The Flash: Tricksters
April 1, 2015 5:46 AM - Season 1, Episode 17 - Subscribe

A new villain appears in Central City, taking the name of an old one -- the Trickster, a terrorist who's been in prison since the early 1990s. Barry and Joe seek the help of the original to deal with his imitator, and the viewers get a peek into the history of Harrison Wells.

Mark Hamill -- reprising his role as James Jesse from the original Flash TV series -- is of course brilliant as a crazy supervillain, and we also get some classic Flash setpieces, including a speed-based bomb straight out of Tower of Babel and the "vibrate through walls" trick that longtime Flash writer Mark Waid...uh, really enjoyed .

But the big surprise of the episode is the focus it puts on Eobard Thawne. We open with the fight between him and Barry in the Allen house 15 years ago, and a series of flashbacks scattered through the episode show how he stalked the real Harrison Wells (who really did look like Tom Cavanaugh!). Turns out Thawne murdered Harrison and his wife, and stole Wells' appearance and voice with future tech, rather than creating the person from scratch. We also find out that Barry wasn't supposed to get his powers until 2020.

As the episode ends, Barry has unmasked himself to his father and Eddie, and they're all but certain of Wells' true identity as Reverse Flash. Talk about a packed 42 minutes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish (28 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This show delivers the goods every week. I can't believe how much they can cram into one episode. Mark Hamill was amazing. So over the top. Loved the not so subtle reference to Star Wars ( I am your father) too. Also loved that he could smell twizzlers from 10 feet away through a glass wall.
posted by the webmistress at 5:49 AM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Disconnected thoughts:
- What is a word for when you're both furious and laughing at a show and also mad because you laughed, because of things like "I am your father."
- Axel was unexpectedly cute. Cute like a cup of macaroni and cheese, which is to say, wow, the cheese factor there, but sort of delightful in small doses. I actually found it endearing that Jesse didn't throw him under a bus at any point in the episode.
- Props to Eddie for saying the discussion about keeping Iris in the dark is gonna happen. It needs to, desperately. The ridiculous explanations that worked for me last episode ("lightning psychosis") don't work at all for me when they're about more important plot points that mean Iris has to be bamboozled with some stupid excuse about an actual person's disappearance.
- Barry, no. Barry, stop. This I KNOW, I KNOW YOU KNOW, I KIND OF KNOW YOU KNOW I KNOW, WELP LET'S DO SUPERHERO STUFF THEN stuff is agonizing in a good way. I really appreciated the way you see Thawne-Wells test Barry the exact same way we saw him test Caitlin, the way you can watch him watching Joe covering for Barry over and over. Of course, this subtlety is then hilariously negated by his super detailed, strangely, er, intimate description of the speed force, but okay, show. Okay.
posted by automatic cabinet at 7:02 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I thought last week's episode was kind of meh, but this one more than made up for it. Hamill was perfectly (re-)cast as the Trickster, and they did a lot of myth-building in this episode that I felt was missing last week. I didn't even find the "I am your father" line groan-worthy, it was worth a genuine chuckle. This show more than any other just seems to be having fun with itself. The Eobard Thawne/Harrison Wells identity theft scene was delightfully gruesome, and managed to fit in a bunch of exposition. On the downside there is, of course, the whole "everybody but Iris knows Barry's secret" business. Ugh, just get it over with so that we can avoid all the Smallville-esque moping about. I'm also wondering if they're going to make Wells a single-season villain, which would be a show considering how damned awesome Tom Cavanaugh has been as Thawne/Wells.

The spoiler-y post-credits "sizzle reel" (which looks like the same one I posted in the pre-hiatus episode thread) has me really excited about the rest of the season: More Grodd! Arrow crossover! Firestorm! Prison break! Wooooo!
posted by zombieflanders at 7:11 AM on April 1, 2015


I totally cracked up at the "I am your father line", along with the musical cue they were playing.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:44 AM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hamill's delivery was so, so great. I'm still chuckling at "That wasn't very sanitary!"
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:49 AM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Huh, here's a nod to the 90s series I had no idea about, per Den of Geek: Vito D'Ambrosio, who played Mayor Bellows, was in the first show as Officer Bellows, a comic relief character.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:05 AM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


My poor wife was subjected to a ten minute long commentary regarding references on this show to the 90s version (with a 15 minute digression regarding Mark Hamill's post-Jedi career).

