Awesome. That is the epithet that will always be used first for every Flash episode post the mid-season break. The show keeps raising the bar with each passing episode. What’s even more impressing is that, the writers even though have added a few non-comic tid-bits have never strayed too far away from the comics. The ability to maintain the coherence, shows the adroitness these writers possess.
The episode holds a very special place, because one of DC’s most loved voices, got a face in a live action under the mask of a character that was inspired by The Joker. Yeah, you read that right, Mark Hamill plays the Trickster *starts fangirling*. The episode begins with bomb balloons flying down the skies of Central City. Then the perpetrator, a young man, posts a vlog about how this was just the start and identifies himself as the Trickster (Played by Devon Graye). Detective Joe West (Played by Jesse L. Martin) says that this man was an impersonator and the actual Trickster was at Iron Heights. Barry Allen AKA The Flash (Played by Grant Gustin) and Joe pay the original Trickster a visit and my favourite scene of the episode starts.
Let me sum up, what the scene looks like, the cell Joe and Barry are sitting in front looks like the one from Silence of the lambs and Mark Hamill’s Trickster looks like what would happen if Hannibal Lecter met The Joker. The cold, unconscionable tone with hints of psychopathy and the maniacal giggle and that eccentric body language. As of now, this is closest to what the show can get to having The Joker. The original Trickster tells him that he is an impersonator and they needed to catch him, and if they were to do that they must go to his old lair. When Barry and Joe go there, they discuss about Harrison Wells (Played by Tom Cavanagh) and about his dissemble manner and how Barry was suspecting he had something to do with his murder. This causes Barry to stop trusting Wells. When the young Trickster who will later be identified as Axel Walker says he had planted a bomb in the city, Flash goes out looking for the bomb and refuses to listen to Dr. Wells and that results in the older Trickster escaping and his jailed father, Henry Allen (Played by John Wesley Shipp) being taken as a hostage. Before I move ahead, I don’t know if the writers did this intentionally, but the younger Trickster to throw off The Flash and the police says that a big bomb was between 52nd Street and Avenue B, now in The Dark Knight, do you remember where the Joker kept Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes? 250 52nd Street and Avenue X. Too good to be a co-incidence?
The older Trickster and younger Trickster, regroup at another location, where the older tells the younger, “I am your father”. Yes, Mark Hamill, who potrayed Luke Skywalker in Star Wars Series, was on the receiving end of that dialogue back then. Yes, he said it in a semi-Joker voice. Yes, it was mind-blowing. The writers have done an exceptional job of giving this particular episode that extra spice that the viewers simply cannot resist. Give those guys a cookie. The trickster manages to trick Flash into wearing a bomb and took the concept out of the Sandra Bullocks’ movie, Speed; if he went slower than 600mph, the bomb on his wrist would explode. Dr. Wells then teaches him how to walk through objects, which again is coherent with the comics. The way, Dr. Wells describes and helps Barry gives away the fact that he is experienced with powers of the speed force. We have a trip down memory lane as well, showing how Eobard Thawne became Harrison Wells. Harrison Wells is not part of the DC comic universe, so the writers had to find a suitable way to link the two characters. Tess Morgan, the wife of Eobard Thawne is also teased in this episode.
From Breaking Bad references to the giggle of the Joker, this episode manages to capture all this awesome-ness. But there was little too much drama on Barry’s side of the story in this episode, which resulted in shortage of action. But all this being said, it was so good to see Mark Hamill back, with his versatile acting and his eccentric portrayal of the Trickster, but let’s face it, you might as well have called him The Joker in disguise.
My rating for Flash – Season 1 Episode 17: 8.8/10