The Flash: Identity Theft
Previously on The Flash: Barry told Eddie he’s Flash and now Eddie has to keep the secret from Iris, Harrison is Reverse Flash, Harrison is also really Eobard Thawne because he stole Harrison’s face.
Voiceover!Barry tells us that he’s getting faster every day, and it might be because he feels like something is chasing him. He’s running to Coast City at the moment to pick up pizza for the Bring-Down-Harrison party Joe is throwing at his house. Cisco, Eddie, and Caitlin are also there, though Caitlin is reluctant about it. In fact, when Cisco and Joe announce they’re going on a road trip to Starling City to look into the car accident that killed Harrison’s fiancé, she isn’t sure she can cover for Cisco. Barry says he’ll talk to her.
At Gold City Bank, one employee lets another out of the building, saying she has one more task before she’s done for the night—and then she heads on into the vault and starts emptying safety deposit boxes. Later, Eddie is interrogating the woman, who tearfully swears that the woman on the security tape isn’t her and that she left work early that day. Between that and her coworkers swearing she would never rob her own bank, Eddie tells Barry that he’s inclined to think they’re looking for a metahuman. Iris comes by the station looking for Joe, and Eddie tells her that he doesn’t know where he is, just that he took a couple personal days. He asks Iris when she’s coming home, and she doesn’t seem to plan to anytime soon. Eddie sighs at Barry that he hopes Joe and Cisco find something, because he can’t take lying to Iris much longer.
At a local jewelry store, a man is trying to sell the same jewels we just watched the bank employee steal. The jeweler heads to the back, where he immediately calls in the attempted sale of stolen goods, because when you store your valuables in a safety deposit box, you probably have lots of pictures for local law enforcement to circulate for that exact situation.
At STARLS, Barry tries to talk to Caitlin about the Harrison situation, but she’s not really interested in hearing it: Harrison has saved Barry’s life multiple times, after all, so she’s going to need some real, actual proof, which they don’t really have yet. As they talk about it, Harrison materializes behind them as he tends to do, and they stammer that they may have another meta to deal with. Caitlin does in fact cover for Cisco, while Barry takes a call from Eddie about the jewelry store, and Flash takes off.
The thief is walking down the street with Eddie in walking pursuit, and it quickly becomes a flat-out chase. Eddie tackles him, and they fight briefly; ultimately thief makes a break for it, but Flash catches up to him quickly. For some reason, though, he doesn’t just catch the dude, instead stopping a few feet away to quip about how thief can’t outrun him…so the guy touches the shoulder of a passing woman and morphs into her exactly. By the time Barry turns the corner, they guy could be anyone. (Comic check! So this is Hannibal Bates, a.k.a. Everyman. In the comics he got his powers from Lex Luthor of Superman villainy, and while he could shape-shift into anyone, he actually had to eat some of the person in question, so naming him Hannibal was not an accident. Interestingly, one of the people he’s impersonated over the years is Oliver Queen).
At STARLS, Harrison muses about the physics of shape-shifting (amusing, since we know he has the tech to actually accomplish it), and he warns Barry not to let the meta touch him or he might pick up his speed, too. To try and figure out the shifter’s identity, they filter out all crimes in the CCPD’s database where the accused pleaded innocent even though they were caught on video—the very first case was a month after the accelerator explosion, and conveniently, the guy who was charged claimed that he was framed by his BFF Hannibal Bates.
Cisco and Joe arrive at Starling City PD, and they get the accident case file from none other than Captain Quentin Lance himself (doesn’t he have some petty personal vendettas to be carrying out?). Quentin wants to know what they’re looking for, and Joe says they’re just following a hunch and asks if he can take them to the accident site. After 15 years, Quentin is pretty sure they’re not going to find anything, but he says he’s happy to help. Laurel comes by, and as they all get introduced, Laurel asks to talk to Cisco alone.
Cisco and Laurel head into an empty conference room, and she tells him she met Barry last time he was in Starling; she’s friends with Felicity, John, and Oliver. Cisco plays dumb, but she kind of rolls her eyes, saying she knows about the Flash and the Arrow. Cisco asks how, and she stage whispers that she’s Black Canary. Cisco is adorably starstruck, and Laurel needs his help modifying Sara’s old sonic device. AWESOME!!!
Back at STARLS, Caitlin looks up some of the many Harrison articles, while Harrison himself heads home and stands up to pour a much needed drink (faking paralysis is exhausting, apparently). Caitlin has headed to his house once her light reading was over and rings the doorbell, so he has to go back to his wheelchair to answer, but before he can open the door, Flash speeds her away.
