[Review] The Flash (2014) – 1×20: “The Trap”

Kevin and Bethany are shaking off some bad vibes this week. And remember, friends, that future events such as these will affect us in the future, which means it’s time to take a look at CW’s The Flash.


KEVIN

At this point in the series, it’s clear they’ve really hit their stride. There are a lot of plot threads interwoven throughout the episode, but it doesn’t feel bogged down at all. The pacing is superb, and there’s an undercurrent of suspense which carries the entire story along.

More than that, however, is the fact that this episode of The Flash is one of the most stressful episodes to watch. This isn’t a bad thing at all, mind you – it’s stressful in all the right ways – but it’s just so powerful.

Let’s take a closer look at Evil Science Dad, shall we?

Although this episode is old, spoiler warnings are in full effect after the cut.

“Harrison Wells”, née Eobard Thawne, has been a fairly complicated character thus far. Bethany and I have both said over and over again that you can tell Thawne’s honest and legitimate affection for Cisco, Caitlin, and even his nascent/former arch-nemesis Barry, is at odds with his original murderous, calculating nature.

I’ve also said that at one point, to wrap things up neatly, the writers just go ahead and drop that thread entirely.

Like Harribard himself, I’m at odds about this. On the one hand, Eobard Thawne in his multiple Arrowverse incarnations is a magnificent villain, delightfully hammy, terrifyingly homicidal, and even gleefully destructive when he wants to be. Both actors portray this equally, but with much different nuances.

Even at the end, though, Thawne contemplates the genuine affection he has for the Science Siblings, but that moment is over too soon. Evil Science Dad is done, and now we have nothing but the Reverse-Flash.

However, despite the shamefully missed opportunities for storytelling they have with Conflicted About His Motivations Eobard, the writers go all in on the Reverse-Flash. The lightning, the music, the ambience, the direction itself.

Every time Wells is onscreen, we’re questioning his motivation. We’re fearful for our heroes. Not only do we know that he’s been evil all along, but now so do they.

The tension is palpable. Even after the multiple viewings of this episode, it still hits as hard as the first time.

Things to note this episode:

  • Founding member of– damn it, Gideon, just say it! SAY IT
  • I know you’re struggling to see if this is Predestination Paradox instead of Multiverse Theory, Cisco. Me too, buddy. Me too.
  • SUSPENSE. I seriously felt like I needed to take my anti-anxiety meds after that episode.
  • Cisco nope-ing out of reprogramming the future computer. Never change.
  • No, Eddie, you do not need Joe’s permission. Why did you even ask? This is the Midwest, sure, but it’s still a major city. It’s not the red-shifted corn counties.
  • “Guys, I have a really bad idea.” No fucking kidding.
  • Joe has never trusted Wells, not from the very beginning. We’ve known that all along, but it’s so great to see it in action.
    • Maybe the best way to get someone to trust you is not to be smarmy and creepy from Word One, Eobard.
  • Eddie shows Barry the ring, I was expecting Barry to say “This is so sudden, I don’t know what to say.”
    • Either I hang out with certain friends way too much or I should cut back on rewatching Friends.
    • I love Barry’s expressions, though. He really looks like he’s going to be sick.
  • The Reverse-Flash theme works so incredibly well in Cisco’s dreamscape. I’ve mentioned before how it’s a corruption of Barry’s, using the same heightened strings, but where Barry’s is a jet engine taking off, Thawne’s is menacing and suspenseful.
  • Thankfully, immediately after, we get a reminder of how it’s supposed to be, as Barry rushes to stop a building fire, and the heroic strings and trumpets are back in full force.
  • Captain Singh sees the Flash rush into the building and he doesn’t question it; he immediately pleads for him to save the day.
    • The biggest difference between Flash and Arrow is this, basically. The Arrow hides from the police. The Flash works directly with them, openly and sometimes even in the daylight.
  • Captain Singh and his fiancé Rob are amazing, I love them so much.

BETHANY

Can we talk about Gideon for a second?

Gideon has been…sort of around for a while. We’ve heard her talking back and forth with Dr. Wells. And through the events of this episode, the team (Barry, Cisco, and Cait) discover her and manage to get some pretty interesting information out of her. To wit:

  • Dr. Wells killed Barry’s mom in a fit of pique because
  • he was there to kill Barry, which is why tiny Barry Allen was hurried out of the house
  • and Gideon was created by Barry Allen, so she’ll take any command he gives and probably spill, like, all the info

The last point is the one that gets me, because…nothing comes of it. Like, it seems like there’s this really good signpost indicating that Barry and the crew have got a font of information, but this plot point is rendered moot, more or less.

Also there are indications that she has a more complete personality than what we are seeing, given that little smile she gives when she blatantly lies to Wells. I just feel like Gideon was being set up to be utilized, and I don’t know if that ever happens. That thread is certainly dropped this episode.

Here’s the thing. I like AIs. I love Jarvis from the Iron Man movies. (I know the whole Vision thing happened and I’m still in denial; don’t talk to me about it.) One of my favorite series of fanfics is scifigirl47’s Tales Of the Bots. It treats all of the AIs as their own characters and not just exposition bombs, and I was kinda hoping we might get Gideon as a recurring character for the crew to interact with.

This is not to say that it couldn’t come up in the eventual future, but I just feel like that was being worked towards and then never manifested. And it bums me right out.

Moving right along, I would like to thank Kevin for saving this bit for me to talk about. And I’m so glad I’m taking point, as it were, next episode because I’m gonna have a lot more to say about this.

I bet y’all can guess, if you don’t know already.

Here’s the setup:

We see several flashbacks over this particular episode, back to the period in time where Barry was still doing his comatose thing. Joe at his side, everyone upset, Iris talking to him about being asked out by Detective Pretty Boy. When Iris touches his hand, while he’s in a coma, he shocks her. (It looks like a little bit more than a static shock; it looks like that sucker hurt.)

I’d also like to point out that Iris West, with no real help at all, being lied to from all sides by people who supposedly love her, discovered that the particle accelerator explosion was what caused all the metahumans, including the Flash. She’s totally correct, and Barry straight-up lies to her by pointing out that he doesn’t have any powers and that means her conclusion is flawed. (Fuck you Barry Allen. Just…man.)

Towards the end, while Eddie is working his way up to proposing, Reverse-Flash snatches Eddie and threatens Iris. The Flash gets there in time, reassures Iris that he will find Eddie, and runs off. Before he runs off, he shocks her in the exact same way.

FUCKING FINALLY

HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF THOR, FUCKING FINALLY

*throws arms up in air, storms out*

Kevin O’Shea is a writer and founding member of the Made of Fail Justice League. You can find him on Twitter (@osheamobile), Tumblr (osheamobile), or reusing old jokes from old writeups that really should have been saved for this episode to begin with.

Bethany the Martian is an abuser of parentheses and works in the Pizza Mines. She can be found on Twitter (@martianbethany) and on Tumblr (bethanythemartian).

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