pleads with her to hold off on any further investigation into Wells until Joe and Cisco return, and she agrees.
Eddie and Barry then go to visit Hannibal Bates’ grandmother, as she was the person who first reported him missing. She acts suspiciously, and we soon find out why: she sneaks out the back door and changes her form. Eddie gives chase, but Barry has a challenge: he can’t let Bates see him use his powers or touch him, meaning Barry has to move around like a normal human being (this week on the CW: The Jog!). Eddie keeps chasing Bates through yards and alleyways before suddenly emerging in front of a squad car, where he shoots the two cops on the scene. Eddie was in fact Bates in disguise, and the squad car’s dash cam captured the crime.
That footage is being reviewed by the DA and Captain Singh, which makes it seem like an open-and-shut case. The DA is insistent that they press charges, even though Singh has his doubts. Iris shows up, clearly upset that her estranged boyfriend is being jailed as a cop killer, which means that she won’t be able to deliver as much grief upon him. Go to jail, Eddie! It’s your ticket to freedom!
Joe, Cisco, and Lance go to the scene of Wells’ accident, where Cisco uses a device that tracks tachyons (science!) to try and figure out what happened. Joe and Lance discuss the challenges of raising daughters, and Joe tells Lance that he can tell that things are strained between him and Laurel. Cisco finds tachyons nearby, and Lance’s coffee levitates out of his cup, just like Nora Allen’s wine…
Barry gives a forensic report to the DA that shows that Eddie had no powder burns on his hands, meaning he couldn’t have fired the gun. The DA won’t accept it, as she has the video evidence and someone has to pay for the cops getting shot. The justice system at work! Barry snaps, and uses his super speed to haul Eddie out of the station. Barry tells Eddie to go hide at S.T.A.R. Labs (why didn’t he just bring him there?), but Eddie refuses, telling Barry he needs to find Bates the right way.
Shortly afterwards, Barry is at home when Eddie shows up on the front steps, telling Barry that Captain Singh pulled some strings and got him released. It’s not actually Eddie, but Bates, who knocks Barry unconscious and assumes his identity. He ties Barry up, but is interrupted by Caitlin, who tells Bates-Barry that she knows how to stop the shapeshifter. The two of them head back to S.T.A.R. Labs to work on her solution.
Cisco and Joe dig at the site where they find the tachyons and uncover a decomposing corpse. Lance says he needs to call it in, but Joe begs him not to, explaining that it’s crucial that the discovery stays secret. Lance reluctantly agrees, once again showing that the justice system in the DC universe needs a reboot.
Caitlin is testing her anti-shapeshifting serum at the lab when Bates-Barry uses his powers to…try and get some. He attempts to seduce Caitlin and kisses her, proving that shapeshifting abilities are really only good for crime and sex. Iris suddenly shows up at the lab (she’s cockblocking people pretending to be Barry now) and presents Caitlin and Bates-Barry with her findings: the video shows “Eddie” shot the cops with his left hand, when Eddie himself is right-handed. Bates-Barry pulls a gun, but is suddenly tazed by Wells, saving the two women. Iris demands that they bring Bates down to the station to clear Eddie, but Wells initially disagrees, saying that he and Caitlin should handle the situation. He relents, however, and the two women leave for the CCPD with an unconscious Barry-Bates in the backseat. Bates wakes up and suddenly transforms into a screaming girl, who shrieks at some construction workers that Iris and Caitlin are kidnapping her. The workers intervene, and Bates escapes, proving that shapeshifting can only be used for crime, sex, and becoming annoying ginger kids.
Caitlin goes back to Barry’s house and finds him where Bates left him tied up in the closet. She slaps him awake and unties him, feeling awkward about making out with his metahuman doppelganger. I hate it when that happens.
Back at the SCPD, Cisco gives Laurel the modified sonic device. The sound “grenades” have been converted into a voice-activated collar, which he dubs “the Canary’s Cry,” bringing Laurel’s character more in line with her comic counterpart. Although, I really gotta wonder how parking a sonic device on her neck a few inches below her ears is a good idea. Laurel gives him his payment: a glossy 8×10 of Cisco with Laurel in full Black Canary getup with the biggest shit-eating grin on his face.
Caitlin finishes her serum just in time, as Bates has been tracked to the airport, where he’s trying to flee. Barry is looking for him when a woman causes a glitch in the TSA body scan. She turns into the TSA agent and runs, but Barry corners him in one of those mysterious rooms full of pipes and chicken wire that all airports have. Bates takes Caitlin’s form which makes Barry hesitate, and is promptly maced for his actions. The two fight, with Bates turning into Iris, then Eddie, then finally the Flash himself. Thankfully, Bates doesn’t have Barry’s super-speed and Barry easily dispatches Bates before injecting him with the serum, knocking him unconscious.
With Bates in custody, Eddie is exonerated, and the DA is confused by the existence of metahumans in Central City. Interestingly enough, that does raise some interesting legal questions. Eddie finally tells Iris that he’s ready to open up about his secret…that he’s working with the Flash. Barry’s relieved that Iris will remain the one person in town that doesn’t know he’s the Flash.
Bates is shifting between his various forms in his accelerator prison, when he finally reveals his true form: a pale-skinned amnesiac who no longer knows who he truly is. Creepy.
The team calls Caitlin to the CCPD, where the corpse found in Starling City is revealed to be Harrison Wells. Joe leaves, but is confronted by Wells in the lobby, where he asks Joe how his trip to Starling City went (how did he know?). He then asks Joe about Iris’ mother, and Joe simply reveals that she died. Wells leaves him with a somber thought: “You and I are members of a rather exclusive club, I suppose. One whose membership is too expensive.”
We finally cut to Cisco scanning the blueprints for S.T.A.R. Labs, where he finds a room where there shouldn’t be one. They walk down the hallway, and Cisco detects tachyons at the door. Barry uses his super-speed to jimmy the proverbial lock, and the team finds themselves in Wells’ secret lair. They find his Reverse Flash suit, but they’re even more intrigued by the holographic newspaper that reveals that The Flash is missing…
Another crossover episode, and another great time on The Flash. It was interesting to see the side characters interact with one another, as it further expands the shared universe that the CW has going on these shows. Cisco’s odd fandom for Black Canary was incredibly endearing (seriously, I don’t say “cute” very often, but it was damn cute), and it was nice to see Joe get through to Captain Lance in regards to how he was acting towards Laurel. The wrinkle they added to the shapeshifting Hannibal Bates was also interesting: when you can become anyone, how do you even maintain your own identity? Finally, it seems that the mystery of Harrison Wells is really coming to a head, and the stakes are higher than ever. It’s episodes like this that keep me tuning in week after week, and the pacing is super-fast without being too confusing. This has definitely overtaken Arrow as my favorite superhero show on the CW and I wait with bated breath to see how the rest of the season plays out.
The Flash airs Tuesday nights on the CW at 8/9 Central. Catch all the latest episodes at CW.com and all the latest reviews and recaps here at BagoGames.