As the fourth season of The Flash approaches its conclusion, “Harry And The Harrisons” is a surprisingly low-key and uncluttered episode this late in the game. The stakes are high, but they feel abstracted: it’s usually a very personal threat at this stage of a Flash season, but this year it’s global. World domination via rebooting the brains of every living human is classic evil mastermind stuff, but it’s too massive in scope to really pack a punch on a emotional level, which is what the show is always trying to do in its final stretch of episodes.
As a stand-in for the potential worldwide crisis, we have Harry Wells, who has been suffering his own brain deterioration in recent episodes. Though at first glance it seems to promise an appearance by Bigfoot, the title “Harry And The Harrisons” in fact refers to a revamped version of the Council of Wells convened by Cisco to help Harry out of his dilemma. After “Sprockets” Wells drums Harry out of the Council for being a dum-dum, Cisco assembles a trio of rejects, including “Wooderson” Wells, who we’ve already met, the Sopranos knockoff Sonny Wells, and the French poet H.P. Wells. (When are we going to meet Harry’s ancestor, H.G. Wells? Surely that’s coming.)
No doubt these different incarnations are a lot of fun for Tom Cavanagh, but they don’t make a whole lot of sense, even from a comic-book multiverse perspective. There’s some amusement to be had from these caricatures in small doses, which is why it’s a good thing their appearance here is limited to about five minutes, but I preferred it when the different versions of Wells had slightly more subtle variations. None of the Harrisons on this council is a genius by any stretch of the imagination, and while I get that’s supposed to be the point (so that Harry will see the value in getting back in touch with his emotional side), they don’t feel like doppelgangers so much as community theater skit characters.
Although the entire episode is concerned with the threat of DeVoe and how to defeat him, neither the Thinker nor the Mechanic makes an appearance this week. Instead, Team Flash tracks down Amunet in hopes of recruiting her to the light side. Since DeVoe can use his meta powers against any tech weapon aimed at destroying his satellites, an organic weapon is required, and Amunet’s shards fit the bill. Barry, Joe, and Caitlin track her down to an underground gambling casino, and after a brief exchange of hostilities, she agrees to come aboard. (I have to say, I was hoping it would turn out that the American accent she uses at first would turn out to be her real one, and that she’d been putting on the British one for dramatic effect. That would have made a lot more sense.)
The “teaming up with the enemy” trope is an oldie but a goodie, and while Katee Sackhoff’s performance is the broadest it’s ever been, it still works pretty well here. Although the episode as a whole is rather subdued, the action in the final act is some of the best this season has offered. I particularly enjoyed Caitlin using the Cold tech to create a giant icicle, which Joe then shoots down onto the buyers for Amunet’s shards. (Amunet’s later escape in a whirlwind of shards isn’t bad, either.) The end result is that Team Flash now has a projectile bomb to use against DeVoe’s satellites, if only they can figure out how to shoot it into space.
Thematically, “Harry And The Harrisons” continues the anti-science, pro-feelings path of recent episodes, which I confess to finding a bit problematic in our current era—but I’ll leave it at that. The upshot is that Harry’s emotional awakening has led him to the realization that Marlize may be the key to defeating DeVoe. Meanwhile, Barry comes around to Iris’s idea of publishing a news article detailing the Thinker’s plan, which pays off immediately when commenters start reporting sightings of DeVoe. (Certainly none of these commenters would be reporting false information just for shits and grins—that’s not the Internet I know!) With only two episodes left, it’s probably way too late for the Thinker to become a compelling foe, but a strong finish wouldn’t hurt.
- Amunet is as unimpressed with Barry’s attempt at concealing his secret identity as pretty much everyone else is. Remember the first season when he would vibrate his face and use vocal distortion to hide the truth? Yeah, he doesn’t bother with that anymore.
- Caitlin’s quest to revive Killer Frost follows a similar thematic path as the rest of the episode: the answer isn’t in the tech, it’s inside her.
- “The guy who must be Cisco” was wearing a Boaty McBoatface t-shirt.
- “Why Wouldn’t You Tell Us That?” — the unofficial motto of Team Flash.