The Flash’s reboot of Harrison Wells created a curmudgeonly genius… and a classic double act
UK Broadcast Sky 1, finished US Broadcast The CW, finished
The gamechanging cliffhanger at the end of The Flash season two – with Barry travelling back in time to save his mother – promises great things for season three, but also presents one major concern: with the subsequent changes to the timeline, are we going to get yet another version of Harrison Wells?
We’ve already had one change. In season one he was actually evil speedster Eobard Thawne (aka Reverse-Flash) disguised in a Wells skin suit. As the show’s resident evil genius he was driven and ruthless but with a hint of melancholy. In season two we were introduced to Earth-2’s version of Wells, and the change in the character was a masterstroke.
Why? Well, it would have been so easy simply to make a “nice” Wells to contrast with Thawne-Wells. Instead they made him grumpy, selfcentred, short-tempered and witheringly sarcastic. Tom
Cavanagh took that and ran with it to produce one of TV’s greatest curmudgeons; Steve Jobs meets Victor Meldrew.
For the first two-thirds of the season he was TV sci-fi’s most watchable anti-hero since Blake’s Seven’s Avon, forced into being a good guy but making sure everybody knew exactly how much personal pain he was enduring in the process. His undisguised contempt for Jay – his world’s Flash – was refreshing at a point when everybody else was fawning over the phoney hero.
Later in the season he softened but his competitive and combative relationship with Cisco remained. They formed a hugely entertaining sparky double act with inventive insults flying back and forth, but all the time you knew Wells loved the guy like a son.
So please come back next season, Earth-2 Wells. We don’t want another timeywimey variant. Dave Golder