The Flash "S1E19 Who Is Harrison Wells" - Review: Dead men tell some tales

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The Flash "S1E19 Who Is Harrison Wells" - Review: Dead men tell some tales

Have you ever had those moments in your life where you wonder if the people around you are really who you think they are? Like anything else in our world, the people around us are defined by our perception off them, especially when it comes to our close friends. Right or wrong, take a back seat when the truth becomes a matter of our own trust. If we have no reason to doubt them then whoever they claim to be becomes who they are. Until that fatal moment in drastic contradiction and our truth is not the same as there’s or others. Once the one brick has been pulled from the wall, the rest will always fall leaving you with an unquenchable thirst for the real truth. This is where Barry Allen has found himself in recent weeks but now, he and his friends may finally be getting some answers.

Who Is Harrison Wells – While Joe and Cisco head to Starling City in their Harrison Wells investigations, a new bank robbing metahuman reeks havoc back home with the power to imitate every man (or woman), which plays out very badly for Eddie.  How can the Flash catch someone that doesn’t need to outrun him?

One of the great things about The Flash this season is the way they’ve carefully selected Barry’s “meta of the week” opponents to often link in well to the overrunning bigger series plotlines. This is week is one of the best examples. As an audience we know Harrison Wells is really Eobard Thawne but the focus here is to make the characters reach the point of believing Harrison to physically be someone else. So what better way to do that than to use the shape shifting villain Everyman to bridge the gap and make them arrive at the conclusion in a much more believable manner. Both sides of the Harrison investigations play out well. Even though Cisco was straight on board with the “my boss is actually evil” theory, it’s great to see Catlin exercising reasonable doubts to add greater significance to the discovery. Catlin’s scene with Barry sums it up perfectly as she’s genuinely worried what that will mean for her own life if everything she’s ever done with Harrison and STAR labs was a lie. In the same way, Joe remarks how being scared keeps us alive, Catlin shows how it can also blind our judgement. As the episode plays out of Catlin becoming convinced based on Joe & Cisco’s very physical evidence does well to show her reaching this decision in a natural manner. Short of hearing it from the yellow-suited mouth himself, it’s not yet clear how they’ll figure out his true future self identity but the show could well have another great trick up it’s sleeve.

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The Starling road trip proves much more rewarding than anyone expected for both Flash and Arrow fabs. Joe and Quentin Lance’s father/cop bro down is a nice touch in itself but superbly written as it plays the significance of their individual father/daughter plotlines against each other. Quentin’s fallout with Laurel over Sara's secret links great to Joe’s dilemma over keeping Iris in the dark about The Flash. Then by contrast, Joe advising Quentin to forgive Laurel by offering her side of the story (“Sometimes we lie for love”) in a more approachable way makes a good turning point in their relationship. Not to mention that after so many weeks of seeing an angry and bitter Quentin on Arrow, it’s great to see the comfortable and laid side of his character again in more trusting company. Maybe if Oliver, Roy, and Diggle had just taken Quentin, fishing it would have saved them a heap of trouble? Yet it’s Cisco and Laurel that steal the show in Starling. While the more prominent incorporation of probably the most fan demanded comic character element (and of course, Cisco names it) is positively awesome it’s Cisco crazy fanboying over Laurel/Canary that really has you grinning like an idiot. Cisco’s Comicon style reward is one of the funniest moments all season. The look on his face rewards us just how much we love him.

In terms of the shape shifting metahuman activities, as like of X-Men movies and many other shows has shown the key to using these abilities well for entertainment is using them for plenty of fun out of character situations from a regular cast. The Flash has clearly done it’s homework as the extensive “Fake Barry” development gets some brilliant material out of Grant Gustin and particularly Danielle Panabaker. While Cisco is the Superman of the show’s comedic Justice League, Catlin is the Batman lurking in the shadows, able to be just as lethal when he wants to be (especially when drunk with available karaoke). Here she gets so many big laughs from the smallest things as romantic encounter with fake Barry plays out. A clear favourite is her searching and confused eyes mid-kiss, but her awkward little slips in front of Iris are right up there too. They climactic fight also makes great use of the shifting powers as Barry is forced into fighting some familiar faces but even more so when they start bringing the pain. It’s like director Wendey Stanzler did a shout out at the coffee cart “hey, who wants to beat up Grant Gustin?”. Though the characters' subtle final note may resonate the hardest as his doppelganger-like persona reveals he can’t actually remember what the real him looked like. This ties in well to the Harrison Wells story and raises the question of how much does of the old Harrison actually resides within Eobard? Would a takeover/transference be possible?

Iris has a much better week as she comes more into the understanding of metahumans before Eddie at least shakes the beans as opposed to spilling them. Eddie himself has his best episode for a while with the positive developments in his friendship with Barry. Save the final scene bombshell, Eddie’s scene of refusing to let Barry Flash escape him from custody is the episode’s best. We feel Barry’s fears of his father’s injustice repeating and take great empathy from Eddie as he tells Barry he believes in both Barry and The Flash to “get me out of here the right way”. This also links well to minor theme of a broader incorporation and cooperation of the justice system towards metahumans. Just like Catlin’s doubts over Harrison, we get to see Central City’s DA come to understand that their city has some very special legal cases; “I certainly don’t think the law is prepared to deal with this kind of criminal; hopefully we can catch up fast”. “Catch up fast “could be more than a speed pun. If the law and justice system does start incorporating metahumans, they won’t take kindly to the STAR Labs makeshift prison, most likely leading to a Ghostbusters style official visit and all out release.

It’s an excellent episode that perfectly balances the needs and rewards of both single and multi-week stories and the minor crossover did great things for both shows. Barry’s early Mr speedy pizza antics to Coast City makes another big and deliberate Green Lantern drop in (there’s a Ferris Air sign at STAR labs test runway site and episode 8 incorporated the emotional spectrum with the Prism character). Seeing the said hero appear on the show in brightest day or blackest night still seems quite the long shot but you never know; there could be a long running plan at work. With four episodes to go, things are really heating up nicely. The gang may still not know who Harrison Wells is but we know we have a hell of a good few weeks in store.

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