The Flash Recap: Frauds and Monsters

This week on The CW’s The Flash, Caitlin asked her mom for help with her frosty problem, Julian warmed up to Barry and Team Flash learned a cold, hard truth (or two) about H.R. Wells.

COLD COMFORT | Chilled by the gradual manifestation of her latent powers, Caitlin sought out her scientist mom, Dr. Carla Tannhauser, for help in treating them. As hinted in the past, things are cool between the women, dating back to when Caitlin’s father got sick, and how after he died, Carla buried herself in work. Carla at first is of little help to Caitlin, so she sends her on her way, but the doc’s lab assistant Nigel sees an opportunity to exploit Caitlin, and tries to abduct her. Caitlin, though, stops him with an icy, vicious grip, before bidding Mom adieu. At episode’s end, Caitlin gets a video message from her mom, warning that using her powers will only make them harder to reverse — but that news is met by an impulsive lashing out by Caitlin, who ices over the table and computer, her eyes all frosted over.

‘SUMPTUOUS MORNING!’ | Cisco, at whose place Barry is crashing for the time being, senses something “off” about Earth-19’s H.R. Wells, but can’t put his finger on it. When he ultimately realizes that H.R. hasn’t actually been coming up with any ideas, and instead is only rewording what other team members say, he and Barry agree to “vibe” his belongings. In the course of rifling through H.R.’s stuff, Cisco finds a digital recorder that seems to suggest H.R. is evil and up to something. But when H.R. finds them and insists that Cisco play the whole voice memo, they realize that he moonlights on Earth-19 as a “science-romance” novelist, and is working on his next novel. But then the other shoe drops — H.R. isn’t any kind of scientist. Rather, he is an “idea man” and was the “face” of his S.T.A.R. Labs. When he begs to prove his value to the team in that capacity, they agree to let him stay a few weeks.

AN INTERN FOR THE BETTER | After Julian snitches to Singh, earning Barry a “15-second talking-to” for his “nine violations” of department policy, Barry appeals to his supervisor’s vanity and asks to “shadow” him on their current case, so that he might learn from his oh-so-brilliant superior. Julian agrees, and lets Barry tag along as they look into the giant monster that is terrorizing the town. As most anyone reckoned from the first frame, the creature was merely a hologram, operated by a 15-year-old kid who was tired of being bullied at school, and who wanted to make other people scared for once. After The Flash saves Julian from almost putting a bullet in the teen, the CSI guy later bonds with Barry over his scare — and the truth that the rise of metahumans has made him feel “powerless” as a scientist — and they bro it out over drinks.

What did you think of the episode “Monster”?

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  1. Mike says:

    This episode was horrible. The only interesting thing about it was Caitlin’s storyline, but it’s moving at a glacial pace. I HATE the new Harry; he is stupid, annoying, and completely unnecessary. It’s as if the producers just want to keep Tom Cavanaugh on the show without caring how stupid of a storyline they can think of to keep him around. There is no point of having a “Wells” on the team.

    • Mike says:

      Not to mention the main story with the monster and teenager was horribly boring. This is all coming from a huge Flash fan. I just feel let down.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        The monster storyline was ridiculous, so obvious, and with an ABC Afterschool Special motivation. Surely there was a more compelling threat for Barry and Julian to bond over.

        • bobbie says:

          Matt, as always, thanks for the recap. I have mostly given up on the CW and it sounds like I shouldn’t look back. I am sure I am not the only one that would rather read your articles then sit through the mess that these shows have become.

          It’s just sad, reading Kevin Smith’s experience on directing an episode made it sound like the show understood what made it great, don’t know why they’re abandoning their core principles.

          • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

            Mmm, that’s a pretty extreme interpretation of a few critiques. It was not a great episode; The Flash is still highly enjoyable.

    • Joe says:

      Well there’s definitely a point. Both in storyline and because Tom Cavanagh is pretty much the glue that holds STAR Labs together. That dynamic greatly suffers without him. I think Harry will be back for sure. I can’t see them leaving him off the show for too long. We need him and it kind of doesn’t work without him. We’ll get him back, don’t worry.

