The Pied Piper made his way off the comic book page and into television this week in ep. 11 “The Sound and the Fury” of The Flash. This episode focused on the vengeful Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) and his vendetta against Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh).
Some comic diehards may find this portrayal of Pied Piper too far off the mark from the villain they have known in the past. Gone are the ragged robes and the mysterious flute. However, given the direction of The Flash in this CW universe and its roots in science and the particle accelerator accident, this rendition of the character holds true to form. Hartley Rathaway was the beloved protege of Wells, an instrumental team member in the development of the particle accelerator. Rathaway was a man loved by few at S.T.A.R. Labs due to his “higher than thou” attitude and he had a special kind of dislike for Cisco (Carlos Valdes) when Wells brought him on board. But he was a brilliant mind and the chess games of the days of old between him and Harrison Wells continued into present day events when he sets out to make a statement with Wells.
This episode provided us a glimpse into the origins of Cisco and how he came to S.T.A.R. Labs. We saw the organization before it was destroyed by the particle accelerator incident and before the time of The Flash we know today. But most importantly, this episode was designed to plunge us deeper into the world of Dr. Harrison Wells. We are clearly led to believe (SPOILERS) that Wells is Reverse-Flash. We see him speeding in action in his efforts against Pied Piper. But the final moments of the episode leave us still wondering… How has he acquired this power? How long will it last? As far as episodes go, in my opinion, this particular turn made it one of the most enjoyable since the crossover episode with Arrow. The questions fans have been asking since the start of the show are being slowly and teasingly answered… or at the very least, hinted at. One thing you can trust is that the showrunners have some plans up their sleeves that we can only guess at. And they will be plans that will pay off.
However, this episode portrayed Barry Allen as much more easily vanquished than we have seen before. He was put down quite easily by a simple gadget designed to vibrate at a particular frequency. The fights between Wells’ new golden boy Barry and his former protege Rathaway were almost anti-climactic. While the VFX were excellent, as always, the peril and danger we should feel for the lead character was surprisingly missing from the encounters.
All that being said, this episode also showcased some of the best acting of the supporting cast on The Flash. Andy Mientus plays a vindictive villain who is over the top without coming across as campy. There is a fine line between a believable psychotic and deranged baddie and Shakespeare in the park. Mientus has walked that line expertly and the episode end hints at further appearances from the actor. In addition, we see more emotional depth from Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow and Carlos Valdes as Cisco. When trust is broken, the fun and games are done and we see them as normal people with drama permeating their lives.
Overall, the episode “The Sound and the Fury” unlocked some doors we have been knocking at all season long and promises that delayed gratification may be more rewarding that the answer we insist on right here and now. I would rank it in my top 5 episodes of The Flash thus far.
Keep watching and tell us what you thought of last night’s episode of The Flash.