The Council of Wells is like... You know when an unfunny person tells an unfunny joke, but they insist that it's funny, so they keep pushing it harder and harder, to the point where it wouldn't be funny even if it had been funny to start with? Like a lame "Dad joke" that will not die.
I don't think the writers are responsible for the Council of Wells stuff. I'm guessing it's Tom Cavanagh driven. Either he's asking for opportunities to be funny/goofy, or he's being funny/goofy enough that the sleep-deprived writing staff thinks everyone would enjoy it as much as they do. I don't think it's funny either.
I wish that Harrison Wells could get away from the “being stupid” thing, but looks like we’re stuck with it.
From Season 3 onward, THE FLASH has been treating Dr. Wells like he’s Tom Cavanagh doing stand-up and sketch comedy. Dr. Wells is, unfortunately, the victim of a fate suffered by many characters: he has been modified to resemble the actor even if such a direction doesn't serve the character.
The original Dr. Wells was effective as Barry's mentor. He had wisdom tempered with humility due to the particle accelerator disaster. He was often arrogant and modest in the same scene. He was Professor Arturo. He was Temporal Flux. He was Dad. That's why it was heartbreaking to learn he was Eobard Thawne with a face stolen from the man he'd murdered. Naturally, the producers wanted to keep Cavanagh's gift for playing Barry's mentor in Season 2 and they introduced Harry, intending for this double from Earth 2 to be the heroic, gentle Wells whom Cavanagh played for one episode before Thawne killed the character.
But Cavanagh resisted this, asking that Harry be arrogant, caustic and embittered by a secret except, unlike Thawne, Harry was trying to save his daughter Jessie. Season 2 ended with Harry saving Jessie and returning with her to Earth 2. And as much as fans enjoyed Cavanagh and the Harry character, there was no sensible way for the Season 2 finale/Season 3 premiere to explain why Harry would leave his company, daughter, home, career and dimension.
Cavanagh was still on contract, so Season 3 introduced HR, the goofy, silly, scientifically illiterate alternate of Harry. If you've heard MIKE AND TOM EAT SNACKS, a podcast where Tom Cavanagh and his friend Michael Ian Black review snack foods and go off on absurd conversational tangents of nonsense, you'll realize: HR was Tom Cavanagh's real-life personality. Season 3 didn't even bother to pretend that HR was just an excuse to keep Cavanagh present and simply had Tom Cavanagh playing himself.
The show attempted to make HR the human resources manager at STAR Labs. The comic relief. The stand-up sketch artist. And while Cavanagh was appealing and hilariously annoying, HR lacked any purpose because he wasn't a scientist, fighter, investigator or anything that a superhero team actually needed. The show ended up using him as a decoy to be killed off.
Season 4 brought Harry back, having alienated his daughter off-camera during the summer hiatus. They could have used this excuse in Season 3 but having it happen between Seasons 3 - 4 avoided tarnishing the happy ending of Season 2. Instead, Harry had been given a year with his daughter, driven her crazy, been kicked out of his own STAR Labs -- and now it made sense that he would gravitate to the only other people who would tolerate him.
But the Season 4 Harry was not the effective mentor, teacher, father figure with a dark side that he'd been in Season 2. He no longer guided the team or offered his experience or provided his brilliant and ruthless efficiency. Instead, Harry now rambled awkwardly (like HR), he blustered without being able to back it up (like HR) and was repeatedly upstaged and undermined as a self-sabotaging incompetent (like HR). Jessie Quick's rejection shook Harry, shattered his self-esteem, left him insecure and pathetic. He had been arrogant and certain of his genius, but his own daughter not wanting him in her life made him feel unwanted by everyone. He was off-balance. It made sense.
What didn't make sense, however, was Season 4 taking this tragic drama of a broken man finding humility -- and playing it all for laughs. Harry spent Season 4 teamed with Cisco and having his ego further punctured in lighthearted ways. The conflicts between Harry and the team weren't serious. Harry acknowledged that he was a shadow of his former self, but such scenes emphasized comedy rather than pain. Harry was so deflated that he attempted to augment his mental prowess but instead gave himself brain damage. This was the bottom of his downward spiral where Harry had lost his company, daughter, home and now he would lose the only thing he had left, his intelligence -- except this too, was presented as comedy with Harry stumbling about and banging into furniture and meandering through conversations.
Why? Season 4 already had Ralph Dibney for comic relief, so why was Harry's arrogant ineffectualness presented with such lightweight, conflict-free goofiness? Why not have him play the role he was created to play: to be Barry's ruthless, trustworthy, caustic, encouraging mentor and teacher?
I'm actually not sure. I wondered if Cavanagh asked for Harry to be written as Tom Cavanagh so that Cavanagh could play himself, but Cavanagh actively pushed for Harry to be a darker character in Season 2. Did playing himself/HR in Season 3 go to his head or did it go to the writers' heads? Cavanagh, in interviews, remarked that the writers had felt the team lacked a comedy character in Season 3 and decided to have him fulfill that function. They clearly kept the same mindset for Season 4.
Since Season 3, the writers have not tried to write Dr. Harrison Wells, physicist engineer genius whose intelligence is exceeded by his ego and whose vast overestimation of his competence leads to bad situations but also a drive and ambition that inspires his students and teammates. The writers are simply writing Tom Cavanagh's stand up comedy for him. This is particularly glaring with the Council of Wells. In theory, this would have been an intriguing look into different paths Harrison Wells might have taken. In practice, it was a chance for Cavanagh to affect silly accents which he loved doing on MIKE AND TOM EAT SNACKS.
This approach of using Cavanagh for comedy was also present with the Earth 1 Eobard Thawne we saw in CRISIS ON EARTH X. He wore Tom Cavanagh's face for no adequately explained reason. Cavanagh played Thawne with a cartoonish glee, a ridiculously exaggerated enunciation and over-the-top silliness. This clearly wasn't the master manipulator Cavanagh played in Season 1 or the arrogantly superior villain Matt Letscher presented in LEGENDS. This was a caricature.
There's also a problem that's somewhat beyond Cavanagh. Barry already has a father figure in Joe. Dr. Wells was essential for scientific support and urging Barry into his superhero career for Seasons 1 - 2, but Joe came to accept Barry as the Flash. Caitlin and Cisco grew sufficiently to take over as Barry's doctor and engineer. Iris stepped up as team leader. Wells became redundant, the writers tried to keep the actor around by putting him with Cisco and having Cavanagh be funny, but it only suggests that Cavanagh mastered Wells so thoroughly and taught Barry so fully that there's nothing left to do with Dr. Wells and he's been reduced to being his actor.
Maybe it's time Cavanagh left the show... or joined LEGENDS OF TOMORROW with Wally?