Whether you’re a fan of CBS’ 1990 version of “The Flash,” “Star Wars,” or comic book culture in general, the March 31 episode of “The Flash” is sure to satisfy, with genre icon Mark Hamill reprising his ’90s role as one of the Scarlet Speedster’s main antagonists, James Jesse — aka The Trickster — a character that demonstrated the actor’s anarchic chops even before he lent his voice to The Joker for “Batman: The Animated Series” and its many offshoots. While the villain starts out safely behind bars (allowing Hamill to channel his inner Hannibal Lecter), it doesn’t take long for chaos to engulf Central City after a copycat Trickster (Devon Graye) starts pulling from the criminal’s explosive playbook.
Not only is “Tricksters” an unrepentant trip down memory lane for fans of the previous show, it also ties into the larger mythology of the current CW series, progressing the plot with plenty of twists you won’t see coming. Here are five things to know about this week’s episode:
Where there’s a Wells, there’s a way
As executive producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed at a recent screening, “Tricksters” features a flashback to Harrison Wells’ (Tom Cavanagh) past, giving us further insight into what currently motivates the manipulative time-traveler who revealed himself to be Eobard Thawne in episode 15. While the episode won’t answer all your questions about the Reverse Flash, it definitely offers some enlightenment about Wells and what made him the murderous man he is today.
The Force is strong with this one
No Mark Hamill cameo would be complete without a shout-out to “Star Wars,” and the man behind Luke Skywalker gets to deliver a line from the franchise with great aplomb.
Hamill isn’t the only “Flash” alum to make a return — the episode also features Vito D’Ambrosio, who played police officer Anthony Bellows in the ’90s series. In the new show, he reprises his former role, but this time around, instead of a lowly cop, Anthony Bellows is the mayor of Central City. Eagle-eyed fans will also be able to spot some familiar costumes, props and set designs from the original series, including a photo of Hamill in his character’s colorful unitard from back in the day. And never fear, John Wesley Shipp fans, Hamill will also share the screen with his former nemesis, allowing the pair to trade a few verbal jabs even if Grant Gustin is the one wearing the speedster’s iconic red costume this time around.
Barry has already inadvertently mastered time travel and tsunami-repelling techniques, but a “Speed”-like situation involving a bomb and a speedometer also encourages our hero to try out another helpful comic book ability we’ve yet to see, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
When Barry discovered that Iris’ (Candice Patton) Picture News mentor Mason Bridge had gone missing at the end of last week’s episode, it seemed to set off some alarm bells about Barry’s own mentor, Dr. Wells. While the events of episode 16 altered the timeline and erased Cisco’s (Carlos Valdes) memories of Wells’ real identity (which is a relief, since that also means he’s still alive), this week’s installment will see Barry beginning his own investigation into whether Wells is really being honest about who he is and why he’s so interested in Barry’s abilities. He’ll also turn to an unlikely ally in his quest to uncover the truth.
Once you’ve seen the episode, check out our postmortem for more on Harrison Wells’ journey.
“The Flash” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.