The second episode of The Flash sets up what will likely be the show’s basic structure throughout the season. Through a series of flashbacks, we will learn about Barry’s life prior to becoming the fastest man alive. In the present, we will watch Barry learn more about who he is becoming and also meet some metahuman-of-the-week. He will fail to tell Iris the truth (about his feelings or his identity) and he will slowly uncover the secrets of his mother’s death. And okay, so the format is pretty predictable. It’s nearly identical to season one of Arrow, if you replace “metahuman” with “generic corrupt dude” and “Iris” with “Laurel” and “mother’s death” with “father’s.” But despite it’s predictable nature, I’m really enjoying The Flash. Grant Gustin is charming and sweet – and only slightly brooding, which is a nice change from Oliver Queen, not to mention the entire cast of Gotham. Plus, I am definitely intrigued by the mysterious Harrison Wells.
In the final moments of the pilot, we learned some interesting things about Harrison Wells. First of all, he’s not paralyzed. Despite spending all his time in a wheelchair, the dude can walk just fine. Second of all, he knows the future – it’s not totally clear yet, but it seems pretty apparent that Wells can travel through time. That newspaper from 2024 is evidence of that, at least. What we don’t know is…anything else. Why is he pretending to be handicapped? Is he actually from the future? And most importantly – why is it so important to him that Barry Allen become The Flash?
Because that seems to be Wells’ end game, right? Making sure, at any cost, that Barry becomes The Flash. This week, we see just what he’s willing to do to make that happen. Simon Stagg, bad guy who wants to take “the man in the red mask” and harness his power, learns pretty quickly that Wells won’t let that happen. “The man in the red mask,” Wells says, standing on his fully functional legs, much to Stagg’s shock. “He’s called The Flash. Or at least, he will be one day.” He goes on to say that, “The man in the red mask – the fastest man alive – he must be kept safe.” Then he stabs the crap out of Staggs, just in case he didn’t get the message.
Last week, I mentioned the theory that Wells is actually Allen from the future. I think it’s clear now that this is not true – Barry Allen is a hero, not a murderer. So does that make Harrison Wells one of the Reverse-Flash villains? These are villains in the DC universe who take on the speed and power of The Flash but, you know, for evil. It’s important to Wells that Barry become a great hero, so it’s kind of strange for a villain to travel back in time to make his arch-enemy better at his job, but one of the Reverse-Flashes, Hunter Zolomon (AKA Zoom) does just that.
It’s kind of long and complicated, so bear with me – also, major comic book spoilers from here on, so read with caution. Zolomon and The Flash (but Wally West, not Barry Allen) are friends. After Zolomon is paralyzed by Gorilla Grodd, he begs West to use his time traveling treadmill (I know, I know) to go back in time and prevent this. West won’t do it, so Zolomon attempts it himself. There’s a huge explosion resulting in 1) Zolomon’s total insanity and, 2) Zolomon’s ability to manipulate time. He decides that West didn’t want to help him because he’d never experienced personal tragedy like his predecessor Allen, so he wants to kill West’s wife to make him a better hero. Hey, I said it was complicated.
Of course, Harrison Wells as the future Zoom doesn’t entirely make sense. First and most obviously, we’re dealing with Barry Allen, not Wally West. Zoom goes back in time to make West a better hero, not Allen. But I suppose the show could be melding various incarnations of The Flash together to create one story.
What do you think? Is Harrison Wells the future Zoom, or is he someone altogether different? Is he trying to help Barry for good or evil?