Jessie Robertson reviews the eleventh episode of The Flash…
This week’s previews didn’t get me all fired up like many previous weeks before it; a nerdy looking guy in a black cloak with sonic gauntlets mad at the world spelled out “Villain of the Week” but Hartley Rathaway, otherwise known as the Pied Piper, was anything but; surprisingly, he turned into a bad guy with loads of potential. We find out Rathaway was Dr. Wells partner in creating the Particle Accelerator, and was his “chosen one”; even getting to combat the good doctor in regular games of Chess. But, once Rathaway discovered a flaw in the accelerator that could cause potential damage, Wells has him sacked. But, if you take away anything from this episode, you can’t just fire a super genius and expect no repercussions.
Rathaway fires back attacking Dr. Wells at his home (my god, Dr. Wells home? Looks like Oprah’s house!) and getting himself captured by the Flash for an inside look at his former co-workers. Flashbacks also reveal he can’t stand Cisco, and the feeling’s mutual; they’re both scientific prodigies, but Rathaway doesn’t care for Cisco’s carefree attitude and joking manner, and Cisco doesn’t like Rathaway for, as he delicately puts it, “being mostly a jerk but every once in a while, he can be a dick!” It’s cool to have a sort of arch-nemesis for Cisco, which could lead to tons of stuff down the line, but one that’s a mental and physical match for him; he’s the Reverse-Cisco! Andy Mientus (playing Rathaway) is sufficiently creepy, confident and plays the role pretty well, not in a goofy, over the top sort of way at all. It’s made mention he came out to his parents (who we saw in last week’s episode losing their Fire & Ice painting) and besides a crack about being taken in by a man in leather, nothing else is made of the fact that, if I’ve checked my facts, Rathaway is the first gay DC Comics supervillain (on TV, at least.)
But this episode is more about Dr. Wells, who is fascinating to watch. We learn more about him here than we have nearly all season. We get an in depth look into his cold, sterile mansion, a quick glimpse of his super speed out of costume, and how he’s been using the speed force, by attaching some takion accelerator to himself, imbuing his body with super speed and presumably time travel capabilities. Wells takes so many chances with what he knows, what he lets his team know, and how he orchestrates each scenario. When Hartley tells the team he knows Wells dark secret, he comes forward with the knowledge that he turned on the accelerator fully knowing that it could backfire. This is a calculated move because he knows it will crush Caitlin (who lost Ronnie in the accident), Cisco & Barry, bruising the trust they’d all developed. But, you can almost see he knows exactly how he will fix everything. He plays such a dual role, but you can never tell what side he’s playing at in any given scene; underneath it feels like he’s a maniacal evil genius, manipulating each and every plot twist, but he’s so nice, and unassuming, and warm to his crew that he’s deflecting all of those underlying feelings. The message Barry brings up in the opening of the episode is how anyone can be a hero to someone else, and Wells showing he can play that role just as well as Barry, but in a different capacity, goes a long way in gaining Barry’s trust.
Barry took a huge back seat this week, so the only other thing worth noting is Iris fulfilling her comic book destiny by being hired on as a reporter with a Central City paper. She quickly finds out it’s just because she’s in tight with the Flash, but her “gumption” should let her fit right in. Mason Bridge is a new character to the show and intriguing one; he’s the veteran reporter (and has won a Pulitzer, or two, Iris thinks) who is repulsed by the very sight of Iris young, millennial spirit and cluelessness. He should prove a nice drastic foil character wise to Iris’ bubbly persona.
A sneaky good episode overall, any episode this focused on pulling more of what lurks underneath Wells is always going to be interesting to me; seeing how little Flash played a part in a show this early in the season is also a chance but I think it worked.
– Royal Flush Gang is back? Flash wraps them up in about 30 seconds when it took the Arrow a whole episode; I’ll cut him a break , he was still a rookie hero.
– Yes, it would still be considered a selfie even if you can snap your own photo without holding the camera (using super speed.)
– HAN DID SHOOT FIRST!
– Harrison Wells, you failed this city! (by your own admission)
– Joe’s going after Wells; I think this will be one of the most exciting subplots of the rest of the season. Jesse L Martin was great in this episode, making every single line of dialogue he got count this week.