This week Barry Allen got a case of the yips. After an unfortunate run in with Blackout, he finds himself severely drained, both with his power and his psyche. Apparently even super powers rely on mind over matter.
Grant Gustin keeps up the good job; he’s always likeable, even if he’s a bit whiny sometimes. Though for the most part he’s great. This week he has to be strong without being The Flash, which he does successfully. He shows that he’s going to the moral fulcrum for the show. He’s definitely a paragon of goodness, for now. Keep it up Gustin!
The secondary characters are pretty solid this week, more so than in past weeks. Tom Cavanaugh really stepped it up. Dr. Wells showed his true colors, even if they are a little on the dark side. His willingness to sacrifice others to protect Barry is not so nice but sacrificing himself is kind of noble. Don’t worry; he’s not dead. As we see he’s actually very desperate to keep Barry alive and keep him speedy. This is one of the few episodes I really felt how Dr. Wells feels, and it’s a good thing. I don’t like how cozy Cisco is to him; I still don’t trust that Cisco. Caitlin, Joe, Iris, and Tony don’t have a lot going on this episode, even if most of them were involved in a hostage situation and Tony has been shot. That’s about all that happens. Oh, but we do get to see that Iris can handle herself.
Now for the bad guys, that’s right … two! First we have Blackout, who did not live long enough to get his moniker. He’s a very tragic bad guy. Changed during the particle accelerator incident, he knows his friends died trying to save him, electrocuted trying to perform CPR. Now he hungers for energy constantly and wants revenge of Harrison for the death of his friends. He isn’t completely heartless; Barry has a modicum of success just trying to reason with him. He’s angry, and he’s essentially always constantly dying.
The other villain is a returning one from Arrow, so that’s neat. We get to see The Clock King again. This time he does his best to escape his police bondage, and he does. He takes a handful of people hostage at the police station in an attempt to escape, including Joe, Iris, and Eddie. He shoots Eddie, by the way. The Clock King is just a fun character; he’s crazy he’s eccentric and is completely out for himself. He might be evil, but he’s just too much fun not to like. And he shoots Eddie Thawne!
How does Barry speed up how fast a coffee pot brews?
We hear Dr. Wells acknowledge that Barry reaches his potential when people he cares about are in danger. This isn’t good for someone.
Iris steps up and saves herself; maybe we’ll see her take on a stronger role, which would be good for her character.
Again I am given the feeling that Cisco is a little too close to Dr. Wells, he can’t seem to let Wells go.
We’re reminded that someone is out for Joe, he’s clearly shaken by these threats.
Blackout seems to need energy almost 24/7 it’s been almost a year since the disaster, why hasn’t this come up before?
We lost one of the two meta human bad guys captured alive, I think someone doesn’t want them around.
Hush Comics gives “Power Outage” an A-. I really like where The Flash is headed with character development. Barry is coming out as a true hero, truly looking out for everyone, even old foes. Dr. Wells is becoming a little deeper of a character. I’m dying to see what his ultimate plans are. He sees into the future, he’ll sacrifice anyone to save Barry, and he’s clearly up to something really dastardly.
All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Diyah Pera.
This week’s The Flash definitely opened up A LOT of doors for the wide range of possibilities going on. While many of the characters remain stagnant in development, the cliffhanger at the end was a shocker. The dialogue is getting better, and overall it looks like they really could squeeze more than a season out of this show. So here are my pros and cons of “The Flash is Born.”
Cisco Ramon: Dear Cisco Ramon, I love you. You are the quintessential adorkable character. You are better than Sheldon Cooper could ever hope to be. When you geeked out about Barry hitting Mach 1, I geeked out, too. When you were serious about going after your childhood bully, I hoped that it would happen. You are the sole reason I keep coming back every week. Also, your t-shirts rock. Love, Adrian at Hush Comics.
Girder sticks around: Wow! They didn’t kill a character this week. Maybe because they can’t figure out how to kill him, but still. It’s a step.
Iris West when she was little: Is anyone else wishing that Iris West now would have the gall she did as a little girl? She sure wasn’t a damsel in distress when she punched Barry when they were kids. Let’s hope this part of her nature shows up again soon.
Detective Joe West: Ok Joe, I really like you too. Not only are you played by an amazing actor, Jesse L. Martin, but you are the perfect blend of caring father and tough cop. I particularly liked the line, “This particle accelerator is the gift that keeps on giving.” But mostly I enjoyed that you actually did your detective work on Harrison Wells because that guy just ain’t right.
The dark twist: It sounds strange, but I loved that twist at the end. All of Joe West’s work on Nora Allen’s death is stolen by the same meta-human who killed her, and then they left a picture of Iris with a knife sticking through it, in her chest, hanging on the wall. Creepy? Very. But going to a dark place will be good for this show.
