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Spoilers for The Flash Season 2, Episode 10 below.
“Potential Energy” finally brought The Flash back to The CW after six long weeks of winter hiatus. Surprisingly for a midseason premiere, “Potential Energy” wasn’t too much of a thriller. True to the episode’s name, the hour was more about closing doors on the plots that have been spent and opening doors to new arcs to occupy Barry and Co. in the second half of the season. Patty breaking up with Barry was surprisingly poignant, there were some laughs to be had in Cisco’s secret nemesis that he named “the Turtle,” and the Reverse Flash made his reappearance, but the most thrilling moment had to be when Earth Two Harrison Wells showed his true colors and murdered the Turtle to try to harness his biology to find a way to slow Zoom.
Earth Two Harrison Wells has been one of the most interesting characters of Season 2 of The Flash. Although sharing the face worn by the man who had turned out to be the supervillain of Season 1, Team Flash discovered fairly quickly that the Harrison Wells of the parallel world isn’t so much evil as…well, a total douchebag. A brilliant and insightful douchebag, but a douchebag all the same.
The reveal that Season 2 supervillain Zoom is holding Wells’ daughter captive has made him at least somewhat more sympathetic, despite his churlishness. But, the question that has been on the mind of Flash fans everywhere, ever since the midseason finale that saw Wells agreeing to sabotage Barry in order to appease Zoom, has been of just how far Wells will go to save his daughter. Would he go full-on evil, or trust in the good guys to help him come up with a plan?
As it turns out, Wells is going the wild card route. Not willing to either completely give in to the demands of Zoom or trust Team Flash with his secret, Wells chose to work in the shadows.
As a general rule, the folks in STAR Labs could really do with more shadows and secrecy. Barry seems to love to share his secret identity, and this very episode saw everybody aside from Barry standing in the pipeline in full view of a bad guy without any sort of disguise. Wells has the right idea with playing his cards close to his chest, and not just because Barry and Co. would probably raise some objections at the “murder the captive and steal his life force” plan.
Interestingly, The Flash seems to be borrowing a bit of the Arrow method of character development with Wells by putting him through a crucible, via the kidnapping of his daughter, to see just who or what comes out the other side.
Wells had options in “Potential Energy” that did not involve murdering the Turtle. He could have come clean to Team Flash. He could have tried anything and everything else first before jumping to the murder plan. He could have shown a bit of remorse at his actions. Instead, Wells decided to do what he felt needed to be done, and that was to kill a captive criminal to save the life of his kidnapped daughter.
“Potential Energy” felt like it could be the first chapter of an epic supervillain origin story if played right, and it should be fun and maybe a little scary to see what Harrison Wells has in store for Team Flash in the rest of Season 2, if the show goes that route. Hopefully, however, the next person that Wells kills will have a more impressive name than “the Turtle," because “murdering the Turtle” just doesn’t have quite as sinister a ring as Harrison Wells deserves.
The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. For a look at when all of the other DC shows are set to premiere on The CW in 2016, check out our midseason TV schedule.