The Flash Review (S1E17): 'Tricksters'


'Tricksters' lived up to its name by bringing back the great Mark Hamill to reprise his role from The Flash series of the 1990's as the Trickster. While he stews in prison for terrorist activity in Central City twenty years ago, a young Trickster (Davon Graye) emerges parachuting explosives onto a playground. And that's not even the most shocking part of the episode. 

It's wonderful to see the new show embrace the past by featuring Hamill and even showing stills from the old show as part of file footage of the elder Trickster. Hamill gives just the right amount camp as the Hannibal Lecter-Joker type of imprisoned villain decrying someone impersonating his Trickster persona. He is splendidly creepy and menacing, but he's had plenty of experience because he's been the voice of the animated Joker for years. 

Hamill as James Jesse is livid that the young Axel Walker is running around as a copycat but it's all an act as the two are in cahoots. Walker breaks him out of Iron Heights and they take Hamill's co-star and The Flash himself from the old series John Wesley Shipp. Having seen that 1990's series on CBS when it premiered it warmed my heart to see them share the screen again. 

Harrison Wells may have shown his hand because after the Tricksters strapped a 'Speed'-like bomb on Barry, the sinister doc walked him through how to phase through solids to get that bomb off. The detailed instructions had Barry declaring to Joe and Eddie, yes he knows Barry's identity too, that Wells is the Reverse Flash. 

The Trickster storyline alone could have sustained fans especially the nerd scream heard around the world when Hamill told the young Trickster, "I am your father." Except the writers flexed their creative muscles by flashing back to the night Barry's mother was killed. 

After the speedsters battle and go their separate ways from Barry's house, Reverse Flash sputters out, weakened and unable to time jump. His A.I. explains he's S.O.L. because the Speed Force has been depleted and ends up stuck in this time. He removes his headpiece to reveal he's not Harrison Wells!

In the flashback, a young Harrison Wells like we've never seen him before, happy and in love, discusses his plans for a high-tech facility with the beautiful Tess Morgan. While driving down the road, a spike strip causes the car to turn over and crash. From the bushes emerges Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher) and approaches a panicked Wells. Tess is dying, but Thawne tells Wells she's been dead for centuries. He then connects himself to Wells and sucks his life force from him causing Thawne to take on his appearance leaving Wells a dried up shell. 

Just when you think The Flash has taken a safe turn the writers toss caution to the wind again and surprise and delight fans with bold storytelling. And if the previews of the rest of the season are any indication they're just getting warmed up. 

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