Barry isn’t the best at this yet: Barry Allen needs a Yoda. Basically, he kind of sucks at this whole superhero thing as of right now. He has killed his fair share of foes, yet feels no remorse, which seems out of character for a man who cares so much about everyone else on the show. And this episode, he risked a lot by running in front of Eddie Thawne and their perp. It is only a matter of time before Eddie figures out that Barry and The Streak/ The Flash are the same guy. Not to mention, that in the fight scene with Tony Woodward/Girder, Barry didn’t tell Iris to run from the scene, and when Barry and Tony were fighting each other with a flag pole, Barry didn’t let go, which would have saved him some damage. The force is weak with this one.
Those special effects: The beginning of the series had some pretty cool special effects. I know that this show is on a network that has a small budget, but with all the talk about the Mach-1 stuff, I was pretty excited for the special effects, but instead felt like I was watching The Flash from the 90’s. Step it up, C-Dub!
Easter Egg Hunt:
Girder, Man of Steel: The baddie of the week was Tony Woodward, aka Girder. He was created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver. As in the show, he was in an accident where he fell into molten steel, and then be literally becomes steel. The show added the twist of him being Barry’s grade-school bully. Harrison Wells referred to Girder as “Man of Steel,” a smile-worthy nod to Superman.
Nice of you to show up, Barry: Barry shows up late to work, a habit Barry Allen is known for. Funny considering he is the fastest man alive.
Garrick’s Wharf: Barry and Eddie are led to a microbrewery to look for Girder’s whereabouts. The microbrewery is on Garrick’s Wharf, a reference to the first Flash, Jay Garrick.
Heat Wave is coming: With excitement in her voice, Iris tells Barry not only about The Streak, but about a man who is one fire but doesn’t burn. This is our second reference to Mick Rory aka Heat Wave. We know he is played by Dominic Purcell, but when is he coming is the question?
This episode opened up many different cans of worms. Who is Harrison Wells? What is his past? And does he know about who killed Nora Allen?
Bustle released an article this week with their prediction, which is pretty good. To sum it up, they say that Harrison’s mysterious wife, Tess Morgan, is a meta-human, was the first meta-human, and is a suspect in the murder of Nora. While this would explain a lot of things, it does not explain that the killer is in a yellow suit and has the same power as The Flash. It also does not explain Eddie Thawne’s role in all this. It also doesn’t explain how Harrison has a newspaper from the future.
Tess Morgan maybe presumed dead, but I think she is the time traveler. It has been theorized by many fans that Harrison Wells is traveling time, but we have no evidence of this. In addition, Eddie Thawne seems too nice to be Reverse Flash… yet. It feels like the writers are trying to develop him in the same manner as Lex Luthor in Smallville was developed. So what if Nora’s killer is Reverse Flash aka Eddie Thawne, but current Eddie Thawne doesn’t know who he is in the future? And what if Nora is in the future already and sending information to Wells to orchestrate whatever their master plan is? Cue evil laugh here!
Hush Comics gives “The Flash is Born” an A- for good use of the “side” characters, revealing more about its enigmatic characters, and appealing to the nerds.
All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Cate Cameron.
I hate to say it, but this week’s episode of The Flash, “Plastique”, did not impress me. Between the reckless amount of murder and attempted murder, the weak writing of the relationship between Iris West and Barry Allen, and Harrison Wells being so obviously immoral, it felt like more of a set back than going forward with the story-telling (other than the revelation about a very famous Flash enemy shown in the last scene).
Every episode of The Flash begins and ends with a voice over monologue by Barry Allen, telling us things he has learned, which is usually charming, but this week, I felt it didn’t really fit in with what the episode was about, albeit, I’m not sure I, or the writers, know what the point of this episode was. Barry talks about his friends, how he met them, and how sometimes friends come and go. He met a potential new friend in Bette Sans Souci, fellow meta-human, his friendship with Caitlin and Cisco remained the same, and he lost a friend in Iris West. However, it wasn’t Barry’s friendships that defined the episode, but I’ll get to that later.
The plot line that was supposed to garner the most emotion was the “break-up” of Barry and Iris. Joe West was very concerned with his daughter’s obsession with the so-called “Streak” and her blog dedicated to him. Because Joe thought it was Barry’s fault that Iris was writing the blog (which it sounds like nobody reads), he makes Barry go talk to Iris at an inopportune time, which only forces her into a further obsession. It seems ridiculous that Joe would be so upset about her hobby, considering that at the beginning of the episode, her name was not attached to it. Barry’s conversation with her made things worse, and she decided to put her name on it. How idiotic! Barry shows up to her work as The Flash, and talks to her, but when she doesn’t relent, Barry goes to talk to her and tells her they can’t hang out anymore. The writing for this episode alone was bad, but it brought up a plot point that is inherently problematic.
Comic fans know Iris West as Barry’s future wife. It still seems as though the show is trying to head in that direction, but in a really roundabout way. In addition, it feels icky that Barry and Iris were raised together like brother and sister. It is understandable that Barry would love her, but their relationship seems too familial. Because of that, it didn’t feel like their “break-up” is going to last long, is heart wrenching, or is worthy of time in the show.