Out in…wherever Flash sped her, Caitlin asks if Barry is spying on her, which he clearly is, and she says she just was going to get some answers from Harrison herself. Barry tells her that’s a terrible idea, but she doesn’t think she can sit idly by while the rest of Team Flash ruins Harrison’s life, and hers. Barry asks her to expand on that idea; she says that after the accelerator explosion, she lost her reputation, and her fiancé, and all she had left was Harrison (and Cisco, presumably). Harrison has been the only reason she’s gotten her life back. But Barry pulls the “dad in jail” card and asks her to hold off at least until Cisco and Joe return from Starling. It’s super effective!
Eddie and Barry arrive at Hannibal’s grandmother’s house to see if she’s heard from him in the last year. Yeah, he’s definitely impersonating his grandma. She makes them sit on a tiny loveseat and insists on getting them coffee, then vanishes out the back door, shifting into a younger woman as she does.
Uh-oh, she touched Eddie when they came in. Barry calls Harrison, who reminds him not to get touched, and also not to show his speed. He wants to know how he’s supposed to catch her, then; Harrison suggests running like a normal person. Meanwhile, Eddie is in much closer pursuit, finally coming out into the street where a patrol car is pulling up…and he shoots the officers, then the dash camera. Hannibal runs off, and the real Eddie finds the officers.
At CCPD, Captain Singh is trying to convince the DA that Eddie didn’t shoot the officers, despite the video evidence. She says she can’t just ignore the video, but Singh claims they both know weird shit is going on in the city. The DA sighs and says the best she can do is keep Eddie out of the general population at Iron Heights Penitentiary. I’m super confused as to how Iron Heights serves both Central City and Starling City, which are canonically 600 miles apart (that’s CW canon, not comic canon; Star City is definitely on the west coast in comic canon). Also, penitentiaries are where you go after you’re convicted, not while you’re booked and awaiting a preliminary hearing. While we’re at it, I’m also super confused about how Starling and Central City both have docks and huge bays but are 600 miles apart in the Midwest.
Quentin takes Joe and Cisco to investigate Harrison’s crash site (apparently it’s a slow crime day in Starling), and Cisco immediately sneaks off with his tachyon detector, while Joe distracts Quentin with small talk about Quentin’s daughter Laurel being the ADA. He tells Quentin about Iris, and Quentin wants to know if they get along. Joe asks if that means Quentin and Laurel aren’t getting along, and Quentin admits that she lied to him about something important for months. That hits a little close to home for Joe, who says something about lying for love, but luckily Cisco interrupts them, saying he’s found evidence of time travel…and Quentin’s coffee starts floating out of its cup in corroboration.
Back in Central City, Eddie swears to the DA that he didn’t shoot the officers, even though the video is pretty damning. Barry comes in triumphantly declaring Eddie’s hands free of any gunpowder residue, which is pretty un-damning, since he clearly wasn’t wearing gloves in the video and a second police car—with dash cam—pulled up literally seconds later, so he couldn’t have cleaned his hands. But the DA doesn’t think that’s enough and storms out. Barry promptly speeds Eddie outside, saying he’ll take him to STARLS and get him a burner phone—but Eddie cuts him off. He says that he’s not going to just run away; he’s going to get exonerated the right way: by Barry catching Hannibal. Barry takes him back inside.
Barry is on the phone with Iris back at home, telling him he’s going to get Eddie out of it, he swears, when the doorbell rings. Hanging up, he answers to find Eddie there. It’s so obviously not Eddie, but Barry is an idiot, so he lets him in. Hannibal promptly knocks him out with his gun and takes on his visage.
Hannibal ties Barry up and duct tapes his mouth, taking his phone and wallet (wait, he doesn’t get those on shifting, but he gets clothes?), as the doorbell rings again. This time it’s Caitlin, telling Barry!Hannibal that she has an idea for a serum that could prevent the shifter from being able to change anymore, which Hannibal finds very interesting. She says they should head back to STARLS and accidentally names him Everyman, which he likes. With no better options, he leaves with her.
Cisco and Joe dig a bit at the site of the tachyons and quickly unearth a skeleton—it’s probably the real Harrison Wells, of course. Quentin starts to call in the dead body, but Joe begs him to keep it under wraps, telling him that if it is what he and Cisco think it is, anyone who knows about it is in serious danger. Quentin is not terribly impressed, but he doesn’t make the call.
