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Major spoilers for anyone who hasn’t yet watched The Flash episode “The Trap.”
Well, hell, The Flash, you have outdone yourself. “The Trap” was one of the more exciting episodes yet, as the entire runtime was spent chugging ahead with Season 1’s overarching storyline, rather than passing off half of the action to a metahuman of the week. Usually when a series boasts that everything will be different after a certain episode, it’s a load of lightning bolt-shaped shit, but The Flash really did completely alter how the series will work from now on, and here are the four moments that will presumably change everything. And Cisco’s Vibe-ish dream goggles don’t even count.
Barry Talks to GideonThe episode kicked off right where last week’s “Who is Harrison Wells?” left off, as the more benevolent trio in the S.T.A.R. Labs staff found themselves inside Dr. Wells’ secret room, which came to be known as the Time Vault, and Barry found out a ton of stuff. (Although the Justice League tease was sadly left unspoken by Gideon.) Barry got confirmation that Wells comes from the future, that Barry disappeared in a blast of light while fighting Reverse-Flash in 2024, and that the newspaper story was written by Iris ALLEN. We all know what that last one means. The look on Barry’s face after he read that would have been adorable had I not been too busy thinking about how Central City probably has one of the only newspapers left in the country at that point in the future.
Another solid blast of information came as Gideon told Barry that he was the one that invented it/her/whatever, which could possibly make for an interesting arc in the future if Barry starts messing with A.I. experiments. (Similar to what Cisco asked about the revised costume logo, will Barry be inspired to create it because he was told he already did?) In any case, this allowed a level of trust that Gideon wouldn’t tell Wells they were there. Not that it ended up mattering…
Wells Sets the Real TrapWells is indeed always a step ahead. Not too shabby for a guy that spends most of his public time in a wheelchair. (Where he’s just a roll ahead?) Barry, Cisco , Caitlin and Joe spent most of the episode trying to run a scheme on Wells, involving trying to extract a confession from him about killing Barry’s mother, which would allow Barry’s father to get out of prison. To do this, they used Cisco’s timeline-skipping dreams, which allowed Barry to admit to everyone that he’d time-traveled. And while it was pretty obvious that they wouldn’t get that confession, it was legitimately jaw-dropping when Joe shot “Wells” in the chest, and he was then revealed to be the body-swapping Hannibal “Everyman” Bates.
It then got even more shocking as Barry realized Wells had been spying on them all for ages, and knew exactly what they’ve been up to all along. I suppose I should be ashamed for being surprised by Wells’ surveillance, since his entire gameplan involves keeping an eye on Barry to make sure he survives long enough for Wells to go back to his own timeline. If he wouldn’t have been keeping tabs on everyone he was working with, he’d have been a pretty shitty villain. Still, this all means that no one will be working with him anymore, so the rules are going to be changed, assuming everyone gets all the cameras knocked down immediately.
Eddie Meets EobardNow that Wells presumably won’t be a functioning part of S.T.A.R. Labs anymore, he’s got to put his focus on other things, and Barry’s arrival near the end of the episode meant that he had to kidnap Eddie instead of Iris. Eddie was already having something of a rough episode, as he was denied proposal blessings from Joe, and then his actual proposal got delayed due to Reverse-Flash’s appearance. But while he already had his suspicions about Wells, he never could have guessed that he was actually Eobard Thawne. Mostly because Eddie had never heard of Eobard Thawne.
But now that the time-distant relatives have met, we get to speculate about what it might mean for both of the Thawnes’ immediate futures. Eddie was told that he’s an insurance policy, which presumably means that he has to get someone in the family tree pregnant to ensure Eobard’s existence. But old Eobard didn’t seem too interested in Eddie’s safety or well-being. So maybe he has other plans for the life-jilted cop.
Iris Realizes Barry’s SecretThis is the weakest of the surprises from a plot standpoint, but a strong one for the characters’ lives. After Eddie is kidnapped by Reverse-Flash, Iris doesn’t really have time to wonder what happened before Flash arrives and tells her that he’s going to take care of everything. And as he’s leaving, their hands spark, something she’s felt before, and she realizes that it’s Barry beneath the mask. Although to be fair, this might just be her questioning it over full-on knowing it at this point, but there will definitely be questions to follow. She didn’t have any of the same timeline-swapped dreams that Cisco did, so she apparently has no memory of Barry’s confession in the changed timeline with the tsunami. Still, she and Barry seem to have ended up married, so we’ll assume nothing terrible happens.
Next week’s episode, “Grodd Lives,” will bring everyone’s favorite gorilla villain (gorillain?) to audiences, which will probably slow the narrative progress down a bit. But for me, “The Trap” did everything The Flash needed to do to ramp things up as Season 1 enters the final stretch.