    • Candace says:

      Glacial pace. I see what you did there.

    • KCC says:

      I saw the whole point of this episode as being the team finding out that the new Harry is “stupid, annoying, and completely unnecessary.” That’s why he was written and portrayed that way. I’m guessing it’s an act on his part and he’s smarter than he’s letting on with some ulterior motives still to be revealed. All that being said, if yet another Harrison Wells deceives the team, it’s either going to come off as “been there, done that” (several times) or if it’s well executed it could be an example of history repeating itself and the team being doomed to forever repeat the same mistake over and over again. If he is just comic relief and actually is the way he’s being portrayed, then he is just stupid, annoying, and completely unnecessary.
      A third option, because this show is basically a morality play they’re trying to teach us to be more accepting of the stupid, annoying and completely unnecessary (I love that phrase, thank you) among us. A shinning example of a TV show making us all better, more tolerant people.

  2. Jeff says:

    Easily very one of the weakest episodes of the series so far. I wish earth 2 Wells would just stick around. Since Cisco can open a portal any time he wants there is no good reason why earth 2 Wells can’t stay and see Jesse

    • Joe says:

      I can’t imagine Harry won’t be back. We all love Harry and they know it. Besides, Jesse needs to come back from time to time at least so we’re going to see him again. I still think there’s something up with HR. I do like how “HR Wells” is a portmanteau (does that term apply with names too? In any case…) of HR Geiger and HG Wells though. I just want them to reveal Harry’s middle name as George or something but it seems like they’re not going that direction. In any case, I do think Harry will be back. We all want him back so I can’t see them not bringing him back on a regular basis.

    • edyn says:

      I am surprised they did not do that since we know Cisco can open portals to other Earths. The new Wells is a doofus and maybe it is an act. They should send him back and get his partner, the real scientist of Star Labs. The new Wells reminds me of a lounge musician with the clothes he wears. As much as I thought Wells was a jackass in the beginning, having his own agenda as Eobard and then the real Wells from Earth 2, the character turned out cool in the end and I was unhappy to see him go. 2 needs cleaning up, but now there is also Jesse Quick who can help while her dad helps Barry. Earth 1 is what connects all of them so I would think it would make more sense to help Barry keep things in control since the situation with Zoom. It was a weak episode and the highpoint was Caitlin becoming Frost. It will be interesting to see Barry’s and Cisco’s reaction to Caitlin especially since Wells told him there is another meta in the lab, practically putting a bullseye on her knowing about Frost in Earth 2. Barry will blame himself for this because “his” Caitlin, the original Caitlin, doesn’t have any.

  3. Sue says:

    I’m glad Caitlin finally got a bit of a focus, and am hoping it continues throughout the season (and nice Caitlin/Cisco bonding). But otherwise, MEH. A really weak episode.

  4. I know The Flash has to put in some “Freak of the Week” episodes to space out the storylines but if this is the best the writers can do, this show is in big trouble.

  5. Btm says:

    Julian is Dr. Alchemy. He’ll give Wally his speed back.

  6. Jake says:

    Really enjoyed this episode actually. The kid really mirrored Julian’s family situation. Was hoping the monster was a plant for the crossover. oh well.

  7. Joe says:

    I don’t think this was a terrible episode by any means, just kind of a filler one without much real point. That does happen with longer seasons but there are better ways to do it. We don’t need to shorten these seasons, we need to come up with better ideas for episodes that don’t forward the main storylines. The reason we have longer seasons (apart from the increased ad revenue and to fill schedules) is to use the extra time for character development. That’s what they did with Caitlin and I think that’s a good thing but that doesn’t mean the rest of them need to tread water. The solution for that is to explore the characters’ inner conflicts and relate them to the broader themes of the season. Not to mention if the seasons were 13 episodes long like people think they want there’s no more room for side trips to Earth-2, two-part Gorilla Grodd episodes, and fun character episodes. No more “The Runaway Dinosaur” or “Tricksters” with short seasons. So that’s not what we want, even if we think it is.