"Is this an early April Fools joke?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "This is your life now. Anyways, now let's talk about Justice League Unlimited."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on April 1, 2015 [18 favorites]


There is a (very good) reason my wife watches iZombie with me but not Flash.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


This show is really jam packed and the preview for the rest of the season was...something else. Flash, Green Arrow, Firestorm, Black Canary, Atom, Grodd? Is there room for anything else? Still, they're keeping it up really well, so kudos to them.

"Is this an early April Fools joke?" she asked.

"No," I replied. "This is your life now. Anyways, now let's talk about Justice League Unlimited."


Oh man, I'm more of a Marvel guy, so the number of conversations I have that go:

Wife: (perfectly reasonable question)
Me: Well, see, the....
Wife: Wait, is this going to involve the Blue Side of the Moon?
Me: Blue Area, and only a little, so...
Wife: No! Stop! I asked you not to talk about that!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:03 AM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]


So Reverse Flash is from the Fringe universe?
posted by Catblack at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2015 [4 favorites]




If The Flash just rotated his arm fast enough he should have been able to keep the device from exploding.. and he didn't have to phase through a truck with gasoline in it, he could have just phased through the bomb.

Also any one else notice the glass prison The Trickster was in? And how that never works to keep anyone inside?

I think the Other Trickster might become an ally, notice how he didn't actually kill anyone? And the one who did die, it was mentioned explicitly, was poisoned by the Original Trickster.
posted by FallowKing at 1:51 PM on April 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the subject of conversations held with less geek-informed partners, when I laughed at the "I am your father":

Him: "I get that one!"

This episode was great. I found the whole "Barry introduces his dad to his surrogate STAR Labs family, including his probably-evil surrogate father" scene at the end surprisingly moving.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:34 PM on April 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Barry needs to tell Iris. Her father gets a pass because he's expected to be paternalistic and overprotective, and Barry might get a pass if he was the obedient "always does what foster-Dad says foster-Son".. but he's not, so the whole thing is coming across as disloyal and stalkerish. He's at the center of a conspiracy to conceal his identity from her, that her father and boyfriend are both in on, and he visits her in Flash guise all the time.

How could you not tell your best friend that you're a Superhero?

They must not be best friends.

They'll probably have him tell her right after he saves her and she'll be shocked and all 'oooh Barry', or she'll find out earlier and be mad and then he'll save her and she'll forgive him. But.. they're clearly not really best friends or Barry is wildly disloyal.
posted by yonega at 3:29 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


He's at the center of a conspiracy to conceal his identity from her, that her father and boyfriend are both in on, and he visits her in Flash guise all the time.

Yeah, this is total bullshit. How is this protecting her? Iris needs to be on the inside with them against Wells/Thawne (Thwells?). Thwells knows Barry's identity. Fucking Captain Cold and the Funky Bunch know Barry's identity.

How does keeping Iris in the dark make any sense at all any more? Or ever? How does it protect her to not know who the personal who may be gunning for her is?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:02 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


I couldn't stop grinning every time Trickster pulled the Joker voice out. (Sorry, big BTAS fan here, as well as a fan of the 90s series!)
posted by immlass at 10:23 PM on April 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


At least they didn't make Trickster Jr.'s name "Luke". That would be one step too far.

I loved the flashbacks and the deepening story with Wells, but it's making the crime-fighting very secondary to the point where it feels more like a nuisance to the rest of the story than any meaningful contribution. Especially after the time shift where Barry totally negated the whole Weather Wizard story with one quick zip. I felt absolutely no real peril from the Trickster story because the "Thwells" story was so much more interesting and has so much more import. And that's kind of too bad, because Trickster has the potential to be a much more interesting and dangerous villain than Captain Cold.
posted by briank at 6:15 AM on April 2, 2015


Yeah, this is total bullshit. How is this protecting her? Iris needs to be on the inside with them against Wells/Thawne (Thwells?).

Because the writers want to deepen the Barry/Iris/Eddie triangle that nobody cares about. Eddie knows there's a potential Thing between Barry and Iris. Eddie will also pick up on the potential Thing between Iris and the Flash. He'll be pretty sure that should Iris become aware of both Things, that his time is limited, especially because Iris will be rightly pissed that everyone around her knows the truth and didn't let her in so he doesn't even get to take that high road to try to hold on to her.

I was hoping that when the time came for Barry to reveal himself to Iris, she'd be all like "Duh, of course I knew." but that alternate path kind of threw that for a loop.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:39 AM on April 2, 2015


Also loved that he could smell twizzlers from 10 feet away through a glass wall.

Great Silence of the Lambs reference. I have some sense of a villain/antihero/informant who needed to be bribed in candy, am I just making that up?

