Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit’, Part 3

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What follows contains spoilers from season 1 of THE FLASH.

Jaw-dropping.

Brain-melting.

Unbelievable.

Holy (deity or curse word of your choice)

These were some of the online reactions to The Flash, Episode 15: “Out of Time”. Before we get started, let me leave a little spoiler space.

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Ok, here we go!

Let’s start with the prediction accuracy tracker:

  • Wells is not really his name – as a time traveler, he chose H. Wells as a reference to H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine  –  Status: Inconclusive 
  • Wells is really Eobard Thawne  – Status: Check
  • Barry and Thawne fight “through time” which ends with Thawne stranded in the past – Status:  Inconclusive but likely
  • Thawne needs Barry’s power to get back to his time – Status: Check
  • Wells caused the anomaly on purpose – Status: Inconclusive
  • Thawne’s “dead” wife (named Tess Morgan) is really Dr. Tina McGee of Mercury Labs– Status: Inconclusive
  • Barry will somehow become the very anomaly that causes the STAR Labs particle accelerator to melt down.  – Status: Inconclusive

Now, let’s talk about Episode 15, “Out of Time.”  The last 10 minutes of this had more “payoff” than any show I can remember.  Season finales – heck SERIES finales – have had less startling revelations (I’m looking at you, Sopranos!)   Starting at the 50 minute mark we got:

  • The final reveal that Wells is really Eobard Thawne, The Reverse Flash from the 25th century;
  • The “death” of Cisco (more on that later);
  • Iris finally admitting that she loved Barry;
  • Iris finding out Barry is the Flash; and
  • Barry travelling back in time.

Think about that for a minute. That all took place within 10 minutes of real time!  The image below accurately reflects what was going on at my house as I watched

Yellow Suit 3.1

Hat tip to Batman Memes for the pic!

So where does this leave us? Let’s start with the obvious. A lot of main characters are in bad shape – Singh, Joe, and Cisco are seriously injured or dead and a tidal wave is about to hit Central City

So, what happens next?

…..and then Barry travels back in time with most of the knowledge of what’s coming.  However, Barry does not know that Wells is Reverse Flash.  He cut Caitlyn off before she could tell him.  This is important.

The obvious story here is that Barry will change events such that Singh and Joe do not meet those fates and Mardon is captured before the tidal wave can be set off.

Cisco is another matter. His discovery about Wells/Thawne has been building for weeks – much earlier than where Barry is in time.  This time travel will not fully derail him.  Something may throw him off the scent for a while but like Thawne says, Cisco is clever.  He may get delayed (which saves his life in the short-term) but ultimately he will not be denied.  His current death will likely be undone by Barry but he’s still Thawne’s trail.  Eventually, he’ll figure it out again. I hope Barry is around when he does.

Now, why is it important that Barry doesn’t know about Wells true identity?  Let’s say the conversation between Caitlyn and Barry had gone like this:

Caitlyn:  “Barry, I need to tell you something important”

Barry:  “Not now, Mardon is causing a tidal wave that will flood the whole city!”

Caitlyn: “Barry, I just got back to STAR Labs. Cisco is dead and before he died, he convinced me that Wells is the bad guy. He’s in league with the Reverse Flash.  Now, go create a wind wall to sap the wave’s power”

Barry creates the wind wall and goes back in time.

Imagine what he would do with the information Catilyn gave him.  If he had found out about Wells before he travelled back in time.

Barry would have investigated and gone after him.  Especially if Cisco convinced Barry that Wells was really the Reverse Flash.  But Barry doesn’t know – and now Cisco / Catilyn are days away from discovering it.  I suspect the writers will enjoy throwing Thawne / Reverse Flash references at us whenever we see Wells for the next few episodes.  Barry, Cisco, Caitlyn and Joe will be blissfully unaware while we scream and shout at our TV sets.  Beautiful.

We have several weeks until the season finale.  I could see them throwing Cisco off the trail for the next few weeks only to have him re-discover the truth in time for the final couple of episodes.  Perhaps Thawne attacking Cisco is the fuse that ignites the “fight through time” battle that Barry and Thawne will have?  I could buy that.

Where does this leave Barry and Iris?

Barry went back in time but unlike the situation with Wells true identity, he knows that Iris loves him.  That will probably be true a few days back as well but Iris has apparently felt this way for a while.  Will she admit it to herself?  Will she allow herself to admit it to Barry?  That is definitely up in the air.  As the show is on the CW I’m going to go with “Soon” and “Eventually”.

