It has basically the same plot as Batman, the 1989 one.
Clown Prince of crime gets crush on vigilante superhero's girlfriend, parallel to the whole 'I made you? You made me first!' argument. With the resolution that it's no more the costumed vigilante's fault that costumed supervillains get nemesis-crushes on him than it is the lady's fault she gets a creepy stalker.
Trickster is super dark though. He's killed a minimum of 12 women by deciding they were his One True Love and dragging them into his fantasy life du jour. And he boasts about how the feds don't know all of it anyway. He sets himself up as some kind of center of attention role, doctor or lawyer or fed or magician or in Central arch nemesis, and he chooses a girl to be his sidekick, and then in his head they've loved each other forever and she's just being silly with all the screaming. So we meet him when he's playing magician with Megan Lockhart, and he's about to cut her in half with a chainsaw. Flash to the reacue. James Jesse gets arrested but breaks out on the way to prison and sets himself up in a props warehouse. He sets off a bomb in a statue and another in a truck with lots of fireworks and he takes people hostage at a costume shop and kills one for not singing, and then Flash calls him out so he goes to the police costume ball and explodes some teargas and a cake and shoots at people with flares. Flash knocks him out with juggling, theowing candlesticks at his head repeatedly, but because this is a nice vigilante story Trickster is conscious again by the time the police out him in the van. But he's changed persona again, this time he says he's the Flash!
Which goes neatly with the other thread with the two comic relief cops having an argument because one thinks the other is secretly the Flash. Which is a problem when he goes missing just as the Flash turns up because his partner assumes he's in costume. And then when they go to the costume ball he dresses as the Flash and tells the cameras he's teh Flash, but he's like the twelfth version that night, plus he's way more Elvis than the original.
So there's a bit about what exactly the Flash is inspiring in who, and a couple different layers to it.
Oh and more romance subplot where Barry and Tina are not dating just spending all their time together doing date things so Barry is just confused when Tina gets upset when he starts shagging Megan instead. Ugh do I hate romance subplot which could be resolved by talking like grownups. But it has a whole identity, masks, assumptions, relationships going on in one's head angle that ties it to the plot properly.
This is genuinely one of the better episodes, like I could watch this one for fun again later.
And it's really easy to see how it would play out without the Flash, it's just depressing because it implies at least one more dead woman. Without the Flash then Trickster in his magician phase probably brings that chainsaw down on his latest assistant. Bad. But it wouldn't be Megan, she was doing thinking after the Flash... wait, also after her surveillance for a divorce case saw that lady try to kill that guy... okay, it could still be Megan, that's rough. But maybe she has a better plan without the Flash, like simply calling the police, who are not 150 miles away. Then the police interrupt and no chainsaw happens. Good.
But say he gets arrested, he'd fixate on police not Flash, seems simple. But police in Central are having a costume ball, in a universe where there's superhero movies on the cinema marquees. So everything once he gets to Central follows if he's fixated on a cop at that costume ball, say if he sees them trying a costume. It doesn't have to be a real superhero to set off a fantasist. And then they'd catch him without the Flash, because that's a lot of cops in one place, he's not that good. So he's the easiest import/translation. Neat.
He's a lot darker and messier than I remember comics Trickster being. I mean the story implied a dozen dead fridged women. We can say it's for Megan's character growth because she does fight back and stop the creep in the end, but lets face it, it's to scare Barry and give him a good damsel in distress. So, you know, not awesome.
This episode has layers and parallels and stuff snout identity and I kind of want to dig into it more. Which is pretty new for this version of the Flash. A+ episode, considering.
Most eyewateringly awful appropriate to the character costumes ever though.
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