At STARLS, Caitlin is putting the finishing touches on the serum while Hannibarry (I’d apologize for my many portmanteaus in these recaps, but I’m not actually sorry) awkwardly looks on and asks questions about whether it’s permanent (no) and how long it will last (long enough). As a last-ditch effort to distract her, he kisses a very confused Caitlin, but thankfully Iris shows up. Iris has been doing her own digging and came across the same cases that Harrison found to ID Hannibal in the first place. But she noticed something nobody else did: in the video, Eddie shoots the cops with his left hand, but Eddie is right-handed. Hannibarry slowly draws his gun out and—is promptly tasered in the back by Harrison. Caitlin is very relieved that it wasn’t really Barry trying to kiss her, and Iris insists on taking Hannibal back to CCPD as proof Eddie wasn’t the killer. Harrison tries to convince her that he and Caitlin should handle it, but she’s not interested. Harrison can’t say more without giving away what they do at STARLS, so he agrees.
Iris and Caitlin are taking Hannibal to the police station, and Iris idly mentions that a reporter at work—probably the now-dead Mason—kept a file on all the weird shit that’s happened in Central City. Caitlin thinks that’s a big file. Iris starts to mention the Burning Man (really Firestorm, Ronnie and Martin), but before the conversation can go anywhere interesting, they stop at a red light in front of a construction crew. Hannibal shifts into a little girl and starts screaming. As the workers run over to help, she slips the cuffs and runs off while Iris and Caitlin look on helplessly. Well, that went well.
In Starling, Joe thanks Quentin for all his help on the case, and also for obstructing evidence for them. Quentin was just happy to get out of the office, since his bad heart keeps him on desk duty, except for when he’s harassing Oliver. Cisco, meanwhile, has somehow found the time and resources in a Starling City hotel room to upgrade Laurel’s sonic device…and it’s totally badass. In fact, it’s now pretty much Black Canary’s trademark choker, and he says he improved the power and range of the device. In return, she gives him a picture of himself with her in full costume. It’s awesome.
At STARLS, Harrison has analyzed Hannibal’s cells and Caitlin has finished the serum. And now that they know Hannibal doesn’t get his powers when he takes on his appearance, Barry can do all the touching he wants. They pick up his cell phone at the airport and, eager for payback, Barry takes off.
Barry’s not sure how exactly they’re going to find Hannibal at the airport, given he could be literally anyone, but luckily Barry’s watching one of the security scanners when there’s one that seems a little confused about the body shape of its scanee. Target identified, Barry pursues him and finally traps him in a back room. They fight; because Barry keeps hesitating when Hannibal shifts into Iris and Caitlin, even though he’s watching him shift, it takes forever, but finally Barry takes him down and injects him with the serum. Hannibal rotates through a few recent mimics, then passes out.
At CCPD, Barry watches video of Flash’s fight with Hannibal with Captain Singh and the DA, who sighs that the law isn’t really ready to handle this new territory. Barry gives her a list Flash left them of all the robberies Hannibal carried out, so innocent people could be cleared of them; the DA tells him about how she saw the Flash once, and that it was awesome. Eddie and Iris hug, meanwhile, and she’s obviously ready to come home. Eddie has to tell her about his big secret, though: he’s been working with the Flash. GASP.
In the metaprison, Hanniris yells to be let out, because that’s definitely gonna work, while Barry, Catilin, and Harrison look on. Harrison asks him who he really is, and Hannibal shifts into a sort of weirdly pale, eyeless man and says he can’t remember.
Barry takes Cisco and Caitlin back to the Worst Lab Ever, where they’re keeping the real Harrison Wells’ body, and Cisco breaks the news that the DNA test was conclusive: Harrison Wells is not Harrison Wells.
Speaking of Harrison, he’s waiting in the lobby of the police station when Joe comes down. They speak briefly—Harrison asks about Joe being in Starling, and Joe doesn’t miss a beat in saying it was for work, even though Harrison shouldn’t have known he was there. Harrison asks about Iris’ mother under the guise of commiserating about having both lost their partners, but I’m pretty sure it was somehow a threat. Suggesting they have a drink again, Harrison leaves, and Joe wonders how much he knows.
At STARLS, Cisco is checking out the 3D model of STARLS he built after the accelerator explosion—its purpose was to try and pinpoint the cause of the explosion, but he’d only ever checked the pipeline itself. Now he’s looking at the entire building, and he finds something anomalous. He, Barry, and Caitlin go to investigate and accidentally get into Harrison’s secret lair. It’s not very secret if they can just walk in, is it? The Reverse Flash suit is there, and so is Gideon—the newspaper from April 25, 2024 is displaying.