Like it or not, H.R. Wells is here to stay on Earth-1 on The Flash. As of the episode “Dead or Alive” H.R. has been forbidden from going back to his home earth of Earth-19, so fans and the Flash team are stuck with him. It’s caused a fair bit of disappointment because unlike his previous two iterations, the season 3 version of Harrison Wells is not a great character. It’s a sour lemon to learn that there is no easy way for The Flash to get rid of H.R. but perhaps the show can turn it into lemonade and finally give fans a reason to care about H.R. Wells.
Start Being There
The problem with H.R. is that he doesn’t add anything. He is a tragic waste of Tom Cavanagh. H.R. has no real skills. He is a chatterbox who annoys the rest of the team and because he is a new character, the show has felt the need to give him more screen time than most. Every second spent on H.R. takes away from the better and more established characters, like Joe West. At nearly halfway through the season, the decision to introduce H.R. and send Harry back to his home Earth should be paying off but it is not. If anything H.R. has become more annoying.
A big plot point of “Dead or Alive” was that Cisco wondered aloud why he was bothering to save H.R.’s life. Barry even seriously considered letting H.R. go back to his home earth and be executed — mostly because Barry thought it might help Iris live in the future, but obviously he cares very little for the new Wells. Hopefully, though, “Dead or Alive” serves as the turning point for the character. The last scene with Cisco and H.R. in the episode basically had Cisco telling H.R. that he needs grow up and provide for the team.
By the next episode we could see a brand new H.R., one who will finally justify his existence on the show. H.R. doesn’t need to be a brand new character. He can still be hyperactive and just a teensy bit annoying, but the character needs to have more weight to him. H.R. can’t just be the comic relief anymore. If The Flash can give us a reason for Julian joining the team, when he is basically just a more socially awkward and terse Barry, they can make H.R. work.
Paying It Forward
There is another way that H.R. could help though. It’s pretty clear that someone is going to die on The Flash season 3. The show is not going to spend all this time worrying about Iris being killed at the hands of Savitar and have nothing come of it. While Iris won’t die, someone on Team Flash will probably be paying the ultimate price down the line. H.R. is the perfect candidate for that sacrifice.
H.R.’s death would not only work well because of his unpopularity. It would actually have some real emotional resonance. Tom Cavanagh is a good enough actor that he could make us care about the death of a character, even one as irksome as H.R. H.R. sacrificing himself would also work well with the conclusion of “Dead or Alive.” Cisco didn’t just give H.R. a pep talk at the end of the episode, he heavily foreshadowed Wells’ death.
Cisco’s reasoning for saving H.R.’s life is that he hopes that somewhere in the future, H.R. will be around to save Cisco or someone else on the team. If we assume that Iris won’t die, the person’s whose death would probably hurt Barry the most after Iris is Cisco. It would be the perfect gut punch of a twist for The Flash to suddenly threaten Cisco’s life while Barry is trying to save iris.
This could be the moment for H.R. to finally shine. Somehow H.R. could find a way to save Cisco’s life and in the process he would be the one who ends up dying. It would repay the danger Cisco put himself in while saving H.R. during “Dead or Alive” and get rid of the character in one easy (and possibly very emotional) sweep. The Flash does love to do the unexpected, and killing H.R. off so soon after saying that he can’t go back to his home earth would be an unexpected twist.
But what do you think? What would you rather happen to H.R., should he die or become a productive member of the team? Do you think it would be unexpected and emotional to kill him off? Is it too easy of a twist?
(Images courtesy of The CW)