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REVIEW: The Flash 1×17 “Tricksters”

Written by Scott Swartz

Happy April Fools Day, I am told people like tricks and pranks today so boy did they give us the king of pranks tonight. The Flash has been building up the rogues gallery all throughout this season and this week we got two representations of a classic Flash villain in the form of The Trickster. Both James Jesse and Axel Walker made their debuts this week but we managed to get a special treat as Jesse was portrayed by Mark Hamill the same man who portrayed him twenty years ago on the original Flash tv show. Even though Hamill was meant to be the main attraction this week, we actually got so amazing side material as we found out not only more information about Harrison Wells but also Eobard Thawne as well. All of this material built up into some great story that managed to undo some of the work of Barry’s time traveling.

Let’s start with the big fish the introduction/return of James Jesse, the original Trickster. To many people myself included Hamill is a childhood icon and his work as the Trickster would inform his portrayal as the Joker in Batman The Animated Series and man did he nail it this week. The jokes, the puns, the anger, the sheer bravado it was all classic comics and Hamill nailed every little inch of it. Just the sound of his laugh and the way that he interacted with Devon Graye’s Axel Walker was pure unadulterated pomp, and I loved every minute of it. Much like The Joker, Jesse clearly believed himself to be the smartest person in the room whether it be in the Hannibal Lecter-ish interrogation scene or when he straps the bomb to Barry’s wrist. In a large way Jesse is very much like Cold, a calculating madman who is smarter than everyone gives him credit for. I think that Jesse could really develop into a fun foil for not only Barry, but also the Rogues as Cold really doesn’t have anyone on his level to associate with.

As for Barry finally being aware that Wells is not all he appears to be, I am happy with the progression the story has taken in comparison to Thawne straight up killing Cisco a few weeks back. For the point that finally allowed Barry to equate Thawne with the Reverse Flash is that he was able to describe Barry’s powers on a personal level was a perfect trip up. No one else besides a speedster would be able to fully understand the pure emotion and connection to the Speed Force other than an actual speedster. So when Thawne went into that beautiful monologue about the Speed Force and phasing I completely understood how Barry was feeling about it. It’s a connection that as far as we know only two people have at this moment in time, so Barry would be able to figure out something was indeed amiss with Thawne.

What helped to cement the story and Barry eventually figuring out on some level that Thawne is the Reverse Flash were the flashbacks to how Eobard Thawne became Harrison Wells. First thing is I was astounded how long it actual took for me to figure out that Thawne had literally body napped Wells. I really had no idea how he did it until the very moment he began the swap and man was that imagery both cool and disgusting at the same time. Both Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher nailed the inherent creepiness of Thawne as he is basically a sociopath wearing a people suit. Seeing Wells with his wife and realizing that there was indeed a truly good person before Thawne took him over made this tale all the more heart wrenching. Letscher was absolutely perfect in showing how detached and cold Thawne is from this world while adding on a bit of desperation that we have not seen in Cavanagh performance to this point. I loved the moment where he acknowledge how important Wells was to his survival but at the same time he acted as if he was looking at a picture book and not a living breathing person. It was frightening to say the least.

Even with all of these great moments we managed to capitalize on two often forgotten about characters Henry Allen and Eddie Thawne. I loved every bit of Barry and the Star Labs gang interacting with Henry and John Wesley Shipp brought so much life and joy to that scene I can’t wait until he actually gets out into the world. As for Eddie he got welcomed into the team secret identity club as Barry and Joe revealed the Identity of The Flash to him. I get that Barry and Joe need all the help they can get, but I really don’t know what Eddie will add to the group since he has really lacked a purpose the majority of the season. Hopefully now Eddie will be put on a direct collision course with Eobard and he will serve some major purpose.

Overall a fantastic episode that answered some very important questions.

Final Grade A

+Mark Hamill nailed it

+Excellent Thawne/Wells backstory

+Eddie being brought onto the team

+Phasing and the Speed Force speech

+John Wesley Shipp was great as Henry

Extra Thoughts

-Of all the great Hamill moments two stand out: Jesse apparently has seen Breaking Bad as the guards gave him cable so he would stop killing them and “I am your father” pretty sure the internet shit a collective brick on that one.

-Thawne’s Speed Force speech was a thing of absolute beauty, I can’t say it enough.

-I know I didn’t hit upon it in the main of my review but that scene between Barry and Joe in The Pipeline was superb. I loved Grant Gustin’s performance it hit all the right notes.

-Yes I saw the trailer at the end. Yes it seems like a gigantic Flash fans wet dream. Yes I am excited.

About the author

Scott Swartz