This week's THE FLASH finally gave us the incontrovertible reveal-by-confession that Harrison Wells is, in fact, the Reverse Flash - not a copy, a clone, or a relative but, in fact, THE Reverse... well, you get it. What we probably didn't anticipate was that the truth would hew so closely to the comics, yet on reflection, it occurs to me that a subtle clue might have been staring us in the face since day one... and it's all in the name.
Even in fiction, the name(s) of the lead character(s) are almost never completely random. It may be as simple a thing as whether or not the name has been used before in a similar way or whether it fits the character's personality. In genre/sci-fi fiction, though, the names tend to be particularly memorable, often with reasons behind them connected to the narrative, itself. Any cursory study of genealogy shows how trends in names come, go and change drastically, so it makes since that a character so chronologically far removed from us might have a name difficult for us to wrap our heads around...
Like Eobard. Or HARRISON WELLS!
Has it really not bugged anyone else? For one thing, they both sound like last names. How many people do you know named "Harrison?" But that's not the clue. The clue... is Wells, and by now, I sincerely hope you've figured it out (and not by reading ahead). Yes, that's right. There are at least two ways of spelling Wells and the other is Welles, as in Orson Welles. This, however, has the same spelling as a famous author - a famous science fiction author - an author named H.G. Wells, one of whose signature works is... THE TIME MACHINE!
So far, the producers haven't addressed this and, frankly, I kind of doubt that they will, but come on - they even have the same first initial! Either way, unless it really is a random choice, I just don't see another explanation that makes more sense or is more entertaining, let alone how the writers and producers could have resisted. It also stands to reason that "Harrison" doesn't plan to remain hidden forever. Once he's figured out a way to get home, so to speak, he could probably care less what insignificant peons discover his real name along the way. It would be cool for me at least if, in a throwaway line, he revealed to someone that he chose the name of his alter-ego based on the author as a sort of in-joke about his status as a time traveler.
I'm going to end here, but I must say, I suspect the whole series is going to be like this. Some have accused FLASH of being a lot like SMALLVILLE in its tone and its employment of the "freak-of-the-week" gimmick, and at times, that's quite true. However, unlike SMALLVILLE's Clark Kent, Barry Allen instantly embraces his abilities and superhero status and the show, itself, seems to actually revel in averaging some sort of big reveal ever few episodes.
I think that may be a big factor in its popularity, particularly with comic book fans, because of late, I think many fans have been a little insulted by shows like SMALLVILLE which have withheld for far too long things that a lot of the core audience already knew or suspected to be true. Based on recent interviews, it seems like FLASH producers such as Andrew Kreisberg see these reveals not as jumping the gun, but as setting up for themselves the challenge of giving fans what they expect earlier than they expect it so that they can then find ways of playing with or undoing those things later on. If so, then I see it as an innovative way for them to both cater to fan desires and expectations while still coming up with new stories and twists which are probably going to be all the more satisfying because, with the obvious twists now untwisted, neither fan nor newcomer really knows what to expect.