Mild episode spoilers follow
Well, at least we know Dr. Wells isn't a man of faith since he doesn't believe in chosen ones. So, that's fun.
Also I'm not sure why they showed Ronnie/ half-Firestorm in the opening recap for this week when he was only brought up twice?
Coming off an episode where the villains were quite hysterical ("They call you the heat? I am the heat!"), we thankfully got an episode where the villain was both interesting and relevant to our S.T.A.R. Labs buddies. I wasn't expecting much out of Pied Piper this week, and I even thought he was going to be one of those short-lived villains that was just kind of there, but then he actually turned out to be quite on top of things.
Most of the sequences are, at first glance, mostly coincidences. He happened to know this or happened to do this, but luckily this show is science-based, so it was all explained. And, our characters are actually smart, which really helps. It's not always about strength so much as it is about being able to outsmart the opponent, which is exactly what it all comes down to.
Every character in this episode worked very well. Even Iris had some developments. Cisco and Caitlin were mostly there for comic relief as well as a few dramatic bits while Wells was the one who received the most development. And we got a significant amount of knowledge about how his powers works, with a new theory springing up in my mind that makes a little more sense.
I like how the show is relying more on the strength of the S.T.A.R. Labs group as a unit rather than individual pieces. They all add up to a greater team, to a greater hero, and each person is required to make it work. The fact that Barry has super-powers almost feels like a bonus rather than necessity at some times, such as when intelligence is required over physical prowess. Certainly it's better than the dynamic of the sister show, where the team in Starling is expected to break up every other episode.
This dynamic also works in a comedic fashion, where they are able to bounce off of each other so well. The actors just have a ton of chemistry together, you can tell they are having a fun time performing on a silly little thing like a super hero show. Especially one as light-hearted as this. It's refreshing to see smiles in a super-hero related piece of media. Even in the comic books it's rather to see someone crack a smile and make a genuine joke rather than just some crack at a friend or villain.
As far as the story for the episode goes, I really did like it and thought it highlighted further the aforementioned teamwork of S.T.A.R Labs by trying to shake it up. There was a slight break-up but once again the loyalty displayed by the teammates prevailed. I get the feeling that the big secret Wells was fearing was different than the one he spilled, but it was an interesting one. Part of me says that it doesn't warrant the big distrust, but then a bigger part of me is beating that side up because lives were lost and forever changed--innocent lives as well.
But the disruption that the appearance of Pied Piper caused was interesting for the group and helped display a little more of their history. And hey, we even got to see the amazing meeting of Caitlin and Cisco!...yeah it wasn't really that special, they were just making fun of Hartley. Whatever.
I never really got why Hartley was poking fun at Cisco other than some pretentious belief that he was the best, but, he never showed that anywhere else. He didn't make any remarks about that. I suppose the hints at that were his boasting that he beat Wells at chess, but, that was it. I felt his character was more of the cunning villain rather than a boastful one.
Barry being out of the loop was at first strange but paved the way for Wells to take control of the episode. That was probably the best part of the episode, all the Wells stuff. Not only did we see him use his Speed Force abilities while in civilian clothing (and just seeing them again to keep raising suspicion about who he really is), but he had some emotional moments as well where he took full responsibility for the Particle Accelerator incident and saying that there's even more blame than just what's on the surface because he was aware of the big risk and the probability of it occurring.
The flashbacks were decent enough to serve the story by establishing Hartley's role alongside Wells in S.T.A.R. Labs. The reason behind Wells "betrayal" isn't as profound as Hartley made it out to be--I mean, I don't really understand why Wells kicked him out in the first place outside of some weird doubt in Hartley--and certainly doesn't justify putting lives at risk.
Wells, though, took commanding lead of the episode by his quick thinking in both the opening fight as well as the final battle. In one way, it did feel like a chess match in which Barry was a pawn for both sides, as they tried to use him to their advantage at one point or another.
But let's talk about the good doctor, shall we? Given what we learned at the end of the episode, as well as a brief moment in S.T.A.R. Labs, there is reason to believe that Wells is something of a renegade. We know there are two men in yellow suits, but I feel like they are the Sith: there is always a master and a student. Wells has some variation of the Speed Force endowed on him, one that fades over time for some reason, which is why he uses that silver chest plate to charge up his power like we saw. That tells me that he could be the "master" and is the one who creates the true Reverse Flash, the one who took to kicking the crap out of him in Episode 9. That could explain why his power is fading and why he thinks the true threat is coming.
It could signal that he has bigger plans for a certain Eddie Thawne, who, as is established, is going to be looking into Wells a little more as Joe gets suspicious. I've got a feeling that Wells traveled back in time maybe not to save or keep Barry from harm permanently, but to keep him ready until a certain moment in time where he will be needed to create the real Reverse Flash in Thawne. Then, in the future, Thawne knows that in order to create himself he has to help Wells by giving him that limited quantity of Speed Force.
The problem is that this theory is working off a linear theory of time-travel, where there is only one timeline. What the show seems to be gearing toward is the multiverse theory of time-travel (thus, I take the creators word to heart when I hear they are going to use the "Flashpoint" story). Again, how this will all play out is very intriguing and these hints only added fuel to that fire of intrigue.
This episode also added to the fire that is The Flash. This was a great episode that showcased a surprisingly good villain, some fun action and special effects, and a wonderful episode in developing and adding to the character that is Harrison Wells. There was also some set-up for Firestorm, and the episode introducing Stein is, I believe, coming up (perhaps next). Great things, man. Great things.