At least they didn't make Trickster Jr.'s name "Luke". That would be one step too far.

Duke would have been fun on several levels but you'd need a freeze-screen and a voice over to really sell it.

How could you not tell your best friend that you're a Superhero?
They must not be best friends.


Friendzone believers/piners never are actually good friends even if they think they are. Be better than this, Barry.

Of course, this subtlety is then hilariously negated by his super detailed, strangely, er, intimate description of the speed force, but okay, show. Okay

I might be giving them too much credit, but I wonder how much of that is that it's at a point now where Wells thinks why not? Which is sort of a flub on Wells' part - Barry knew he wasn't what he seemed but they actually had information (which Wells was not aware of) leading them to believe that he's not the other speedster. So he keeps Barry alive - which he needs, for some purpose - at the cost of revealing something he thinks they already know. And actually tips them to more.

I hope they make this interesting and don't squander it, but we now have an interesting information imbalance simply replacing the old one. Wells is no longer hidden but Team Barry doesn't know what he's up to. They've said several times that he's helping Barry be a better Flash but have no clue why. Wells needs Barry alive... but Team Barry doesn't know that. Is that an imbalance that works better for Wells because TB thinks he's a killer? Is that an imbalance that works better for TB because they're not inclined to talk?

Turns out Thawne murdered Harrison and his wife, and stole Wells' appearance and voice with future tech, rather than creating the person from scratch.

I really really liked that, because we had spent a dozen hours not liking this guy, coming to suspect and dislike him... and then we spend some time with a guy with his face and are made to feel really bad for his suffering. Nicely done.

It also makes me wonder if there's not another bit of misdirection going on here to set us up in a similar way. We've had a lot of scenes of Mrs Allen's harrowing experience with the two speedsters, now seeing them in slo-mo fighting around her. But we haven't seen her killed and there's nothing that would make us sure that Reverse Flash killed her in that sequence we just saw.

So here's some out-there speculation for you: did Barry's dad kill her after all?
posted by phearlez at 7:58 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the subject of conversations held with less geek-informed partners, when I laughed at the "I am your father":

Him: "I get that one!"


I think he meant I understood that reference.
posted by phearlez at 1:49 PM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wonder how much of that is that it's at a point now where Wells thinks why not?
Good point, especially if he HAS kept any memories from the tidal wave timeline. I forget if I mentioned before how his actor, Tom Cavanagh, has said that some of the things Wells does that look like mistakes aren't really, but I've been trying to ignore that remark because it will drive me nuts trying to figure out what to apply it to.

So here's some out-there speculation for you: did Barry's dad kill her after all?
I know the actor for Barry's dad is there because of the old Flash series, but he was also an abusive dad in Teen Wolf and no matter how many touching scenes Henry and Barry have had, I've had a hard time shaking that. Cavanagh has said in interviews that it was definitely RF, but I think you're 100% right about some kind of misdirection going on in that scene.
posted by automatic cabinet at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2015


But we haven't seen her killed and there's nothing that would make us sure that Reverse Flash killed her in that sequence we just saw.

OK, good, so it's not just me. Because I would swear that for everything that's been revealed so far (in any episode), we haven't yet seen actual 100% proof that Reverse-Flash directly kills Barry's mom. There's a twist (or two, or three) coming, I just know it.

Because the writers want to deepen the Barry/Iris/Eddie triangle that nobody cares about.

Yah. Arrow's got pretty much the same issue, too, with Felicity/Oliver/Ray Palmer. Either the writers/creators simply can't imagine a show without Major Romantic Dramaz, or they're giving themselves an escape hatch - if they ever get stuck ten minutes short in an episode, they can just toss some Love Triangle in to fill up the time.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:54 PM on April 3, 2015


Or they have a show on The CW.
posted by ODiV at 5:04 PM on April 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Fun episode, but yeah... As someone in the Badass Digest comment threads said, "By the end of the season, everyone in America will be working together to stop Iris from knowing Barry is the Flash."

Also, "That's not very sanitary!" was awesome.
posted by brundlefly at 8:35 PM on April 4, 2015


I just wanted to second everyone in this long-dormant thread who said Mark Hamill was terrific. God I am still giggling thinking about it and I watched this episode last week.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2015


Hope you're not this far behind, you'll want to be caught up for next week...
posted by phearlez at 2:22 PM on December 3, 2015


I am Netflixing as fast as I can, damnit. I'm going Mach 2.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:48 PM on December 3, 2015


Stream, Penguin, STREAM
posted by zombieflanders at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2015


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