The rest of the episode spent time (slightly) focused on its namesake, Plastique herself. Bette Sans Souci, an Iraqi vet who was involved in a car bomb accident in the war, starts making a name for herself by sending explosives at the people who experimented on her, including General Eiling. Bette, aka Plastique, can detonate literally anything with the touch of her hand. She is trying to get information on how she got her powers. When she is found by The Flash and his team, she tells them she thought General Eiling was the one to make her this way. This was another thing about the episode that didn’t make too much sense: if Eiling was experimenting on her before she had her meta human powers, why was she an asset to him? If I’m missing something, let me know.
The most disturbing thing about Plastique’s appearance, other than her bad acting, was the fact that Wells, Cisco and Caitlin were so cavalier about not caring about Plastique’s well-being, despite Barry’s reasoning that she isn’t purposefully hurting anyone. While Cisco has a crush on the pretty meta human, all three S.T.A.R. Labs employees make it crystal clear that she is dangerous and must be stopped. When Wells convinced Plastique to go on a suicide mission of killing General Eiling (again, such a casual attitude towards murder) it became even clearer to the audience that unlike its parent show, Arrow, no one in Central City gives a single *bleep* about people’s lives. The reckless abandon given specifically to meta humans is appalling. It is hard to believe that this would go unnoticed, and that a man like Barry, who is so driven to do good doesn’t see the flaw in killing. Guess he still has yet to meet Batman, so his sense of justice is a little skewed.
Speaking of skewed, I am about sick of Harrison Wells. Every episode has given a little teaser into his lies. The pilot episode gave the best tease, but there has been nothing of consequence since. This episode alludes to Wells being bad, something we already knew, but forced the issue with long stares into the camera and ominous music as the camera pans up to his face. While Wells seems to take the high road by breaking ties with Eiling in the flashbacks, Wells reveals he has other plans with SPOILER: Gorilla Grodd. While this is the most progressive moment this week, it still revealed nothing about Wells. It’s time to stop with the small reveals and get to the point.
But perhaps my biggest beef with this episode, and quite possibly the show as a whole, is lack of character development, particularly with the women. Yes, every week I roll my eyes when watching Laurel in Arrow. I don’t really care for Thea. I also think that the writers rely too much on Felicity to be the female voice. However, ALL these women are carefully crafted. None of them are the same woman they were when they entered the show. Currently, only Iris and Caitlin are the female voice in The Flash. While Caitlin is a scientist, she has little to no personality. Iris makes up for the personality, and other than her mission to help Barry solve his mother’s death, she seems incredibly shallow. This week, there was the potential for a really cool female character in Plastique, only for her to be senselessly killed off. Ugh.
Cisco Ramon saved the episode from being a total wash by appealing to every collector by saying “I have two but I loved that one” when referring to Barry getting his suit blown up.
In an attempt to save a window washer, Barry thinks that stacking up a bunch of mattresses will save him. Part of me wishes he would have tried that instead of running up the building.
How is it that regular humans can handle the high velocity The Flash maintains when he saves them? Wouldn’t they at the least vomit?
Joe West comments that trouble must mean it’s a Tuesday in Central City. Buffy fans rejoiced on the use of that line.
Cisco wanted to test Plastique’s powers with the use of a boomarang. LOL.
Where does Barry live? In his lab thing? That needs to be clarified.
Hush Comics gives “Plastique” a C for its lack of character development, willingness to kill off so many meta humans, and its needless attention to Barry and Iris, who seem to be going nowhere.
Easter Egg Hunt:
Captain Atom: General Eiling is clearly a baddie, but he is also known as The General. He blackmails Nathaniel Adam, aka Captain Atom, into joining an atomic experiment. While Nathaniel is gone, The General Single White Female‘s Nathaniel, stealing his away his wife and kids.
Captain Atom, again: The doctor that Plastique goes to visit is named Dr. Harold Hadley. He was one of the doctors who was part of the Captain Atom experiment team.
Captain Atom, one more time: When the team is looking into Bette Sans Souci, her emergency contact is named Cameron Scott. Cameron Scott is the real name of Nathaniel Adam.
Captain Atom… just kidding! Gorilla Grodd: The episode ends with Wells telling the ape that Wells has plans for him. Gorilla Grodd is one of the more famous Flash villains, only proving further that Wells isn’t the good guy.
All images belong to The CW and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Cate Cameron and Jack Rowland.
When I saw that not only was Captain Cold going to make his first appearance in this week’s episode of The Flash, but that Felicity Smoak was going to be in Central City, I was really excited for “Going Rogue.” But I walked away feeling like this was a mediocre episode. Captain Cold was an awesome villain, and surely will continue to be, but the rest of the story line fell a little flat.
There could be a number of reasons about why this episode felt like it didn’t have enough umph, but Felicity actually summed it up quite well. She told Barry that her group in Starling City didn’t come together overnight and that it took awhile for the trust to be built among the heroes there. It suddenly dawned on me that Barry’s group at S.T.A.R. Labs don’t have a lot of depth. Harrison is mysterious, but unbeknownst to Barry, Caitlin has a bit of a cold heart, and Cisco is the lovable goof. We had a glimpse into Caitlin and Cisco last week, but I still feel like we could get more. It also does seem a little strange that for someone who works for the police department, Barry is so trusting of all three of them. This week they seemed to be filler, and for the group that is supposed to help Barry be the best he can be, they should not be treated as filler.
