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The Flash Recap: The Trap
May 5, 2015 By Trevor Richardson
I believe Eddie Thawne said it best when, with hand to forehead, he gasped, “This all just keeps getting crazier and crazier.” Last week’s episode ended on a particularly epic note. As Team Flash discovered Harrison Wells’ secret chamber, what Cisco dubs the “Time Vault,” they had absolute proof that he was the Reverse-Flash staring them in the face. They yellow suit stood on the mannequin and Barry glares at it, only to discover an image of a future newspaper headline from 2024 stating that The Flash has disappeared. Time travel, proof that their friend and mentor is the worst bad guy they have faced, and knowledge of future events are all cramped into that tiny white room and this week’s “The Trap” picked right up in that same spot with a pre-credit teaser scene that brings the house down.
The few minutes before the Flash Emblem bursts across the screen could warrant an article in itself. So much happened as Wells gets closer and closer, adding tension and urgency to an already thrilling scene just in terms of the revelations it held. For starters, the newspaper article alone was full of easter eggs if you took the time to look — which I did.
The biggest one, of course, is not actually an Easter egg because the characters point it out, leading to some awkward tensions later. This article was written by “Iris West-Allen,” indicating that Iris will not only have a successful career in journalism, but she will eventually become Barry’s wife. Fans of The Flash comics already know this, but those just joining the character through the show were probably feeling all manner of emotions, especially those like me who like Caitlin way more. The important thing is, it was a surprise to Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin and that surprise carries them for the rest of the episode. Now, hidden within the text, is a reference to Joe West becoming Central City’s Chief of Police, as well as The Atom and, notice the specificity, here “the Green Arrow.” More importantly, there is reference to Hawkgirl as well and, if you’ve been tracking spinoff news, the forthcoming show will feature Hawkgirl as portrayed by actress Ciara Renee. Also in the paper, Queen Incorporated, not to be confused with Oliver’s defunct company, Queen Consolidated, is merging with Wayne Tech. This opens up a slough of awesome questions and ideas. Oliver will get to be the wealthy CEO guy again and, being that they’re both superhero types, it’s likely that the merger between Queen Incorporated and Wayne Tech is a merger of Green Arrow and Batman.
The rest of these revelations lead us to Gideon, Wells’ personal AI assistant in the Time Vault, who drops an avalanche of knowledge on the team. For starters, Barry will also become the director of CCPD’s CSI Division. Say that five times fast. In the future, Barry will get the more traditional Flash outfit with the white emblem from comic book tradition. One of the more delightful Cisco moments this episode was Cisco’s response to the new suit. After remarking on the new look, he immediately falls back on his science fiction/hard science background and panics that they may already be experiencing a paradox. Did they change the suit because it was their idea or because they saw this newspaper image?
We also learn about the Flash’s disappearance in the future and, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the first time Barry has heard the nickname “the Scarlet Speedster.” The Flash will disappear in “an explosion of light” while battling the Reverse-Flash. When Barry asks if Gideon will obey his command to keep their discovery of the Time Vault a secret, Gideon reveals that Barry Allen created her and she will follow any instructions he gives. How Barry created Gideon is as much a mystery as why he would spend so much time dabbling in AI, but if there is one thing this show excels at it’s giving you three new questions as they answer a big one.
The team flees the Time Vault as Wells draws close and a lot happens very quickly. Barry reveals that he has already time traveled once, by accident, when trying to stop a tsunami he ran so fast that he went back in time. This changed the timeline and he postulates that in this changed timeline Cisco discovered Wells’ secret and was murdered. Cisco, who has been haunted by visions of his own demise for the past couple of episodes, is not actually dreaming but experiencing memories from an alternate timeline. Now, I personally am super skeptical about the actual science behind this idea, but it serves the story well and that scene between him and Wells was so good that I’m sort of happy to get it back into the story in any way possible. Still, it requires more than a little suspension of disbelief.
This inspires the team to invent some new madcap piece of technology in the requisite five minutes it takes a genius to invent new technology. They unlock the secrets to lucid dreaming and send Cisco into his memory of his own murder, right under Dr. Wells’ nose at STAR Labs. The idea is insane. The execution of it is great and, as I said, we get to see Wells trying to kill Cisco again which is just good television.
