A monster is on the loose in Central City this week as season three continues with another solid episode full of humor and heroics. Last week we were introduced to a hilarious new version of Harrison Wells from Earth 19 dubbed “HR”. As great as he is, something seemed off about him and this episode wasted no time digging right into it.
HR comes off as a bit desperate at first as he tries too hard to fit in with Team Flash. The man has done his research on each member of the team, making it seem as if he is trying to get to know them but I don’t think any of us as the audience are meant to buy it. Cisco immediately picks up on HR’s peculiar behavior as HR tries to pass off scientific and technical ignorance as a lack of understanding for being from another Earth.
Once Barry and Cisco catch on to HR not contributing to the investigation of the mysterious monster, Cisco looks through HR’s belongings in order to use his powers to uncover the truth about HR. Unfortunately, Cisco plays back the wrong recording on the device found in HR’s bag. It was obvious that was only half of the message HR had recorded. He is definitely up to something nefarious but it remains unclear just exactly what his motivations are. One thing is for sure, Tom Cavanaugh can play a hell of a villain so it would be wise not to waste those talents again this season. Although I do miss good guy Harry.
Julian Albert is out to get Barry and his hatred for his co-worker finally culminates in this episode as we get to learn just exactly what his issues with meta-humans are and he finally realizes not every single of them is bad, including The Flash. Barry starts to slowly break down the wall Julian has built around him first with some compliments on Julian’s talents but then Barry strikes a deal with Julian that will give him what he really wants: if Julian offers to teach some of his wisdom to Barry, he’ll make a new lab for himself out of a storage room leaving the current lab all to Julian.
Julian and Barry find that they can actually work quite well together as they investigate the mysterious monster terrorizing Central City. Julian opens up expresses to Barry his frustration over the fact that he himself does not have powers. He is maddened by the amount of criminal meta-humans who have appeared in the past three years, using their powers for personal gain instead of helping others – which is exactly what Julian says he would do if he would have been lucky enough to be effected by the particle accelerator explosion. But as we would find out later, there was a much deeper reason for his anger towards meta-humans.
Caitlin Snow’s newfound powers have begun to manifest in unexpected and uncontrollable ways leading Caitlin to reach out to her estranged mother, Dr. Tannhauser, for help to better understand just what exactly is happening to her. We discover not only does Caitlin have some demons she’s been hiding for all these years, but she also has a darker, colder side to her personality under that warm and caring persona that she clearly gets from her frigid and emotionless Mother.
Nigel going dark side on Caitlin as he attempted to lock her down in her Mothers lab was a bit out of left field. You can understand how a woman like Dr. Tannhauser could drive a subordinate mad and the writers made it clear Caitlin’s abilities could help advance her Mother’s work. Nigel saw an opportunity for himself to get out from under Dr. Tannhauser but there was too little character development for it to fit into the episode organically, however. The scene served its purpose bringing out a colder Caitlin as she quickly let him know he was literally powerless against her. What was most interesting was how her Mother’s love was enough to cool her down – or in this case – warm her up. Maybe her love for her friends will be enough to keep her from doing anything unforgivable in the future.
Unfortunately, the villain of the week was a major let down as the monster turned out not to be a monster at all but rather a hologram operated by a teenage computer hacker. To put it simply, it was just kind of lame. The hacker was so pitiful as he explained his motivations like a sad little cry baby. Bullying sucks but it’s no excuse to become a terrorist. The only good that came out of it was that it provided the opportunity for Julian Albert to see the positive difference that The Flash makes in Central City which led Julian to his first major turning point.
Julian saw a bit of himself in the frightened teenager who wanted to terrify those around him in order to make himself feel stronger than he really was. Julian wanted nothing more than to be a great forensic scientist and as soon as he became one, the entire world changed with the evolution of meta-humans – pulling Julian’s sense of security out from underneath him. Tom Felton’s performance was impressive as he revealed the truth behind Julian’s frustration and anger.
Overall it was a solid episode that providing a great emotional turning point for Julian Albert. The only real problem this week was that this episode was sold as a monster of the week, rather than a villain of the week so our expectations were improperly set which set us up for a let down when the reveal came that the monster was no monster at all but instead a teenager hacker seeking revenge for being bullied in high school. Fortunately, the writers were still able to pull a deep emotional turning point out of the episode for Julian Albert. Continuing the hostile relationship between Julian and Barry could have become exhausting had it gone on for much longer and it was good to see the two put their differences behind each other and move forward.
7.9 – GOOD