On the D/L – The Flash

Jan 28, 2015 | Posted by in TV
The Flash

Season 1 Episode 11 – “The Sound and the Fury”

The Flash introduces longtime Flash villain The Pied Piper (Andy Mientus) and cleverly retools his origin to connect to the established characters.

As a fan the massive changes made to The Pied Piper sort of annoyed me. I can see why it was done this way as using the character in his purest form might have seemed a little too ridiculous. I would have accepted a similar sort of villain with different skills and he might even have passed as somewhat original. At least his mechanical genius and his dubious relationship with his rich parents was intact.

It was a good idea to connect his origin with Dr. Wells directly and have him come across as a sort of spurred son type figure in Dr. Wells’ life. Flashbacks show us that Hartley Rathaway resented Wells hiring Cisco from pretty much minute one and felt that his mentor was out to replace him with someone better. This is a good recipe for a sympathetic villain but it never quite managed to get there. Rathaway is written and played as being really unlikeable from the outset with seemingly nothing to redeem him. It would have been better if he’d been a sort of socially awkward yet intrinsically nice guy who gradually felt marginalised by Dr. Wells turning his attention to his new recruit. Andy Mientus does a great job of giving the character the necessary intensity and rage but never manages to inject him with any kind of Pathos. I suspect that was more down to the way the character was written rather than how he was performed. I found the well worn trope of the villain wanting to be captured to be a bit ridiculous. His reasons for being captured had no real bearing on the plot that couldn’t have been handled with him not being captured.

The Flash

Barry takes on The Pied Piper

Seeing him be a nice guy in a couple of flashback scenes would have really helped as well as giving us more of his back story. Much of his rage should originate from him feeling like an outcast being the gay son of intolerant parents who made him feel victimised through his young life. This was touched on but never explored in the detail it needed to be. Thankfully he’s not gone forever judging by this episode so maybe there’s still time to fix that. I also have to applaud the writers for having an openly gay character on the show without it being a big deal at all for the second time this season alone.

Plenty of the episode was devoted to Wells and the continuing mystery surrounding him. Rathaway references the notion of a secret openly which causes Team Flash to take notice. I liked how this was done by pointing the audience in the direction of Wells being Reverse-Flash as shown when he uses his powers when attacked in his home. Wells chooses to admit a secret to Barry, Cisco and Caitlin but it’s not the one that the audience might be expecting. He admits that he was warned of the dangers associated with the accelerator but chose to ignore them. This causes the team to fracture somewhat as Cisco and Caitlin’s faith in their boss is completely shaken by this revelation. Given what Caitlin lost that day it makes sense that her emotional outburst would be the strongest. It was good to see Danielle Panabaker given a wider emotional range to work with in terms of what Caitlin was going through.

I am absolutely loving the mystery that is Wells and how that is being built up. This episode seems to reveal that he is the Reverse-Flash but the answer isn’t as easy as that since we saw Reverse-Flash beating him up in a prior episodes. That leads me to think that the version we have seen was from the future and has come back in time for reasons that remain unclear but that opens up some more questions. Is Harrison Wells this future Reverse-Flash or is he just inspired by seeing him to come up with an artificial way of reproducing his powers? Are we seeing the origin at the same time as the fully formed villain character through the time travel device? There’s plenty of great stuff to keep us thinking here.

Also, it’s worth noting that Gideon talks about “Speed Force Absorption” which confirms the existence of the Speed Force in this show and offers a partial explanation for Wells being motivated to help Barry’s powers grow. To me it seems like the more Barry uses his powers the more Speed Force activity there is to absorb so it makes a lot of sense for Wells to want to maximise this as much as possible. It’s really clever stuff.

There’s also more personal questions about Wells such as how much he really cares for Barry, Cisco and Caitlin. His concern and affection seem genuine but maybe he’s really good at faking it. His motivations become murkier with each passing week and I just hope that the payoff is good enough to live up to the potential.

Iris had some really strong moments this week as she started her first job as a journalist due to her perceived connection with The Flash. All of her attempts to be taken seriously are shot down by requests to cover heroics performed by The Flash. I liked how frustrated she seemed as she knew there was far more to her than that but her colleagues didn’t respect her due to seeing her as a silly little girl with a blog. Naturally there will be a growing respect as the episodes go on but it was interesting to see Iris not immediately get her way for once. I hadn’t realised that this was the case until I saw her brought down a peg. It doesn’t make her unlikeable but her arrogance is a nicely developed character flaw.

The Flash

Dr. Wells tries to build his powers

Joe and Eddie’s suspicion of Dr. Wells is played really nicely here. I like that Joe has Eddie start to investigate him but keeps it from Barry in case it proves to be nothing. This will undoubtedly cause conflict and might not be the right thing to do but I can see Joe’s reason for doing so. I have no doubt that Eddie will find himself right in the middle of this Reverse-Flash mystery and it will become even more complicated as a result.

After a run of some really solid action sequences this episode felt somewhat lacking. I liked the sequence where he outsmarted the Royal Flush Gang by using the streets as a weapon but I wasn’t clear on what they were actually doing in Central City. It was a nice little reference to Arrow but a bit of information on why they posed a threat and were running from the police would have been nice.

Barry’s two engagements with The Pied Piper were similarly underwhelming. The CGI looked a bit off as Barry saved the people from their cars and it didn’t seem like Pied Piper should be giving him that much trouble given how powerful he’s been getting It took two guys with powerful technology to stand against him last week so it didn’t seem like Pied Piper should be a match for him.


  • 7/10
    The Sound and the Fury - 7/10


A slightly more uneven outing than I’m used to for this show. I did enjoy seeing another classic Flash villain but I had my issues with the amount of changes given to the character.

It was a good idea to connect him to Dr. Wells on a personal level and have him come across as a jealous former favourite son who thought he lost the approval of a father figure. The trouble with this is that we never saw a sympathetic side to the character so it was hard to really empathise with him. There were no scenes where he seemed like a nice yet misunderstood guy who just wanted to be accepted.

I really liked the development of the mystery that is Dr. Wells and his connection to the Reverse-Flash story. This episode seems to give us an answer but it’s clearly not as simple as it might seem. The layers of this mystery become ever more intriguing so I really hope the payoff can be as worthwhile as the buildup.

Iris beginning her career as a journalist who isn’t respected by her colleagues. She is seen as having a connection to The Flash and it’s made obvious that she was hired for that reason. It was interesting to see Iris taken down a peg and I hadn’t realised her arrogance was a characteristic until it was pointed out here. Character flaws are good when done well.

This episode featured some disappointing action from the slightly confusing chase sequence at the beginning to some underwhelming engagements with The Pied Piper. It doesn’t seem like Pied Piper should be a match for Barry at his current power level so I found it all a little hard to swallow.

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