Spoilers ahead for “Monster,” the latest episode of The CW’s Flash!
The short version: This episode is all about the new Wells, who it turns out has been lying to the team. Turns out, he’s not actually a scientist. And also adorably annoying. There’s also a giant, holographic monster terrorizing downtown, and Caitlin visits her mother for help with her killer Killer Frost problem.
The good: H.R. is annoying in a good way, Killer Frost and Julian
It was already weird enough when the gang just welcomed an alternate version of Harrison Wells onto the team with nary a bit of vetting or suspicion, but thank goodness Cisco is the only one with a bit of common sense. Turns out Cisco thinks the new Wells, who goes by H.R., is hiding something. But unlike most of the other versions of Wells who have been hiding deep and dark secrets, this one is just hiding the fact that he might not be as useful as the other versions. Cisco does a bit of digging and realizes H.R. is just the “idea man” of his company on his world, but doesn’t actually know how to execute any of those big ideas.
He masks this point hilariously throughout the episode by basically just repeating what everyone else says, and in the hands of a lesser actor, this could’ve been really annoying. But we’re talking about Tom Cavanagh here, so it’s cool. We still prefer the Earth-2 version of Harrison Wells, but this one did prove he could be useful in some ways. If nothing else, it’s amazing to see Cavanagh show his range. Heck, at this point, the show could just feature a few different versions every few episodes (Next up: Pirate Wells!). As long as Cavanagh is there, the show is better. No matter who he’s playing. As for H.R., the gang is going to give him a few weeks to see if he can prove his worth, and if not, back to the multiverse he goes.
This episode also paid off on the reveal a couple of weeks ago that Caitlin now has Killer Frost powers (and is sporting a subtly darker outfit), which apparently started to manifest a few months ago. Another byproduct of Flashpoint. The show has never really addressed Caitlin’s family, and we finally learn why — she ran away from her mother (who runs her own successful company) after the death of her father. Then Caitlin left for STAR Labs to prove herself, and the rest is history. Caitlin’s mother seems somewhat more fascinated by what Caitlin can do than actually helping her. She seems to come around by the end of the episode and offers Caitlin a warning, but she’s still hard to read. Looking forward to seeing more of her.
This episode also, finally, turned Julian from a generic villain who hates Barry for no discernible reason to a well-rounded character with some actual motivations. Julian doesn’t like metahumans because he’s jealous he doesn’t have powers himself, and after spending his career seeing metas squander their powers, he’s fed up with it. Digging deeper, that’s likely why he doesn’t like Barry — he sees all his absences (when he’s off being the Flash) as laziness, and even goes all tattle-tale on him to the captain (which Barry rightfully calls out as “bush league,” dang skippy).
The bad: Monster (literally) of the week
This episode was pretty great all around, and took two fairly new characters (H.R. and Julian) and dug deeper into what makes them tick. If there was any downside, it was the monster of the week. Team Flash spends the episode trying to track down a giant alien monster terrorizing the city, which turns out to be the work of a 15-year-old kid who built this giant hologram because he’s being bullied at school. The story could’ve been interesting with some additional work, but it really got the short shrift here. Also, how the heck did this kid build this wildly sophisticated piece of tech on a whim? That was never really explained.
H.R.’s world is the best kind of weird. Looking forward to seeing what bizzaro stuff he reveals next. These little easter eggs are the coolest things about the multiverse.
Caitlin’s Killer Frost story is only getting started. How is this affecting her? Are the powers upping her anger, or just bringing out what’s already there? How will the gang respond when they learn she’s been keeping it secret? Also, how could Caitlin’s mom’s assistant be dumb enough to attack a woman with the ability to literally freeze him to death?
Barry and Julian finally start on the path to friendship as the episode closes, and it’ll be interesting to see just how much good these two can do if they actually work together. Having these two butt heads was starting to get old fast.
Quotes of the night:
“Empire of the sun, Barry!” - H.R.
“I can be your muse!” - H.R.
Next time: The show takes a couple of weeks off, but Team Flash is back on November 15. So what’s up? They’ll be dealing with Wally’s lingering desire to be a speedster. Could this be the beginning of Kid Flash in the prime universe?