The Royal Flush Gang escape through Central City on motorbikes, and
Flash follows them. When the Gang splits up, Harrison checks the city
street maps and directs Flash to set up a road block in front of one of
them, and then catch up to the other three as they reunited. The hero
takes all of their keys and leaves them for the police, and then returns
to S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry thanks his friends for their help and Cisco
asks for a photo of Barry. Barry wants a photo of all of them, has the
scientist gather for a group shot, and then takes the photo at
superspeed so that he can be in it. He then thanks Harrison for his
help, admitting that it’s a bit of a rush being a hero.
When Barry returns to Joe’s place where he’s staying, Iris has stopped by to pick up a few thing. Joe comes in with dinner and invites his daughter to stay, but she says that Eddie is expecting her. He tells Iris that she got a call from the Central City Picture News. While she checks the call, Joe congratulates Barry on capturing the villains for the police. Iris comes back and tells them that the Picture News wants to hire her because the editor, Erik Larkin, is a fan of her blog.
Harrison goes home and pours himself a drink, and his cell phone rings. The man at the other end says that they both know what Harrison did, and Harrison gets out his gun. The house speakers come on and the caller says that it’s time for Harrison to pay the piper. The skylights explode as a blast of sound hits them, and Harrison superspeeds out of the way. However, another blast hits the house, knocking Harrison down.
The next morning, the police arrive at the house when neighbors report the incident. Harrison greets Joe and Barry, and claims that he got a prank call. Joe isn’t convinced and Harrison admits that there are people who want revenge against him since he set off the generator explosion. Caitlin and Cisco arrive and Harrison assures them that he’s okay, and then goes to make a hotel reservation. The younger scientists look around and admit to Barry that Harrison has never invited them there.
Two years ago, Harrison and his protégé, Hartley Rathaway, are playing chess at the lab and exchanging quotes in Latin. Cisco arrives for his first day at work and interrupts them, and Harrison introduces him to Hartley as his new hire. Hartley takes in Cisco’s scruffy appearance and dismisses him. Once Cisco leaves, Harrison tells Hartley that he has a good feeling about the young engineer. However, he assures Hartley that he’s still his favorite and nothing will ever change that.
Eddie canvasses the neighborhood and returns to the house, telling Joe that there were no strange cars spotted. He wonders why Harrison was unharmed if he was there when the skylights exploded. Meanwhile, Barry secretly assembles one of the skylights at superspeed, and tells Harrison that there was no one specific point of impact. He doesn’t think that it was a prank and Harrison concurs. When Barry wonders why he doesn’t want the police involved, Harrison tells him that he knows that Hartley is the one responsible.
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison tells Joe, Barry and his team that Hartley is a genius. The Rathaway family owns Rathaway industries and Hartley was set to inherit, but his father disowned him when Hartley outed himself. Caitlin and Cisco both agree that Hartley was a jerk, even though he was Harrison’s favorite team member. Harrison says that Hartley left after the two of them had a disagreement, but refuses to provide details. Barry promises that he won’t let Hartley hurt them and heads back to the station with Joe.
As Hartley shows Cisco around, he challenges him as an incompetent. Cisco answers his technical questions, impressing Caitlin as she overhears them talking. She comes over and introduces herself, and tells Hartley that she’s leaving early to celebrate her one-year anniversary with her fiancé Ronnie. Hartley dismissively tells Cisco that he won’t last a week and walks away.
Iris arrives at the Picture News and introduces herself to one of the reporters, Mason Bridge. Larkin starts the staff meeting and welcomes Iris, and asks for someone to mentor her. When no one volunteers, Larkin assigns Mason. As they discuss stories, Iris suggests doing a piece on battered women at a local shelter. Larkin gently turns her down and asks for her input on Flash. When she says that she doesn’t have any new leads, Larkin tells everyone to get to work.
