On the D/L – The Flash
Season 1 Episode 9 – “The Man in the Yellow Suit”
The Flash is gone as far as 2014 is concerned and gives us plenty to sink our teeth into for the long wait until it returns. Barry finally encounters the man who killed his mother all those years ago and finds that he’s unable to best him in combat.
Reverse-Flash at last. We got our first tease of this character way back in the first episode and it’s been a significant motivation for Barry throughout the season. I liked how this episode didn’t introduce the character as such. He merely appears and we learn very little about him before he disappears again.
There is lots of clues thrown in as to who he might be and what his story might have been. I’ve given a link above to the DC Wiki page detailing this character but it’s some pretty complex stuff and it’s functionally irrelevant to this show since they are clearly going their own way with this character but are drawing on different elements from various versions of this character to drop clues to his identity and origins. This approach is great because I know a lot about these versions and I still have no idea what his particular story is.
I’ll run through some theories because I’m a comic book geek and I love to theorise when given clues. The first major one is when Barry has his first confrontation with his yellow clad doppelganger. He tells Barry that they have been doing this for a while and that Barry is always one step behind. We know that this Barry is functionally brand new to his role as The Flash so this heavily implies that time travel is involved which makes a lot of sense given that he murdered Barry’s mother 14 years before this. It seems likely that Reverse-Flash is zipping backwards and forwards through time for his own reasons which suggests that The Flash is his enemy in a non linear way.
This theory feeds into the idea that Reverse-Flash could be Eddie. In this episode he doesn’t kill him despite the fact he easily could have. Did he spare Eddie because he is Eddie? Again this would make sense because killing your past self isn’t such a good idea if you plan to go on existing. If this is the case then it will work really well because it means that they don’t have to rush Eddie’s development since his future self can keep turning up to cause issues.
As a concept the Speed Force doesn’t yet exist in this show so it’s unclear if Reverse-Flash is tapping into that or if his powers are artificial in nature. There’s some evidence that leads to the artificial nature given the mention of tachyons and the potential to harness them to travel faster than light. It would certainly allow for time travel and would produce the super speed. Given that Reverse-Flash was stealing them it implies an artificial nature to his powers.
What this doesn’t clear up is his identity. It could still be Eddie in some way but the episode shows us Harrison Wells having the suit hidden as well as artificially causing it to vibrate. However it seems obvious that if it is Dr. Wells then it’s not the present version of him given that we see him beaten up by Reverse-Flash in this very episode. I think making him Dr. Wells is too obvious and that the answer will be far more complex than that. I could of course be wrong but it just seems too clean and at odds with how cleverly everything else has been approached so far.
Whoever this character turns out to be down the line it doesn’t alter the fact that he’s awesome now. When he fights Barry he seems to be toying with him and defeats him with no effort whatsoever. Barry is completely outclassed by his opponent in every way which is great. It gives Barry something to aim for in terms of preparing himself for a more final showdown. Barry’s frustration might play a massive part in his lack of preparation to face this threat. Joe tells him that emotionally he’s not ready for this and that rings true for Barry in both of his engagements. His anger over losing his mother to this guy is clouding his judgement and causing him to behave recklessly. He basically ignores all of his training and rushes in blind. Funnily enough that’s what Oliver told him not to do.
Reverse Flash’s agenda beyond stealing the tachyons is unclear but there’s definitely something more going on there. This is a great mystery and I’m genuinely stumped as to how it could turn out. I have a lot of theories as you can see but ultimately I have no idea. I still expect to be surprised. Have I mentioned I love this show?
It wasn’t all action of course and there was plenty of emotional stuff going on here. Beyond Barry’s frustration there’s a development of the love triangle between Barry, Iris and Eddie. I appreciated that there has finally been some development here rather than retreading the same old ground and I liked that Barry finally manned up and admitted his feelings. On the other hand I found a lot of it to be overly melodramatic. I hope this isn’t going to be piled on over the course of the rest of the season because I really hate love triangles when they become the focal point of a show. It’s a personal bias sure but I really don’t want to see it.
There was a great scene between Barry and his father. Barry is told that he needs to let the guy in the yellow suit go and get on with his life. It’s a really nice moment that is incredibly well acted. Grant Gustin is great at creating emotional intensity. Another great scene was the one between Barry and Joe where Joe reminisces about Barry moving in with him all those years ago. It’s a very warm scene that nicely sums up the relationship between these two characters. It’s a great dynamic that has been created by them in many ways and how Barry interacts with his two father figures has become an important part of the show.
Caitlin finding out that Ronnie is alive is something that could have been left for a while longer. This part of the story sort of detracted from the rest of the episode and seemed like it belonged elsewhere. Ronnie/Firestorm’s 11th hour save of Barry when he was getting his ass kicked seemed somewhat convenient as well. I think there’s some good scope for this to develop nicely and give some great dramatic fodder for Robbie Amell and Danielle Panabaker to deal with but for now it feels surplus to requirements.
This episode makes me wish I could manipulate time so that I can travel forward and watch the next one. It was that good!
As mysteries go the Reverse-Flash one is very compelling and expertly borrows elements from many prior versions of the character to drop hints as to his true identity. I love this approach because it keeps even the most nerdy comic fans guessing. I suspect the resolution will be a surprise when it comes.
There were some really great emotional moments in the episode. Barry talking to his birth father and his foster father were the strongest scenes in terms of acting and character development. These human moments amidst all the sci fi action really help keep the show grounded and build characters worth being invested in.
Barry’s two engagements with Reverse-Flash were high octane and exciting. Barry was outclassed in every way and it made the dynamic of the adversarial relationship more interesting. Barry has a long way to go before being able to take him on and stand a chance of beating him.
I wasn’t all that fussed about the development of the love triangle. It’s good that it’s going somewhere but I hate love triangles and don’t want it becoming a focal point for too long. I hope for a speedy resolution to this.
Reintroducing Robbie Amell’s Firestorm into the show and having Caitlin interact with him felt a bit surplus to this episode. It contrasted with everything else going on and slowed things down at times. I think this part could have been left. It wasn’t all that bad but just felt out of place.