flashmonster3

On this week’s episode of The Flash, a monster terrorizes Central City. No, this isn’t a metaphor. An actual, stories-tall monster is on the scene. Can Barry and Julian put aside their differences to figure out this latest threat? How will the new Wells fit in? And what’s going on with Caitlin? Shall we?

Trust is a powerful thing. No matter how you swing it, it’s very difficult to rely on others and work as a well-oiled team if you don’t have trust. So far this season, that’s been in short supply. The first couple of episodes dealt with the core team getting back to that place of confidence and interdependence after the fallout of “Flashpoint.” “Monster” builds on that theme with a couple of this season’s new players in another smooth outing.

First up is the new Wells, better known as H.R. Despite his very enthusiastic efforts to fit in, Cisco is uneasy. The group has been burned before. At first, it looks like Cisco (and Barry) are correct in their superstitions, but not in the way they think. It turns out this Wells may not be nefarious, just a bit of a con man. On his Earth, H.R. is the face of S.T.A.R. Labs and the general idea man, but can’t take his concepts any further than that. But he does offer a bit of help with the monster of the week, so maybe he’ll prove his worth to the team after all.

Oh, yeah, that’s right. There’s a literal monster this time around. This huge, four-armed beast has a pretty cool design, for a TV budget. Such a gigantic creature makes for another challenge for Flash, despite his speed. It takes some good ole detective work to tackle this problem, bringing in Julian Albert. It turns out that the monster is a hologram, created by a bullied teen to wreck havoc. Julian almost winds up killing the kid, if not for Flash’s timely intervention.

Despite starting the episode by complaining to the chief about Barry’s tardiness, disappearances and other infractions, Julian’s knowledge and drive grounds his character in realism. He’s not just there as a foil for Barry’s work life. Instead, Tom Felton plays him as a man that has his passionate career in science altered by the mere existence of metahumans. But he isn’t blinded by hatred, learning to appreciate both The Flash and Barry over the course of this story. It shows a path forward for the character that’s more than just antagonistic.

While trust is often rewarded, sometimes situations can still spiral out of control. When Caitlin visits her mom to discuss her new ice powers, it brings up years of resentment and bitterness. When one of her mother’s employees tries to use Caitlin’s powers for his own career benefit, she becomes nearly possessed. It’s only a moment of regret and a long-needed apology from her mom that walks Caitlin back from the edge. But, by the end of the episode, that may not be enough. Caitlin’s storyline looks like one of the most intriguing of the season and it’s starting to ramp up in a way that will demand attention from the rest of the team.

Assorted Thoughts:

– Coffee has been wiped out by blight on H.R.’s world. The horror…

– H.R.’s Hitchcock sounds equally awesome to our own: “Murder on the Titanic! Who did it? Who cares? We’re drowning.”

– Other fun movie twists in H.R.’s world: “Gladiator” was titled “Sweaty Men” (it didn’t take) and “The Empire Strikes Back” was “Empire of the Sun.”

– More teasing of Joe’s will-they/won’t-they romance with the D.A.

– Next week, Wally is getting some Kid Flash nightmares as Alchemy returns.

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