On the D/L – The Flash
Season 1 Episode 17 – “Tricksters”
Mark Hamill plays a new version of a character he played in the 1990s The Flash series and terrorises Central City once more.
As far as guest casting goes Mark Hamill is a fantastic catch for any TV show especially since he’s going to be in one of the biggest films of the year when Star Wars hits screens this December. He also carries a lot of nerd credentials among comic book fans for playing -as far as I’m concerned- the definitive version of the Joker. He only did the voice but that was plenty for me so seeing him in The Flash is a big deal for me.
His Trickster was a great character in this episode. Hamill played him as a bit Hannibal Lecter meets the Joker and it worked really well. Everything he said was impressively insane and he really chewed the scenery in every scene he was in. I also liked how he managed to be a bit of a match for the Flash with his plan to get rid of him ripped straight out of speed. Once Barry deals with that issue the Trickster isn’t much of a threat but it’s good to see that he’s smart enough to cause enough of a problem.
The other Trickster was far less impressive. I think the main problem is that he was written to be a little too similar to Mark Hamill’s version and therefore paled a lot in comparison. If he had been played more sinisterly insane it might have been more interesting to see the contrast.
I did like how this plot played out. The Trickster remained true to his name by disguising his plan with another one to fool Barry. Making it a simple escape plan rather than a city threatening bomb was a nice touch. Mark Hamill’s James Jessie’s dynamic with his younger counterpart did work well for the most part and anything where Hamill gets to say the words “I am your father!” gets my attention right away. Top stuff from the villain plot this week.
The title also relates to the developing Harrison Wells story. Barry is starting to become suspicious of him after some evidence seems to point to him. This causes Barry to act awkwardly around him and naturally have Wells pick up on that. I think that Wells is starting to realise that his cover story is starting to come apart. There’s only so many people that he can kill before everyone finds out. He’s also not helping matters by talking about the Speed Force in intimate detail and giving Barry clear examples on how to master his powers.
I really enjoyed Barry’s not so subtle digs at Wells when he would comment on the state of the villain. I like that Grant Gustin plays his scenes with barely restrained disgust as Barry contemplates what Wells might be responsible for. Barry has made a conscious decision to play along until such times as he can be exposed.
Barry’s discussion with Joe about why it’s taken so long for Barry to suspect anything was great. Joe is envious that Barry is able to see the best in people when Joe can only seem to be suspicious. It comes with the territory for him but I imagine it has caused him to miss out on some important friendships. The scenes between Barry and Joe where they open up to each other are always great to watch.
This episode sees Barry reveal his identity to his father -who already knows- and Eddie. I get why he tells Eddie since he’s too smart to keep fooling all the time plus there’s the added complication of Iris sniffing around the case of the missing reporter. There’s only so long that Eddie will be able to ignore her before she’ll get him to investigate it. Joe and Barry definitely need help to keep Iris in the dark and therefore safe. It should create an interesting dynamic having him in the loop now. I wonder if Iris will really find out by the end of the season.
I was surprised that the flashbacks would give us such a clear look at how Eobard Thawne came to find himself stuck in the present. On one hand it was really cool to see the fight between the Flash and Reverse Flash in the past and how some of that played out from their perspective but on the other it revealed information that didn’t need all that much time devoted to it.
When we learned that Harrison Wells was actually Eobard Thawne -played here by Matt Letscher- I did wonder if there was a real Harrison Wells that he was impersonating. It turns out that there was and Thawne has stolen his identity. It’s good to know that but did we really need an entire episode to tell us that? I had already assumed that it would be some earlier version of the Reverse Flash that Barry ends up following into the past so it does feel like extraneous information.
It was good to see what the real Wells was like and it’s an interesting contrast to see how idealistic and compassionate he apparently was but it’s something that could have been accomplished so much quicker. If the focus had been shifted to make the episode about the real Wells to allow the audience to get to know him and therefore play up the tragedy angle when Thawne steals his identity there might have been a stronger emotional story to tell rather than just showing us the facts of what happened. There’s still plenty more of this story to be revealed though. For example we don’t know how this earlier version of Thawne shows up or what causes Barry to decide to travel back in time. I guess this means that Thawne/Wells will be gone after this season which I do find to be a shame. It’s been a good dynamic and I’m not sure what it could be replaced with that could be as strong.
A really fun episode that allows Mark Hamill to stretch his maniacal acting muscles to create an engaging villain.
The Trickster storyline was really entertaining and Mark Hamill was so magnetic in the role. He channeled Hannibal Lecter and the Joker in creating the character and the combination worked wonderfully. Playing his younger counterpart as being as insane as him didn’t quite work as he came across as a pale imitation.
Barry’s growing suspicion of Wells was really well done here with a near inablity to disguise the sense of disgust he feels while considering what Wells might be responsible for. He doesn’t confront him yet but finds it difficult not to.
The flashbacks showing how Eobard Thawne usurped the real Harrison Wells’ identity both worked and didn’t. I liked seeing the Flash/Reverse Flash fight in more detail but seeing how Thawne took on Wells’ identity wasn’t really necessary. It seemed like a long winded way of telling us something small.