This episode we finally get to meet probably the lamest of all Flash villains: The Pied Piper. To their credit they took an elf-y looking dude wielding a flute and managed to pull something badass out of it. They do this by making him dress in a black hood (yawn) and giving him sounds gauntlets instead of a flute. That’s all well and good but then he’s not really the Pied Piper is he? There’s no pipe anymore. He’s just Sound Hands, the man with hands of sound. They do make the gauntlets look sort of like a flute in design, a line of green lights and what appears to be flute valves but that doesn’t really do it for me. They could have at least put him in a green hood but maybe they didn’t want us to confuse him with Arrow. We are introduced to Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper) in flashback. It’s Cisco’s first day and he shows up wearing his trademark silver jumpsuit with silver hair. Hartley makes fun of him and Cisco dances. None of that happens, Cisco is dressed like a tool but the only dances he does is with his mind. He mind dances intelligence all over the aggressive Hartley establishing a tense relationship off the bat. There is a throwaway line of Hartley being gay and I thank god for small favors in that they don’t make a “thing” out of it. When they mention he’s gay I thought “This is going to be terrible.” I thought they might choose to make him really camp or reveal some kind of crush on Cisco, the cause of their professional tension, or The Flash but it really just became a non-issue which made me wonder why they mentioned it in the first place.
Hartley attacks his daddy’s business, Flash shows up and they showdown and Hartley goes to super jail. Which, by the way, how do they maintain the prisoners in their super jail? How do they feed them? Do they get to shower? Do they get exercise? Even maximum security inmates get, like, an hour a week or something. It just seems real inhumane. Anyway, Hartley escapes by shattering the cell glass. Cisco runs down there to see what up just in time for the vault door to blow up in his face. As he goes flying Cisco yells “Buy Unleash The Dragon”. Wells tries to confront Hartley with his super speed but his legs give out so I guess Wells isn’t as mobile as we all thought. Blah, blah, blah Flash and Hartley fight again, Hartley’s gauntlets blow up in his hands and he goes back to super jail. We get two cliffhanger endings this week, Hartley reveals he knows where Caitlyn’s boyfriend, Ronnie, is. And holy shit Caitlyn Snow is Killer Frost in the comic, I had no idea until I looked up her name to make sure the spelling was right. That will be a fun payoff if it ever happens. Our second cliffhanger of the night is Harrison Wells using the tachyon macguffin from the mid-season finale to juice his speed force powers while he promises an endgame soon. Which, thank god, I’m all for slow burns in television but I’m really getting sick of this. I think they established Wells as being shady too fast and it feels like this has been dragging on forever. The scenes of Reverse Flash have been great because as Reverse Flash he’s downright scary but just him standing in a white room? I’m over it.
Some random final thoughts before we wrap all this up. This is the second episode in a row they use the word “millennials” to describe their, Barry and Iris’, life situation. That word just gives me douche chills every time I hear it. I really like Grant Gustin in the role of Barry, I just wish they would write Barry smarter in the comics. I like his opening and sometimes closing monologues but I really want to start hearing Flash facts about speed theory. Maybe next season when Wells is gone he’ll start doing that to fill in the brainy gap left by Wells departure. Speaking of Harrison Wells I worry about Tom Cavanaugh’s back because he carries every scene he’s in and sometimes even the whole show. I’m growing tired of the whole Reverse Flash subplot but I’ll miss Wells when he is inevitably gone from the show. The conclusion is this was a mediocre outing. It’s good enough to keep Flash fans going until the next episode, I was happy with it just not blown away, but it’s not going to win over anyone who has given up and it’s not going to attract anybody new.
Watch The Flash on the CW, Tuesdays 8/7c.