Comics/Graphic Novels

THE FLASH 01×19: Who Is Harrison Wells?

 Each week Panelteers Chris and Ali sit down and chat about the CW’s newest superhero series, The Flash! They have done everything they can to confirm that the other is not actually a nefarious shapeshifter using their guises for evil purposes.

Chris: I’ve said this before in these columns, but it is mega important to this week’s episode: I love when CW actors are forced to play evil version of themselves. They are always amazing at it. It’s like a law of nature.

Ali: Before the opening scene ended I knew this was going to be an episode you’d love!

Chris: Yeah. I definitely got a kick out of it. We talk almost constantly about how comic book-y this show is willing to go and this week was no exception. Instead of continuing the charade that everyone in Central City will forever go without realizing there are super people among them, we finally got an episode where a metahuman crossed paths directly with the police and the DA – and things get weird.

Ali: Yeah, you’d figure in the what 11 months since the particle accelerator accident and the dozens of metahumans we’ve seen so far that the police would have picked up on stuff earlier. I mean, Weather Wizard the First had a huge showdown with the cops. Did they forget about that? Did Joe just say it was a weird freak storm in his paperwork? OMG. What if Joe was hiding all the metahuman stuff from the cops?! He wasn’t in Central City to cover stuff up this week!


Chris: I’ve actually been wondering how these things haven’t been a problem in the past, but maybe Joe’s really good at lying to his bosses. I mean… he’s good enough at lying to his daughter.

Ali: I’m starting to die a little inside because of all of the lying to Iris. But also, I didn’t realize quite how much Joe lies (Say Anything reference intended) and covers things up until this episode. He has that whole conversation with Captain Lance (who, btw, is one of my favorite things about Arrow) about lying to family and even when it’s done to protect them it’s not right and can bite you in the ass. And then Joe goes and using protecting your daughter as a way to emotionally manipulate Lance into handing over crime scene evidence. Joe, I love you. But this has gotten way the fuck out of hand.


Chris: I have a lot of negative things to say about Arrow, but Paul Blackthorne is definitely a dude that decided somewhere near the end of season 1 that it was okay that his career had taken a weird turn and he just fully committed to how weird that show could be. It’s kinda great. On the Joe thing: I still think that if he wasn’t so damn charming, we would hate him so much. So, so much. Dude’s a manipulative liar who might as well be moving people around on a chessboard. So uh… let’s talk about Cisco and Laurel because I’m not even sure what that was.

Ali: It was magical is what it was. Magical. At first I thought Cisco was doing his awkward googly eyes at girls he thinks are pretty thing. But when he find out she’s Black Canary and totally fangirls out over her; it was pretty much the best thing ever. AND he got to make her a new sonic thingy!! I love that Cisco is basically the reverse Paul Gambi.


Chris: I am A-Ok with the Cisco side of things. All of that felt perfectly in character for him. Let me preface this with one thing: I have watched VERY little of Arrow season 3. I felt like Laurel showed more personality in those first few minutes than she did in the entirety of the first two seasons and it really threw me. Also thought it was weird that she said something about using her “sister’s sonic thing” because it was totally irrelevant and weirdly over-sharing. Plus, wasn’t it already referred to as the Canary Cry in season 2 of Arrow? I’m sorry. I hate judging things I haven’t seen. Maybe she turns into the best character in the show in season 3. (I doubt it. Felicity is still a regular, right?)

Ali: I’m not super current on Arrow, but they finally flesh out Laurel’s character in season three and she’s pretty great. And let’s be real, Chris. Ollie is the woooooorst. But as far as I can tell, this is the first time anyone’s called it the Canary Cry. And even if they did back when Sara was Canary, Laurel wouldn’t have known what it was called. I also really love the design; it makes sense for Black Canary to have the choker now.


Chris: Okay, I’ll stop complaining. I promise. Let’s talk about some shapeshifting!!!


Ali: I’m with you about CW actors playing evil versions of their characters, but this had the added bonus of them really obviously lying about things and not knowing who people were. I mean evil Barry said, “Hey you person I know” like 5 times. And no one noticed that he wasn’t using people’s names. Although the shapeshifting into a little girl and yelling “I’m being kidnapped!!” was brilliant.

Pretty sneaky, sis.

Pretty sneaky, sis.

Chris: That bit was fun and clever and again totally played with the idea of normal people having to react to these weird situations. Of course the cops are going to act. Of course you can’t really explain your way out of it. Caitlin yelling “She’s dangerous!” over and over was kind of the only believable course of action. It’s always fun to get to watch actors play with something like this, even when they’re hamming it up a bit. (Maybe even more so if that’s the case.) I loved getting a hint of Evil Eddie since I’m pretty sure that’s a path we’re all going to walk down together at some point. The shooting actually led to what I thought were the two most engaging and interesting parts of the episode – Eddie believing in the flash (only to presumably be let down at a later point) and his refusal to allow outside/super interference into the investigation. Eddie may be the only person on this show who actually sticks to their convictions.

Ali: I really love Eddie. I’ve said it a dozen time, but he’s such a great guy. I love that, like you said, he sticks to his convictions, and how it visibly upsets him having to hide things from Iris. He’s a good cop and a good man, and I like that that exists in a DC show.


Chris: If we didn’t know things from the comics (and really… it’s just his namesake) I wonder how I’d react to him. Now, I see him as this potential Hero Cop who is going to be driven to the edge by either his jealousy or the Flash’s failures. He will potentially become the Flash’s greatest villain. If we didn’t know the Thawne name held catastrophic consequences (yes, now we know Wells is a Thawne too) would I maybe just see him as a really good dude doing his best in a difficult situation? ADAPTATIONS ARE HARD SOMETIMES.

Ali: Hahahaha! Well, I don’t think he turns into Thawne. I know when we did see Reverse Flash Thawne he said “distant relative” in a very tongue-and-cheek kind of way about Eddie. But I think timeline-wise he CAN’T be Eddie. Or maybe I just won’t believe it.

Chris: Oh, I didn’t mean that he eventually becomes the Eobard Thawne that is torturing Team Science. I meant that he will become The Reverse Flash at some point after all of the Wells stuff is dealt with. There have been a few different RFs in the comics so it’s not exactly unprecedented.

Ali: I WON’T LET YOU MAKE MY EDDIE A REVERSE FLASH, CHRIS!! He’s too good. And I lurve him. I’m gonna change gears here and talk about Caitlin. She had a rough episode this week. She’s really hesitant to believe that Wells is a bad guy (like me and Eddie!) and it’s interesting to see that play out. Team Science has always been a unified front. And this is something that could really drive a wedge between the group. I almost wish there was more time let that develop, instead of quickly resolving things with the discovery of the real Wells’ body.


Chris: We can never really accuse this show of spinning its wheels. After this week, it’s gonna have to be all out war. Before we get to talking about what might be coming, I just want to say that I think this show has handled Barry, Caitlin and Cisco’s doubts about Wells in about the best way they could. It doesn’t just feel like a plot necesity. They all have perfectly valid reasons to not want Wells to be the Reverse Flash and they all differ. It’s not just “He’s a guy I trust and like.” Caitlin’s speech about him being there for her in a way that no one else was when Ronnie disappeared was a really nice moment. It’s kind of weird that if you boil down this big dumb superhero show, the entire season is really about finding out that your mentor and the person you look up to isn’t the man you thought he was, and might just be the worst dude in the world. That’s heavy.

Ali: This recap is getting heavy. I vote for a Lightning Round!!

Chris: Go for it!

Ali: Ummm, you usually go first. I’m not prepared with anything!!

Chris: Okay, fine! The evil dudes name was just too murderers mashed into 1 and I love it so much that I don’t even want to look up if it’s from the comics. HANNIBAL BATES. Like, if he were an evil general he’d be ATILLA HITLER or something. It’s great. P.S. as creepy and existentially horrifying as him revealing that he no longer remembers his own face – why in the WORLD would you tell your enemies that when they have you incarcerated. Picking nits here, but still.

Ali: That was so sad!! I felt kinda bad for him. Also. who the hell is taking care of the prisoners in the Pipeline?! Do they get food? How do they pee? Where do they sleep?

Chris: Oh, I assume they’re all dead at this point. There are literally zero systems in place for any of their most basic needs to be met. Team Science is basically just running Super Guantanamo at this point.

Ali: I do NOT want to be a metahuman in Central City. Oh! I remember my Lightning Round thing!! Barry as Coast City pizza delivery guy!! I am willing to forgive Barry for not getting pizza from Brooklyn (which is the best pizza in the universe) because we got a small glimpse of Coast City and Farris Air.

Hal? John? Kyle? Guy? Anyone???

Hal? John? Kyle? Guy? Anyone???

Chris: That was a fun little easter egg. I like the idea of Barry using his powers in goofy/practical ways. We haven’t seen it in a while either. Maybe since him getting dressed for his date with Linda?

Ali: That sounds right. He’s been really cranky about Wells lately, so hopefully he’ll be back to his super speed shenanigans.

Chris: We’ll see. We’re certainly entering endgame territory with the breaking and entering of Wells’ Grunkle Stan room at the end of the episode. There’s also a psychic man-eating gorilla on the fringes just waiting to rear his amazing head and a few b and c-plots to tie up in just a few episodes. Things are about to get hectic.

Ali: You’d think Thawne-Wells would have better security on that room. Bary just walked right in there! We’re also getting close to the end of the season: I think there are only 3 or 4 more episodes to go. And we haven’t gotten more than a glimpse of Grodd yet!!

Chris: I’m pretty dang excited. Hey readers, let us know what you’re most looking forward to in the next couple of weeks down in the comments.

Ali: I think our work here is done. See you all next week!!


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