Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Flash Season 1, Episode 20: The Trap

Insert obligatory "It's A Trap!" joke here.

The Dr. Wells/Reverse Flash storyline continues to accelerate this week, as we all wait impatiently for Gorilla Grodd to finally show up.

I'm curious to see how all this Reverse Flash business will affect future seasons of the show. Obviously the Gang isn't going to continue to work with Dr. Wells. They'll still need some sort of headquarters though. Will they still operate out of the STAR Labs building? Seems like once they attack him, Dr. Wells would change the locks so they can't get in. Maybe Tina McGee will let them use Mercury Labs?

The convoluted Dr. Wells arc is pretty interesting— he hates the Flash, but he needs him in order to get back to the future. In effect he's been forced to create, nurture and mentor his own worst enemy.

For months now I've been going on about how Iris is the weakest part of the show. This week I realized the fault doesn't lie with the character, but with the way she's been written. Iris was great in her flashback scene. Hopefully now that we've got the "Iris doesn't know Barry's the Flash" thing out of the way, she'll be written a bit better.


SPOILERS!

The Plot:
Picking up where we left off last week, Barry, Cisco and Caitlin stand in fear and awe inside Dr. Wells' secret "Time Vault." They find Wells' future newspaper and discover lots of tidbits they shouldn't know, such as Barry's big promotion, his wedding plans, and the fact that he somehow invented Gideon, the Vault's advanced A.I. computer. 

They also somehow deduce that Wells caused the particle accelerator to explode in order to create the Flash. Just then Cisco detects Wells entering the building, and Barry speeds them out of the vault in the nick of time.

Meanwhile in the obligatory soap opera plot, Eddie tells Joe he wants to marry Iris, and asks for his blessing. Joe says no. Eddie says he was just being polite, and doesn't need his permission. Joe tells Barry about the situation, saying he refused to give his blessing because he knows Iris has always been in love with him.

Barry and the Gang tell Joe and Eddie what they found in Wells' Time Vault. Eddie struggles with the idea that Barry will someday travel through time. Barry sheepishly admits that he's already done it, and changed the future. They determine that Cisco's disturbing dreams may actually be memories of the alternate timeline. You know, for scientists, these people sure make a lot of preposterous, yet correct, intuitive leaps.

Caitlin invents some goggles that'll allow Cisco to enter his dream and report what he sees. He tells them everything the audience already knows— that Wells is really Eobard Thawne, he's from the future, and he didn't intend to kill Barry's mom. He then kills Dream Cisco, causing the real one to wake up.

Barry says they have to recreate the alternate timeline scenario in reality to force Wells to confess to Nora Allen's murder. Seems like a crazy idea to me, but what do I know. Cisco isn't happy about being used as bait, so he stands inside the containment field, after reversing the polarity of the neutron flow so that no speedster can enter.

Before they spring the trap, Barry meets with Iris. She tells him she's been digging and figured out that metahumans started appearing in Central City right after the particle accelerator explosion, and thinks Wells engineered it to create the Flash. Seems everyone's making ridiculous intuitive leaps in this episode. She then takes the time for a flashback to when Barry was in a coma after the explosion, as she remembers the time she touched his hand and got a static shock.

Back at STAR Labs, the trap is ready. Dr. Wells enters the bunker and sees Cisco's discovered the Reverse Flash hologram inside the containment field, just like he did in the alternate time line. Everything plays out the same as it did in the Out Of Time episode, as Dr. Wells confesses his true identity and that he killed Barry's mom. 

He's just about to kill Cisco again, our whiz-kid steps into the containment field and activates the anti-speedster force field. Amazingly Wells walks right through it! Joe, who's been hiding in the bunker with Barry, shoots at Wells. Barry zooms out and catches two of the three bullets, but the force field stops him before he can grab the third. It hits Wells, who falls to the floor dead. He then turns into Hannibal Bates, the shapeshifter from last week. Apparently Wells somehow talked Bates into participating into this little passion play.

Barry zooms to the Time Vault and sees that Wells has been using his future tech to observe their lives for months, and has been one step ahead of them the whole time. He sees Iris on one of the screens and rushes to her location.

