Even as certain characters frustratingly continue unchanged, The Flash proves it refuses to maintain the status quo or go completely dark with ‘Tricksters’.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
No show has as much fun getting serious as The Flash does. As dark as things are for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) now, as he struggles to come to terms with the fact that Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) could be the man who killed his mother, Mark Hamill strolling in as The Trickster reminds us that The Flash is all about forward momentum, and how to do it gleefully. There are two great father and son moments between Barry and Joe (Jesse L. Martin)/Barry and Henry (John Wesley Shipp). Then there’s the coy ridiculousness of James Jesse telling Axel Walker (Devon Graye) that, yes, he IS his father.
This show is so much fun.
The closer we get to the end of the season, the more focus is given back to Barry, Joe, and Wells. They never left the show but recent developments led to Cisco (Carlos Valdes), and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) all taking central roles for various reasons. This day in Central City, however, the two C-scientists are entirely support. While Barry works against his own heated emotions towards Wells and against Hamill’s Trickster in all his Lecter-lite, hammy glory, flashbacks reveal how Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher) came to take the name of Harrison Wells. The answer is that he stole it.
The opening flashback to the ‘lightning storm’ that killed Nora Allen is one of the most thrilling and revealing moments of the entire show. It reminds us that as human as Barry feels, he is practically a god. The rest of the flashbacks are sparse, thankfully – this isn’t Arrow. Yet when they are used, they are satisfying. It is great to see Cavanagh playing Wells as a fundamentally decent, slightly goofy character and seeing him die/transform into the Wells we know is equal parts sad and exciting.
It is ironic, however, that the biggest strengths of the show are also where it keeps falling down: its characters. Every craft aspect of The Flash in this episode and the last (and surely the next) works, yet it is the heroes and villains of Central City that are what bring the audience back for more. However Iris West (Candice Patton) keeps being let-down by the writers who are intent on keeping her in the dark when there is no longer any good reason to do so. Now that Eddie (Rick Cosnett) knows the secrecy just comes across as selfish. Patton seems like a good actress but Iris is just not written well enough to be the strong character she is in the comics. Early on in The Flash it was endearing. Now, it is very annoying. Hopefully it will not stay the same by the end of season – and knowing this show, it is unlikely to.
The Flash is broadcast on Sky One on Tuesdays at 8pm. Watch the trailer for the next episode below: