I am annoyed that I could not think of a good Faulkner joke to open this review, truly, I am devastated.
After an opening monologue of Barry about heroes we see Wells walking around his fancy home when he gets an ominous call from someone who claims to know his deep dark secret (yeah, doubt that) followed by the windows in his skylight shattering. The next morning Barry and Joe show up to investigate. Wells tries to pass it off as a prank from citizens still angry at him, but Barry learns that the glass did not have a breaking point and was instead shattered by sonic frequency. Shortly after we are introduced to Hartley Rathaway, aka the Pied Piper, via a flashback, he’s smart, and an ass, but oddly enough not a smart ass. He is the former protege of Wells and we learn that he was against the activating of accelerator, thinking it was unsafe. (hit the nail on the head with that one) Like many others he was affected by the explosion, having lost his hearing, and has since developed some pretty nifty sonic technology. He tricks Barry into capturing him and taking him to S.T.A.R. Labs where he quickly breaks out of his cell and steals files from the computer systems and escapes. Wells takes a proactive approach to trying to stop him and calls a press conference, sharing Rathaway’s ignored warning with the press. This doesn’t appease him, and he launches an attack at a nearby damn. Barry goes off to stop him again, only for Cisco to discover that the stolen files are the cellular scans of Barry. He has used them to find the exact frequency needed to kill Barry, and lures the Scarlet Speedster into a trap. With killer vibrations wreaking havoc on Barry, and his internal organs, Wells springs into action to save his friend. Hacking into a satellite he uses the radios in the surrounding cars transmit a counter frequency to cancel out Rathaway’s and save Barry. It works and Barry takes down The Pied Piper. Cisco locks him away, but Rathaway assures him that we will be free soon, he is the only one that knows where Ronnie is and how to save him.
While this is going on we are also treated to a new subplot and the development of others. Iris is now working at the Central City newspaper but her joy is short lived as she quickly learns that she isn’t well liked by her new colleagues as the only reason she was hired is because the boss thinks that she has an in with the Flash and wants the inside story on Central City’s new hero. She is not happy about this, but seems to be determined to prove her worth as a journalist, so that should be interesting to see play out. We also are seeing a bit more of Wells and his motivations, it seems his speed
is unstable for reasons that are not yet revealed, and his theft of the tachyon particles is meant to stabilize his powers but doesn’t seem to be working. With a final ominous line of advancing to the end game we close out on him. Lastly but not leastly, we see more of Joe’s distrust of Wells and his decisions to beginning looking into the reclusive scientist.
Honestly, not as good as last week’s episode, or a lot of other episodes this season, but far from bad. It was very much an average episode. There was some solid parts of to this episode, the inclusion of a long time Flash villain the Pied Piper, and I was pleased to see that they included the fact that Rathaway’s was gay, as the character was in fact one of DC’s first openly gay characters. (after his reform from villain to good guy in the comics he would make jokes about how he went straight) But with that being said, he wasn’t all that great of a villain, especially in comparison to some of the previous ones we have seen. His history with Wells, Cisco, and Caitlin could have made him great, giving him the ability to play the mind games with Barry’s support team, and he does a bit, but its far to little to be anything menacing. It seems that he was just there to become another plot point for things with Ronnie. But he has shown to be a real threat to the Flash and could possibly be used to greater extent in the future, the comics character was a member of The Rogues, who we saw last week, and could be interesting to see him teamed up with them.
Wells was definitely one of the stand out parts of this episode, mainly because he is the overarching threat for the season and we actually got to get an idea of what his plan is. I have to admit that Wells is turning out to be a perfect villain, he is carefully keeping his plans hidden, has the intelligence, charm, and charisma to get his biggest threat to become his friend and protege. I like this, a lot. The best villains are the ones that can work in the shadows, throw people off their trail, and strike when least expected. While Joe is picking up on something off about Wells, he is a cop, and more importantly, a father to Barry, so its fairly natural for him to have some misgivings about this man who so quickly inserted himself into such an important role in Barry’s life. I eagerly look forward to how everything with Wells will play out over the rest of the season, and more info on what his evil plan is.
Overall, while this was a bit of a lackluster episode, it does prove that The Flash is still a great show, even if not every episode is a home run. The subplots and villains are still more than enough to keep viewer interest even on the poorer episodes.