A small-time thief Everyman might be, but ‘Who is Harrison Wells?’ never feels simple or by-the-numbers. Besides: how much fun was that final fight?
Two words: Hannibal. Bates. The name of the meta-of-the-week in this highly enjoyable, universe entwined, and slight episode. Funny that the shapeshifting Everyman, who can look like anyone he touches, would have a name derived from two of the most well-known cinematic killers. His power allows the theme of distrust and mistaken identity to become a key player as Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) refuses to believe that her mentor and friend Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) could be a monster. So while Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin) attempt to find proof of this, Barry (Grant Gustin) and the rest must face new villain Everyman. When he winds up adopting Barry’s identity it becomes one of the most fun episodes ever.
Gustin is superb as Barry Allen; he gets the chance to flip the script and play something other than earnest and warm, which is a real treat. Seeing him be cautious and sleazy as the impersonating Bates gives him that chance. On top of that the scenes between him and Caitlin are wonderful. Panabaker gets to showcase her great comic timing, playing awkward better and less obviously than Emily Bett Rickards does as Felicity Smoak on Arrow. Their pairing is not new but it has been a while since we got a chance to see their chemistry, chemistry which has inspired many relentless shippers. Better her than Iris (Candice Patton). That said, Iris showed signs of improvements this week. Proving her investigative personality, no matter the simplicity of it or that it was in service of her boyfriend, is a step up. Eddie (Rick Cosnett) also came somewhat clean to her about how he has been helping the Flash, another step forward. His pairing with Barry is another that we do not see enough. The pep talk he gives Barry after his attempt to rescue him from the station is perfect.
It is interesting that despite the smaller scale of the villain this week, ‘Who Is Harrison Wells?’ does a fantastic job at giving every character their dues and making them all work. Weirdly the only one that gets left out even a little is Wells himself. Given the tag at the end of the episode which saw the team discovering his hideaway in the labs it will surely change soon. Besides that, seeing Captain Lance (Paul Blackthorne) share the screen with The Flash’s resident cop and father figure Joe hinted at the possibility not only of reconciliation between Lance and Laurel, but also at Joe realising that lying to his daughter is not a good move. This is an episode full of small developments and one or two big ones. It is sure to make a nice contrast to the big events to follow in the final four episodes of the season.
The Flash is broadcast on Sky One, 8pm Tuesdays.