Due to Barry’s time travel, Iris will also never have learned that Barry is the Flash.  Eventually, we get to see that reveal again.  If it’s like the comic books it’ll be slightly more….cozy.

So where are we headed?

Time for some more predictions!

Barry will study the pictures from the mirror and “change” how he fights Thawne 

We know now that Barry and Thawne will fight. They will travel back to the night Nora was killed and Thawne was stranded in the past. The question is, will it happen the same way again?

We’ve seen Barry look at the pictures from the night Nora Allen died.  During that conversation with Joe he says the pictures tell him what not to do. Barry works under the assumption that if he does something different, he’ll save his mother.  While that’s possible, it’s likely that saving his mother could lead to his father dying instead or to Thawne keeping his powers  or to…any number of things.  This screams “Law of unintended consequences” to me. In short, Barry will save Nora.  Hilarity will ensue.

Reverse Flash – Murderer  

We’ve already seen this: Yellow Suit 3.2

How long before we see this?
Yellow Suit 3.3

Who is that underneath that Batgirl mask? That’s Iris Allen.  The way she dies at the hands of the Reverse Flash looks familiar, doesn’t it?  I do not think this is imminent but down the road?  Definitely. Why else show Thawne kill Cisco that way?

We will find out that everything Wells/Thawne has done – built STAR Labs, built the particle accelerator and created the anomaly which caused the explosion – is for one reason and one reason only:  To create the Flash.

We now know that Thawne is from centuries ahead in time (the 25th century if the lore is a guide). While living in the 25th century, before he ever time travelled, it’s possible that he’d know someone named Harrison Wells created STAR Labs back in 2001.  At some point, Thawne’s 25th century technology allows him to mimic The Flash’s powers. Fast forward to now.

Barry and Thawne fight and Barry figures out how to remove Thawne’s powers.  Barry travels back to the future leaving Thawne marooned in 2001.  Thawne assumes the identity of Harrison Wells.  With no immediate way to create time travel he does the only thing he can do:  Begin the steps needed to bring the Flash into existence so he can mimic Flash’s powers and time travel again.

Think about it. This is Eobard Thawne, one of the great villains in DC comic history.  He’s not the altruistic type.  There is no logical reason for a marooned-in-the-past supervillain like Thawne to create STAR Labs EXCEPT to allow him to get what he wants. In this case that is a return trip to the 25th century.  In Thawne’s own words, the Flash’s power is the only thing that can help him do it. Bank on it.  Everything Thawne has done while using the name Harrison Wells was to create The Flash.

Like the man said, it’s a means to an end.

–  Vrin

A side note:  I’ve watched the Thawne reveal a dozen times now. I still get chills when I see it.  They did an absolutely MASTERFUL job setting it up.  Masterful.

Discussion! Fulcrum and All That Went Right with ‘Star Wars Rebels’

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What follows contains spoilers for season 1 of Star Wars Rebels.

I’ll admit it–I got awfully nervous when, just a minute into the episode “Droids in Distress,” R2-D2 and C-3PO rolled onto the scene.  My brain immediately ramped up with cynical questions, like “How, in a giant galaxy such as this one, do the same two droids appear everywhere?”  I was worried that, like some of the earlier material in the newly-minted Star Wars canon, Star Wars Rebels was going to be prone to cameos and other forced sorts of storytelling practices and get in the way of developing other interesting characters and situations in the galaxy.

I was worried that “Kid, I’m about to let everyone in on the secret” was going to be as good as Rebels got, which was believable, because that was an outstanding moment, especially considering how early in the story that it came.

Fulcrum 1

“Concentrate all fire on…the JEDI.”

It wasn’t long before I’d dismissed my cynicism.  The great moments that the first season of Star Wars Rebels offered were plenty:

  • The Inquisitor’s sprung-trap monologue after breaking our hearts, and assuring us that Master Luminara was, tragically, well and truly dead;
  • Sabine and Hera’s standoff at the fuel depot against the frynocks;
  • the construction of Ezra’s lightsaber;
  • Yoda, but not Yoda;
  • the lightsaber duel and dialogue between Kanan and the Inquistor in “Fire Across the Galaxy”.

These moments weren’t just great show moments; they were great Star Wars moments, moments in which good triumphed over evil, in which the will to survive drove heroes onward, in which masters and students traded knowledge and experience to seek better ends.  It had the texture of an older Star Wars story, and with its Firefly-like cast makeup and carefully regimented cameos, the whole thing felt at least as true to the source material as anything released since the 1980’s.

