Warning: This recap contains storyline and character spoilers from this week’s episode of The Flash.
Tuesday night’s villains keep things light while the true darkness of Dr. Wells’s past is revealed. “Tricksters” gives us a new face to an old foe.
Thanks to the revelations of Wells and Thawne, the villains this week are just the B-story. There’s a new Trickster (Devon Graye) in town, and he springs the old Trickster (Mark Hamill) from Iron Heights prison, taking Barry’s dad as a hostage. The elder Trickster poisons the champagne at a fancy party and slaps a bomb on Flash, which he escapes by phasing through a wall. Henry Allen is saved, and Barry, giddy at his father’s safety, reveals his identity to him.
The face under Reverse Flash’s mask the day that Barry’s mother is killed doesn’t belong to Harrison Wells. We find out that the real Harrison Wells was killed by Eobard Thawne. The fight with Barry traps him in the past, so he swaps bodies with Wells and uses his future knowledge to construct the particle accelerator that can send him back to his time.
The Trickster Is the Joker
While we wait for the eventual appearance of the Joker over on Gotham, this show went ahead and gave him to us. Hamill has voiced the character dozens of times, dating back to Batman: The Animated Series. His Joker is deranged but still fun, and he managed to preserve that balance while playing a live-action James Jesse. He’s responsible for dozens of deaths, but he’s still kind of hard to hate. It’s a tone that The Flash continues to nail with its villains, week after week.
The Homage Goes Deep
Did you know that Hamill also played the Trickster in The Flash series from the ’90s? And that Vito D’Ambrosio, who played Officer Bellows in that same series, plays Mayor Bellows this episode? Then when Joe and Barry visit Trickster’s old hideout, Joe says, “This looks like nobody’s been here since the ’90s.”
They’re all inside jokes, of course, but nobody will blame you if you secretly believe — in your heart of hearts — that the ’90s Flash actually exists in this continuity, and that Henry Allen will someday reveal that he also is a speedster.
Eobard Thawne’s True Face
If you rewound the scene where Reverse Flash takes off his mask because you thought maybe it was Eddie, don’t worry — we all did. In fact, it’s veteran character baddie Matt Letscher (Boardwalk Empire, Scandal), and this is his first time on the show.
His replacing Harrison Wells with his Future Body-Swapping Doohickey™ is good news, because it explains why the second splatter of blood didn’t belong to Wells. But it’s bad because Harrison and Tess made a lovely couple, and it was nice to see them happy for just a little while.
Inside Comic Moment
Axel Walker actually does become the second Trickster in the comics — though the father/son relationship was almost certainly there solely so Hamill could have a chance to say the iconic Empire Strikes Back line that gets said to him in the film: “I am your father.”
No Flash or Arrow next week, but the week after is the big All-Star Team-Up crossover that not only promises to be a barn-burner, but might just give us a taste of what they’re planning for that Flash/Arrow spinoff series.
Get a sneak peek at the rest of this season of The Flash right here:
What did you think? Now that Eddie’s in on Barry’s secret and literally everyone knows but Iris, is it kind of her fault for not figuring out who the Flash is? How bad do you feel for saying all those mean things about Dr. Wells when it turns out it wasn’t him all along? If we never get to see the Joker over on Gotham, would you be satisfied just having Hamill come back and play the Trickster every now and again? Let us know below.
The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.