    This was a weak episode though. Not terrible, just kind of weak. Filler more than anything. There’s such a thing as good filler though. See “Baby” or “The French Mistake” from Supernatural. Both filler episodes, both among the best of the series.

    Here’s a big problem that no one seemed to have noticed though. How did that kid pull that off? He had to hack into the STAR Labs hologram satellite, right? Otherwise how did he get the tech to make that monster appear? And how did he get access to that? I suspected it was HR who gave him access but that appears not to be the case and I don’t think it will be addressed. It would be great if it tied into the main Alchemy plot or something but I don’t see it happening. Seriously, how did that kid make all that happen?

    At any rate, next week looks pretty good. I was hoping the title was talking about The Shade but alas, it seems not. He’d be awesome in the show and I think they’ll do it sometime but not next week. I’ve been wanting to see The Shade since season one. It does look like Wally is going to be Kid Flash sooner than later though so that’s pretty cool.

    • Muffy says:

      13 episode seasons do not have filler like 22/23 episode seasons. 13 eps help the writers give their best because there’s no useless filler.

  8. ndixit says:

    I liked it. Not a great ep by any means but the scenes with Caitlin and her mom and the scenes with Barry and Julian were good. Tom Cavanaugh seems to be having a blast and I was happy that HR’s secret was largely innocent.

  9. Jerry says:

    This was a filler. Not finding the caitlin story so great. I mean it is super slow. I did find Julian interesting. In the beginning thought he was a sneak but kinda ft sorry for him by the end. I also think that with Wally coming back and kid Flash it will be better.

  10. datdudemurphy says:

    That was a really tough episode to get thru…. Just not a strong effort.

    Hopefully it’s firing on all cylinders from here on out.

  11. James D says:

    Flash is now the only CW comics show I watch (I gave up on Supergirl last week. I can’t bring myself to give Arrow another chance after last season.) please don’t make me regret it. I’m cool with filler episodes I just wish they could of come up with something other then a holographic Godzilla. I do love Tom’s different interpretations of Wells though. I do hope however that the writers can pick one version of him and stick with it. I’d appreciate some consistency.

    • gamer says:

      Just admit the flash is your favorite character, how come you are willing to the show another chance after the monster hologram storyline? At supergirl and arrow didn’t have a monster hologram storyline in their shows.

  12. JJ says:

    I really like Caitlin’s storyline. It’s intriguing. What I do miss about The Flash is the Barry-Caitlin-Cisco dynamic from Season 1, which made the show fun to watch. With the addition of Wally and Iris into STAR Labs, it feels crowded.

    • Isabella says:

      I so agree. Even though the Killer Frost origin story is the only thing interesting that happened this week, I still find it odd that Caitlin isn’t confiding in Barry and Cisco. They were a team in previous seasons but now they feel more like extras. Iris and Wally don’t need to be in Star labs all the time! He has school and she’s supposed to have a job. One she now sucks at. The police captain dispatches snipers downtown and Iris’ first reaction is Great, I’ll go to S.T.A.R. Labs. YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE A REPORTER. GO REPORT! Even Kara Danvers is better at this stuff.

      The whole hologram idea was dumb and pointless. Forgot most of the episode except for the scenes with Cait and her mom. I wish they would give her a spin off. Lord knows she’s the only one that has an interesting arc.

  13. Lynne says:

    This was the ultimate definition of ‘filler’. I knew I wasn’t going to like HR. I guess its a testament of how great an actor Tom is at least, being able to essentially play the same character three completely different ways so far and making us love one while being completely annoyed at the other. I want Harry back, the sooner the better.
    I will continue to say this every week, I hope Julian is not Alchemy. Mainly for my own selfish reason of the fact that I don’t want him to be gone after this season. Any reason I can have Tom Felton on my tv every week, I will take it!
    I do love that Caitlin is getting a true storyline of her own. I love how they’re slowly getting into the Killer Frost story but I hope that it explodes into Frosty amazingness when it really gets going.

