Last week, Barry and company brought Caitlin in on their investigation of Wells, and, no surprise, she was highly skeptical of their accusations, which amounted to little more than conjecture. So, this week’s episode, which is mainly concerned with table setting, finds Cisco and Joe traveling to Starling City to find proof of Wells’ villainy. Meanwhile Barry, Eddie, and Caitlin hold down the fort in Central City as they handle a metahuman with the ability to shape-shift—which, annoyingly, leads to a lot of plot-mandated stupidity and “acting” as some of the actors are called onto play someone playing them.
METAHUMAN OF THE WEEK: Hannibal Bates, a.k.a Everyman
Barry and Eddie first become aware of this week’s metahuman when an employee at a bank is caught on camera stealing from the safety deposit boxes. She claims to be innocent and even has an alibi, but they have video evidence, so she must be lying. Later on, the police receive a call from a pawn shop owner about a man trying to fence stolen jewelry. Eddie heads to the scene, but the metahuman immediately notices him and gives chase. The Flash arrives on the scene just in time to watch the meta touch a random woman and shift into her before he disappears in a crowd.
The possibility of a metahuman that shape-shifts just by touching someone worries Wells and Cailtin because not only could he uncover and reveal Barry’s poorly kept secret identity, but touching Barry may also give him Barry’s powers. They’re able to identify the shape-shifter, Hannibal Bates, by looking going through recent police cases where the perp plead innocent in spite of damning video evidence. Barry and Eddie go question the grandmother, but it’s Bates in disguise and he tries to make a run for it. Barry refrains from using his powers to protect his identity (jokes), so it’s up to Eddie to go after him. (ASIDE: I’m sure Eddie wished he had Roy Harper’s parkour skills during that chase. END ASIDE) Bates shape-shifts into Eddie before running into a pair of cops, who he quickly shoots.
The police cruiser camera captured the whole thing, so Eddie is in trouble because “It wasn’t me. It was a metahuman with the ability to shape-shift” isn’t a good explanation for the footage—at least not yet. Clearly equating this situation with his own father’s false accusation and imprisonment, Barry superspeeds Eddie out of the precinct and tells him to hide out at S.T.A.R. Labs. Eddie objects and convinces Barry to take him back because he has faith that Barry will be able to clear his name the right way. It took 19 episodes, but we finally saw Barry and Eddie have a bonding moment that was almost entirely independent of the cursed love triangle.
You remember how I said there was a lot of plot mandated stupidity? Well, here’s where it all happens. Barry’s at home on the phone with a worried Iris, when Eddie (read: Bates) shows up at his door claiming that Singh pulled some strings to let him go. Let’s be real, Barry is an intelligent guy and the fact that he didn’t find Eddie’s appearance even slightly suspicious is unbelievable. Bates knocks Barry out, assumes his identity just in time for Caitlin to show up and tell him she’s made a serum to temporarily take away Bates’ powers.
Caitlin and Bates (as Barry) head back to S.T.A.R. Labs and Bates notices how hot Caitlin is and kisses her. It’s a moment that launched thousands of at first happy then sad #Snowbarry shipper faces as they realized the kiss doesn’t really count. At first Caitlin seems weirded out, but she eventually goes with it until they are interrupted by the computer alerting them that Iris is on her way up. Iris watched the video of Eddie and realized it wasn’t him because he used his left hand to shoot the cops; the real Eddie is right-handed. Right at that moment, Wells rolls in and tasers Bates, who was reaching for a gun with his left hand. (Fun fact: Wells is left-handed).
Wells and Cailtin try to convince Iris to let them handle Bates, but she insists on taking him to the police. Caitlin offers to help her, which leads to Caitlin and Iris transporting a criminal because that makes sense and nothing can go wrong. Oh wait, it does. Handcuffed in the backseat of Iris’ car that’s stopped at a red light, Bates transforms into a little girl and attracts the attention of a construction team by yelling that Iris and Cailtin kidnapped her. Thus, Bates escapes to the airport.
Newly untied and with the serum in hand, The Flash speeds off to the airport to catch Bates. This all leads to the requisite Flash vs. Metahuman fight, which is made slightly more thrilling by the fact that Bates transforms into Caitlin, Iris, Eddie, and of course, The Flash. At first, Barry allows himself to be thrown off by Bates-as-Caitlin, but from there, he doesn’t hold back, and eventually injects Bates with the serum. Thankfully, a security camera recorded the entire fight and Eddie’s name is cleared, while Bates is placed in the pipeline.
NEXT: Joe and Cisco unearth Wells’ secret