“Monster” is a bit of misnomer as an episode title for The Flash. While there is a monster, a more accurate episode title would be “Misdirection.” Nearly everything that happens is not as it appears. There are about three separate storylines in this episode, and all of them arrive at surprising and unexpected conclusions. While two of the three stories use their “twist ending,” there is one that is just a complete surprise in the worst way possible.
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Breaking the Ice
In an effort to understand her new powers, Caitlin goes to her mother, Dr. Tannhauser, who is played by actress Susan Walters. Between Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries and now The Flash, Walters seems to be just destined to play “the mom” on young adult shows. Unlike those previous roles, though, Tannhauser is kind of an awful person. She is a mom only in the biological sense.
Tannhauser has never really been there for Caitlin, ever since her husband (Caitlin’s father) died. Caitlin’s new powers don’t stir any kind of emotional sympathy in Tannhauser either. This is to Caitlin’s disappointment because she really only went to her mother for kindness and sympathy, not for scientific tests. Caitlin tells her mother, who barely responds.
Disappointed with her mother, Caitlin tries to storm out, but she is confronted by Tannhauser’s crazy underling. The frustrated employee is determined to lock Caitlin up and use her for testing so he has enough scientific breakthroughs to leave Tannhauser’s company. It’s a complete left turn of a plot twist, and it is a plan that makes zero sense.
Caitlin proves the folly of the plan by immediately going full Killer Frost on the guy and freezing his entire arm. Tannhauser rushes in at the exact right moment and stops her daughter from killing her employee. Tannhauser promises to save her employee’s life and protect Caitlin at the same time. For once, she will be a mother. Nothing brings two people together like attempted murder, apparently.
Elsewhere in Central City, Barry is trying to make connections just like Caitlin. When a gigantic Cloverfield-esque monster attacks Central City, Barry must team up with Julian to figure out the mystery of the monster. During their investigations, Barry finally gets Julian to open up. It turns out that Julian doesn’t just hate Barry; he hates all metahumans. Metas make Julian feel weak and useless. If Julian had powers, he would use them to save people, but he sees so many metahumans waste their gifts.
This becomes dramatically significant when it is revealed that the monster terrorizing Central City is not a monster at all. It is just a hologram being controlled by a bullied teenager. Julian doesn’t realize this, though, and thinks the monster is being controlled by a meta. Julian tracks the teenager down in an abandoned building and points a gun at him.
Julian threatens the teenager, and when he doesn’t turn around, Julian shoots. Luckily, the Flash shows up. Barry stops the bullet and turns over the teenager to Julian’s custody. Later, Julian tells Barry about the incident and his enormous guilt over almost killing a kid. He realizes that he has been just as vain and scared as that kid, and they are both wrong.
After meeting with the Flash face-to-face, Julian realizes that not all metahumans might be evil and that he might have misjudged Barry too. The two decide to start over, and it’s just sweet enough to make you forget that Julian is probably evil. Julian is more than likely Dr. Alchemy because why else would he exist in this season?
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One Fraud to Rule Them All
While Julian might have a secret identity, there is another character that is definitely exposed during the course of “Monster.” The new Wells, HR, gets on everyone’s nerves so much that Cisco and Barry assume he must be evil and hiding something. They are only half right; HR is hiding something. HR is not a scientist at all. Rather, he is novelist and an “idea man.”
HR did work on his Earth with a Flash, but it was just an advisory position. He has no real knowledge of science, metahumans or anything useful. This would be cause for banishment under any normal circumstances. Since Tom Cavanagh has to cash a paycheck, Team Flash allows HR to stay on their Earth and be a part of the team.
When we first met HR, Harry was desperately missed because he simply wasn’t annoying like HR. Now Harry is straight-up needed, and I’m completely confused as to why The Flash bothered introducing HR in the first place, but that’s the situation now. The Flash has a completely useless Wells on the team. I guess the sentiment is that any Wells is better than no Wells.
What do you think? Which ending surprised you the most in the episode? Julian and Barry’s reconciliation? Caitlin’s mother coming to save her daughter? Or HR and his real profession?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)