If you have not been watching The Flash for whatever reason, I insist you catch up quick, or plan a marathon once it’s available on Netflix. Me? I’m buying the Blu-Ray.
I keep telling you guys this is the best show on TV right now, and I don’t know if you fully comprehend why. Besides a leading and supporting cast of diverse, passionate, AMAZING characters, the guest stars often step in like they’ve been there all along like they truly belong on this extraordinary team. Every week, I am astonished by the depth Grant Gustin, Jesse L. Martin, and Tom Cavanagh deliver. They often seem so immersed in their roles, I sometimes forget Gustin isn’t REALLY the Flash, Martine isn’t actually Barry’s guardian, and Cavanagh isn’t completely sinister. Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin), Carlos Valdes (Cisco), and Candice Patton (Iris) have been given some intriguing story arcs lately which have fleshed out their characters more, adding to their depth and charm. Rick Cosnett’s Eddie, is still a bit of an enigma, but a likable one. Once again, John Wesley Shipp’s stellar performance as Henry Allen is moving and strong. He’s like the perfect dad, except for that whole wrongfully convicted and stuck in prison thing.
In this week’s episode, “Tricksters”, Barry faces off against a new Trickster, Axel Walker, and the old Trickster, James Jesse, reprised by Mark Hamill from the 1990 Flash series. Hamill gives an unforgettable performance as the Hannibal Lecter-esque psychopath locked in Iron Heights Prison for terrorizing the city 20 years earlier. Kept in a specially designed cell all by himself, the police department decides to ask for his help in discovering the identity of the new Trickster. Mark Hamill has a definite gift for portraying the Dark Side. (Speaking of Star Wars references… Well…you’ll know it when you hear it.) Amusing in the creepiest way, Hamill turns in a remarkable performance. I truly hope he makes a return.
As terrific a treat as all the tricks were, the promise of “all will be revealed” made in the trailers was even better. And all was revealed indeed! The answer to the question, “Who is Harrison Wells?” ended up being far more complex than I imagined possible. The twist I will leave unsaid, but really, these writers are, to coin my daughter’s mashup word, BOSSOME. I would not have guessed what they did on my own, and that is ok by me. It’s nice to be surprised.
Another big reveal is Barry’s new distrust of the devious Dr. Wells. Barry wants to act immediately, and it isn’t sitting well with him that Joe has asked him to wait for now. He is short with the doctor, makes a couple of snide remarks, completely disregards a suggestion from Wells regarding tracking down the Trickster, and is crushed by his own blind loyalty to the senior scientist. Joe talks Barry through his conflicted feelings and delivers another one of those, “I wish Joe West was my father figure” moments.
“YOU always want to be the person who sees the best in people. I’ve been a cop for 25 years. All I can see is the flaws, the lies, the dark thoughts that people THINK I don’t see. I WISH I could be you. As fast as you are, THAT is your real power.”
Um, swoon. When it becomes absolutely necessary, Barry does listen to Wells, and comic fans receive two long-awaited Flash powers. Barry Allen is reaching his full potential and it is mind-blowing!
My favorite thing about this episode, and one of the best things in general about the show, is the science involved in the story. You see, for all the talk of “grounding superheroes in reality” The Flash has taken a decidedly different approach. Acknowledging through the storytelling that this is all fiction, they take the impossible and make it possible without worrying if there is real science to prove it. That is part of the genius of this show. They KNOW it is superhero/comic book based, and they LOVE it! It’s a departure from the norm, and a relief really, to see this show be a comic book come to life in its own way. I love that the suspension of disbelief is not on hiatus here and that while science is a major concept, it doesn’t have to be grounded in reality like so many others. Brilliant.
The Flash just keeps getting better, and seeing Barry get stronger and faster, I’m sure it will keep the momentum through the end of the season and beyond!