“The Trap” earns its name when the team hatches a scheme to trick Wells into confessing to Nora Allen’s murder on camera by recreating the scenario that led to Cisco’s demise last time. Cisco inverts the bubble that they used to trap the Reverse-Flash last time in order to be able to talk to him without actually getting his hard ripped out. Managing to squeeze in a little slapstick humor, in case you forgot that this is a fun show, Barry tests the speed barrier and bounces off it like a pinball, observing, “Yeah, it works.”
Despite the fact that a lot of the planning and execution of going into Cisco’s dream was done at Barry’s lab instead of STAR Labs, it still seems foolish of them to expect that their lame excuses could fool a super genius that has managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes for fifteen years. Barry and his pals are genuinely good people, capable people, strong and even highly intelligent, but they’re also real idiots a lot of the time. This is one such occasion.
As the trap is set and things begin to play out just as Cisco remembers them, things seem promising at first but quickly spin out of control. Wells arrives on foot and says a lot of the same things he said before, only this time as he repeats the line, “You’re very clever, Cisco,” he adds, “But not clever enough.” Horror rises on Cisco’s face as Wells steps right through the barrier, lifting his hand for the kill. Joe West, in order to save Cisco’s life, fires a handful of rounds at the approaching killer, two of which Barry manages to deflect because, as he shouts later, “He didn’t confess.”
One bullet pierces Wells’ heart and he drops to the ground, a look of shock on his face that reflects what most of us were likely feeling, and then promptly transforms into recent monster of the week, the shapeshifter dubbed “Everyman.” With the promise of his freedom, he posed as Wells, forcing the team to tip their hand for no reason.
Barry returns to Wells’ secret room, only to find the yellow suit missing and the screen portraying dozens of images from hidden cameras stashed all around Central City. The team had been acting shifty for weeks and, as I said, Wells is a genius. He began keeping tabs on them and watched everything, including Cisco narrating his own murder in an alternate reality. So he set a trap of his own and Barry fell right into it.
One camera was focused on Iris and Barry races to protect her. Meanwhile, in another part of the story that was less interesting to me, Eddie plans to propose to Iris. When he asks for Joe’s blessing he gets shut down pretty hard and Joe tells Barry he basically did it for him. Iris has feelings for Barry, but if she gets married she will stay with Eddie no matter how she feels because she made a promise and she’s a good person. He would rather stop it before it went that far, which makes some sense. Well, Eddie is going ahead anyway and just as he is about to propose to Iris on a bridge and everything seems really romantic and emotional, the Reverse-Flash carries him away and spoils everything.
Barry has to save Eddie, with the foreknowledge that he and Iris are supposed to end up together, and the inevitable question that goes with all time travel, the question Cisco already asked, if I do this will I be making that future happen or preventing it? Do I save Eddie now and cause a marriage that shouldn’t happen or do I let him go and get the girl? In the end, you can only do what seems like the right thing at the time so he goes to do the hero thing.
Meanwhile, Eddie and Reverse-Flash have a chat and Eddie finally discovers what we’ve known all along. Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, is a descendant of Eddie’s and therefore Reverse-Flash is obligated to keep him alive. Poor Eddie was already saying things keep getting crazier and crazier before he found out about this little nugget.
As Barry leaves Iris, their hands brush and she gets a shock of static which she recognizes from visiting him at the hospital. In addition to all the other craziness that was “The Trap,” they showed us a flashback storyline to when Barry was in a coma. Joe is convinced to turn him over to STAR Labs by a visit to Wells and you can see that even then he doesn’t trust him. More importantly, Iris touched Barry while he was unconscious and got the same kind of shock. Barry races away and she says his name, finally aware of the secret. This is not such a crazy leap to make if you consider that earlier in the episode Iris explains to Barry that she has a theory that all of the metahumans were created by the collider explosion, which is true, and Barry shrugs her off by saying that she can’t be right because he didn’t get powers.
I think what might be the show’s greatest achievement is that I had to go make sure that this was still season one. As I began to write the words, “The Flash is approaching the season one finale,” I had a moment of doubt. So much has happened, so many crazy arcs, so many changes to key characters, and so much ambition both in terms of high concept paradoxical science fiction, it’s almost unbelievable that it’s all been done in 21 episodes. This episode was a densely constructed gambit that played its characters against each other, and even pulled us in to get fooled along with them. They have invested so much energy and time into creating a backstory so fascinating that this episode didn’t need a “Meta of the Week” to be interesting. We were carried on the energy of the revelations, the conversations, and the twisted plot, making this one of the best episodes, if not the very best, to date. This episode is why all the episodes were written and that, I think, is all that needs to be said.
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