At the police lab, Barry tells Joe that Hartley used sound waves to shatter the skylights. Joe suggests that Harrison is hiding something about Hartley, and finally tells Barry that he’s been secretly checking out Harrison’s past. He warns Barry that he doesn’t know the scientist as well as he thinks, just as Eddie comes in and tells them that Hartley is attacking Rathaway Industries. The detectives head out, just as Caitlin calls and tells Barry that Hartley is attacking his family business.
At Rathaway Industries, a costumed Hartley is blasting the building with a pair of wrist-mounted sonic devices. The police pull up but he easily holds them at bay with his sonic weaponry. Flash runs up and knocks Hartley down, and the villain says that knows Harrison, Cisco, and Caitlin are watching. Hartley is monitoring the radio waves going to Flash’s suit, and blasts the hero back. The speedster quickly moves out of range, grabs the police officers’ batons, and throws them at Hartley, stunning him. Flash then runs forward and disarms the villain, but Hartley smugly tells him that he knows who Harrison really is.
Flash takes Hartley to S.T.A.R. Labs, but the villain seems strangely confident despite the fact that he’s been captured. He says that he’s chosen the name “Pied Piper” for himself, much to Cisco’s dismay. Cisco and Caitlin take him to a pipeline containment cell and scan him for hidden weapons. They detect metal decides in his ears, and Hartley says that they suppress the pain of the head trauma he suffered during the generator explosion. They let him keep them just as Harrison comes in and asks the younger scientists to let him have some time alone with his former protégé. Once they leave, Hartley explains that he worked out Flash is working with Harrison by extrapolating his departure paths from crime scenes. Harrison apologizes to Hartley for hurting him, but Hartley glances up at the camera and figures that Flash is watching. He tells Harrison that he’s only apologizing for their audience, and calls out that Harrison will turn on Flash one day just as he did on him. As Harrison leaves, Hartley reminds him that he knows his secret.
Harrison goes back to the others and admits that he hasn’t been honest with them. He explains that Hartley warned him that there was a chance the generator would explode when activated. However, Harrison didn’t believe his calculations were conclusive, and he ignored Hartley’s advice. Caitlin, angry at being deceived, tells Harrison to tell them the next time he puts them and their loved ones at risk. Once she and Cisco leaves, Barry tells Harrison that he owes them more than an apology.
At the Picture News Larkin tells Iris to check out a Flash sighting. When she talks to Mason, he tells her that he has his assignment and she should get to work on hers. When Iris says that she wants to be a serious reporter, Mason points out that she’s a college student there because she blogged about a superhero and has no other talent. Disappointed, Iris meets Barry at Jitters to complain about her problems, but realizes that he’s having his own. He tells her to go ahead, and Iris explains that Mason considers her a worthless millennial. Barry assures her that she’s talented, and she thanks him for believing in her.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco is examining Hartley’s sonic technology, and he and Caitlin wonder why Hartley used them at their lowest setting. They realize that the whole thing was a setup, and confirm that Hartley has escaped his cell. Cisco sets off the alarm and goes to the pipeline. Harrison hears the alarm and tries to superspeed to investigate. However, his tachyon-boosted powers suddenly fade, leaving him helpless on the hallway floor.
Despite the pain, Hartley pulls out one of his implants and uses the imbedded explosive to blast open the main door. The blast wave knocks Cisco unconscious, and Hartley goes to the main lab and knocks Caitlin out. He then starts accessing the lab’s main computers.
Harrison reaches his phone and calls Barry, warning him that Hartley has escaped. Iris is over at the counter getting coffee, and Barry superspeeds off before she can notice. Meanwhile, Pied Piper dons his weaponry and finds Harrison, and asks if he’s still his favorite.
Barry arrives a minute later and confirms that Harrison is okay. Hartley has escaped, and they find Cisco and wake him up. As Caitlin tends to her friend’s concussion, Cisco wonders why Hartley let himself be caught, and blames himself for Hartley’s escape. Harrison comes in and says that it’s all his fault, and that he’s going to earn their trust by paying for his crimes.