BRIDGING A [31-YEAR?] GAP
But when Ahsoka Tano descended the ladder of the Ghost and revealed herself as Fulcrum at the conclusion of “Fire Across the Galaxy”, something that had never happened before in the saga’s history occurred.

Fulcrum 2

#AhsokaLives

It was hard for me to find the words to describe that something until after I’d watched the episode a few times.  That first time, I had the same reaction that most viewers who have followed the franchise almost certainly had when they realized it was her: part joy, part surprise-that’s-not-surprise (the best kind), part “I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO WAIT FOR MORE OF THIS STORY!”  It’s probably not quite the feeling my mother described upon watching The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, but it’s as close to it as a 33-year old like me is going to get, for now.

What makes the appearance of Ahsoka Tano different from other cliffhangers in the history of Star Wars is that it is the first moment in which the context of both the classic trilogy and that of the prequel trilogy felt like they were well and truly part of the same wonderful narrative.  The tone of Star Wars Rebels is unquestionably closer to that of the classic trilogy, from the show’s title, to its use of never-before-depicted-except-as-a-toy vehicles, to its soundtrack, to its cameos.  That probably gets some of us past the cynicism about Star Wars that has become more prevalent in recent years, but I think there’s more to it than that.

The varied responses with which most Star Wars media has been met since May of 1999 fall into a few basic camps:

  • too much explanation;
  • silly allegorical moralizing;
  • shoddy writing;
  • lack of adventure;
  • poorly-conceived characters;
  • pseudo-science;
  • shoddy writing.

Regardless of those criticisms, the Clone Wars-era stories had some great moments, as well, and some great characters.  While they’ll not be universally adored like the classic trilogy, the prequel trilogy and its television show, The Clone Wars, are part of the new canon and, like it or not, have shaped where Disney and the Lucasfilm Story Group can and will take the franchise into the future.

Fulcrum 3

The slaying of Tal Merrik was one of the most indicative scenes of Anakin’s future as Darth Vader that any of the prequel stories gave us.

They certainly seem to be up to the task.  Filoni, Kinberg, Weisman, and Beck seem to be in control of where Rebels comes from, as well as where it’s going.  It provides the longsuffering with some closure on Ahsoka’s fate, as well as lays the foundation of how the crew of the Ghost will factor into the Rebel Alliance that first appeared on screen 38 years ago.  The turmoil of the Clone Wars and the furtive hope of the Rebellion co-exist within Star Wars Rebels to fully represent, and expand upon, both eras.

After wrapping up the plots from season 1, the last five minutes of “Fire Across the Galaxy” cemented and reaffirmed all of that. Bail Organa’s blockade runners appeared to save the day, he confirmed the existence of other Rebel “cells” (in desperate need of “alliance”), Ahsoka returned from her exile gloriously, and then, as if all that wasn’t enough, the Dark Lord of the Sith made a steely, wordless descent from a shuttle ramp to do what he does best.  We’ve never seen that synthesis before with Star Wars, and maybe not in any imaginative universe on a scale as large as this.

Star Wars Rebels is thus a new application the best type of storytelling: measured, exceptionally well populated and written, and with a tone that somehow indicates all of the strengths of the franchise, and none of its shortcomings.  The blend of the old and new Star Wars into a cohesive, whole myth respects its past and reinvigorates our long-established love of its future as we head toward December, towards season 2, and the future of Disney’s patronage over the galaxy far, far away.

WHERE WE’RE HEADED?
I’m not one to speculate much, but there are a few things that I’d be over the moon to see in season 2:

  • Fulcrum 4

    “You are all that remains of their religion.”

    The reunion of Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano.  One would recognize the other.  One wouldn’t.  The dramatic irony would probably cause me to explode.

  • More about Hera’s history.  She makes a small appearance in The Clone Wars, as well.  She’s the small child that appears in the episode “Supply Lines” that focuses on her father, the revolutionary Cham Syndulla, and his relationship with the Republic and the Jedi Council.  To see that aspect of her character developed further would be and outstanding use of an episode or two.
  • Ezra’s development as a Jedi Padawan.  Because their fire has gone out of the galaxy.
  • Kanan’s rise to Jedi Master.  From “Spark of Rebellion” to “Fire Across the Galaxy,” his character has become more familiar a Jedi figure than many, longer-established characters.  After the release of six or seven issues of Star Wars: Kanan from Marvel comics, that part of the story should get even more interesting.
  • The construction of the Death Star.  This gets alluded to more in the tie-in novel A New Dawn, so there’s a chance its construction could affect the fates of our Rebels.

