Metaphors come easy when reviewing The Flash, so why fight them… Like electricity in a circuit, the show hums along faster than the eye or mind can comprehend, finding the most efficient route to its destination. But even for a series as fast-paced as this one, “The Trap” offers a season’s worth of plot twists and revelations. To wit… Picking up immediately where last week’s episode left off, Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin have found Wells’ secret room at S.T.A.R. Labs, in which they meet Gideon and rapidly learn that 1.) Barry invented the artificial intelligence, 2.) he is one day Director of the Central City Police Department, CSI Division, 3.) he marries Iris, who changes her last name to West-Allen, and 4.) he co-founds the… Well, thanks to the comics-style Flash teaser released last week, we know Gideon was going to say “Justice League,” but we’ll have to wait a while longer to hear those fabled words uttered in a live-action TV show. For now, we can take comfort knowing that the curtain behind which Wells hid for this entire season has been pulled back, with Team Flash now united at last in their knowledge of his true nature.
But lest those of us who’ve known of Wells’ deceit since the show’s pilot want more insight, we gain some via flashbacks to a post-particle-accelerator-explosion comatose Barry. Joe, we discover, made the decision to entrust Barry’s care to Wells, whom he distrusted from the moment he met him. Iris credits Barry with healing her relationship with her father in the wake of her mother’s departure; she also gets a spark from the unconscious forensics scientist that figures into this episode’s final moments — wherein she has the long overdue revelation he is in fact the scarlet speedster. And Wells himself reveals the depth of his hatred towards Barry, cultivated through years of clashes between the two, and promises to one day kill him.
The show’s fantasy science has never been more enjoyably ridiculous. Here some “lucid dreaming” technology on the part of Caitlin allows Cisco to enter the dreams he’s been having of late in which he’s killed by Wells; in reality they’re residual memories of the alternate timeline erased by Barry several episodes back. Anyone approaching The Flash like it’s Scientific American presumably stopped tuning in months ago. Every member of S.T.A.R. Labs has almost Doctor Who-level genius. What matters is there’s an emotional truth to their actions, the consistency of which the show has admirably maintained. Yet it’s unfortunate that once again Iris is kept in the dark by the men in her life who deem it’s for her own good. It weakens her character, and it does Joe, Eddie, and Barry’s no favors either. The scene in “The Trap” in which Iris meets with Barry to tell him again something she’s just discovered that we already knew — that the particle accelerator explosion is the reason behind the city’s metahumans — is almost cringeworthy. Now that she’s in on Barry’s secret, however, expect things to change.
And make no mistake — Team Flash will need all the help it can get. With no more support from Wells, and instead plenty of antagonism — starting with his kidnapping of his ancestor Eddie (while the latter is in the middle of proposing to Iris!) — the gauntlet has been thrown down. As strong as he’s been throughout this season, Tom Cavanagh has rarely been so good as he is in “The Trap”. Few pleasures on TV these days are so great as watching his smoothness in moving between Eobard Thawne’s sneering contempt for his archenemy and the kindly mentor he pretends to be in order to get back to his own time. His assured confidence is a perfect complement to Grant Gustin’s spastic energy.
— In Captain Singh and his fiance, The Flash again does its part to portray — with little fanfare — a loving, openly gay couple. Kudos.
— I wholeheartedly agree that the redder Flash suit and the white circle behind the chest emblem is the way to go. Don’t fight the future, Cisco!
— R.I.P. Hannibal Bates. We hardly knew ye. But then, you didn’t know yourself, did you?
— “What are we talking about here? Is this Inception or Dreamscape?”
Next week: Grodd! Grodd! GRODD!!!
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).