The Flash Season 1 Episode 17 Review: ”Tricksters”

The Flash

One of the most anticipated events of the first season of The Flash has been the arrival of the legendary Mark Hamill (Star Wars), reprising his role as The Trickster from the ’90s Flash (which starred John Wesley Shipp) on The CW series. “Tricksters” provided Hamill’s fantastic guest appearance, along with also revealing a big twist concerning Harrison Wells’ origin. The episode lived up to its hype and became one of this year’s most entertaining hours of television.

As someone who got into the ’90s show early last year, it was pure joy to see Hamill back in this role that does feature a bit of his Joker from his time in animation and to see it here was a blast. The Trickster (both James Jesse and Axel Walker) is such a phenomenal Flash villain to read and follow in the comics, so whenever a series gets the opportunity to unleash that character in its universe, it’s only a bonus. Hamill’s performance was intense, thrilling, and remarkable on so many levels that it made every scene was in something to appreciate for so many different reasons. Knowing that these showrunners have the ’90s show close to their heart, it was fantastic to see all the tributes and nods they made to the original series, including Hamill’s character.

We also got to meet the second Trickster, Axel Walker (played by Devon Graye) who both physically and emotionally brought the character to life straight from the comic book pages. I loved the whole nutcase of it all and his fanboying for the original Trickster. And yes, the moment we got the most epic Star Wars nod ever with “I am your father” may have caused me to squee once or twice. These two worked so well together, and even though I do expect/hope to see the show have Axel work on his own, I will be happy for more interactions between the two Tricksters in future episodes of future seasons. Overall, I think The Flash did an excellent job with introducing and establishing both Tricksters and a lot of props go to Andrew Kreisberg (EP/showrunner), who wrote this phenomenal episode.

“Tricksters” also focused a lot on the secret origin of Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne, as we got the big plot twist that Eobard didn’t always look like Harrison. In flashbacks, we see actor Matt Letscher as THE Eobard Thawne, and funny enough, he looks a lot closer to how Eobard looks like in the comics. We learn how he got stuck in that timeline and what the real Harrison was like as he had to face a tragic end to his life with Eobard copying (I have no idea what that device was, but it definitely future techy) his appearance so that he could use it himself. The Flash had promised that there was going to be a major twist to the mystery of Reverse-Flash, and it delivered said twist perfectly.

Additionally, all of the interactions that Barry had with Harrison in the present were intense, and you thought so many times that Barry would snap at him at any moment. Grant Gustin has been growing so well into this role since the pilot, but the moment when Barry began to break down after learning his father had been kidnapped by the Tricksters, Gustin gave one of the most solid performances of the season. This show succeeds with a lot of things, but one of them that I always respect with it is that it features a superhero that, despite his amazing gifts, is just as human as the rest of us. He will cry when he feels that his world is crumbling around him and that is always what I love about superhero stories: the humanity in the hero. Also, having Joe to get him back up on his feet just gave me another reason to love that character and Jesse L. Martin.

Barry did get to a new level with his abilities in this episode, as Harrison guided him to start accessing the Speed Force, which alloed for him to vibrate through objects. You know how some people say “nerdgasm” over awesome nerd moments? I had a Flashgasm when it happened while dealing with the question “What is up with you, Eobard?” So many questions and only six episodes left.

Last, but not the least, “Tricksters” also featured Barry revealing himself as The Flash to his father (although it’s safe to say that he already knew) and…Eddie! Once again, every moment that John Wesley Shipp has been on this show, I have always gotten emotional over his performances, whether it’s an inspiring speech, him being moved by his son as a hero, or just him looking at his son while listening. It was just moving to see him get to smile and laugh over the joy that his son is a superhero, and you can see it as another passing-of-the-torch moment.

Now Eddie’s reaction was, first off, priceless, but also a huge shock to me as a viewer. However, given the fact that some of the recent mega-trailers have been hinting at big things for Eddie, this also made perfect sense. I think I need to see the next episode before I know how I feel about it, but I do love one point that Eddie made very well here: the fact that they are lying to Iris is something that they should discuss as it’s not right. Although, I’m calling this: I think Iris already knows.

Overall, there was nothing to complain about this episode: Hamill’s guest spot was well-done and hopefully not his last. “Tricksters” was a terrific comic book adventure that pitted Barry against two villains and also had him discovering another level of his abilities. And they gave us one helluva twist with the backstory for Harrison/Eobard. April 14, get here as fast as you possibly can, and yes, pun completely intended.

Don’t miss the six remaining episodes of season 1 of The Flash, starting on Tuesday, April 14, 8/7c on The CW with episode 18 “All Star Team-Up,” featuring Arrow’s Ray Palmer/The Atom and Felicity Smoak!

[Photo via The CW]


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