TV Review: The Flash (1×19) “Who is Harrison Wells?”

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Let’s all just take a moment to appreciate just how amazing it was to see Cisco and Laurel Lance aka the Black Canary in a scene together. I don’t often get to speak about Arrow but I think it’s doing some fantastic work in it’s third season, and probably my favorite work the show has done and a large part of this has been due to Laurel’s characterization. We only get brief scenes with her in this weeks episode of The Flash which sports an impromptu crossover between the shows and each time we get a glimpse of actress Katie Cassidy having fun with her role. From the moment that Cisco and Laurel were introduced, there was an immediacy to their charm and it’s a duo that I would to see more of as the shows progress. Especially considering it allowed for the Canary Cry (something I’ve been waiting for all season on Arrow) to introduced.

Cisco, Ray and Laurel need an episode where they all just hang out.

All of the crossover work this week is great with Paul Blackthorne getting to play Captain Lance a little more relaxed in Joe’s presence as the two men work out some familial issues. Lance speaks of his discord with his daughter due to lies she told that didn’t have an excuse he could accept while Joe talks about keeping his daughter safe (largely through secrets and lies). If this is a catalyst episode that turns Joe in the direction of telling Iris the truth and Lance accepting Laurel’s apology it would be a satisfying move for the shows and one that showcases confidence in their storytelling.

Which, back with Barry and co., is hitting a bit of a snag. While Joe and Cisco are out discovering the remains of the real Harrison Wells, furthering their investigation, Barry’s main storyline is positioned as more of a stalling move. In an episode entitled “Who is Harrison Wells?” we don’t actually spend that much time with the character. Instead, there’s a shapeshifter in town which puts everyone on edge. It’s a neat effect and having Barry face off with lookalikes of Caitlin, Iris, Eddie and then himself makes for a cool fight sequence. My hope is that the character is brought back, especially after the end reveal of his true self, but maybe in an episode where it doesn’t feel like he’s a distraction to the bigger issue.

What this storyline does allow is for Eddie to become a more prominent figure and for Rick Cosnett to prove that he deserves more screentime than he’s getting. I’ve never disliked the character and more often than not was relatively amused by him breaking my assumptions of the character. His largely affable and good natured attitude has been a welcome change and Cosnett has always played the characters sweetness well. What I like this week is him becoming the rational voice of reason to Barry. This has been hinted at with his annoyance at lying to Iris but it further explored after he’s incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. Barry’s instinctive reaction is help Eddie escape, not wanting to allow another person he cares about to be locked up for a crime they didn’t commit. Eddie tells Barry that this isn’t like what happened to his dad and that he’s an adult now and can help clear his name legally. It’s a nice scene between the two characters and shot so that we’re focused on their faces and the urgency they’re both feeling.

The directing as a whole this week is another place where the episode excelled in an otherwise meandering installment. The tightly shot chase scene between Eddie, Barry and the shape shifter was a standout in particular. It’s not often that the show pushes its stylistic boundaries but when it does it gives the show an edge above most other superhero television shows.

The real heart of the episode is Cisco, Caitlin and still to an extent, Barry, coming to terms that Dr. Wells isn’t the man they thought they knew. Caitlin is still hesitant to put much weight in the theory until she has tangible proof and gets just that by the episode’s end. These three have put their absolute trust in Wells and that trust is falling apart right before them. This should be the episode’s main narrative but the show stalls it, slows it down because they can’t drag it out further than it can reach. We’ve been building for this moment the entire season and the episode’s tag scene is thrilling, so if we need to wade through one more stepping stone of an episode it’s fine because the last crop of episodes are sure to be exciting.

One last note. With all of the Coast City shots I better be getting my John Stewart Green Lantern cameo.


7.5/10

“Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of “The Flash.” To catch up on previous coverage, click here.

She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at TheMarySue.com . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: allyson@theyoungfolks.com.
  • Shane King

    Ugh….no to John Stewart. HAL JORDAN is Green Lantern. Now, if JS comes along as Indigo Lantern as pal of Hal’t that would be sweet,