The Flash Review: “Tricksters”

The Flash rebounds this week, thanks to a remarkable (and intertextually insane) performance by Mark Hamill and a developed backstory for Harrison Wells.

Title: “Tricksters”

Directed by Ralph Hemecker
Written by Andrew Kreisberg

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen / The Flash
Candice Patton as Iris West
Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon
Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells
Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West
Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow
Rick Cosnet as Detective Eddie Thawne
Mark Hamill as James Jesse / The Trickster
Devon Graye as Axel Walker / The Trickster
Matt Letscher as Eobard Thawne
Bre Blair as Tess Morgan
Vito D’Ambrosio as Mayor Anthony Bellows
John Wesley Shipp as Dr. Henry Allen
Michelle Harrison as Nora Allen
Anthony Harrison as Warden Wolfe
Jerry Mathers as the Beaver


The police and the Flash consult an incarcerated villain known as the Trickster when a pretender steps up. In flashbacks, meanwhile, we learn the truth about Harrison Wells.

High Points

Mark Hamill’s crazed, scenery-devouring performance as the original Trickster elevated the entire episode. The Flash/80s Flash/Trickster/Joker intertextuality could not be avoided, and the writer and director acknowledged it, but kept it from intruding on the story. Those watching unaware would not feel they were stumbling over allusions they didn’t understand.

Low Point

The problematic and intrusive sub-subplot involving Iris’s investigation into Mason Bridge’s disappearance and the heroes’ attempts to thwart her not only distracted from the rest of the episode, it caused the episode to end with a whimper, and yet another person to learn Barry’s identity. Will anyone not know he’s the Flash in another season?

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 5/6 Contemporary action TV over-relies on CGI, but the effects remain serviceable.

Acting: 6/6 They get extra points this week for Hamill.

Story: 5/6 The main plot makes for a decent, old-school comic-book story, improved by its guest-villain. The subplot may involve some pretty far-fetched future tech, but it provides an excellent explanation for the relationship between Harrison Wells and the Reverse Flash.

Exactly how did our villains rapidly infiltrate a function that would have comparatively high security when they would be the most sought-after men in Central City?

Emotional Response: 5/6 While I anticipated a Star Wars reference I wish that, like Hitchcock’s cameos in his films, it had been kept to one. More proves distracting.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6 This episode succeeded where the previous one failed; it balanced dark drama with comic camp.

In total, “Tricksters” receives 35/42

10 replies on “The Flash Review: “Tricksters””

  1. Loved it! Hamill was gold, and anything else could be overlooked. The big SW reference was great. Between the Central and Starling city police, I think they have two employees with brains on a good day. The nods/allusions to the classic Flash run are abundant and I can’t help but feel they have a greater plan at work there.

    The Body Swap flashbacks were great. Every one was a “WTF?” moment and then it all came together. For extra funny: Tom Cavanagh played Matt Letscher’s father on another Greg Berlanti show, Eli Stone! And the body swap tech reminded me of the same tech on Fringe.

    The only somewhat low point for me what how they’re having sort of an identity crisis (in that Barry is showing lots of people his identity, but Oliver still holds the record there!). Iris will probably know before the season is over.

    • Mark Hamill seems to have gotten better as his career has gone on. His take on the Joker for DC Animated is literally the joker I think of. Having him come back and using his Trickster footage from 90’s flash as background … pure genius.

  2. This was a good episode and the SW thing was great. There Some of the questions answered once again introduce new plot holes, but hey.

    My low-point for the entire show was once again on display, though.

    “My name is Barry Allen, and I am the fastest man alive. And yet I keep getting into trouble because of people just casually walking up to me and doing stuff.”

    • Every time I’m bugged by that low point I keep chalking it up to Barry’s relative inexperience as a [crime] fighter, and this pops into my head: Harrison Wells channeling Doc Brown: “You’re just not thinking fourth-dimensionally!” … which is relevant in more ways than one.

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