And is it just me or is there too much emphasis on Iris and Eddie when it seems to be going nowhere. The beginning of the series made it seem like Eddie was about to Single White Female Barry. That story line seems to have dropped and now its all about how often we can see Iris and Eddie kiss, or how their relationship upsets Joe West. I am hopeful that little hint about Eddie not knowing what the freaking Millennium Falcon (who doesn’t know that?!) was during the trivia night scene will bloom into a deeper story for Eddie Thawne. Especially if he really is supposed to be Reverse Flash.
It was hard to tell who was supposed to be taking center stage in this episode, Felicity Smoak or Leonard Snart. As much as I love Felicity, her appearance was a distraction. The Flash has a large cast, many of them we don’t know very well yet, and this week, only four episodes in, Felicity swoops in and takes all the attention away from characters I am interested in getting to know. Felicity comes in to check on her “friend” Barry after he wakes from his coma, but otherwise there wasn’t a lot of story going on. Barry showed off for her, a lot. She wore an array of hot dresses, a lot. And the whole build up was for a kiss at the end, which if you are keeping up with Arrow, was a bit confusing. It felt like the writers were trying to say “Hey Felicity and Barry belong together, but that will never happen. They will kiss to appease fans, but nothing will come of this other than a few crossovers with some quirky lines of dialogue.” I guess I felt gypped because Felicity is an amazing character, and she had some really cute lines in this episode, but she cannot carry both shows. It became even more obvious to me that The Flash needs a strong female to be the “Felicity” and Iris nor Caitlin are able to do that.
Despite my disappointment with the rest of the episode, I was extremely impressed with Captain Cold. Wentworth Miller is no stranger to the small screen and pulled off the character with ease. Captain Cold is smart, calculating, and ruthless. What’s not to love? He is the first baddie we have met that doesn’t have meta human abilities, which makes him just a little bit scarier. I particularly loved his scene when he talks about how far away police are from each bank and how no one could have gotten to the crime scene so quickly. He clearly is better than the Central City Police Department (minus Joe West) at thinking about who could be saving so many people. And realizing that Barry can’t not saving people and then derailing the train was brilliant. The end was exciting because Captain Cold is starting to assemble The Rogues, what the episode was named after. It looks like Heat Wave will be just the beginning for the group that Barry Allen will have to battle. I love a good bad guy, and I have a feeling Miller’s Captain Cold will be one for the books.
Barry tests his abilities on his day off by playing ping-pong, timed chess and Operation. Best. Day. Ever.
Harrison Wells is a dick for no reason. (ok, maybe there is a reason)
Cisco made the cold gun (its a freeze ray, people). Maybe we should be focusing more on his capabilities because that is pretty badass.
Barry finally thought that calling himself The Flash was a good idea.
The show still doesn’t take itself too seriously *cough Gotham cough*. The exchange between Barry and Iris about telling her about police work was fas and fun, and what other shows need to do.
Barry’s shoes finally caught on fire.
Felicity referenced Arrow on his salmon ladder, because, yes please.
Cisco really won the day by using a vacuum. I only hope my Dyson can win my day.
Hush Comics gives “Going Rogue” a B-, for relying on the cuteness of Felicity to pull the story, lack of depth in any of the main characters, but for Wentworth Miller making a freeze ray look so deliciously evil.
Easter Egg Hunt:
Things will be warming up in Central City: As mentioned before, the end scene shows Captain Cold recruiting a man named Mick to join his cause. Mick can be assumed to be Mick Rory, aka Heat Wave, one of the main Rogues and nemesis of The Flash. In addition, he is played by Dominic Purcell, who was Wentworth Miller’s co-star on Prison Break.
Ooooo, Shiny!: The diamond that Captain Cold was trying to steal was the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond. Kahndaq happens to be where Black Adam is from.
Diggle: Ok, Diggle wasn’t in this episode, but his old security firm was. The armored vehicle holding the Kahndaq Dynasty Diamond was a Blackhawk Squad Security car.
Street names always matter!: Crime always happens at a cross street. This week was 4th and Kolins, a nod to The Flash artist Scott Kolins.
Night at the Museum: The curator who calls the police about Leonard Snart being at the museum was wearing a name tag that read “Dexter Myles.” Mr. Myles happens to be the man who opens the Flash Museum.
All pictures belong to The CW and DC Entertainment. The are credited to Cate Cameron.
So episode three of The Flash, “Things You Can’t Outrun” aired last night. First off let me preface this by saying I’m legitimately enjoying this show. Barry is a delightful character and there is a decent supporting cast. The setting is a little shallow though. We’re never really given a feel for Central City. Unlike comparable shows like Gotham and Arrow where we know a lot about their respectable locations, Central City feels sterile and boring. Obviously this is only the third episode so there is plenty of time for that to change.
