The Flash 1.19: “Who is Harrison Wells?” Review

NOTE: We apologize for the tardiness of this review. Our regular television reporter was ill at the time of airing.

NOTE 2: Full spoilers for this episode of The Flash are present in this review


“Who is Harrison Wells?” delivered yet more crossover content with Arrow this week, having Cisco and Detective West take a trip up to Starling City to continue investigating the truth behind Dr. Wells. Meanwhile, back in Central City, S.T.A.R. Labs has found themselves up against yet another metahuman, a shapeshifter named Hannibal Bates, a.k.a. minor DC Comics villain, Everyman.

Naturally, Everyman’s backstory has been considerably altered, since he gets his powers from Lex Luthor in the comics, and fuels them with cannibalistic tendencies. This time, he’s simply another guy with a bad habit of robbing people that was mutated from the Particle Accelerator explosion, and can shape-shift from simply touching someone this time, not having to consume some part of them.

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You might think that Everyman might fall into the trap of being yet another thankless villain-of-the-week for Barry and friends, but surprisingly, he’s a pretty good bad guy! Like Peek-a-Boo, his abilities make him an interesting challenge for Barry to actually apprehend, and the whole idea of Bates taking on the forms of both Barry himself, and those close to him, makes for both interesting drama and surprising humour, particularly since Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett and Danielle Panabaker all take turns playing the villain this week.

Speaking of Cosnett, Eddie ends up in quite a bit of trouble, after Everyman duplicates his form, and shoots two cops, critically wounding them. Eddie is arrested, and threatened with being sent to Iron Heights, motivating Barry to try and rush him away. Surprisingly though, considering his eventual descendant, Eddie says that Barry has to get him cleared the proper way, and makes Barry return him to the CCPD.

The show is continuing to make far better use of Eddie at long last, with this episode presenting another great arc for who was formerly just a background character. The Everyman incident gives him a new platform to start patching things up with Iris, and seeing Eddie be the bigger man over even The Flash himself was definitely a moment for pause. Barry’s still feeling his way around being a hero, and foes like Everyman play to his limitations and vulnerabilities very effectively.

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Everyman also probed some fan demand for a relationship between Barry and Caitlin Snow over at S.T.A.R. Labs, with Bates smooching Caitlin to distract her as he tries to infiltrate Barry’s operation, not realizing that he’s The Flash. It’s pretty funny, and helps to explore some of Caitlin’s repressed feelings for Barry without the need for alcohol, particularly when she’s reminded of Ronnie by Iris.

Barry eventually apprehends the sneaky villain in an airport however, and throws him in the pipeline after a quick battle, when Everyman sees that he can’t duplicate The Flash’s abilities, even when morphing into his physical form. We get a very fast, creepy look at Everyman’s ‘true’ form, with Bates having forgotten what he actually looks like, and then he’s sealed away. Hopefully, this isn’t the last we see of Everyman, since he was a very clever, entertaining antagonist, and a huge step up from the more flat Bug-Eyed Bandit appearance last week.

On one last note with Barry, the episode beginning with Barry rushing to Coast City for pizza was such a great tease for DC fans! This has been our first proper peek at the DC Television Universe incarnation of Coast City, a place that’s often mentioned between Arrow and The Flash, but has never actually been glimpsed until now. DC fans know that Coast City is the home of Ferris Air, and one of the most prolific Green Lantern heroes, Hal Jordan, suggesting that the Green Lantern Corps. are out there somewhere in the DC Television Universe, and perhaps we’ll see them at some point, even if they’d no doubt be quite expensive to render on television.

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As for the subplot of the episode, Cisco and Detective West hike it to Arrow’s Starling City to make contact with Captain Lance, who assists them in investigating the death of Wells’ fiancee. While Cisco is poking around with a convenient gizmo that detects time-displaced tachyon particles, he manages to find a place that disturbs the flow of physics, and sure enough, a body is found. After taking it back to S.T.A.R. Labs, the body is positively identified as the real Harrison Wells, giving the doubting Caitlin and the suspicious Cisco all of the proof they need that Barry and Detective West were right all along; Wells is not who he says he is. The episode even closes with Barry, Cisco and Caitlin discovering Wells’ secret chamber, hiding both his Reverse Flash suit, and the newspaper that shows Barry’s mysterious disappearance in 2024. Yikes.

As much as the Starling City cuts initially felt a bit out-of-place with the Everyman arc in Central City, despite The Flash and Arrow blatantly and proudly sharing a universe, it was awesome to see Detective West and Captain Lance discuss their daughters and police practices, just as it was very satisfying to see Laurel ask Cisco for an interesting favour, regarding her sister’s sonic gizmos. The crossover content was fantastic, not only with Wells’ body being discovered with Lance’s help (and West managing to convince the rigidly by-the-book Lance to not call it in), but also with Cisco inventing a new sonic collar for Laurel’s Black Canary garb, and suggesting that she dub it the, “Canary Cry”, as with Black Canary’s natural talent in DC Comics. It should be very exciting to see Laurel take to the streets next on Arrow, now fully armed with the Canary Cry!

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That said however, “Who is Harrison Wells?” was an excellent episode of The Flash, and set the stage beautifully for Wells’ secret being out, as well as even providing a cool new development to enjoy on Arrow soon. Even Eddie had a superb storyline this week! With just a few episodes left until the season finale, it’s wonderful to see The Flash’s debut season currently firing on all cylinders!

The Flash delivered a thoroughly excellent episode this week, with the leads fully unmasking the secret of Dr. Wells, while Barry dealt with a great villain-of-the-week, and Cisco and Detective West made a very satisfying trip to Starling City.
Everyman was a superb villain-of-the-week
Crossover content with Arrow was perfectly done
Everyone officially learning Wells' deadly secret