Two eagerly-awaited mid-season finales aired this week and the production teams/networks pulled out all the stops to give us a pair of excellent episodes, which answered some pivotal questions and raised a few more.
Let’s begin with the Flash. In “The Man in the Yellow Suit,” the Flash finally came face-to-vibrating face with his unseen nemesis, the man who killed his mother and caused his father to be imprisoned for 10 years. Although he hasn’t been officially called “the Reverse Flash” yet, we’ll use that moniker for the sake of this article. In the episode, the Flash finds out that he isn’t the fastest man alive, since the Reverse Flash outruns and outfights him several times.
Who is the Reverse Flash? Last night’s episodes finally revealed the villain’s identity…Professor Wells, the Flash’s ally and scientific advisor! At the end of the episode, we see Wells with the yellow Reverse Flash costume and the tachyon device that the bad guy stole. He even displays similar super-speed powers to the Flash’s own, vibrating his vocal cords to disguise his voice and healing quickly from his bruises and cuts.
So far, with the information we have, this raises some practical questions. If Wells is the Reverse Flash, how could they be in the same place at the same time? Why would the evil speedster beat the heck out of himself? And why would he drop some hints to the Flash about who is really is (“You know who I am!”)
In regards to the first question, there are two ways that Wells could be in two places at once. One is the old Flash comic book tactic of moving so fast he appears to be in two places at once. The other is time travel. We’ve known since the pilot episode that Wells is either from the future or has visited there because he has knowledge and technology beyond our century. For instance, he knows that sometime in the future, the Flash will disappear during “the Crisis” (A reference to the epic comic book maxi-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, where the Flash seemingly sacrificed himself, vanishing into the ether to save the universe, and was not seen again for decades.) So either of these methods could explain why he was able to be seen as Wells and Reverse Flash simultaneously.
But why would he beat himself silly? The only reason for this is that it’s all part of Wells’ elaborate ruse to hide the truth (such as pretending he’s cripple), to throw people off. This may be why Reverse Flash didn’t kill Wells. Wells knew he’d heal quickly. (Although I don’t know how he’ll explain his rapid healing to his co-workers.) As for the third question, regarding why he keeps dropping hints to let Barry know that he’s someone the Flash has met before….Well, I have no idea! We’ll just have to keep watching.
So, who is Wells really? Some people think he may actually be Barry/Flash himself from the future, trying to either preserve the future timeline, or to change the future in order to prevent a catastrophe. Wells does seem to be protecting Flash and trying to ensure that he masters his powers so he can be ready for some future event. If he’s the future Barry, that would jibe. Did Barry come from the future and take on the identity of Wells ?(The name is a nod to the author of “the Time Machine”.)
Or is Wells really Hunter Zolomon (Reverse Flash from the comics) or a different version? And does he really have speed powers, or is it just the suit? It was when he linked the Tachyon device to the suit that he started to heel fast. Could the suit actually be made out of ‘speed force’, as it was for a period in the comics? And if it is the suit that has the power, then who really wears it? Maybe Wells has a henchman, which would also explain how he was able to be two places at once.
So who could this henchman be? The big money is on Eddie Thawn, which is similar to the name Eobard Thawn, AKA Professor Zoom, another version of reverse Flash from the comics. Thawn is the one who killed Flash’s wife in the comics. Of course, we did see Eddie and Reverse Flash together, but that could be done by the same methods as mentioned above for Wells. And then again, Reverse Flash could be Eddie from the future, which would explain why he didn’t kill Eddie, because that would be detrimental to his future health. Otherwise, both Wells and Eddie could be Reverse Flash. After all, there were two in the comics, and we’re dealing with time travel, so we could have two of them, one from the present and one from the future. Why, then, would Eddie—who seems like an honest cop so far—go bad and attack the Flash? The obvious answer is Iris. Competition over a beautiful girl is a realistic motive for murder.
We also learned in this episode that there was another unseen speedster present at the time when momma Nora was killed and Barry was unexpectedly whisked away to safety. Could this other speedster be Barry/Flash? Will he learn a way to time travel in future episodes as (he can in the comics) and go back in an effort to save his mother (which apparently he either fails to do, or realizes he can’t do because it would create a time paradox.)
The other big reveal from this episode was the introduction of Firestorm. We don’t know much about his powers yet, or if he’ll be sharing his consciousness with Professor Stein, but he made an impact by saving the Flash from his fast moving foe. How long, I wonder, until Caitlin becomes Killer Frost? Will Caitlin go bad, or will we see a kinder, gentler version of Killer Frost.
Now we come to Agents of SHIELD. The winter finale “What they become” all but told us that Skye in an Inhuman. While the name was not specifically used, it couldn’t be more obvious. Skye is from a race of special people with special powers, who need to have their abilities activated by the Diviner (the equivalent of the Terrigen Mist in the comics.) Both Skye and Raina go through a metamorphosis at the end of the episode. We find out her given name is Daisy Johnson, AKA Quake. At the end of the episode, she manifests her ability to create earth tremors. We also find out that her father is Calvin Zabo, AKA Mr. Hyde, an old time Thor foe from the comics. In the actual comics, Hyde is not an Inhuman, but instead uses a formula to turn himself into a powerhouse, but in Agents of SHIELD, the family has been recreated as Inhumans.
And who is the eyeless guy at the end of the episode? Could he be the Inhuman known as ‘the Reader’, who was blinded because whatever he reads tends to come true? The Reader travels the world in search of new Inhumans, whose powers were activated outside of the Inhumans homeland. The Reader will most likely try to contact Skye and help her understand her new powers.
So, quite a lot went on in one evening and it was a treat for comic fans. It’ll be a long wait for the return of the two shows, especially Agents of SHIELD, which does not come back until March, but in the meantime, we’ll have Agent Carter to keep us entertained.