When things are going well, they are really going well. And right now, The Flash is going as well as any show you can put against it. This week’s helping, aptly titled “Tricksters” introduces fan-favorite Mark Hamill reprising his role as the Trickster from the original ‘Flash’ series, another person added to Team Barry and, finally, the true story behind the Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne identity crisis…
For the first time, we get a glimpse of the battle between the Flash and his Reverse from fifteen years ago. The two speedsters do battle against one another as the Reverse Flash tries to kill Barry only to be thwarted by his target’s future self. After fleeing the scene, the Reverse Flash runs out of his mojo, the Speed Force fueling him gone. He explodes in a scream of rage and removes him mask to reveal the true face of Eobard Thawne. Wait, what?
Back to the confusing twist in a bit, but now let’s get into the present matters, starting with Barry and Joe’s “Wells File.” The two are pouring over the data, trying to figure out Wells’s plan. “Do you think he wanted me to become the Flash?” Barry wonders but West can’t quite guess, and cautions to be “just as patient” as Wells.Mark Hamill reprising his role as the off-kilter Trickster
While Barry’s struggling to keep his disdain from his former idol at bay, a new baddie’s in town. Going by the name Trickster, he starts his assault on Central City by dropping an army of explosive packages on the unsuspecting populace. Thanks to Barry’s intervention, no casualties are recorded. After the first attack and the subsequent vlog posted, Barry and Joe visit the original Trickster, James Jesse, holed up in his own special section in Iron Heights, to try and gleam anything they can about this new player. Jesse believes this phony has discovered his old lair and the two men confirm that all the old Trickster’s toys have been taken. He doesn’t take the news well, breaking down in frustration and anger.
After the second visit to the prison—and Barry’s short reunion with his father, everyone gathers back at the labs, trying to figure out this new Trickster’s next move. We get it soon enough when the Flash catches the latest vlog about a massive bomb set somewhere in the city, one that will take quite a few people with it. Barry, fresh off the heels of a meeting with Iris re: Mason Bridge’s disappearance, scours the streets, unable to find the explosive. Wells guesses the Trickster’s aim; the bomb is a diversion. Barry’s unable to separate his feelings about Wells to listen and, by the time he realizes his error, the new Trickster has broken James Jesse out of Iron Heights and they’ve also taken Barry’s father as leverage.
While Barry’s worried about his father’s disappearance, Jesse not only shares his masterpiece plan with Axel Walker, he also goes Darth Vader on him, pronouncing “I am your father.” Speaking of fathers, West is there for Barry, reminding his surrogate son that while they don’t know why Wells is helping them, “all that matters is that he is.”Barry worries about losing his dad
Though it’s not the most explosively violent or heart-stopping plans, Trickster and Jr. are at a re-election soiree for Mayor Bellows. The plan’s pretty simple; poison the guests and offer the cure only if the victims transfer all their monies to the bad guy. Even Iris is there and, thanks to her, the gang gets a head’s up on the plan. While the others work on synthesizing a cure for the poison, Barry arrives soon after the warning but gets cuffed with a specialty bomb designed to explode if he stops running. There’s only so much running he can do before he can go no further.
Enter Harrison Wells.
The good prof gives Barry the solution. He has to run through the wall…but no in the ‘Hulk Smash!’ way. No, this is a much greater test. “If you vibrate at the natural frequency of air, your body, your cells with be in a state of excitement that should allow you to phase right through that wall, leaving the bomb on the other side.” Wells continues, “You’re no longer you now. You’re part of something greater. Part of a Speed Force…it’s yours.”
For the first time in the show, Barry passes through a solid object and is a sign of things to come. Unencumbered by the Trickster’s bomb, Barry returns to the party, inoculating everyone with the poison antidote and he takes down Trickster and Jr. Knowing his time is up, the Trickster gives Barry his father’s location, and not a moment too soon.
In the aftermath, Barry gets a few moments with his father before Henry has to go back to Iron Heights, Eddie’s brought into the fold, and Barry and Professor Wells make up. Or do they?
After Eddie convinces Iris that Mason Bridge has moved to Brazil for a woman, he asks Barry and Joe about the next steps in the Wells investigation. “When Wells was talking me through phasing so I could get the Trickster’s bomb off my wrist,” Barry says, “the way that he described my being the Flash—running, feeling the wind, the power—it’s like he was talking from experience… I don’t know how, but he’s the Man in Yellow.
“Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash.”
Coming Around the Bend
- Here we are, on the last third of the season, the final straightaway in a four-hundred meter race, and ‘The Flash’ is still getting better. The title of the episode, “Tricksters”, was less about James Jesse and Axel Walker, and more about Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne. As we are given insight into his past, we are privy to the future speedster completely taking over the life of the genius scientist. It all makes so much more sense now; Wells pushing the Accelerator’s operation despite concerns from several people, his ties with Gideon and murdering Cisco so callously in that alternate timeline. I can’t say I saw it coming but what a brilliant play by the writers.
- Speaking of play, how about Eddie Thawne now becoming a part of Team Flash!? Talk about things coming together—he’s joining the fight against a future descendant. Knowing Eddie’s relation to his future, how will Eobard change tactics to ensure his own future isn’t irrevocably changed?
- On the topic of change, it speaks to the show writers how well they’ve slowly moved the pieces around as Barry’s powers continues to evolve. To hear Wells (despite knowing he’s Thawne, I’m going to continue using his original identity) describe the Speed Force to Barry—wow—it was something to behold. Comic book geeks invested in the Flash mythos must have been giddy over the mention of such a higher power, if you will, the Speed Force represents (in its own abstract way). What is next for Barry as he continues to develop his powers?
- A quick Nota Bene on what’s next, how about the extended preview for the remainder of this season? I really have no words…