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For other uses of Trickster, see Trickster (disambiguation)
"I've had 20 years to come up with the perfect trick. It's going to be my masterpiece. My Mona Lisa. My Breaking Bad season five."
The Trickster

"Tricksters" is the seventeenth episode of the first season of The Flash, and the seventeenth episode overall. It aired on March 31, 2015.




Special guest star[]

Guest starring[]




Fifteen years ago, the Flash and Reverse Flash race down residential streets. Nora Allen kisses a young Barry Allen goodnight and walks through her living room, holding a glass of wine. The two speedsters enter the home, with Flash right on Reverse Flash's tail. The two fight at high speeds, throwing each other against walls and punching each other, until Reverse Flash dives after Barry, who is standing in the hall watching. The Flash intercepts him and the two flyover young Barry, revealing a white lightning logo on the Flash's chest, different than current Flash's red one. Henry Allen enters the room and tells young Barry to run. The Flash grabs young Barry and takes him away from the house. Reverse Flash follows but his speed fails him. Gideon tells him that his cells are completely devoid of the Speed Force due to his most recent time jump against the Flash. He asks how he is supposed to return home and Gideon tells him he cannot. Angry, Reverse Flash screams and takes off his mask, revealing an unknown face underneath.

In the present, Barry Allen and Joe West see parachute bombs in gift boxes landing towards a playground. This reminds Joe of a criminal named James Jesse who also committed a series of terrorist attacks under the name “The Trickster” 20 years ago and has been imprisoned since. In order to stop the copycat villain, Barry and Joe meet with the original Trickster. They ask him about the parachute bombs and Barry says the explosives in them were the same as the formula the Trickster used 20 years ago. The Trickster is enraged that "a rank amateur, a mere pretender" is stealing his legacy. Joe attempts to persuade the Trickster to help them but he refuses and says the only way this could have happened is if the new Trickster found his lair. He asks them to kill the new Trickster when they find him.

At the police precinct, Iris tells Eddie that she is concerned about Mason, since he has not been seen in weeks and isn't answering his phone. Eddie brushes her off but eventually agrees to look into it. Joe and Barry go to the Trickster's lair and find it rigged with an explosive. Once Barry pulls Joe away from its blast, they find that all of the Trickster's equipment is gone. Joe and Barry return to prison and Barry briefly visits his father and tells him that he is close to finding proof of his father's innocence. Henry tells Barry to let it go, but Barry refuses. They then return to the Trickster's cell.

The Trickster mocks them for walking into a trap but tells them he had a bomb in his lair big enough to destroy Central City. The new Trickster then releases a video that says Central City is in for a much bigger surprise. The Trickster loses his temper and screams at the phone, telling the new Trickster to take off his mask. Back at STAR Labs, Wells tells Barry that he knows what Barry is thinking: it is always tough for Barry to see his father. Wells assures him they will find his mother's killer, then Barry leaves.

In another flashback, the original Harrison Wells sits on a beach with his wife, Tess Morgan, and they talk about building STAR Labs, but at the time he wants to name it Technological Engineering Scientific Studies (T.E.S.S) Labs. She suggests Science, Technological and Research (S.T.A.R.) Labs instead because he is the only star she sees. Eobard Thawne watches from a distance.

The Flash visits Iris at CC Jitters. She tells him about Mason and the Flash agrees to look into it. Iris asks if he is ok, he seems to have a heavy heart. He says that sometimes he wonders why he wears the mask. At that moment, he hears of a new video from the Trickster and asks to borrow Iris' laptop. He watches the video which gives a specific address for another bombing. The Flash rushes there but there is no bomb. Wells suggests it is a diversion but Barry keeps looking and finds an empty crate with the words "Tricked You" spray painted inside.

Cisco detects an explosion at Iron Heights, where the new Trickster breaks James Jesse out of prison and takes Barry's father prisoner.

The bomb on The Flash's wrist placed by The Trickster

The bomb on The Flash's wrist placed by The Trickster.

In the Trickster's lair, the Trickster compliments the new one saying that was "one hell of a trick." James says he had years to come up with "the perfect trick", claiming it was his masterpiece, his "Breaking Bad Season 5." James also reveals to Axel that he is his father. At STAR Labs, Joe updates them on the situation. Wells has a flashback that shows the original Harrison Wells and his wife drive home. The car hits a speed trap and flies end over end, killing Tess. Wells tries to get a man who leans down to help, but he says the woman has been dead for centuries.

Back in the present, Barry laments that he has to leave his father's fate in the hands of a murderer. Barry feels he was so close to saving his father when he is kidnapped. Barry doesn't understand how he didn't see what Wells really was, but Joe consoles him by saying he sees the best in people, and that's his real power.

James and Axel disguise themselves as servers and hand out champagne at a local fundraiser for Mayor Anthony Bellows. The Trickster takes the stage and announces that he has poisoned them with trimethaline 342 and is ransoming them for the antidote. When the Flash arrives, James and Axel fit him with a bomb that will detonate if he goes below 600 miles per hour. Barry starts running. Harrison Wells coaches Barry on how to vibrate his molecules so that he can phase through objects, which removes the bomb. Afterward, Barry provides an antidote to all the patrons before capturing Jesse and Walker. Barry rescues Henry, who is tied to a chair beneath a box of knives. Barry rescues him just as the knives fall and removes his mask to let his father see that he is the Flash.

