It’s a new season of The Flash and there is a new Wells in STAR Labs. As of the episode “Monster,” H.R. Wells of Earth-Whatever is now an official member of Team Flash and it is awful. While enough good things can’t be said about Tom Cavanagh and his ability to play just slightly different versions of the same character and make each one feel unique, H.R. Wells is a disappointment on almost every level. The Flash is mainly getting things back to normal after a disappointing end to season 2, but H.R. stands out like an annoying and chatty sore thumb.
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We Already Have a Harry
The Flash did the seemingly impossible in season 2. It took the terrifying but utterly compelling evil fake Harrison Wells and created a whole new character, from a whole other Earth, with the same face and actor as the main villain of season 1. While The Flash season 2 can sadly be called a sophomore slump, the effort that went into creating the character of Harry Wells and making the audience fall in love with him was rather extraordinary. There are so many ways the Earth-2 Wells could have gone wrong and been seen as a transparent attempt by The Flash to keep Tom Cavanagh employed after “killing him off” in season 1. Harry worked, though, and he worked extremely well.
This is in large part why the decision to create H.R. is so confusing. It’s true that The Flash set up a reason for Harry to return to Earth-2. Harry needs to repair the damage he caused and he has a daughter and life of his own before Team Flash. Those are all pretty superficial reasons to separate Harry from our Team Flash. Now that Jesse has superpowers, The Flash could have easily let Harry off the hook for his mission to repair Earth-2 and just passed the baton to his super-powered daughter. It would have even thematically fit the episode where Harry left, “The New Rogues,” since Harry was learning to let Jesse grow up. For whatever reason, though, H.R. was created and The Flash has to introduce and develop a whole new character.
It’s a situation that is particularly frustrating not just because H.R. is so annoying but because everyone feels temporary. In both of H.R.’s episodes on The Flash thus far, the show made sure to underline that his position is not permanent. Cisco told Harry before he left for Earth-2 that he will always be “their Wells” and H.R. made it clear that his big plan is eventually return to his Earth and write a novel about his adventures on Earth-1. At best H.R. is stalling time until The Flash decides enough arbitrary time has passed where they can bring back Harry (and probably Jesse) to Earth-1.
How Many Wellses is Too Many Wellses?
H.R. being a stopgap would be fine too if he wasn’t, as mentioned, so unbearably awful. While I have faith that The Flash will eventually soften some of H.R.’s rough chatty edges and make him more of a character than a caricature, it probably is not worth the wait. H.R. is a distraction, not just because he never shuts up, but because there are more than enough characters on Team Flash at this point. We do not need a new comic relief and “idea man” like H.R.
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At the end of “Monster,” by revealing H.R.’s big secret that he is not a scientist but a novelist, The Flash already spoiled the character’s journey. In an effort to stay on the team H.R. argued that eventually Team Flash is going to combat a meta they have never seen before and that’s where H.R. can step in and help. It’s a reasonable argument but it is a story that The Flash will only be able to tell once, maybe twice, before it gets very old.
There is no room on Team Flash for a non-scientist, non-super genius Harrison Wells — especially since the team now includes a reporter, an engineering student and a detective. An “idea man” sounds great but The Flash already has characters like Iris, Wally and Joe to approach problems from a non-scientist perspective. The best case scenario for H.R. is that he will take screen time away from some of the other civilian members of Team Flash. Since one of the major issues with The Flash season 2 is how unimportant it made Iris and Joe, that is the last thing The Flash needs in its season 3 creative rebound. H.R. needs to go and the sooner that happens, the better.
But what do you think? Do you have a problem with H.R.? Do you actually think he brings something exciting and new to the show? Do you miss Harry? When do you think he will return? Will every season of The Flash now introduce a new Harrison Wells?
The Flash season 3 airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Flash Facebook page for the latest updates!
(Image courtesy of The CW)