(Beware, spoilers below – scroll down to skip the recap!)
This week on The Flash we start off in the past – fifteen years ago, to be exact. Barry’s mom is putting her son to be whilst unbeknownst to her two speedsters are streaking towards her. We see Barry and the Reverse Battle it out and then flash forward to today as Barry and Joe try to find out more about Harrison Wells. Joe finds that it’s all too much of a coincidence to rule it out and Barry wants to push for answers, but Joe knows he has to tread lightly, and that they need to be just as patient as Wells appears to have been.
In a park on Central city little presents start falling from the sky, all of which have little bombs in them. A man called The Trickster quickly posts an intimidating video online. This Trickster appears to have surfaced before ten years ago but was put away in Iron Heights and Joe and Barry decide to question the man in order to find out more about this new Trickster. Barry is quite short to Dr Wells and the latter knows that something is up. We quickly flash back to the past fifteen years where we see the Reverse-Flash in the moment he realised that he could not go back to his own time. In frustration he tears off his mask… but the man behind it isn’t Dr Wells.
In Iron Heights Barry and Joe manage to meet with the creepy James Jesse, the man who was the previous Trickster. However, he doesn’t seem to know the identity of the new Trickster and the only help he offers is that this new Trickster must have found his old secret lair. Meanwhile Iris is worried about the disappearance of Mason Bridge and pleads with Eddie to look into the case. In the secret lair both Joe and Barry narrowly avoid an explosive and work out that the copycat must have taken everything by the old Trickster. They go back to see the old Trickster with the news and on the way Barry tells his dad that he’s going to get him out of prison very soon.
The new Trickster soon posts a new video and Barry drops yet more hints about Wells’ involvement until the he takes Barry outside to talk to him. He talks to Barry about his father and tells him that they’ll catch him but that he needs to focus on catching the Trickster. In another flashback we see Harrison and his partner Tess talk together as they come up with the idea of S.T.A.R. Labs, but little do they know that the Reverse Flash is watching. Iris meets up with The Flash and implores him to look for Mason. He agrees but just then the new Trickster posts another video threatening the city with the large bomb which was once the previous Trickster’s creation. Barry decides to ignore Wells’ advice and falls straight into James Jesse’s trap as the new trickster releases the previous one from Iron Heights. What’s more, they’ve taken Barry’s father hostage.
In the Trickster’s hideout the old Trickster tells the younger that he’s the young man’s father and that he has planned the greatest trick of all, his ‘Breaking Bad Season Five’. As the gang talk in S.T.A.R. Labs Barry confesses that he should have listened to Wells and we flashback to the past. It is revealed that the Reverse Flash created the circumstances for Harrison and Tess’ car crash, refusing to help as Tess is dying. Back in the present Barry is torn up over the situation over both his dad and Wells but Joe tells him not to beat himself up over it, telling him that the fact he can see the good in people is a strength.
In a fancy Central City gathering for the Mayor The Trickster reveals himself and that confesses that he’s laced the champagne with poison that will kill everyone in an hour unless everyone transfers him all their money. As The Flash shows up The Tricksters manage to attack a speedometer to Barry which will blow if he stops running. Dr Wells tells him that the only way for him to take the bomb off is for him to run through a wall – and it works! Free of the bomb, Barry manages to give all the the fundraisers-goers the antidote as well as free his father, so all ends well.
In S.T.A.R. Labs Barry takes his father to meet everyone and the elder Allen personally thanks him for helping Barry before Joe takes him back to prison. Back in the past we see Harrison crawl out of the car to come face to face with the Reverse Flash – Eobard Thawne. He then stabs Dr Wells with a device that transfers Harrison’s face onto his own…
At the precinct Barry finally reveals himself to Eddie as The Flash because they need his help to tell Iris ‘what happened’ to Mason so that she’ll stop asking questions. They also ask for his help to find out more about Dr Wells and the latter states that the way Dr Wells spoke about running implies that he knows what it feels like: that he’s the Reverse Flash.
This episode of The Flash did a hell of a lot of explaining in terms of the Harrison/Eobard dual identity. The boys’ duo of Joe and Barry expanding to become the boys’ club seems appropriate given that so far Eddie has had very little to do. The writing of Iris has also been rather guilty of this and unfortunately this episode succumbed once more. Despite this the reveal of the Eobard/Harrison mystery helps to clear questions out of the way which leaves space for both the significant Arrow/Flash crossover and the fast cycle towards the season finale. In comparison The Trickster story was not much more than a side story to get Barry interacting with his dad and getting all three of Barry’s father figures together on screen – a touching moment nonetheless. However, Tom Cavanagh buoys the whole episode as he fabulously chews the scenery in the both past and present: and that alone makes the episode more than worth watching.