For the second week in a row, ‘The Flash’ crosses over with ‘Arrow’. I think last week’s event, which brought second-tier characters from that show to Central City, was more successful than this week’s, which goes the other direction. That’s probably because I don’t watch ‘Arrow’ or care all that much about it.
At the start of the episode, Joe mentions to the group of conspirators that they’ve been investigating Harrison Wells for six months, which makes me wonder exactly how much time is supposed to pass between episodes. The first time Joe did any real investigating into Dr. Wells was episode 1.13, which aired about two months ago, and the first time Barry joined him in being suspicious of Wells was just three episodes back.
Anyway, Joe announces that he and Cisco are taking a trip to Starling City to take a good look at the scene of the car crash that killed Wells’ wife (and which viewers know is where Eobard Thawne murdered the real Wells and stole his identity). Within the group, everyone seems to be on board with the theory that Wells is the Reverse-Flash, except Caitlin, who feels incredibly conflicted and doesn’t want to believe it.
Eddie laments that he’s tired of lying to Iris and keeping her in the dark about all his secrets. That’s probably because she continues to act like an irritating, whiny bitch to him and to everyone. Iris is a very badly written character.
When they arrive in Starling City, Joe and Cisco stop at the police station to ask for the assistance of Capt. Lance. I guess he’s an important character on ‘Arrow’, but I don’t know anything about him and this episode doesn’t elucidate much. His daughter Laurel is an Assistant District Attorney by day and (as she freely divulges to Cisco without any hesitation) the vigilante crime-fighter Black Canary by night. Cisco is in awe of her. Laurel asks for his help souping up some sound-based electronic gizmo she uses to battle evil.
At the scene where the car crash occurred, despite arriving 15 years late, Cisco is able to use a tachyon-detecting doodad to find a dead body buried in the woods. This is presumably the real Dr. Wells. Joe asks Capt. Lance to keep this quiet for now.
Before they leave town, Cisco gives Laurel a device he calls the “Canary Cry,” which he somehow found time to whip up during the commercial break.
Villain of the Week
Lest we think there will be no Flash in this episode of ‘The Flash’, Barry faces off against a new meta-human with the power of shape-shifting. The culprit, who we’ll later learn is named Hannibal Bates (yes, Barry makes a quip about what kind of parent would name a child “Hannibal”), can instantly morph into a copy of anyone he touches, even their clothes. He mostly uses this ability to impersonate bank employees and break into safety deposit boxes, leaving the innocent employees to get arrested for the crime.
Dr. Wells and Caitlin warn Barry not to let himself get touched by the shape-shifter. (With Cisco out of town, Caitlin takes it upon herself to dub the villain “The Everyman.”) They fear that not only will he copy The Flash’s image, but possibly also his speed as well. That would be very bad. As a result, Barry has to remain in his civvies and can only run at regular speeds like a normal person.
When Barry and Eddie get too close, Bates impersonates Eddie and shoots a couple of uniformed cops on camera. The hard-ass D.A. wants to prosecute Eddie for the murders. Barry tries to speed him away so that he go into hiding, but Eddie won’t run. He’d rather face the music until Barry can find proof that will exonerate him.
For some reason, Barry doesn’t find it suspicious at all when Eddie later shows up at his house. Of course, it’s not the real Eddie. Bates gets the drop on Barry, knocks him out, touches him, and steals his identity.
Shortly afterward, Caitlin stops by to tell Barry that she’s working on a serum that will disable the shape-shifter’s power. Fake-Barry finds this very interesting. Having no idea that Barry is The Flash, he follows Caitlin back to S.T.A.R. Labs and creepily kisses her. Caitlin is weirded out by this but, like the real Barry, is totally oblivious to the possibility that this could be the shape-shifter. Luckily, Dr. Wells is a bit brighter than her. He recognizes that Barry wouldn’t be left-handed and tasers Bates.
Unfortunately, Iris happens to be in the lab at the time, so Wells can’t just lock the villain up in his secret prison. Iris offers to load him in the back of her car and drive him to the police station. Caitlin goes along with her. Halfway there, Bates morphs into a little girl and creates a commotion in the back seat of the car, screaming to a group of construction workers that she’s being kidnapped. The distraction is enough for Bates to slip away.
Although they lost the meta-human, Dr. Wells was able to determine that he’s only able to copy a person’s appearance, but wouldn’t be able to copy Barry’s speed. This is good news. Barry chases Gates to the airport, where Bates morphs into copies of Caitlin, Iris, Eddie and even The Flash himself. Thus, we get a fight scene between two Flashes, but of course the one with a super-power wins.
With evidence of the shape-shifter on video, the D.A. releases Eddie and the others that Bates had impersonated. Wells locks Bates in the reactor prison, and asks who he really is. Bates claims that he can’t remember, and morphs into the creepy image of a blank face with a bulging bald head and sealed eyelids.
Eddie tells Iris that he can’t lie to her anymore, but proceeds to only reveal a half-truth – that he’s been working with The Flash. He leaves out the part about knowing The Flash’s identity, or that Dr. Wells may be evil.
Still believing that he’s a good man, Caitlin goes to Dr. Wells’ house to tell him what the others are doing, but Barry arrives just in time to whisk her away before Wells sees her.
When Cisco returns to Central City, he shows Caitlin the corpse from Starling City. Caitlin finally starts to believe. Cisco then does something he never had cause to do before, and runs a scan of the entire S.T.A.R. Labs facility, which reveals Wells’ secret room. He, Barry and Caitlin check it out. Barry’s touch is able to open the hidden door. They enter and find the Reverse-Flash suit, as well as the newspaper with a headline from 2024.
The ‘Arrow’ crossover parts of this episode didn’t do much for me, but the shape-shifter case is pretty neat, and it would appear that the jig is finally up for Harrison Wells. His secret is out, and I can’t imagine he’ll be able to talk his way out of it. Yet we still have four episodes left this season. What will the show do to stall the inevitable showdown between Barry and Wells?