Grant Gustin, or as I like to call him, American Andrew Garfield, is delightful. He’s quirky and fun and plays the role well. In this episode, we see Barry, like most superheroes eventually, question themselves and how much they can do. The old adage of “You can’t save everyone” comes up as a big focal point this week, and not just for Barry. I’m hoping this trope won’t stick around too long. Sometimes the world’s fastest man just isn’t fast enough. When Gustin says “I should have been faster” you do feel for him. He really is a very strong part of the series. This episode made me root for him a little harder.
The big bad this week is The Mist, whom as far as I can tell has never fought The Flash before, and is kind of obscure. If you know Starman, you might have heard of The Mist, but if you’re like me this is your first encounter with him. I like him, he’s kind of a tragic character, too. So Kyle Nimbus was a prisoner being executed the night of the particle accelerator mishap. He is put to death via the gas chamber and his meta human ability is to transform into poisonous gas. So he has to spend his life being forever connected to the very thing that killed him. He uses this ability to take out people responsible for him winding up in jail.
My favorite part of this episode, and probably the best character who’s not Barry, Is Jessie L. Martin as Detective Joe Martin. He finally comes to terms about wrongfully imprisoning Barry’s father. He relives the police interrogation where Henry Allen is calling out to Joe for help. Later on, he visits Henry in prison in an effort to reach out to him. His portrayal is heartfelt and real. Martin brings some very much appreciated real emotion to the show.
For me, the weak point of the show is the STAR Labs employees, which sadly includes Tom Cavanagh. They are droll and not very compelling. We get a little background on Caitlins’ fiance, which fails to add any real depth to her character or make me care about her. Cisco is still basically comic relief, but they tried to open him up a little bit this episode. He was there when Caitlins’ fiancé died; he’s actually the one who closed the door behind him. The ever evil Harrison Wells, played by the usually good Cavanagh is really bringing up the rear. They showed that he has been on the up and up since the end of the first episode and that trend continues here with us finding out that he knew about Barry Allen even before Barry was The Flash. As they say, the plot thickens, but still not really.
Where does Barry shop? Personally, I wouldn’t wear The Flash costume if my clothes stayed together at supersonic speeds.
Caitlin’s fiancé is not going to be so dead, and will be a meta human, calling it now.
Harrison Wells may be centuries old if the little hint they give in the flashback mean anything. Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing and is trying to create more meta humans.
And for that matter I don’t completely trust Cisco.
50/50 chance of either Iris dying or her boyfriend. One is a little more compelling than the other.
If The Mist can transform faster than Barry can punch him, does that me he’s super fast too?
Finally, one meta human they haven’t killed!
Hush Comics gives The Flash “Things You Can’t Outrun” a B. Lead by a few strong characters The Flash is quickly becoming one of my favorite shows. Grant Gustin is very likable and relatable. There were a few snags with poorly written side characters. The bad guys are interesting but still fairly shallow, and so far they’ve been one hit wonders. I’m waiting for a little more intriguing plot, but it’s still early and there is lots of time.
Easter Egg Hunt (spoilers ahead)
The Flash Museum: It’s not like Barry Allen would ever be so braggadocios as to need a museum as a tribute to himself. Oh wait, yes he does. As a tribute to the Fastest Man Alive, Central City has built a museum in his honor. The museum, which has been destroyed multiple times in its nearly fifty year history, is full of memorabilia from encounters with Flash’s rogues gallery and a working Cosmic Treadmill – it’s basically a big “F U” to his enemies.
Metahuman prison: The idea of building special facilities to house metahumans is not a new one. Since we know that gathering them in the bottom of the abandoned particle accelerator can only spell certain doom for our team, there’s a good chance that these metahumans will be relocated sooner or later. Our guess is that this will most likely be to Belle Reve, which despite its country club-sounding name, is the prison that holds The Suicide Squad, whose members (Deadshot, Harley Quinn, etc) have made appearances in the CW-verse. There’s a good chance that the bad guys that don’t manage to end up splattered on the ground or shot at will end up coming back in one facet or another.
Speaking of DOOM…: When Barry is busy friend-zoning it up with Iris at the movie theater, the marquee has a distinct message for viewers. One of the movies reads The Rita Farr Story, named appropriately after the DOOM Patrol’s Elasti-Girl, the mentally-fragile former stunt-woman. Another stuntman in his days is the Blue Devil, referenced here by the film Blue Devil II: Hell to Pay.
Fire & Ice: While this reference was just sly enough not to be cheesy, I couldn’t help giggle at Caitlin’s mention of her and Ronnie Raymond (played by RoBBie Amell, the Arrow’s cousin) reacting like “fire and ice.” Each episode gets us closer and closer to the emergence of FireStorm, and perhaps the downfall of Killer Frost. Only time will tell.
Cisco, the resident DC Historian: By now, Cisco Ramon not only makes all the toys, but he seems to name all the bad guys, too. The guy has a knack for naming these totally crazy bad guys after comic book characters all over the DCU. Call it a gift, but Cisco seems to find the perfect name for all the metahumans that Barry runs across. It not only adds to his charm, but makes it cool to know just a little too much about comic books. First appearing in the 1940’s (Adventure Comics #67), Kyle Nimbus (ha… Nimbus) has the power to turn into any gaseous form, reminding us of a very important lesson – never trust Canadians.
