The Flash: 1.17 Tricksters
After a disappointing episode last week that failed to deliver on the brilliant Out Of Time, this week's installment of The Flash was back on track with a pair of great villains, fiendish plots and a number of revelations about a certain Dr Harrison Wells.
The episode begun with the battle between the two Flashes and the death of Barry's mother. We then saw the Reverse Flash, weakened from battle and without his powers pull back his mask. In a surprising twist, it wasn't Tom Cavanagh's Harrison Wells in the yellow suit. It was Matt Letscher.
From there we saw how Harrison Wells came up with the idea of the particle accelerator with Tess Morgan, something they would achieve together in 2020. Watched by Letscher's character we were led to wonder if there were two Reverse Flashes or whether something would happen to replace one with the other. In the episode's shocking and very brutal climax, Letscher's villain was reveled to be Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash of the comics. Causing the crash that killed Tess, he then took over Harrison's body, killing him.
Yes, the real Dr Harrison Wells has been dead for years and Eobard Thawne is wearing his body.
This made for a compelling twist to the events happening in the present day as Barry struggled to trust the advice of Harrison Wells, a man who was simultaneously helping and fighting him. The flashbacks to Harrison and Tess only strengthened the belief that there was really good in him - and indeed the real Harrison Wells was never a villain - only for it to be torn down when we discovered that the real villain was someone else entirely.
Talking of villains, Mark Hamill made for a brilliant OTT villain in the Trickster. Part Joker, part Hannibal Lecter, there was a dangerous, manic performance from him, particularly in the prison scenes when Barry and Detective Joe West visited him. The episode brilliantly used his original performance from the old 90's Flash TV series, making him Starling City's original super villain.
Talking of that previous show, John Wesley Shipp, who played the Flash, also made a welcome return as Barry's dad Henry, getting a number of delightful scenes that played on his old iconic performance. Ironically it wasn't the scenes where he played off his old nemesis - though the reunion was fun - but the scenes with Barry, from the unmasking scene after his rescue and the smile on both their faces to the scene in Star Labs where he asked Barry what it was like to run that fast. They were great nods from one Flash to another.
The father / son theme continued with the Trickster himself, as the latest version was revealed as the offspring of the original. Devon Graye's Axel Walker couldn't live up to Hamill's James Jesse in terms of the performance, though his bombs attached to balloons raining down on a playground was particularly nasty. I'm not sure about his motivations either - Jesse was obviously a classic psychopath - perhaps it is a genetic trait?
Poisoning the guests at the mayor's ball was pure Batman-style villainy, from the heist of the guests' back accounts down to Iris calling her dad for help and signalling the Flash. Sure it was over the top - there could have been a giant ticking clock and it would have not felt out of place - but it was fun and the duo of Tricksters only enhanced the dark, comic nature of the whole event. The Flash may have thwarted them in the end, but I am hoping for more hijinx villainy from these two in the future. Particularly if Hammil can continue to deliver the dark, Joker-style humour (a role he played so well in the Batman: The Animated Series) that we saw in the prison scenes.
There were plenty more cool moments in this episode; Barry speeding up the point that he could move his molecules through the truck to disarm the bomb the Tricksters had attached to his arm to Barry unmasking himself to Eddie in an effort to help him divert Iris from her investigation into the disappearance of Mason Bridge. Of course the best quote of the episode has to go to Axel "I am your father!". Hamill must have had so much fun delivering that iconic line.
A fun, action-packed episode with great villains and plenty of shocking twists, Tricksters wasn't quite as good as Out Of Time but it wasn't far off. The Flash continues to improve with age - and as we near the end of the first season I am excited to see how the show develops into season two and beyond.