Iris and Eddie are walking along a bridge, when Eddie stops to propose to her. Just then the Reverse Flash zooms by, taking Eddie. The Flash then arrives, telling Iris he'll save Eddie. She touches his hand and gets the same kind of static shock she got from Barry in the hospital, and realizes he's the Flash.

The Reverse Flash dumps Eddie in an unknown location and reveals his true identity. He tells Eddie that as a distant ancestor, he's his "insurance."

Thoughts:
• Inside the Time Vault, Gideon tells Barry quite a bit about his future self. He's the Director of the CSI division of the Central City Police. He's married to Iris. And Gideon says he was a "founding member of..." before she's cut off.

It's a good bet she was going to say "... of the Justice League." C'mon, we all know that's where they're headed.

• If you look closely at the 2024 newspaper article about the Flash, you can see it also mentions the Atom and Hawkgirl, both of whom are supposedly in The CW's upcoming new superhero team series.

• As Dr. Wells approaches the Time Vault, Barry asks Gideon if she can keep the fact that he was inside it a secret. Gideon says no problem. When Barry asks why she's obeying him, she says it's because he created her!

OK, I can buy all of Barry's future accomplishments except for the Gideon thing. 2024 is only nine years from now. Does Barry know anything about computer programming or software engineering right now? Not that I can see. Yet somehow in less than a decade he'll create an advanced, self-aware artificial intelligence. C'mon! I find the fact that he can run a thousand miles an hour more plausible than that!

• I've seen Dr. Wells' future newspaper before, but I never noticed the Flash's costume was different in it.

• Suddenly the Star Labs Gang is calling their little central lab "The Cortex." Have they ever mentioned that name before this episode? If so, I sure don't remember it.

• Last week I marveled (ha!) at how Cisco was able to somehow find the time to modify Black Canary's "Canary Cry" for her. And a couple months ago he cobbled together a gun that appeared to shoot gold from its barrel. This week Caitlin McGivers together a lucid dreaming machine for Cisco, seemingly in less than an hour. 

If these two are really the scientific geniuses they appear to be, what the hell are they doing working as lab assistants for Dr. Wells? They should both be the heads of their own corporations by now, with Bill Gates-level fortunes!

• Although the scene of Barry rescue the office workers from the fire was cool, it felt a bit tacked on. It's like the writers realized they hadn't shown Barry saving anyone for a while and needed to fill their quota.

By the way, Barry creating a vacuum with his arms was something the comic book version of the Flash did quite often.

• During Iris' flashback, she touches Barry's hand and gets a shock. Then in this episode the same thing happens, causing her to connect the dots and figure out he's the Flash.

Surely she's touched him at some time between these two points? I know I've seen them hug quite a few times this season. Why didn't she get a shock then?

• The STAR Labs Gang sets their trap for Dr. Wells, which ends up getting him killed. It turns out though that he wasn't Wells at all, but Everyman, aka Hannibal Bates.

Bates was quite the actor! I wonder how long he had to rehearse Dr. Wells' alternate timeline dialog and movements before getting it right? And how did Wells know what he said in the alternate timeline in the first place? Did he eavesdrop on Cisco's lucid dreaming experiment?

• When the STAR Labs Gang first started putting super-powered criminals into Dr. Wells Secret Super Jail, I noted that that couldn't possibly be legal. Private citizens can't just incarcerate someone without due process.

Then in one episode Joe was at STAR Labs and saw the Super Jail, and didn't protest. So I figured maybe he somehow authorized it, allowing Wells to imprison metahumans that the Central City Police just couldn't handle.

Apparently not. In this episode, Wells promises to let Hannibal Bates go free if he impersonates him. He wouldn't have the power to do that if the CCPD knew about it. Or does Wells just not care at this point, and is doing whatever he wants?

• So Iris finally knows that Barry's the Flash. She was pretty much the only person left on the show who didn't know. At this point I really don't see why he bothers with the mask anymore.

• I have a bad feeling about Eddie's future... I'm afraid he's going to find out about Future Barry and Iris getting married, feel he has nothing to live for and then sacrifice himself to try and prevent Eobard Thawne from ever being born.

• Next week: Gorilla Freakin' Grodd!!!

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