One red blur of a week later and we arrive at the second episode of The CW’s new show, The Flash. The pilot absolutely blew us away, and we expected nothing less in the episodes to come. For better or worse, that’s precisely what we got in “Fastest Man Alive.” We saw the creeping evolution of character development, and started peeling back the layers of a major story that will eventually trap us for good. For now, however, we are subject to the same formulaic approach that all superhero shows seem to be getting at.
We get the same ubiquitous superhero voiceover, which is kind of weird since the opening segment follows an actual “intro thingy,” making his off-hand comment about it all the more awkward. We are also allotted another bad guy, affected by the storm caused by the particle accelerator, who tests Barry’s superhero aptitude. It’s not that this hurt the show’s overall momentum, but I just expected a little more variation from the pilot in terms of where the heck we are going from here. The flashback scenes didn’t reveal much more than we couldn’t already assume ourselves, nor did the drawn out speeches (again, where Barry needed to be pep-talked into saving people) inspire anything that we couldn’t have gotten from a few episodes of subtle action.
I usually refer any out-of character or otherwise eye-rolling cornball tomfoolery as being “so C-Dub,” a characteristic we’ve been doling out since the days of Smallville. The amount of C-Dub-ness in “Fastest Man Alive” approached dangerous levels, far exceeding the pilot episode, which came off as spiriting and exciting. I can only hope that Barry won’t continually need pep talks to fight crime. Barry Allen is a bleeding heart with a great sense of humor, but there needs to be a better balance between the two qualities. A tragic Oliver Queen makes sense since, you know, he was tortured on a deserted island for five years; a tortured Barry Allen just doesn’t fit.
The areas where The Flash continues to impress are its amazing supporting cast and great special effects. Although Barry Allen is now 0 for 2 in keeping the bad guy alive, the bad guys that show up are convincingly creepy and – dare I say – relatable? The story of Multiplex is a very pliable tale of sorrow and revenge. The villains are also frightening people who wear the villain scowl very well. As Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin continue to search for more meta-humans, this made us wonder if any good people were struck by the particle-accelerator’s storm, or if it only spawned a ton of tragic criminals. Either way, successfully implementing these more obscure DC Comics villains is what makes The Flash more fun to watch than say Gotham, whose token bad guys look like they are pulled from a hat (still got my fingers crossed for Kite Man).
Cisco and Caitlin continue to provide back-up for Barry as he dashes in head-first to help people. Well, Cisco continues to dive in head-first and provide Barry with the toys (Cosmic Treadmill, anybody??) while Caitlin scolds disapprovingly. It’s worth noting that Flash looks to “help people” and “make a difference,” while other Leaguers in DC Comic books have the mantra to “bring justice” and “stop crime.” Barry’s greatest asset has always been his heart, and it is an endearing quality in the show… just not when it comes to Iris West. Comic book fans, and people you use their eyes or ears to watch the show, will know that Iris ultimately becomes Barry’s greatest love interest. With the flirtatious way she touches and looks at Barry, it’s remarkable how dense she is that he is Forever Alone in the friend-zone while she galavants with Detective Eddie Thawne. The story either needs to stop being about her, or make her more likable to the millions of viewers at home who fervently get the point.
Another win for The Flash were the short demonstrations of Barry’s power. Whether it’s saving people from a burning building, vibrating his hand to simulate a centrifuge on a test tube or going Keanu Reeves on 100 would-be Agent Smiths, there is no doubt that the producers on The Flash want to give the audience the full superhero effect. This is made even more tantalizing when you think that this is just the beginning. The full spectrum of Flash’s powers is ridiculously awesome and include: creating a nifty way to store his suit, running so fast he can turn back time, vibrating through objects and eating a restaurant full of tacos in one sitting.
Hush Comics gives “Fastest Man Alive” a B. Ultimately, The Flash is shaping up to be one of the better superhero television shows on TV. The supporting cast complements Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen very well, serving as both an emotional anchor, as well as a tactical one. However, there seems to be just too much of the same thing going on here as we gathered from the pilot. To a degree, that is one of the episode’s biggest strengths; we realize that Jesse Martin, who plays Detective Joe West, is Barry’s rock here, and the conversation the two of them share at the end of the episode solidifies that (it also whispers “DOOOOOM!” for Joe to me, but I am a cynic). I know there is so much more to explore, and that makes me all the more confident that The Flash will continue to impress.
All photos belong to The CW Network and DC Entertainment. They are credited to Cate Cameronand were originally found here.
Easter Egg Hunt (spoilers ahead)
The Treadmill!: Ah! The Cosmic Treadmill. First appearing in comic books over fifty years ago (Flash #125), the pretense of the treadmill is that Barry can run so fast on this treadmill that he not only alters the fabric of time but can use it to travel to alternate dimensions. Science, bitch! Seriously though, let’s see Superman do that!
Iris’ new career choice: “Oh I’ll just make one up.” Really, Iris? Ms. West’s new-found career as a journalist is off to one crappy start. In the comics, Iris becomes a tough-as-nails reporter, but it looks like she’s faking it until she makes it in The Flash.
