With Harrison Wells on Team Flash, things look to be getting back to normal in the latest episode of The Flash, “Monster“. But Caitlin has been hiding her emerging powers from the team and Wells doesn’t trust H.R. from Earth-19 when they meet. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Barry is about to be in for a nasty shock at work.
Being the saviour of Central City is easy, but Barry’s overeagerness to please temporary flatmate, Cisco, is bringing up a few problems. Actually, Cisco’s real issue lies with the Earth-19 “H.R.” Wells. While Cisco is having problems with his friends, a frosty reunion between Caitlin and her mother comes about when she freezes the desk. The future Killer Frost needs some help and came to her accomplished mother to find it.
Have you ever encountered one of those insufferably over-the-top smug-nice-guy people? Well, that’s how Tom Cavanagh’s latest Wells comes across. He made coffee, brunch and is organising team-building exercises. It’s practically sickening. Among other differences between the worlds — Earth-19 no longer has coffee — the greetings and goodbyes are particularly weird and the technology is very different.
British-stickler, Julian Albert, is tattling to Captain Singh over Barry’s continued tardiness. I swear that not all English people are like that. The struggles of getting into a 12-month rivalry in 12 days is less of a struggle than the giant monster that appeared downtown. Heroism runs in the West household as Iris helps rescue stranded citizens. Despite all logic, the mysterious monster eludes the Flash and vanishes.
Searching for Answers
Cisco and H.R. pass ideas back and forth, and forgoing a monster-fighting lasso, decide to create a carbon-fibre rope strong enough to catch the creature. As they set to work, Caitlin and her mother run some tests. Superheated tungsten turns to a solid block of ice after only a few seconds of Caitlin’s touch.
Another confrontation between Julian and Barry ends with Barry grovelling to get information on the monster case. Despite being a hero, he readily lays aside his pride to get to what he needs. Julian agrees to let him help in exchange for the lab.
Tannhowser — formerly Mrs. Snow — and Caitlin have another minor confrontation before her assistant calls her away. Caitlin has already absorbed the energy from the tungsten; they just do not know how. H.R is constantly talking at an overworked Cisco, but is forced from his lab just before a sinister message is recorded by the Earth-19 Wells.
Caitlin accuses her mother of being unfeeling during the tests — like when her father died. Tannhowser seems to have tried to save her husband, but couldn’t and worked through the grief. Snow was alienated and only came back because she thought her mother might be more sympathetic.
Interrupting a dinner date with Iris, Albert summons Barry to a crime scene. It turns out that he feels the Flash has made the CCPD passive before realising that the creature never moved beyond a certain area. Just as Barry realises that it might be line-of-sight, the creature reappears. Albert, who has four years military experience, pulls a gun on the creature, but a falling sign almost kills him and the monster disappears again.
Realising that her mother isn’t making progress, Caitlin makes to leave, but a jealous assistant tries to force her to stay. We see a glimpse of Killer Frost as she reacts violently and only the arrival of her mother stops a murder.
When discussing ways to track the creature, Albert reveals why he hates meta-humans and sarcastically mentions that they didn’t kill his parents and compelled him to do this job, which is Barry’s story. It’s nothing personal as he is simply jealous that they all waste their abilities where he wouldn’t. A clumsy defense from Barry ruins their tenuous partnership and he is kicked from the case.
A Team Flash brainstorm reveals that H.R. actually contributes nothing. Cisco and Barry go through his belongings and discover a horrifying message. H.R. arrives and forces them to hear the next message with the truth coming out — he’s an author writing a novel with the group as inspiration. Another monster sighting sends Barry out to take it down.
There is some confusion over movie references before they settle with an Empire Strikes Back AT-AT attack — take the creature by the legs. Despite finally getting his chance to play at Jedi, the rope goes right through a pair of holographic legs. When directed to track the energy needed to produce the hologram, the truth comes out about H.R. — he’s a moron. Cisco quickly takes over as Barry attempts to stop the police shooting through the hologram and hurting bystanders.
Barry and Julian have independently tracked down the mastermind and the Flash manages to save him from a bullet shot by Albert. It turns out that he’s just a scared kid out to feel powerful after being picked on.
Harrison reveals the full facts about himself. Back on Earth-19, H.R. provided the ideas to his STAR Labs with somebody else finishing them. He offers to muse to Team Flash in exchange for staying. A temporary stay of execution is offered as Caitlin and Cisco sit down to discuss her day.
While packing to leave the lab, Barry finds Albert sitting in the darkness. Julian reveals how he comes from an old-money family but he left to become a scientist. The reason he hates meta-humans is because he was about to become the head of his field when they emerged and his years of studying were wasted. Barry offers to buy him a drink and the two leave together.
Just when things looked to be on the up and up, Caitlin hears from her mother. Continued use of her powers will make reversing them impossible. But an angry freezing makes it seem like her powers aren’t fully under control.
Things ran at a slightly slower pace this episode. It focused more on the character development than the ongoing plots of Alchemy. That aside, there are some fantastic references thrown in and Earth-19 is mentioned in funny ways — they have “Sweaty Men” as the title for the film Gladiator. Although the feeling of the episode is more like the first season, it’s quite a deep episode that shows strong character development.
- The monster made for some scary scenes. Fans of Cloverfield will understand what the Flash almost went up against.
- Tom Cavanagh has consistently played very dark and serious Harrison Wells before now. H.R. shows his breadth of talent and is wonderfully funny.
- There is an ongoing sub-plot to get Joe to date a DA who has a crush on him. Watching Iris try to give her father a dating talk is a wonderful spin on the family dynamic. She also openly admits that she is falling in love herself.
- Seeing Snow give way to Frost makes for a fascinating idea. On the one hand is Caitlin’s inherent good side, but her powers seem to lead her into anger. Make sure to keep popcorn handy for future episodes.