Tonight’s episode gave us a lot to digest (and we’ll have plenty of time to digest it, given that the show doesn’t return until January 20). The yellow-suited man of the title finally made an extended appearance, and although Cisco tossed around “speed psycho” and Opposite Flash, it looks as though Reverse-Flash is the name that will stick. (Who else is disappointed he never even suggested Professor Zoom?) Ronnie Raymond emerged from hiding long enough to give a brief demonstration of his powers as Firestorm. And, mercifully, Barry finally spilled his guts about his true feelings to Iris, albeit only after she’s already decided to move in with Eddie. On top of all that, the hour also doubled as The Flash Christmas Special.
Despite all this activity, though, “The Man In The Yellow Suit” still played as a somewhat more subdued episode than usual. Maybe it’s a hangover from the Arrow crossover last week, but the mood was heavier, with more earnest heart-to-heart talks than high-speed battles. Not only did Barry bare his soul to Iris, he dropped in on his father at Iron Heights to claim responsibility for letting his mother’s killer escape and, in the most moving of these chats (because Jesse L. Martin was involved in it), commiserated with Joe, who let him know how much he values Barry Allen. Even Cisco and Caitlin got a serious moment together following their discovery of a hostile Ronnie/Firestorm.
The Christmas trappings made an appropriate setting for what might have otherwise been an excess of feelings-sharing for one episode. And it’s not as if the hour was short on forward plot development; if anything, the Reverse-Flash storyline accelerated more quickly than I anticipated it would, without reaching anything close to a resolution. Barry has found the man who killed his mother, but he hasn’t captured him and still doesn’t know who he is. On top of that, the situation is more complicated than he’s believed all along, as Cisco notes both red and yellow blurs were visible when Barry’s mother disappeared, suggesting the presence of another scarlet speedster. Or perhaps a time-traveling Barry Allen?
Time travel certainly looks to be on the table now, especially with the tachyon device provided by Mercury Labs now in the picture. Earlier this week it was announced that Mark Hamill, who played the Trickster on the 1990 Flash series, would be reprising his role, and original Flash John Wesley Shipp has been on board since the beginning as Barry’s father, but the return of Amanda Pays as Dr. Tina McGee has flown under the radar to some extent. This version of McGee is a rival of Wells who only appears in two brief scenes, but with any luck she’ll be back and the creative team will figure out a way to put her in a room with Shipp (and maybe even Hamill).
The tachyon device is used as bait to lure Reverse-Flash into a trap at STAR Labs. With both Wells and Eddie present during Reverse-Flash’s capture, it looked like two of the most prominent theories about the villain’s identity would be invalidated. My first thought was that Reverse-Flash might still be a future version of Eddie (or even a descendent, as has been theorized in the comments hereabouts), especially since he went out of his way not to kill the head of the Flash task force. This week’s ominous tag scene, however, puts a whole different spin on the matter. Wells has the yellow suit (and now the tachyon device) locked up in his secret hideaway, which definitely suggests some temporal confusion since we saw Wells and Reverse-Flash in the same place at the same time. Is Reverse-Flash a younger version of Wells from the future? Did Wells know to plant the trap in STAR Labs because he’d already lived through the encounter once before? Is Wells his own grandpa?
The answers probably aren’t forthcoming anytime soon, as The Flash has quickly become adept at teasing out its mysteries. A lot of elements are now in play for the back half of the season: the ongoing Reverse-Flash saga, the burgeoning Firestorm storyline, the still-missing Captain Cold and his presumed plan to build a team of Rogues (including some we haven’t met yet - are you out there, Mirror Master?), and various Easter eggs that may or may not be followed up on, like Grodd and Ralph Dibney. I never expected this show to be as fun as it has been, and I can’t wait to see where it’s going when it finally returns.
- Dr. Wells’ Flash-emblem ring reminds me that I miss the compressed Flash costume Barry used to carry around in his ring in the comics. Maybe Cisco can get on that when the show returns.
- “We’ve been at this a long time,” Reverse-Flash tells Flash. Like I said, temporal confusion.
- We’ve got over a month to theorize now. See you all in 2015.