THE FLASH RECAP AND REVIEW: SEASON 1, EPISODE 9 ‘THE MAN IN THE YELLOW SUIT’ from LEGION OF LEIA
Shaun Rosado is recapping and reviewing The Flash this season. Follow him on Twitter @pneumaz!
“It’s Your Destiny To Lose To Me, Flash”
Take a note people, that’s how you execute a midseason finale! We’ve been building up to this moment since the pilot episode and man, did this week’s episode of the Flash, “The Man In The Yellow Suit”, deliver! It’s also fun to note it’s been almostexactly one year since we were introduced to Grant Gustin as Barry Allen and we could look at this as the close of the Flash “Year One”. When episodes return in 2015, we could call it “Year Two” and be well within our bounds but that’s just fun brain candy. For now, let’s get into the episode I have dubbed “All The Feels Finale”. As usual…
As you might have guessed, this week’s episode officially introduced The Reverse Flash to our pantheon of villains. As far as to who he is and what he wants, we were given nothing but hints and innuendo, which is as it should be considering that the Reverse Flash is the main villain for our titular hero. He is also one of the few people who can, on occasion, outrun the Flash. While we weren’t given much insight into the character, something I would usually deduct mental points for, we were given layers of a mystery, which works just as well. Considering the long term implications for such a grand villain, we don’t need to know a lot about him. Unlike previous Rogues, we know that his development will occur organically over the course of a number of episodes. This week’s episode was about establishing the threat, creating a clear and present danger that will hang over our story like a thundercloud ready to burst and man did the writer’s succeed!
Our first moments with the man in yellow have him snapping the necks of security personnel with super speed before disappearing without a trace. It worked to wonderful effect as his entire body tingled with movement, obscuring his face and altering his voice similar to Barry’s trick to keeping his identity secret. Speaking of Barry, the moment when he first saw the Reverse Flash on a neighboring roof staring into his lab was chilling. This bright yellow beacon pitched across a night sky waiting patiently to be noticed gave us the exact beat to reinforce that Barry has no secrets from this man. The chase scene that followed was one of the highlights as the “flash-fight” tore across the city’s landscape, driving home that Barry was clearly outclassed in both speed and skill. This was a key moment too and a nice call back to last week’s tie in with Arrow as we see what happens when Barry’s speed is nullified. The man may have heart, but he doesn’t have the hand to hand skills to fight someone who has trained longer and harder than he has. This automatically ups the stakes for future battles as Barry knows he can’t win in his present condition, not to mention that it appears the Reverse Flash is also faster. Hearing Barry admit with a heavy heart that he isn’t the Fastest Man Alive may be my favorite moment in this week as it ties so much to the identity of what makes the Flash special.
Another subplot that was started last week that was given some traction was Ronnie Raymond revealed himself to Caitlin. Of course, Caitlin’s reaction to Ronnie’s reappearance is understandably confused. Seeing the man you love return from the dead and not in his right mind would be heartbreaking. I did enjoy the journey Caitlin went through during the hour though, coming to terms with what she saw, enlisting Cisco’s help to confirm she wasn’t going insane, and ultimately realizing that while Ronnie might be in there somewhere, he wasn’t the same man she loved a year earlier. The collider incident may not have killed him outright, but it certainly changed him into a person she doesn’t know. Huge props to Danielle Panabaker for playing these moments just right so we could travel along that journey with her.
