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
Investigation of Harrison Wells
While all of this metahuman nonsense is going on, Cisco and Wells travel to Starling City because that’s where Wells used to live and they want to investigate the site of the car accident that killed Tess Morgan. Clearly, this episode takes place before the whole “Arrow Hunting Season” thing because Quentin is in a fairly agreeable mood and agrees to take Cisco and Joe to the scene of the accident. There, a gadget created by Cisco draws them to a location in the forest bursting with tachyon particles (#floatingliquid). They do some digging and unearth a body.
When she wasn’t making out with a metahuman and concocting serums, Caitlin was challenging Barry et al’s case against Harrison Wells. This was the man who helped her through the toughest nine months of her entire life; there’s no way he was capable of killing Barry’s mother. For some reason, in more plot-mandated stupidity, she tries to go get some answers from Wells herself, but Barry arrives in time and whisks her away before Wells answers the door to his home.
Cisco and Joe return from Starling City, and Cisco tests the DNA of the unearthed corpse. The result confirms what the audience already knew: It’s Harrison Wells. This means that Dr. McGee wasn’t being figurative in last week’s episode: after the death of Tess Morgan, Wells literally became another person.
If this evidence wasn’t enough to convince Caitlin of Wells’ duplicity, there’s more. Later that night, Cisco examines a 3-D model of S.T.A.R. Labs he created after the explosion and finds Wells’ secret room. Barry, Caitlin, and Cisco check it out and discover not only the Reverse Flash’s suit, but also the newspaper from the future that says The Flash disappears in a crisis.
Wall of Weird:
- Joe and Wells share a brief, yet revealing, conversation toward of the end of tonight’s episode. Wells asks Joe how his visit to Starling City went, and Joe not-so-subtly brings up the fact that Wells used to live there. Ever the clever one, Wells deflects Joe’s questions by bringing up the fact that Joe never talks about Iris’ mother, which must mean he understands some of Wells’ grief. This exchange sets up the mystery of Iris’ mother—and I call it a mystery because this is a TV show and she’s not really dead until we see the body. (But: This is also both a comic book and CW show, so even seeing a body isn’t enough).
- Best Laurel Scene Ever: When Cisco and Joe show up at the precinct, Laurel takes Cisco aside and reveals she’s the Black Canary (cue Cisco fanboying) while smiling for the first time since like Arrow season 1. She asks Cisco to fix Sara’s sonic device. Cisco returns it to her as something that is clearly meant to go around her neck, specifically the vocal cord region, and is called the “Canary Cry.” In return for his services, Laurel took a photo with him in costume as Black Canary.
- Eddie tells Iris that the reason he’s been so distant is because he’s been working with The Flash, which is like telling the truth if lies of omission weren’t a thing.
- Coast City and Ferris Air references!
- Overall, tonight’s episode was definitely on the meh-ish side. However, it was necessary because it provided a nice breather before The Flash starts barreling toward its finale, which is sure to be “clean and rad and powerful.“