The STAR Labs team dynamic is at an all-time high, but when an old protégé of Dr. Wells’s returns to exact vengeance and force Wells to reveal a dark secret, the team’s future is put in danger. When Dr. Wells returns home after a successful day of crime fighting, his relaxation is interrupted by the shattering of his glass roof and a threatening voice warning of vengeance. When Barry and the police investigate, Wells pretends to shrug it off as a teen prank, not wanting official police attention. Barry notes that there’s no impact point on the glass, implying a specialized, high tech weapon. Wells admits that he knows who the culprit is and has a flashback to two years ago, chummily playing chess with a young scientist named Hartley Rathaway. Rathaway is brilliant, but arrogant and impatient, immediately alienating the then new hire Cisco. Hartley is later reported vandalizing his father’s office building with his sonic gloves. The Flash manages to apprehend him, taking him to STAR Labs for a reckoning. Dr. Wells is forced to reveal that Hartley had warned him there was a chance the particle accelerator could explode, but that he decided to take the risk anyway. The rest of the team is shocked and disappointed, questioning their trust in Wells. Meanwhile, Hartley allowed himself to be caught so that he could escape and steal some files from STAR Labs.
Wells decides to admit publically that he knew the risks of the particle accelerator, offering the admission as a small gesture of trust and responsibility to his team. Hartley modifies his sonic gloves based on the STAR Labs data and lures the Flash into a confrontation on a bridge. The modification to his gloves allows them to manipulate the frequency of Barry’s radio, which incapacitates and slowly begins to kill Barry. Wells hacks in to the radios of the cars on the bridge and resonates a frequency that disables Hartley’s sonic gloves. He is once again apprehended, but once again has something up his sleeve. It turn out he knows where Ronnie is and what happened to him that night, but refuses to tell until he is released. Meanwhile, Joe still doesn’t trust Wells and has Eddie quietly investigate him.
This being the CW – and considering that scene where Wells tells Hartley he’ll “always be my guy” – I kind of thought that Wells’s big secret was going to be that he and Hartley had been in a romantic relationship. In my mind, perhaps they still had been. Anyway, the fact that Wells knew full well that the particle accelerator could explode is probably more relevant to the overall plot. What I wonder is if Wells actually knew and wanted the accelerator to explode, knowing it would cause the Flash to be born.
It was good to get a Wells heavy episode after so much mystery and teasing. I love how Wells gets home and just hops out of his wheelchair to enjoy some good wine and music at the end of a long day. Considering he lives in a glass house, I’m surprised he isn’t more careful about who might find out he can walk – or that he has super speed powers, for that matter. That power is kind of weird to see Wells use, since we’re not used to seeing him speed away like that. Of course, by the end of the episode it seems that he is in danger of losing his powers and has to move up his timetable – whatever that might mean. Joe might be the only one who doesn’t completely trust Wells and obviously has good reason to doubt him, even though those reasons are currently unknown to Joe. What he uncovers in his investigation could lead to some pretty awkward questions – like why bother pretending to be a paraplegic? I cringe with shame, embarrassment, and chagrin imagining someone walking in on him just standing there.
Things seem to be getting back to normal between Barry and Iris, which is good to see because they always made such a great team. Iris is unexpectedly offered a job at the local newspaper, but quickly learns that she’s hired merely for her connection to the Flash. Her jaded mentor sees her as an unskilled blogger and won’t give her the time of day. At Wells’s press conference, however, he immediately recognizes Iris and gives her the first and only question, completely showing up her colleague.