Pew Pew: The gun shop that Multiplex robs is called Hex’s Gun Shop, inspired by the gunslinger Jonah Hex, who for some reason can’t catch a break (canceled comic book, horrible movie). It seems the writers have a soft spot for him.
Multiplex: The villain multiplex is one of the villains in the DC Universe I think deserves a little more credibility. He may be a complete rip off of Marvel’s Multiple Man, but Multiplex is one of Firestorm’s villains in the comics, Danton Black has ties to both the Suicide Squad and Caitlin Snow (in the way of Killer Frost). From Arrow, we know that the Suicide Squad already exists, but Black’s apparent “death” at the end of “Fastest Man Alive” sure nixed that possibility.
Wait, Ronnie?: Harrison Wells reveals that Caitlin’s ex-boyfriend was (is) named Ronnie. The internets have already swarmed over the fact that Ronnie Raymond will be reappearing, and it will be as one-half of Firestorm, but this is really the first confirmation from the show that Ronnie and Caitlin will likely share the same relationship as in the comic books.
“We were all struck by that lightning”: Barry’s cheesy speech at the end of the episode could have a more literal meaning to it than we think. We already suspect that Cisco and Caitlin will reveal themselves as meta-humans, and there’s no doubt that this weirdo Harrison Wells has some powers we haven’t been revealed yet.
Speaking of Harrison Wells: Looks like my theory last week of Wells being Barry Allen crashed and burned to the ground after he stabbed ol Staggsy in the final clip of this week. In spite of recent events, we have not always known Barry Allen of the future to be benevolent; in DC’s New52 installment of The Flash, Barry Allen comes back in time to kill the current day Barry Allen to prevent the Speed Force from collapsing. We’ll undoubtedly get more into the Speed Force in subsequent issues. But it seems prevalent to note that Wells is concerned for Barry’s safety, cautioning him to “know [his] limits” and “exercise restraint.” What investment could he possibly have in Barry Allen?
After months of waiting, The CW’s new series, The Flash, finally streaked across the small screen last night. For those not familiar with Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, he is a forensics scientist in Central City. He has obsessively been trying to prove his father’s innocence of his mother’s murder, and Detective West, who had taken Allen in after the tragedy, thinks that what Barry saw the night his mother died was a hallucination. After the success of Arrow, and the positive reception Allen (Grant Gustin) received from his cameo in Arrow‘s Season 2 episode, “The Scientist,” CW quickly green-lit a solo series for the Fastest Man Alive.
Rest assured, that was a really, really good idea. Like Oliver Queen before him, choosing a hero that everybody knows of, but that not many know intimately, has become the secret formula that nobody but The CW has seemed to figure out yet. From the get-go, we’re introduced to The Flash with the promo clip we saw months ago in a way that is completely reminiscent of Andrew Garfield’s voiceover in Amazing Spider-Man. The more I thought about it, and the more we get to know Barry Allen, the more I realize that he is the Peter Parker of the DC world: he jokes all the time, he’s a goofy science kid, tragedy has left him with surrogate parents (although that doesn’t exactly narrow it down in the comic book world) and his heart of gold is his most endearing quality.
Fanboys will be instantly drawn to The Flash, as there are a profusion of Easter Eggs. And I mean real Easter Eggs, not the crap we get in Gotham. The tidbits we get in the pilot episode here are not shoved down our throat and they don’t take anything away from the enjoyment of the show – whether you’ve read Flash books or not. I will list out some of the more subtle ones we think are important (warning: there may be spoilers) after the reflection. Easter Eggs aside, this is one show that you can watch with absolutely no precursor. The events of the last Arrow episode Allen appeared in are fully explained here, so there is no need to catch up on Starling City’s happenings to understand what going on in Central City – although Steven Amell makes a much-anticipated cameo here to give Allen the proverbial thumbs-up. The particle accelerator that genius physicist Harrison Wells put into motion underwent catastrophic failure, causing Barry’s accident – being struck by lightening. Barry goes into a coma and wakes up nine months later in S.T.A.R. Labs with superpowers and super-abs. Count me in!
The Flash is why people come to the show, but they will stay for the supporting characters. There was not a single character that I felt was: out of place, over-acting or ridiculous in nature – and for a CW show, that says a lot. Arrow has fallen victim to the patented “Laurel gaping stare” far too many times to count, yet the swooning love interest here, Iris West, is a strong and rational character that makes decisions based on merit, and she is not a damsel in distress. Meanwhile, the S.T.A.R. Labs assistants, Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow, add both comedic relief and a staunch sense of tragedy – and Harrison Wells (played by Tom Cavanagh, or as I called him throughout the episode, “J.D.’s brother in Scrubs“) adds a bit of flavor to the show as well. Everything seems amazing at first, but there are stones left unturned, sideways glances between the S.T.A.R. Labs guys, and thanks to an insane reveal at the end, a lot of withheld information.
