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Recap / The Flash (2014) S1 E19 "Who Is Harrison Wells?"

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While Cisco and Joe head to Starling City to investigate the car crash Wells was in fifteen years ago, the rest of the team has to handle a shapeshifting meta back home.


  • Aesop Amnesia: Barry again plans to release a framed person from jail without proving his innocence first. He forgets that it would bring bad consequences for the framed person and needs to be discouraged from the plan again.
  • Amazon Chaser: Cisco doesn't exactly chase after Laurel, but there's some definite chemistry there, and he makes it clear that he's attracted to her because she's the Black Canary and she beats up bad guys.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • Caitlin tells who she thinks is Barry her idea for Bates' nickname, Everyman. Bates takes a liking to it.
    • Cisco upgrades Sara's sonic device, and calls it the "Canary Cry", which Laurel approves.
  • Arc Number: Fake Eddie's shooting of the two police officers is caught on Camera 52.
  • Arc Words: "Impostor" or/and "Fraud".
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: At the ending, it seems that Eddie would break The Flash's secret to Iris, but tells her that he has been working with The Flash without actually revealing who the latter is.
  • Becoming the Mask: Bates has transformed himself so many times that he has completely forgotten what he really looks like.
  • Bound and Gagged: Barry ends up like this in the middle of the episode.
  • Broken Pedestal: Caitlin was defending "Dr. Wells" until Joe, Cisco and Barry show her the real Wells' body.
  • Call-Back:
  • Clear Their Name: Barry struggles to clean Eddie's name after being impersonated and framed by Hannibal.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Captain Lance references his falling out with Laurel, but Joe encourages him to look past it.
    • Cisco mentions he has recent experience dealing with sonics.
  • Double-Meaning Title: It refers to the identity of Harrison Wells and Eobard Thawne. It is about the in-universe discovery that Harrison Wells was Dead All Along and that Thawne was the Reverse-Flash.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Caitlin scolds Barry for supposedly wanting to ruin "Wells"'s life. Thawne basically ruined Wells' life.
    • Captain Lance and Detective West find themselves similar regarding their daughters, except their situations are essentially reversed (namely, Lance has a falling out with Laurel because she's been lying to him, whereas Joe's been keeping a secret from Iris).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Of a sort. If you look back to the opening of the first season of Arrow, you might find that Hannibal Bates is on The List, just two names above Adam Hunt.
  • Engineered Public Confession: The security video of the Flash fighting Hannibal Bates in the airport, with Bates shifting forms, is sufficient evidence to prove Eddie's innocence and get the prosecutor to re-open the cases of innocent people Bates framed for theft, even without having Bates himself in police custody.
  • Exact Words:
    • Eddie tells Iris the truth that he's working with the Flash, neglecting to elaborate that he knows who the Flash really is.
    • Thawne says that today's physicists have always regarded shapeshifting as nothing more than a theory. The viewer knows that he's from the future and has already made use of a practical application of this theory.
  • Foil: Quentin and Joe, the two cop main characters from Arrow and this show, was given a scene to highlight their differences and similarities regarding both as a father to a major female character and their relationship with the titular heroes of their respective shows.
  • Flash Step: Barry runs before Hannibal and changes to The Flash at the same time.
  • Frame-Up: Bates' criminal M.O.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Joe looks at the incident report on Tess Morgan's death, the date 2000-04-16 can be seen if you look hard enough, confirming the exact date when Thawne killed Tess and the real Wells. It's later confirmed in "The Man Who Saved Central City" that Thawne killed Barry's mother on March 18, 2000, meaning he was hanging around in his true form for about a month.
  • Glamor Failure: When Bates passed through an X-ray at an airport, the monitor starts glitching, tipping off Bates' identity to Barry.
  • He Knows Too Much: Defied. Joe fears "Wells" would kill people to conceal the truth about him, so Joe asks Quentin not to publish that the corpse of the real Wells was found.
  • Honor Before Reason: Barry uses his Super Speed to take the detained Eddie far from the CCPD HQ and told him to go to S.T.A.R. Labs for sanctuary after the latter was framed by Bates for shooting his fellow cops. While appreciative of Barry's concern, Eddie is aware of the ramifications to his career as a police officer should he comply so he refuses Barry's help and told him that if Barry wants to get him out, he should do it the right way. Barry then (reluctantly) takes him back.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Barry catches a straight pass when he lets Fake!Eddie into his house only briefly wondering how a shooting suspect could get out of jail so easily. He gets knocked out for his troubles.
    • It takes Caitlin rather longer than it should to get suspicious of Barry's strange behavior, while she knows a shapeshifter is on the loose, though unlike Barry she at least has the excuse of not knowing Hannibal had assumed his appearance. Although, let's be real here, "Barry" kissing her was an obvious tell. Lampshaded by her when Thawne reveals Bates!Barry, causing her to shout "I knew it!".
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail:
    • Iris indicates the patrol car video shows it's not Eddie who shot the other officers because the shooter used his left hand, while Eddie is a rightie.
    • Thawne uses the same reasoning to point out that the Barry he tazed was carrying a gun in his left hand. As well as having a gun (when he wouldn't need it).
  • In Name Only: Played with and lampshaded during the climax when Bates turns into the Flash...but has none of the speed.
    Bates!Barry: Look at that...I'm the Flash...
