Season One, Episode Eleven – “The Sound and the Fury”

The-Flash-season-1-episode-11-Flash-threatens-Pied-PiperBy Molly Jane Kremer and Jarrod Jones. Tonight’s episode of The Flash is titled “The Sound and the Fury”, and yet it’s inexplicably nothing at all like the William Faulkner novel. It does, however, introduce our latest supervillain, the Pied Piper, and a worthy adversary he is too: he’s certainly the most intelligent person the Flash (Grant Gustin) and S.T.A.R. Labs has fought against so far, and he does a bang-up job of casting (yet more) mistrust onto Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh). For a series that has successfully pulled off several impressive, more well-known marquee villains (like Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and the Reverse-Flash), “The Sound and the Fury” shows that the series’ writers still have more than enough energy to inject some loving care into its world. 

WHAT WORKED: Reliably, the series’ central cast. The close-knit camaraderie among the S.T.A.R. Labs staff has always been solid (even if Cisco, Caitlin, and Barry are all ignorant of Dr. Wells’ nefarious intentions), and the episode’s writers take the time to illustrate how badly Rathaway fit in with them, which only emphasizes their current harmonious teamwork. The characterization is always aces.

The introduction of the Pied Piper, like last episode’s team-up with Captain Cold and Heat Wave, shows a new trend of bad guys going after The Flash directly, instead of simply committing crimes that cause the Flash to come after them. This gives the episode a much different feel than the typical “freak-of-the-week” entries, making every event seem that much more consequential.

WHAT DIDN’T: You’re… kidding, right? Well, even with the nigh-flawless storytelling happening here, we suppose there are a couple of things that did stick in our craw, even if it was just a little bit: as usual, the show gives us a throwaway suplot for Iris Allen (Candice Patton), but this one is a bit more substantial than what is normally tossed her way. The local newspaper, adorably called The Central City Picture News, hires her because they think that her (mostly off-screen) blog signifies a link she has with the Flash, but as much as bringing her closer to her journalist-comics-counterpart is appreciated, this was an overly sudden development. And considering how little time Patton’s Iris spends acting like a journalist – it seems she prefers to make out with Det. Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett) and make her teeth-bleaching appointments – it doesn’t make too much sense, either.

Hartley: “Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon, and Harrison Wells. Is that them listening? Are they gonna hear you die?”  The Flash: “No. They’re gonna hear you get your ass kicked.

Cisco:HEY… I assign the nicknames around here.

Hartley:Being scooped up by a guy covered in leather head to toe has been a longtime fantasy of mine, so thanks.

BEST MOMENT: The final act showdown. As usual, The Flash never skimps on its climactic fight scene. Barry and the Pied Piper face off above a dam, with Rathaway tossing cars over the side as the Flash is forced to zoom into the cars and grab their passengers before they fall to their deaths.

EPISODE’S MVP: The Pied Piper. For a villain who has just burst onto the show, Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) is easily one of the most fully realized nemeses The Flash has featured so far. The entire episode is a solid example of what is possible when a writing team can balance characterization and pathos with a really well-written story. Within its limited air time, “The Sound and the Fury” made Hartley not just a worthy adversary for Barry and Dr. Wells, but a worthy opponent for Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes). We can’t wait to see him again.

The-Flash-season-1-episode-11-Harrison-WellsFLASH FACTS: 

– “The Sound and the Fury” welcomes The Flash‘s first appearance of the Royal Flush Gang. (Their first appearance in the DC Television Universe took place in Arrow‘s Season One episode, “Legacies”.)

– During the press conference, Wells mentions that he has “failed this city” (Central City, to be exact), evoking shades of Oliver Queen. Now. Because of The Flash‘s tight affiliation with Arrow, and acknowledging that comic book nerds comb through all extended media for signs of winks, nods, Easter Eggs, and the like, this had to be deliberate.

– The editor for the Central City Picture News confirms: nobody calls him “chief”. If that ain’t a Superman reference, then we’re duck l’Orange.

– Cisco, during flashback, is seen sporting a shirt that reads KEEP CALM, AND HAN SHOT FIRST.

– Iris’ journalistic colleague, Mason Bridge, is definitely a shout to the Post-Crisis DC Universe: Mason Trollbridge, Wally West’s former neighbor, first appeared in Flash (vol. 2 )#15 in August, 1988. Though the former carpenter might be a bit bewildered in knowing that his on-screen avatar is the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes.

– There was another Barry/Joe heart-to-heart at the end of this episode, capped off by a pretty fantastic high-five. We’d like to live with Det. West and eat spaghetti dinners too, please.