Whereas Arrow took a cautious approach to the source material in its first season, Flash dived headlong in and has been rapidly working through the Rogues Gallery of villains – we’ve already seen one Weather Wizard, with another on the way, Captain Cold and Heat Wave, Rainbow Raider, and teases of Grodd and Golden Glider. This week it’s the turn of the Pied Piper.
Hartley Rathaway used to work at Star Labs, and it seems he attempted to warn Wells about the likely explosion of the particle accelerator, but was then fired and the warning ignored. His intent is to reveal this to the world, using technology he has developed to harness the power of sound. Unfortunately, he spent a lot less time on his choice of wardrobe, which feels a little too ‘Harry Potter’.
There was a lot to like in this episode, despite a weaker A plot, and less spectacular action sequences than we are perhaps used to. However, much of the show’s strength comes from the characters and this episode is no different. Hartley was portrayed as someone who could command attention through his words rather than just because of some weapon and the threat it engenders. Also, whilst he presents a sufficient enough threat to warrant ending up in Harrison’s meta prison, it feels like his actions are following a principle and that he’s the least deserving of a place there.
Harrison remains mercurial, with so much of what he says and the way he says it seeming to be loaded with hidden meaning. This week, there is a reveal that confirms something that has been hinted at since the first episode, though it leaves enough questions unanswered to keep the speculation going. The flashback to Cisco’s first day at Star Labs reinforces his geek credentials, and continues to redeem the character who struggled to be anything but a plot device at the start of the season.
Iris was given some stronger material, moving her from the blogging amateur to a reporting professional, though the press conference sequence felt as if it was pandering to her a little. Her new editor, Mason Bridge (the comics had a character called Mason Trollbridge, but presumably the name was changed to avoid ideas of gruff billy goats) manages to go from slight mysoginism to a measure of respect in little more than moments.
Despite Joe’s unease at Iris dating Eddie (or pretty much anyone else with the possible exception of Barry), he and Eddie are working well together, and their plan to covertly investigate Wells may lead to interesting times ahead.
Overall, this episode felt like it was moving pieces into position ready to start the run towards the season finale.