I honestly don’t know how to feel about this episode, I mean it was good and certain aspects of it were really interesting, but it just felt like something was waiting at the end of the road. “The Sound and The Fury” was by all basic looks a simple backstory episode as we took a look back at life before Barry became part of the Star Labs team and got to see the man he seemingly replaced. There is a certain joy I get in seeing how our characters have changed since Barry came into their lives, but a heavy amount of whether this episode would succeed or fail laid largely on whether or not we cared about Hartley at all. Combine this with the fact that this episode was basically a running competition to see who the biggest dick in the world might be and we are left in a very precarious situation. So, let’s dive in.
Let’s start with the crux of the episode Hartley Rathaway, AKA Pied Piper, a villain largely recognized by the fact that he is an openly gay super villain and not much else. Luckily for us, Hartley is a bit more fleshed out in this universe as the former protege or Dr. Wells’ as well as holding the title of being the worlds largest asshole. Basically any scene which Hartley is in he comes off as nothing more than condescending and trying to be the smartest guy in the room, which only works if there is some shred of decency in the character at all. Granted we find out that Hartley knew there was a potential for the particle accelerator to go south and that Wells’ ignored him, but that only works so long as there is remorse for the actions he is taking at this moment in time. Hartley however is aiming to prove once again that he is the smartest person in the room, so there is absolutely no remorse for his actions as he believe everyone owes him something. In a way his character is a lot like Girder from early in the season and that makes me sad as there could’ve been a lot of great potential for this character and it just sort of floundered.
What makes this so depressing is that a lot of the skeleton around Hartley was actually very strong. Wells seeking redemption or falsely seeking it was a nice arc for the character and it was greatly elevated by getting to see a different side of the character in the past. Dr. Wells easily gave Hartley a run for his money in terms of who is the biggest asshole as he forced Hartley out for attempting to warn everyone about the accelerator. It is great to be reminded that our seeming villain is always playing the larger game and just how far he is willing to go to achieve his goal of making Barry the best hero he can possibly be. There is still so much more that can be done to elevate this character and I firmly believe that Eddie and Joe’s investigation will truly show just how far Wells’ machinations are willing to go. Add on the fact the we learned that Wells’ speed force is being drained or is not naturally occurring as we see with Barry and his arc is beginning to shape up rather nicely.
The weakest material of the episode and the series continues to be Iris as she got a job at a newspaper, who apparently only hired her because she has a connection to The Flash. First off, Iris should’ve had some sort of inkling as to why she was hired at the paper rather than just assuming it was because she was a good writer. I mean she has only been a writer for maybe three months know and her big claim to fame is that she is somehow always where The Flash is makes her a valuable asset, so for her to assume that the paper would not want to make use of that is just stupid. However, the biggest annoyance of her entire arc this week was that Wells’ press conference only served to redeem Iris in the eyes of her mentor. We could have had Iris prove her worth in a ton of different ways yet we chose the weakest route and it only served to degrade her as a character.
Overall it was a middle of the road episode.
Final Grade C+
+Pied Piper made cool uses of his powers
+Wells material was strong
+Cisco got a nice arc
+Joe and Eddie working on Wells case
-Hartley a resounding dick
-Iris continues to be super weak
-No major repercussions for Wells acknowledging that he knew the PA was bad.
-Fun fact in the New 52 Hartley is dating Barry’s captain.
-Can we just point out how many character changes Eddie has gone through in the past few weeks. We need to find an arc for him to stick to, because if not for Rick Cosnett being super cool he would be just as bad as Iris.
-Hartley knows about Ronnie, hopefully he gets more depth and becomes less of an unlikeable asshole.