Barry takes Henry back to STAR Labs where he greets the Team. Henry thanks Wells for all he has done, Henry and Barry share one final embrace before Joe takes him back into custody. Wells says that Henry is an extraordinary man and that Barry is lucky to have him. Barry replies that he lucky to have Wells to and walks away with an angry look on his face. Wells stares at Barry with suspicion.

Eobard Thawne looks down at Harrison Wells

Eobard Thawne looks down at Harrison Wells.

In another flashback, Eobard Thawne introduces himself to Wells and explains that in 2020 he and his wife will successfully launch a particle accelerator, which is his way home. He connects a tube between himself and Wells, killing Wells and giving Thawne his appearance and identity so he can develop the particle accelerator sooner.

Back in the present, the Flash reveals his identity to Eddie and Joe tells Eddie that they need his help. In the next scene he is talking with Iris at the West residence and Eddie tells her that Mason is in Brazil. He left with a woman and decided to live off the grid. Iris is surprised and leaves the room. Barry recalls Wells coaching him on how to phase and tells Eddie and Joe that he knows "Wells" is the Reverse-Flash.

In a final flashback, Thawne has hidden Wells's body and pretends to be Wells when the police arrive.


Preparation began January 9, 2015 and ran until January 19, 2015. Shooting began January 20, 2015 and ran until January 30, 2015.[1]


  • There are a few scenes that that are similar or bear some resemblance to scenes from the TV show Smallville.
  • The episode contain multiple references to the 1990 TV series The Flash, specifically the episodes "The Trickster" and "The Trial of the Trickster".
    • Shirley Walker's themes used for the Flash episodes featuring the Trickster can be heard.
    • Several cast members from the 1990 series appear in the episode.
    • The original Trickster's attacks were 20 years ago. From the date of airing, the day "The Trial of the Trickster" aired was May 18, 1991, which is almost 23 years before this episode premiered.
    • When Joe West tells Team Flash about the Trickster, he describes James Jesse as "like Jesse James, only more twisted." In the 1990 series, P.I. Megan Lockhart describes Jesse as " Jesse James, only backwards and twisted."
    • When Barry and Joe follow a lead to James Jesse's old Trickster hideout, old costumes, props and set designs from the 1990 series can be seen.
    • The trench coat Henry Allen wears, at the end of the episode before Joe takes him back to Iron Heights, is the same jacket John Wesley Shipp wore several times as Barry in the 1990s The Flash series.
  • The scene where Barry and Joe visit the Trickster in his prison cell is reminiscent of the scene where Clarice Starling first visits Hannibal Lecter in his prison cell in the 1990 film, The Silence of the Lambs. Additionally, both criminals are said to have talked someone into committing suicide.
  • Mark Hamill said that he had a professor in college who said, "And if the papers are late, I'll be forced to cut off your head and throw it right in your face," which inspired a similar line by James Jesse. "That just stuck with me, the absurdity of it all. It's such a violent image, and yet it's [off-set] by the humor of it being a physical impossibility. So, I was throwing those things out there." Andrew Kreisberg said Hamill's "Cut off his head and throw it at his face!" was his favorite line in the episode.[4]
  • When listing two locations of two bombs, Axel says that they are between 52nd Street and Avenue B. This is a reference to:
    • The New 52 comic book storyline.
    • Christopher Nolan's 2008 film The Dark Knight where Heath Ledger's Joker, who is also a chaotic antagonist using explosives and deception, much like Axel, uses 250 52nd Street and Avenue X, which is similar to Avenue B. Mark Hamill also voiced the Joker in various animated movies, television, and video games, starting with Batman: The Animated Series.
  • James Jesse references multiple famous films and TV shows:
    • While describing his latest trick, he compares it to the Mona Lisa and the fifth season of Breaking Bad.
    • The scene where James Jesse told Axel, "I am your father" is taken from Mark Hamill's most famous role as Luke Skywalker; in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader revealed he is Luke's father. The music played right as this is shared with Axel also resembles the music played at that moment.
    • When the Flash has a bomb placed on his wrist, James Jesse compares his predicament to the 1994 film Speed, and namedrops Keanu Reeves.
  • Axel and James attaching a bomb to Flash's wrist and warning it will explode if he stops running is similar to the 2012 animated film Justice League: Doom where Mirror Master did the same thing under the same threat. Similar to how Barry gets rid of it in the episode by vibrating through a truck, in the film he gets rid of the explosive by vibrating through an iceberg.
  • Harrison Wells talks to Barry about learning to phase by immersing him and calming him down. Barry uses this same technique in "Nora", even having a flashback to that moment.
  • The final scene of "The Speed of Thought" takes place during and after the scene in this episode in which Eobard kills Harrison and takes on his appearance. In the latter episode, Harrison is resurrected moments later through, as explained in "Mother", particles of the other Wellses that were left behind by the destruction of the artificial Speed Force.
  • "Who is Harrison Wells?" and "The Man Who Saved Central City" would seemingly confirm that the two sets of flashbacks in this episode take place a month apart, with the latter placing Nora Allen's death on March 18, 2000 and the former placing Tess and Harrison's deaths on April 16, 2000.
  • This is one of the only episodes in which Tom Cavanagh and Matt Letscher, the two main actors who portray Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash in the Arrowverse, share a scene, the other being "The Reverse-Flash Returns".