After the past two episodes’ big developments on the CW's "The Flash," Barry (Grant Gustin) and Joe (Jesse Martin) were pretty positive Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) had information about who killed Barry’s mother -- if Wells was not responsible himself. It would be back to normal, sort of, for the time-traveling superhero in episode 17, “Tricksters,” but the Flash would not be able to shake his newfound distrust of his mentor.
The episode began with a flashback to the night Barry’s mother was killed. The peek into the past showed the fight between the Flash and Reverse Flash in more detail. After Reverse Flash left the Allen house, he stopped in the street injured. He had lost his ability to reach time-traveling speeds and was stuck in his current time and place. Pulling off his mask, fans were shocked to find -- not Harrison Wells -- but a new face. It was the real Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), leading viewers to ask why Harrison Wells had told Cisco that Eobard was his real name in episode 15.
Back in the present, Barry was feeling terrible about having trusted Wells all this time. He also was torn, not able to figure out why Wells was so keen on helping him and keeping him safe.
Meanwhile, a copycat killer calling himself the Trickster unleashed a group of bombs attached to parachutes all over Central City. In order to catch him, Barry and Joe paid a visit to James Jesse (Mark Hamill) in prison. James was an eccentric terrorist who went by the name the Trickster -- guest star Hamill played the Trickster in the 1990-91 “Flash” TV show -- and he told Joe and Barry that the imposter must have found his lair. He gave them the location, angry that someone was stealing his legacy, but when Barry and Joe got there it was empty.
That was a problem. Jesse revealed that the lair had housed a bomb big enough to destroy the whole city. Soon, the new Trickster, Axel Walker (Devon Graye), was posting a video threatening to use the dangerous weapon.
Another flashback showed a younger Wells courting a pretty woman, Tess (Bre Blair), as he planned the creation of S.T.A.R. Labs. All the while, Eobard Thawne was keeping watch over the promising scientist.
Back in the Central City present, Walker warned he was setting the bomb off in a new video. However, it was all a trick. Walker was a protégé -- and possibly the son -- of James, and while the Flash and the police were busy searching the city for the bomb, Walker broke James out of prison. They also took a hostage: Barry’s dad (John Wesley Shipp -- the star of the 1990s "Flash")!
In another flashback, Wells was driving with Tess when someone popped his tires and caused the car to turn over -- it was Thawne. The mysterious villain did nothing but watch as Tess died.
In the present, James and Walker seized control of a fundraising event for the mayor. They poisoned all the guests through the Champagne and forced everyone to transfer their money into James’ bank account. Barry showed up, but Walker sneaked a bomb onto his arm that would detonate if Barry ran under 600 miles per hour.
Barry was not sure how to handle the situation, but Wells talked him through a difficult procedure. Wells had Barry maintain an exact speed to reach a frequency that would allow him phase through a wall, leaving the bomb behind. After discarding the bomb, Barry administered an anecdote synthesized by S.T.A.R. Labs to everyone at the fundraiser. He also got his dad’s location out of James and got to the Trickster’s hideout just in time to save Henry Allen from a trap that would have killed him. After rescuing Henry, Barry revealed his identity to his shocked but elated father.
With James and Walker captured, Barry and Joe switched their focus back to Wells. They enlisted Eddie (Rick Cosnett) to lie to Iris (Candice Patton) so she would not pursue Mason Bridge’s (Roger Howarth) disappearance. Barry told Joe and Eddie that Wells’ instructions about phasing through the wall sounded like someone who had experience as a speedster. Barry was sure that Wells was Reverse Flash.
In the last flashback of the episode, fans saw the conclusion of the car wreck scene. Eobard pulled Wells out of the vehicle and used a strange device to suck the life out of his body and take his place. He said stealing his identity was his ticket home – presumably in the future – and he needed the particle accelerator to be built years before Wells would have originally. When the cops arrived, only Eobard was at the scene, but he looked just like Dr. Wells.
What did you think of “Trickster?” Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.