The Flash S1E11: “Checkmate”

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By Mina Haq 

This week’s episode of “The Flash” was all about being disappointed by heroes, with Wells breaking the trust of his team after the arrival of a vengeful former S.T.A.R. Labs employee and Iris having to deal with the reality that her new reporting mentor and journalism idol might be a jerk.

Photo courtesy of Digital Spy

In a flashback to two years ago, before the particle accelerator exploded and when Cisco first joined the team, we meet S.T.A.R. Labs employee Hartley Rathaway. Hartley is shown as disdainful, condescending and brilliant and, though we’ve never heard of him, it’s very clear he and Wells had an unbelievably strong bond at the time. He was also a huge help in creating the particle accelerator.

In the present day, Wells is attacked at his house (right as he finally used his super speed!) and the cops and the team show up immediately to find every window shattered with no point of impact. Wells immediately realizes that his former mentee Hartley is responsible for this, as he’s still seeking revenge against Wells for some unclear “disagreement.” Caitlin and Cisco are disappointed to hear that Hartley is back, since they were hoping that he would disappear forever after leaving the team. However, Hartley isn’t very concerned about remaining inconspicuous, because he immediately attacks his parents’ company, Rathaway Industries, using sonic blast gloves to break the glass and destroy the building.

Catching Hartley is actually too easy for Barry (it’s almost as if Hartley wanted to be caught…) and the team locks him up right away. It’s there that Hartley lets the team know that Wells betrayed him and will turn on all of them too, and that there’s something he’s not telling them. Obviously, Wells has no choice but to explain, and confesses to the team that Hartley told him there was a chance that the particle accelerator could explode but Wells thought that “the reward simply outweighed the risk,” effectively breaking the trust of his entire team. It’s pretty clear Wells seems to be behind everything all the time, and his goal with the particle accelerator was to create the Flash.

Meanwhile, Iris and Joe are facing their own issues as well. Iris is ecstatic to start her new job as a reporter for the Central City Picture News, and even more awestruck by the fact that her favorite journalist will be her mentor. Unfortunately, it becomes pretty clear right away that the paper only hired her because they thought she had a connection with the Flash and her mentor is an absolute jerk who doesn’t think she has what it takes to be there.

Photo courtesy of Entertainment Weekly

Joe is dealing with his own suspicions and doesn’t trust Wells at all, especially since he seemed to be unscathed from all of the shattered glass in his house. He tells Barry he has a feeling Wells is hiding something, but Barry doesn’t really want to hear it.

Back at the lab, Cisco realizes that Hartley’s gloves weren’t being used to their full potential and that Hartley wanted to get caught the whole time. By the time he realizes this Hartley is long gone and not only has he taken back his sonic gloves but he also took data on Barry’s molecular scans, meaning he can figure out the Flash’s frequency and hurt him. Before they act, Wells holds a press conference and admits to the entire city that he was more at fault than even they thought. This also gives Iris the chance to prove her “gumption” to her rude new boss, since Wells only answers her question and then leaves.

Hartley makes contact with the team and uses Barry’s frequency to basically deafen him with a loud screeching noise, which is how the particle accelerator explosion affected Hartley in the first place. However, Wells is sort of there to save the day and uses satellite radio to destroy the frequency and Hartley’s sonic gloves. They get him in the end, and the team’s faith in Wells is restored (well, at least Barry’s and Cisco’s is since neither of them lost a fiancé in the explosion). However, Hartley tells Cisco that he knows Cisco will release him in no time since Hartley knows exactly where Ronnie Raymond is, what happened to him the night of the explosion and just how to save him.

Despite the team’s regained trust in Wells, Joe had Eddie search Wells’ house and plans to continue investigating his since he doesn’t trust him one bit.

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