“Who Is Harrison Wells?” is one of those episodes that seems to be doing a lot, at least on the surface, but it’s actually not doing a whole lot. Since the audience already knows who Harrison Wells is, an episode devoted to having everyone else figure it out doesn’t fare all that well. The B-plot surrounds Joe and Cisco’s trip to Starling City, where they team up with Detective Lance (and here we are with yet another crossover) and discover the real Wells’ body, and it’s a slog to see our character catching up to us. The case of the week has some fun however with a criminal shapeshifter.
The unfortunately named Hannibal Bates runs his way through several of our main characters in his crime spree. First is Eddie, whose arrested for shooting two cops. Eddie being in trouble gives the show the chance to put Candice Patton onscreen as Iris is determined to prove his innocence. The secret keeping takes something of a backseat this week, and this episode gives Patton more of a workout than others have. Besides her determination to see Eddie cleared of charges, teaming up with Caitlin to take Bates into the police station. That doesn’t go well, but seeing Iris in action mode is much more preferable to what we’ve been getting recently. And once Bates shifts into her form for a fight with the Flash, it’s even better. Patton clearly enjoys herself stepping outside of Iris’ comfort zone, though there’s still some angsting going on with her and Eddie, and The Flash would greatly improve itself by allowing her to do so more often. Iris certainly ends up being more efficient than Barry this episode, who easily believes that an imprisoned Eddie has been released and is casually stepping into his home. Good work, Barry.
Bates isn’t as stunning a villain as he could be, though there’s new potential for him to return (since he could be anyone he wanted without worrying about casting constraints), but the show does all it can with him this week. In that case it’s also having Bates shift into Barry so he can have an uncomfortable “romantic” exchange with Caitlin. I’m not sure what the show thinks it’s doing at this point other than just trying to appease Caitlin/Barry fans who otherwise wouldn’t get the pairing, not while Barry’s in love with Iris and Caitlin with Ronnie. The show tried a similar tactic in “Crazy For You” and that was equally uncomfortable, and returning to the method of having Barry and Caitlin “flirt” under the veil of a malicious and (perhaps sexually violent?) shapeshifter or alcohol is incredibly uncreative.
Caitlin’s character could do a lot better than being used as a maybe-not-maybe romantic partner for Barry, especially when they all have bigger issues to deal with. Like Wells not being who he says. Caitlin’s taking that news the hardest, unable to believe that the man she’s worked with for so long could really be a killer. I question her methods of getting to the bottom of it, which involves turning up on Wells’ doorstep to ask him about it directly. Why that seems like a good idea is beyond me. Though Caitlin doesn’t believe it, some level of caution is involved when someone’s accused of being a murderer, more caution than is on display when asking said suspect if they did it. But Caitlin’s on board once DNA results prove that the body is the real Wells and they discover Wells’ secret lair and the future headline about the Flash.
The ship to Starling City is annoying for a few reasons, in that it just seems like another excuse to visit and crossover. Now I enjoy a good crossover as much as the next person, but there are few shows that have done so as numerously as The Flash and Arrow have, in the span of a single season no less. And after Felicity and Ray’s mostly useless visit, the fun of crossovers is being quickly wrung out of the show. The best part about this one is Cisco being starstruck when encountering Laurel aka Black Canary and being positively enamored. Cisco’s fun and charming on even the worst days, and he elevates the crossover to the endearing levels it should already be at. It’s not the case with Joe and Detective Lance, who could start a “My Daughter Wants to Be Her Own Person and I Won’t Let Her” club and be perfectly happy about it. But I do appreciate Lance’s subtle dig about Laurel having lied to him being the cause of their rift, which promises the same for Joe and Iris, which would be well-deserved.
- I too would like a photo with the Black Canary. But yay Cisco for improving the Canary Cry.
- It was nice to get a break from Detective Lance’s ragey persona, which has been all over Arrow recently. And seeing Laurel with a smile on her face is an even nicer change, though considering the current events on Arrow, there’s no reason to expect to see it again.
- Eddie says he’s getting tired of lying to Iris all the time, but his version of telling her the truth i simply to say that he’s working with the Flash. That works as an incomplete truth, but why couldn’t Eddie just say that last week?
- Apologies for the lateness of this review.