Welcome to Coast City! The Flash kicked off with Barry enjoying a quick road-trip up the coast for a pizza run. Over some nosh, the team reveals that Joe and Cisco are headed to Starling City to investigate the car accident that claimed Tess Morgan’s life and forever changed Harrison Wells. While they’re gone, Barry, Caitlin, Iris and Eddie will keep up the status quo in Central City.
Meanwhile, at one of the city’s many, many banks, an employee empties someone else’s safe deposit box in clear view of the security cam. At the police department, the said-same woman is denying that the event took place, so Eddie immediately assumes they’re looking for a meta-human criminal. The plot thickens as a man attempts to sell stolen diamonds at a jewelry store, though the clerk catches onto the scheme and alerts the authorities. Eddie heads to the store to collar him, but is bested by the con-man. The Flash shows up just in time to watch this “everyman” disappear into a crowd, having exhibited the ability to take on another person’s appearance simply by touching them.
If it wasn’t bad enough that the team has one meta-human to track down, they’re also trying to keep their investigation of Wells a secret from … well, Wells himself. Easier said that done when the good doctor is always around (and he’s apparently got his stealth wheels on). Wells’ sharp mind still comes in handy for their case, however, as he warns Barry not to let this mimic touch him in case he learns The Flash’s secret identity, or worse, takes on the super-speedster’s powers.
In Starling City, Captain Quentin Lance hands over the case files for the accident. Laurel shows up to greet the Central Citizens and makes Cisco’s day when she requests a private word with him. She quickly reveals that she’s in league with Arrow and The Flash, and has taken on the mantle of the Canary. Seems Laurel needs an upgrade to Sara’s sonic device, and Cisco is just the man for the job.
While Wells is home enjoying a scotch and a walk, Caitlin goes to see him behind Barry’s back. Barry has other plans as he whisks her away from Wells’ doorstep before she can turn whistleblower. She explains to Barry that if Wells is truly a villain, then her life is pretty much over since the doctor has been a support for her since the particle accelerator explosion. Barry buys them a little more time, getting Caitlin to stay quiet at least until Joe and Cisco come back.
Pro Tip: When you’re hunting a shapeshifter, you really can’t trust that people are who they appear to be, as Barry and Eddie find out when questioning Hannibal Bates’ elderly grandmother, who leads them on a merry chase. Things quickly take a turn for the (much) worse when Bates mimics Eddie and shoots two cops dead, an act captured on the police cruiser’s dash cam. Things got serious in a hurry! The only bright side to Eddie’s situation is that Iris is concerned for him, though Barry is trying to prove his innocence … after Eddie convinces him not to break him out illegally.
Unfortunately, Barry is not as smart as we would like him to be in this episode since Bates gets the drop on him by pretending to be Eddie. Caitlin gets caught up in the shapeshifting mess when she reveals her plan to defeat Everyman to “Not Barry.” At S.T.A.R. Labs, she whips up a de-powering solution as Not Barry plants a kiss on Caitlin, and she’s surprisingly into it for a few brief seconds … until Iris arrives to confuse the situation. Though Iris also offers up some evidence that could exonerate Eddie, Wells really saves the day when he tases Not Barry before he can take any more lives. Bates plays it pretty smart though, morphing into a kidnapped little girl in order to trick some well-meaning construction workers into freeing her from Caitlin and Iris’ grasp.
Back in Starling City, Cisco’s tech gizmo reveals the presence of tachyon particles at the accident site, signifying the existence of time travel. After some literal digging, they uncover a corpse. Joe quickly gives Quentin the cop-dad talk in order to keep him from calling in reinforcements. At the station, Joe tries to convince Quentin to have a heart-to-heart with Laurel, while Cisco offers up his new Canary Cry tech to Miss Lance in exchange for a fan photo of him standing with the Canary … in costume.
It’s time to shut Everyman down, so Barry runs off to the airport where Bates is attempting to make a quick escape. Good thing The Flash is quicker … but Bates is still smarter, taking on the guise of Caitlin in order to give Barry a moment’s pause before macing the speedster. In a decent fight scene, Barry gets to square off with Caitlin, Iris, Eddie, and even himself. (It should be noted that this is a very, very pale imitation of the fight we hope to see between The Flash and Reverse-Flash, but it’s nice foreshadowing nonetheless.) Barry gets the upperhand on Everyman and injects him with the de-powering serum.
Thanks to security footage showing Everyman’s abilities, Eddie and all of the other victims are on their way to being set free. Unbeknownst to the Central City P.D., S.T.A.R. Labs has the meta-human locked away in its depths. (And unbeknownst to Dr. Wells, the team has the corpse of the real Dr. Wells squirreled away on display. How quaint!) Hannibal Bates finally reveals himself, though he can’t quite remember what his true self looks like, leading to him taking on the appearance of a blind, disfigured man.
Dr. Wells chats up Joe, saying that they’re members of an exclusive club since they’ve both lost their wives. Though Wells likely knows more than he lets on, there’s no conceivable way he could have figured out that Joe & Co. have dug up the long-dead body of his assumed identity.
In tonight’s stinger, Cisco uses a detailed blueprint of the lab area to find any hidden rooms where Wells might be hiding something, something like an incredibly advanced artificial intelligence and Reverse-Flash suit, perhaps? More intriguing than that is the April 25, 2024 newspaper headline that reads: Flash Vanishes, Missing in Crisis.
This hour felt very much like it was setting up the final few episodes, drawing the strings of the season-long story together just a bit tighter to make sure they’re well and cinched up for the finale. It also served as a catch-up to anyone who either hasn’t been paying attention or still isn’t convinced that Dr. Wells is not the real Harrison Wells, but is (at least one version of) the Reverse Flash. And yet, even as a setup episode, “Who Is Harrison Wells?” still had the series’ characteristic moments of heart, humor, and comicbook Easter eggs. Something tells me I’ll be using my five-star rating on one of the next few episodes, for sure.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Barry: “Got it. Hands off the meta-human.”
Quentin: “How is Allen? Not too messed up from getting hit by lightning, I hope.” Joe: “No, no.”
Someone please kindly provide a screencap of Eddie and Barry sharing Mrs. Bates’ awkwardly small loveseat.
If, like me, you forgot that Captain David Singh was hospitalized in the alternate timeline, then his arrival tonight was momentarily surprising. Damn you, twisty time-travel!
Joe and Quentin have a rare dad/parent/adult conversation amidst all the juvenile action and romance.
Eddie: “You’re not a kid anymore, you’re a scientist!” This line… And for a scientist, Barry’s real, real dumb sometimes.