For those of you who may not know, Ronnie is one half of the super being known as Firestorm. In comics, the hero is actually two people who combine atomically to create what is known as the “Firestorm Matrix”, one person is essentially the vessel of the Matrix while the other controls the powers of the Matrix itself, which allows Firestorm to act as a living philosopher’s stone. I was really happy how the writer’s approached this in the episode by revealing that Ronnie, while clearly the body of Firestorm and some part of the personality has also, on some level developed a type of schizophrenia. It makes sense if you were merged with a second being, hearing their voice in the back of your head day in and day out that this would drive you a little bit batty, not to mention it’s taking you nearly a year to reform your body from disintegration. My one complaint with Ronnie right now seems to be the depiction of his powers. As of this moment, he appears to me something closer in line to the Human Torch than Firestorm, but I have to give the producers credit for letting the fire hair and flame hands transition to TV unfettered. It was cool to see that semi-cheesy concept made awesome. A few people may also say Ronnie’s appearance late in the episode as a Deus Ex Machina to save Barry when he is getting beaten by the Reverse Flash was a bit too convenient, I say: let it slide. The writer’s clearly established that Ronnie is reaching out to things that made sense to him in his past life, it’s certainly plausible that once he made contact with Caitlin that he may also want to return to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Astonishingly enough though, the writer’s found a way to insert some fantastic drama away from the metahumans as well, focusing on Barry’s feelings for Iris. While this could have been dragged out for years, I am always surprised with how straightforward this show approaches these moments. Instead of milking them for months or even years in what most would call a “CW Moment”, this show establishes the conflict and moves into resolution. While you may argue they’ve been building up to this, I think it’s been a clever build of the shy guy staying in the shadows until the girl notices him. As soon as Iris gets wind that Barry might want more, the coin turns and we are given earned moments of drama with Barry opening up and letting go of all this baggage he’s carried for her since he was a small boy. The end result may not have been what he wanted, driving Iris further into Eddie’s arms, but the feelings were dealt with, allowing the story to continue to develop rather than halt on a beat we all knew needed to play out sooner rather than later.
If that wasn’t enough we were also treated to two memorable moments with his father figures. I’ve lauded the performances of Michael Wesley Shipp and Jessie Martin before and I will again. Barry Allen is the man he is because of the father figures in his life and this week gave us scenes from both to remind us just how true this is. When Barry was at his lowest, feeling lost and completely confounded he was given the same message from both men, “Don’t let the Darkness win.” In both moments there is a palpable chemistry between these characters as they dole out sage like advice to help Barry prepare for the coming dangers. Seriously, while I love the cast and the special effects, the secret weapon of Flash “Year One” has been Jessie Martin and Michael Wesley Shipp. Bravo.
Before we get to this episode’s coda though, I want to take a moment to shout out Amanda Pays’ performance as Doctor McGee. It was a welcome sight to see her reprise a role she had not played in nearly 25 years and also a fantastic nod to the original Flash TV show. While it doesn’t tie in directly, it was an awesome wink and a node and I hope we see more of her in the future.
Finally, that brings us to the Coda and the possible identity of the Reverse Flash.
**SPECULATION AND POSSIBLY HUGE SPOILERS BELOW**
If we take this scene at face value it seems pretty clear that the Reverse Flash is Harrison Wells. The writer’s certainly want us to make that assumption, not only revealing Wells possession of the Yellow suit but also a device that allows him to change his voice. Honestly though, I think it’s far more complex and now that we’ve had some official reveals I think it’s safe to speculate. Again, this merely my theory so take it as such.
In previous reviews, I’ve talked about the possibility of the writers combining the story of two different incarnations of the Reverse Flash and I think I am pretty close to the mark. I think it’s fairly clear that the Reverse Flash is Eddie from a the future coming back in time to take his revenge upon Barry for a sin that has yet to happen. The most likely culprit is that Iris eventually leaves Eddie for Barry and it drives him mad with jealousy. The seeds are already clearly planted as we see Eddie’s distaste for the Flash and his growing unease around a lovelorn Barry.
I personally think the twist lies in Harrison Wells involvement. I fully suspect that Harrison will be the person to bestow powers on Eddie so he can take his revenge. A few episodes back, we took a moment to point out that Dr. Wells believes the Flash is his greatest achievement and that he knows about catastrophic events in the future via some form of time travel or displacement. I believe it’s safe to say that Wells will doanything to prepare the Flash for these future events up to and including the creation of the his arch nemesis: the Reverse Flash in order to ensure Barry’s survival. I believe what we saw at the end of the episode was not the identity of the Reverse Flash, but the identity of the man who creates the Reverse Flash and ultimately who may turn out to be Barry’s greatest rival. This allows us to have the best of both versions of our primary villain and still give us plenty of twists in the future.
In the end, “The Man In The Yellow Suit” was a pitch perfect ending to the Flash “Year One” and a solid mid season finale. It upped the stakes, introduced a dangerous and interesting new villain as well as moving along subplots involving the supporting cast. The only negative I can find is that we now have to wait until January 20th, and I can safely say a month is just too long for a new episode of The Flash.
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