Hartley is examining the particle generator when Harrison finds him. The younger scientist warns Harrison that he’s risking the lives of everyone in Central City if he brings the generator online. Harrison summons the security guards and tells Hartley that his position is terminated. As the guards take Hartley out, Harrison warns him that if he ever says anything about his suspicions then Harrison will make sure he never works again.
The next day, Iris goes to the station to see Eddie and finds Mason and other city reports waiting for Harrison’s press conference. Harrison comes out and announces that he was warned about the danger of activating the generator but went ahead anyway, and he failed Central City.
Hartley is a motel room going over the computer files when he sees Harrison’s press conference on the TV. Harrison asks for the chance to regain everyone’s trust, and Mason asks him if he’s going to rebuild the accelerator. Harrison ignores him and asks Iris for a question, and she asks the same thing. Harrison says that he isn’t, and then leaves as Mason wonders what that was, and Iris smugly says, “gumption.”
When Harrison returns to S.T.A.R. Labs, he tells the others that Hartley will still come after him. Cisco reviews the files Hartley copied and promises to find out what he was after. Harrison assures Cisco that he has nothing to prove, and that he hired him because he saw the humanity in him: humanity that Hartley never had. The scientist tells Cisco that he never had a favorite and that it’s just them.
Pied Piper accesses the lab speakers and shorts them out, and tells Harrison that they’re going to play one last game of chess. He says that he’s already on the board and tells Harrison to send Flash while he takes out some more pawns. Pied Piper then starts attacking the toll booth on a dam bridge that he’s occupying.
While Barry dons his suit, Harrison tells Cisco to scan for signs of seismic activities. Once Cisco locates Pied Piper at the dam, Flash speeds there and rescues a woman from a car that Pied Piper has blasted over the side. Harrison warns Flash to disarm Pied Piper quickly, and the villain blasts several more empty cars into the air. Flash knocks them over the side to explode harmlessly below, and then heads toward Pied Piper.
Cisco finishes analyzing the files and realizes that Hartley downloaded their scans on Barry’s body. Caitlin warns that Hartley now knows their friend’s molecular frequency, and Harrison yells at Flash to get out. However, Flash disarms Pied Piper, who smugly says that he’s got him twice with the same trick. The sonic weapons go off automatically, unleashing blasts of sound over Flash’s suit speakers.
As the hero vibrates to death, Harrison hacks the satellite radios of the remaining cars on the bridge. He then sends sound waves to shatter Pied Piper’s sonic weapons. They shut off and the villain picks them up just as they explode, cutting his hands. He falls to his knees and Flash recovers.
Later at the lab, Barry confirms that he’s okay but slightly deaf. Cisco takes time to recover from his concussion now that the crisis is over, and Caitlin leaves with him. Harrison tells Barry that it’s difficult for him to admit when he’s wrong, and hopes to regain Barry’s trust and faith in him. Barry says that he already has and gives him the photo he took earlier.
Later, Barry visits Joe at the station and says that it must have been hard on the police detective raising a boy genius. Joe says that it was worth it and Barry says that no one could have replaced him, not even Harrison. After Barry leaves, Eddie arrives and tells Joe that he didn’t find anything at Harrison’s house. He wonders if Joe wants to continue investigating Harrison, and Joe says that he does.
Cisco visits Hartley in his containment cell and tells his former colleague to make himself comfortable. Hartley tells him that he’s going to let him out of his own free will. When Cisco wonders why he would, Hartley says that he knows how to find Ronnie, what happened to him, and how to save him.
Harrison goes to his secret chamber and recharges himself from the stolen tachyon device. GIDEON warns him that the output is at tolerable levels, but Harrison ignores the computer and sets the device to maximum. GIDEON admits that it doesn’t know how long the tachyon device is viable, and Harrison tells it that the device was only a temporary fix until he initiates the real endgame.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 23, 2019