    (cue Barry dodging all of Bates blows)
    Barry: You may look like me... (Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs) but you're not as fast.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, and Joe learn virtually everything the viewer already knows about "Harrison Wells" (with the notable exception of the impostor's true name and origin).
    • Laurel tells Cisco that she's the Black Canary, much to Cisco's glee.
    • Eddie reveals to Iris that he's working with the Flash but he still keeps Barry's identity.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Pointlessly defied. Quentin refuses to give the details on why he and Laurel are on bad terms, only stating that Laurel kept something serious from him concerning his other daughter Sara. Felicity, however, blatantly asked Caitlin for help regarding Canary's murder during the inaugural crossover.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: This is the first time Laurel has met anyone from Team Flash sans Barry, since she was notably absent (or in a One-Scene Wonder in her parent show's version) from the Arrow and Flash crossovers, which is something she references in her conversation with Cisco.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Cisco convinced or cajoled Laurel to get dressed up in her Black Canary gear so he could take a picture with her. She is very adamant that he never show it to anyone, or she'll kill him.
  • Mirror Match: Naturally, since the Villain of the Week has Voluntary Shapeshifting.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Hannibal Bates, who the DC writers who brought him up initially in the comics admitted they named after Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates. The first name is lampshaded by Barry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Narrowly averted. Barry wants Eddie to escape, but Eddie tells him that bit would make him more suspicious. Barry decides to stop that idea.
  • Pet the Dog: Eobard Thawne shows concern to his "distant relative" Eddie near the end of the episode.
  • Plot Parallel:
    • The metahuman that Barry is after this time is a shapeshifter who can duplicate others' appearances, presumably down to the genetic level. Meanwhile, Barry, Cisco, Caitlin, Joe, and presumably Eddie learn that "Harrison Wells" is an impostor.
    • Also, Eddie being framed by the metahuman and imprisoned with Barry desperate to prove his innocence has the similarities to Barry's situation with his father lampshaded. He even tries to bust Eddie out, something he admitted prior to wanting to do with his father.
    • It's not very subtle that Joe recognizes Lance's issues with Laurel for keeping secrets from her father with his own potential issues regarding keeping secrets from Iris.
  • Questioning Title?: The title "Who is Harrison Wells?" is about the mystery of the man behind "Harrison Wells" and the real Harrison Wells.
  • The Reveal: Wondering what Thawne did with Wells' body? He buried it not far from the site of the car crash.
  • Sex Shifter: Bates mostly disguised himself as a girl.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: During his fight with Barry, Bates tries shifting into different people that Barry knows, including Barry himself. Barry is unfazed.
  • Shapeshifter Identity Crisis: Bates reveals he can't remember what he originally looked like and so can't change back.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: When Bates' powers get neutralized by Caitlin's serum, he loses control and shifts through a whole bunch of previous forms in rapid succession.
  • Ship Tease:
    • While initially shocked by Fake Barry's kiss, Caitlin ends up returning the kiss.
    • Cisco seems pretty smitten with Laurel, while she is flattered over his fanboying.
  • Shout-Out: A man named Bates impersonating a maternal figure in his life - albeit, here it's the grandmother rather than mother.
    • Not to mention his first name is Hannibal and he shape-shifts into other people and, in essence, steals their faces.
    • When Team Flash finds Thawne's secret chamber with the 2024 newspaper, Cisco lets out a "what the frack?
  • A Sinister Clue: Bates, a criminal, is left-handed. This ends up being a plot point later when Bates, in the guise of Eddie, shoots two cops with his left hand. As it turns out, Eddie is not left-handed, and this helps clear his name.
  • Skeptic No Longer: Singh and Barry had a hard time trying to convince Cecile that Eddie was framed until she sees a security cam tape in which The Flash is fighting with Hannibal who shapeshifts into several people (including Eddie).
  • Slap Yourself Awake: What Caitlin uses after finding Barry, Bound and Gagged (and unconscious) at Joe's house.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Thawne is scary good at this. He pulls it twice during the course of this episode.
  • Stepford Smiler: For all of Laurel's playful dialogues with Cisco, it's still obvious that she's still affected by her and her father's rift, among other things.
  • The Stinger: The team find Thawne's secret room.
  • Superdickery: Trailers for the final episodes of this season showed Eddie shooting two cops. We see here it was actually Hannibal Bates.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Cisco upon discovering Thawne's secret room.
    Cisco: What the frack!?
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Hannibal Bates' power, being able to physically duplicate anyone he touches.
  • What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?: Barry muses why any parent would name their kid Hannibal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hannibal-as-Eddie mocks Barry by highlighting that Barry is willing to hit girls. It is more of a trash-talking remark, though.
  • Wham Episode: Cisco and Joe find the remains of the real Wells' body which is enough to convince Caitlin that Barry was right all along. Cisco then goes through the plans of STAR Labs and he finds an anomaly - "Wells'" hidden chamber. Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin go inside and find not only the Reverse-Flash suit but also the newspaper headline detailing Barry's disappearance in 2024.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When Hannibal shapeshifts as Iris, Barry still will fight him.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Bates shifts into the form of a little girl and screams about being kidnapped so the intervention of bystandsers can allow him to escape from Caitlin and Iris.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Hannibal assumes Barry and Caitlin have some serious UST after finding out they fight crime together.