There’s so much to look forward to in the Star Wars universe in 2015, and nothing more so than the release of The Force Awakens.  But Rebels is Star Wars to its marrow, and its unique marriage of the old and new has done the improbable: it has merged the two eras with its terrific characters, balanced storytelling, outstanding cast, and superb tone, and season 2 will be a welcome prelude and counterpart to the new film in no small way.

–  Vandal

Discussion! ‘The Man in the Yellow Suit,’ Part 2

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What follows contains spoilers for season 1 of THE FLASH.

Before we get to the spoiler-y stuff let me say:

In my previous post I predicted that Wells would be shown as the Reverse Flash.  That’s one in a row!

The Weather Wizard is the star of an upcoming episode.  When they killed Clyde Mardon in the pilot episode I said Clyde was not the Weather Wizard.  The true Weather Wizard was either Mark or Marco depending on your Flash and that we’d eventually he’d try to avenge his brother.  Welcome aboard, Liam McIntyre, THE WEATHER WIZARD!

I have no idea what they plan to do with Grodd, but I hope it centers on his controlling General Eiling, all the toys he brings with him, and a war of domination on Central City.

Eventually someone in authority will find out STAR Labs has a super powered jail cell beneath it holding a number of people who’ve never stood trial.  Hilarity will ensue.  It’ll be even better if a Grodd-controlled Eiling orders the release of the super criminals and wages war on the Flash.  Season 2 beckons!

Ok, enough spoiler space.  Time to talk about what’s really important…

Yellow Suit 2.1

Oh. Yeah.

In The Matrix: Revolutions (go with me here), Agent Smith – a computer program – leaves the Matrix and inhabits the real world body of “Bane”, one of the other people freed from the Matrix.  While Bane’s body remained the same his consciousness was different – the original man was replaced by the consciousness of Agent Smith. To look at him you’d never know the difference but once Neo looks at him – looks through the meat and bone – he sees that it’s Agent Smith on the inside.  When defining “who” someone is, the shell is irrelevant. It’s the consciousness that matters

We know that shell of Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash.  Despite this reveal – and it was a great reveal – we still don’t know who Harrison Wells truly is on the inside.  Here are some of the internet’s best guesses as to who is Harrison Wells on the inside?  Is Harrison Wells:

  • Eobard Thawne (Reverse Flash) time travelled back to the past?
  • Hunter Zolomon (Zoom) time travelled back to the past?
  • A future version of Barry Allen travelled back to the past?
  • Barry Allen from an alternate Earth?
  • Metron of the New Gods?
  • Abra Kadabra come back from the 64th century?

See what I mean?  Even though we know Harrison Wells is the Reverse Flash WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHO HE IS.

I’ll list what we do know about Wells and see if that helps. We know that Wells:

  • has the powers of the Flash while in the Reverse Flash suit;
  • super-speed powers are spotty while not in the Reverse Flash suit;
  • uses the tachyon device to collect the Speed Force;
  • will kill (Simon Stagg);
  • will remove Barry’s enemies who know Flash’s secret identity – Girder (freed by Wells, killed by Blackout), General Wade Eiling (hand-delivered to Grodd);
  • has access to advanced technology including a sentient computer (Gideon) and a newspaper from 2024;
  • is a widower. His wife was named Tess Morgan and she died in a car crash several years ago; and
  • knew Barry was destined to be the Flash (watched the video of Barry being struck by lightning).

Summed up what we know for sure that Wells

  • will do anything to protect the Flash;
  • drove Barry into becoming a hero;
  • convinced Joe that Barry being a hero is for the best;
  • is driving Barry to get faster and faster; and
  • is concerned with a future “Crisis”.

Sum it up and what does it mean?  A driven scientist who will do anything knows an accident creates a hero.  I do not think it’s a stretch to say that Harrison Wells caused the accident that created the Flash on purpose. Now, we know for 100% sure Wells is the Reverse Flash but we are not 100% sure that Wells killed Nora Allen.  I will go on the assumption that Wells is the Reverse Flash who killed Nora.  We won’t know for sure until that scene is shown at Flash speed in its entirety. If it turns out that he didn’t, I’ll do another post about it.

So why? Why would Wells go back in time and kill Nora Allen?  Because to create the Flash two things need to happen:  Barry’s mother needs to die (giving him the lifetime of motivation) and the and the lightning bolt needed to strike him and bathe him in the chemicals (giving him the powers).  Wells almost certainly caused the STAR labs events. It makes sense that he caused the other as well.