    • Neel Parmar says:

      I don’t know that you can call it “the ultimate definition of ‘filler’”. There were some important plot developments mainly between Barry and Julian but also with HR being a fraud and Caitlin’s powers intensifying. It’s not like you could have skipped this episode and properly understood what took place by only watching the following ones.

      Not every episode has to be about a super-powerful villain…

  14. Derek says:

    Wells has definitely out-stayed his welcome. His storyline ended long ago and I guess because someone still wants Tom Cavanaugh on the show, they keep this silliness going. Not only am I done with Wells, I was done with Cavanaugh forever ago. His whispering drives me bonkers!

  15. Can someone explain to me why this season’s eps so far are so dire? Has there been a change in showrunners or writers?

    This whole season has started on the wrong foot and none of the episodes has impressed so far. this coming from someone that thought the first two seasons where the finest of all the superhero tv shows out there.

  16. Neel Parmar says:

    To people saying this is just a boring filler episode, I can’t say I agree. Yes, the plot with the “Monster” as the main antagonist is quite shallow and the explanation for what was going on was reasonably predictable, but does every episode have to be mostly about beating the bad guy? I like episodes like this which are a change of pace and where the bad guy part of the plot is the catalyst for more important events such as Barry and Julian finally starting to bond. I’m not saying beating the bad guy is unimportant as it is a major theme in a series like this, but it doesn’t need to be the main event every single week.

    It wasn’t a perfect episode I can accept that. Caitlin meeting her mom was kind of thrown in there just so we can find out a tiny bit more about Caitlin’s powers without the team finding out yet themselves. I can imagine we won’t see any more of her mom which means that arc was kind of a waste of time otherwise. Also, trying to squeeze a lot of character development in a short period of time is never quite right.

    Also, having a fraud Wells is such a laugh and a great break from the serious Wells we are normally presented with. Obviously it’ll get to a point where having an intelligent leader will be necessary but in the meantime, let’s enjoy artsy Wells for what he’s worth. It really shows just how versatile Cavanagh is as an actor that he pulls of that role so well.

  17. dancmh says:

    Just all around bad.

  18. Luis Roman says:

    We should have realized when he wanted to be called “H.R;”
    I find all the chatter about the episode interesting. In every season, there will be episodes we think of as great, some that will be remembered as mediocre and a couple you want to forget about as soon as you watch them. Hopefully, on balance, there are many more of the first kind of episode than the last.

  19. Mo says:

    This is how you make a filler ep work. Character development was the goal and that’s what we got with Caitlin, HR, Barry moving in with Cisco, Barry & Julian. Instead of spreading them out over several eps, they put it all in 1 ep, allowing future eps to devote time to the plot rather than these set ups. Or worse such as showing antagonistic Barry and Julian 1 ep and the next they’re buds with nothing to show/said how they got there.

    The complaints about HR are misplaced. Wells’ expiration date was the S1 finale & was the only one that stood out. Harry was forgettable, just an attempt to keep TC on the show. HR is the same, likewise with all future iterations. Bringing back Harry isn’t going to solve a non-existent problem: the show doesn’t need Harry, Cavanagh or anyWells. What the show needs is a compelling villain.

    I love this ep, the angstfest has been a drag since S2 & this ep was just plain FUN.

    • herman1959 says:

      I think this is a glass half-full/half-empty kind of thing, and evidently you’re taking the glass half-full approach. That’s fair, but let’s see how it plays out next week – will the plot move as you suggest? I hope so because I’m a big Flash fan, but I’m starting to get a bad feeling about the show.

  20. guessitsme says:

    Worst recap ever!

  21. Butch says:

    The Flash was always described as the light, happy, superhero show as opposed to Arrow which was dark and brooding. Well, The Flash has not been light and happy this season. All the characters are troubled except Iris, and there are few if any light moments. I guess Barry and Iris’s budding relationship is light but I am sure some obstacle will soon turn up.

  22. Gianna says:

    I actually think they should keep snagging H. Wells from all the universes and that all of them are different. I think is funny and a true test to Tom acting skills! Some of them can be evil, but other can be a mess like HR. And since there are infinite universes…
    And an episode that show character grows is not a filler per se.