This week’s episode of The Flash was different than most because the “villain-of-the-week” didn’t matter all that much. The “Monster”, a giant Godzilla hologram controlled by a tormented teen, was instead used to support the conflicts Team Flash are facing. In general, The Flash is a character driven show, but this week was a little too much.
Episode 5 focused a lot on the new “H.R.” Well. After arriving in the previous episode, it felt like there would be some definite conflict with the new Wells. It turns out that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but instead prides his work on providing ideas and emotional support. This wasn’t received well by Team Flash, especially Cisco, who called him a glorified con-artist. His sneaky demeanor and false claims are all to support his new novel about his time on Earth-1. He’s not a scientist, he’s a novelist. In all honesty, this twist was kind of stupid. A mysterious replacement who brought a certain level of uncertainty would have been a lot better than one who prides himself on bringing everyone coffee and suggesting team building activities. Him having an evil side would have been more entertaining, even if it would have been extremely predictable. Don’t rule this option out just yet, but for now, the new Wells is disappointing. Not only is he really annoying, but he seemingly lacks any substance.
We also saw some development in Barry and Julian’s relationship. While I’m still not convinced he isn’t evil, so far it seems his biggest problem is jealousy. His annoyance with everyone stems from his hatred of meta-humans, including Flash. He believes all these meta-humans are wasting their amazing gifts terrorizing Central City when they could be advancing society. It’s not until Flash saves him from shooting the teenaged “monster” that Julian start to come around to these meta-humans. Because his character would be pretty pointless without an additional flaw, I still think we will see a bigger conflict between Julian and Barry in the coming weeks.
The biggest development this week, however, was with Caitlin and her emerging frosty powers. She takes a few days off from STAR Labs to go get help from her mother, Dr. Tannhauser (Susan Walters). From the start, you can tell that their relationship is strained. Dr. Tannhauser is a workaholic who doesn’t see the significance in what Caitlin does. Her attitude is a result of her husband’s, and Caitlin’s dad’s, death. You can tell that both Caitlin and her mom have been tragically affected by death in their lives, especially Catlin who lost both her dad and her husband. They both have this reserved and seemingly emotionless feel to themselves and it’s now clear why Catlin has tried to hide her new powers. She has finally found a family and happiness at STAR Labs and things will surely change once people find out who she really is. It was nice seeing a different side of Catlin this week. For a character who is often in the back of people’s minds, she commanded the screen with her cold short-temper and bouts of evil. It’s clear she is sick of the way her mom has treated her and she doesn’t want her powers, but it can only be a matter of time until they become a major factor.
In the end, this weeks “monster” didn’t offer anything unique to the show. It was a pawn in the constantly changing relationships amongst Team Flash and any villain could have done the same. The scenes with the new Wells were too annoying to feel important and the biggest developments came with a character who has been in the background for much of the show. In general, episode 5 of The Flash felt more like a filler than an episode with any real substance.