But why? Why is Wells so insistent on creating the Flash?  I think the answer lies in two things:  The “Crisis” in the future newspaper and the fate of his wife, Tess Morgan. For the record, I come up with my own theories but the idea of Wells’ wife being a driving force was not my idea – a tip of the hat to Blaine Pardoe for that lead.  I expanded on what we talked about, Blaine.

What motivates Harrison Wells?

From the future newspaper we know that on April 25th 2024 the Crisis ends and the Flash goes missing. From Wells reaction to the future newspaper having no references to the Flash when Blackout steals Flash’s powers we know that the Crisis – and a successful outcome – is important to Wells. But as I laid out above, Wells is a “bad guy”.  What would make Wells care so much about the Crisis? His wife could.  I think Wells stake in the Crisis is tied to Tess Morgan.

The simplest theory is that during the Crisis, Flash was one second too slow in saving Wells wife and that’s why Wells went back in time  – to push the Flash to be better so he’d save Tess. That’s possible but I have another theory.

I don’t think Wells wife died in the early 2000s as he claimed.  I don’t think she died in the Crisis either.  In fact, I don’t think she died at all.

I think Harrison Wells wife is really Dr. Tina McGee, the scientist at Mercury Labs who built the tachyon device stolen by Reverse Flash / Wells.  When you see them in their police station scene they clearly know each other but more than that – they talk like they have a long history.  In fact, when Barry threatens to expose some things going on at Mercury labs, McGee responds by saying Barry is very much like Harrison.  The disdain in her voice is EXACTLY how a ticked off wife would talk to her husband.  Bank on it. She’s Tess Morgan.

Something happened during the Crisis – perhaps Harrison somehow causes the Crisis – but somehow Tess Morgan is thrown into the past.  She assumed the name Tina McGee (conveniently using her same initials).  “Harrison” (whoever he truly is in the year 2024) taps into the Speed Force.  He travels into the past to rescue Tess but they exist now before the Speed Force has been created.

Yellow Suit 2.2

Nice to meet you, Mrs. Wells.

She blames Harrison for this predicament.  Neither of them can get home because travelling forward requires more power than they have available. The only person capable of creating the power levels they need is Barry.  Harrison creates STAR Labs and engineers the events that lead to the “anomaly”. Harrison realizes that the lightning bolt is only half of the “Flash Creation Equation”. He uses what little speed force he has collected to travel back in time again and kills Nora Allen, setting Barry on his fateful path.

In my last post I posited that Barry and Reverse Flash would fight “through time” and that part of that fight would take place on the night Nora is killed.  Barry now knows he will time travel and fight the Reverse Flash when Nora is killed.

I could see Barry figuring out it’s Wells that murdered Nora and attacking him setting off the very events that lead to her death.

I can also see a Flash / Reverse Flash fight – a fight engineered by Wells – in the particle accelerator causing the very anomaly that creates the “accident”

Geez but this time travel stuff is fun, isn’t it?

Now that I’ve laid out what I think is going on let’s go back to the beginning:  Who is Harrison Wells?

It may be easier to describe who does not fit this story:

Metron is a New God.  Wife problems are beneath him. It was a nice theory for a moment, but no.

Abra Kadabra seeks adulation and applause.  Wells hasn’t sought anything like that since STAR Labs blew up.  He’s out

An Alternate Earth Barry and a Future Barry would likely still have some semblance of Barry’s big heart and heroic streak.  Wells has shown himself to be conniving and manipulating.  Not big hearted and heroic. They are both out.

That leaves Hunter Zolomon and Eobard Thawne.

As I said in my last Flash post, I think they have merged the two attitudes into the body we call Harrison Wells.  The question is which personality is the dominant one. WHO IS HARRISON WELLS?

The answer is Thawne.

Zolomon was a cop with a troubled past who gains powers by accident. Thawne is a future scientist who gains his powers on purpose by replicating the events that create the original Flash.  A scientist who gains powers on purpose?

While my new thoughts on the role of his wife and the Crisis change Wells’ motivation, I think the core of my original thought remains true.  Harrison Wells is really Eobard Thawne.  He recreates the Flash’s powers but something goes wrong (The Crisis???) and he winds up in the past having to create his greatest enemy in order to save his wife and return to the future. The story elements of insert Hunter Zolomon’s “Make Flash a better hero” characteristics are worked into his personality as Wells needs to create and build the Flash but underneath…under the meat and bone…lurks Eobard Thawne.  The Reverse Flash.

What do you think fans? I’m willing to listen to any argument for or against.  Lets hear it!

–  Vrin