As it turns out, the storm caused by the particle accelerators explosion gave not only Barry Allen his powers, but what turns out to be scores of unknowns, as well. Among them is Clyde Mardon, known in the comics books as the deceased brother of the Weather Wizard. We can still tell, by the reaction of the news station and Detective West, that “meta-humans” are not of mainstream knowledge yet, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of The Flash’s rogues gallery pans out. Mardon is a great villain, who is callous in action and has a piercing hate stare that was convincingly frightening.
Cinematically, The Flash owns up to the source material and then some. Barry is not just a forensics assistant, but a damn good one. Thanks to some sweet effects, we are able to see inside the cogs turning inside the mind of a forensics scientist – C.S.I, eat my shorts. There are also some great Jesse Pinkman “Yeah! Science!” moments of the episode that assure me that I did not spend $80k on an engineering degree for nothing. Speaking of Breaking Bad, it seems that the idea of adding a filter to flashbacks has been adopted for The Flash, as well; as far as we are concerned, any show whose cinematography is inspired from the greatest show in history is alright in my book. From the slow-motion effects to the camera angle when Mardon robs the bank, it’s evident early on that CW is willing to put their money where their mouth is about making this show work.
The show borrows elements from its predecessors without feeling like a carbon copy; it actually helps connect the viewers to a show that they are already familiar with. For example, Iris’ position in the coffee shop is warmly nostalgic of Lana Lang’s job in Smallville. And Cisco’s extremely nerdy yet adorable demeanor (check out his awesome collection of t-shirts. Bazinga!) make you think he and Felicity from Arrow would make the cutest couple ever. Going back to the Spider-Man comparisons, there’s even a bit of a Captain Stacy thing going on with Detective West (doom ahead for West?). As much as the show combines different elements, it stands alone as a show about The Flash. Barry Allen is charming and funny, and the story is as true to the spirit of the character as I’ve seen on any television show so far. Now, that could have a lot to do with the fact that DC Comics legend Geoff Johns is credited as the series co-creator and executive producer. Johns has written some classic Flash material, and has been a contributor to almost a decade of DC/WB television. With him at the helm, there is absolutely no reason to worry about substance in the story going forward.
Hush Comics gives The Flash pilot, “City of Heroes” an A for its refreshing and accurate portrayal of one of the funnest characters in the DC Universe. While it was packed with little secrets for DC fanboys, it only slightly pulls back the curtain on the world of the man who is saving people in a flash. The pilot gives us plenty to look forward to in Season 1, and even though The Flash has one of the weaker rogues gallery in the DCU, we are looking forward to him and his band of merry misfits to thwart any danger that comes their way.
Easter Egg Hunt
Where is CSI?: You may recognize Jesse Martin, who plays Detective Joe West on The Flash, as Detective Ed Green from Law & Order. Martin played Green for almost ten years before leaving to tour with RENT as Tom Collins.
Grodd dammit!: While touring the remains of the S.T.A.R. Labs facility, Harrison Wells and Barry Allen pass a cage that has been broken open from the inside with the label “Grodd,” presumed to belong to Gorilla Grodd, a savage ape with far-superior intellect. That could probably come back to haunt them.
Who is the real Weather Wizard?: In the comic books, Clyde Mardon was a scientist that had discovered a way to control the weather, only to suffer a “heart attack” in his home. His brother Mark, who had escaped from prison, “found” Clyde’s notes and decided to use them to become the Weather Wizard. In the show, Clyde, who has seen Allen’s face, was conveniently shot and killed by West at the end of the episode. I’m predicting that Clyde could not have been the only Weather Wizard, who is a prominent villain of Flash’s. Who was flying the plane that Clyde escaped in? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was his brother, Mark.
Ferris Air: Green Lantern Hal Jordan got his not-so-humble beginnings as an ace pilot for Ferris Air. The appearance of this could mean that the Emerald Guardian is due to make an appearance on the show sooner or later. Allen and Jordan have always shared a great relationship (as have Jordan and Green Arrow, Oliver Queen), but I’m willing to bet that this was more of a shout-out to Geoff Johns, whose tenure on Green Lantern made him one of DC’s most popular heroes.
DC’s Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon: Oh yeah, that exists. Google that shit. DC is somewhat obsessed with the number 52. Listen and watch carefully, because this episode is littered with references to the magic number 52.
The Thawne Song: Thawne-Th-Thawne-Thawne-Thawne: Perhaps one of The Flash’s most formidable foes, Eobard Thawne is a time-traveling anti-Flash. There’s a big secret about him that you can find out by reading Flashpoint (one of my favorite graphic novels!), but just know that his guy is bad news. It would seem that his TV alter ego is Eddie Thawne, who has managed to steal Iris away from Barry, reads Barry’s blog on the regular and manages to know everything about Barry as it happens. There’s gotta be something to this “new guy” than meets the eyes.
Trying to resist the Impulse for puns… and failing: Before letting Allen test his full speed, he straps on two lightning-studded earpieces to his helmet to help resist sonic booms, or “battlefield impulse noise.” Kid Flash, Barry’s grandson from the future, has also gone by the name Impulse.
Don’t piss off the help: Allen’s companions at S.T.A.R. Labs correlate to fellow “meta-humans” in the DCU. In the comics, Cisco Ramon is Vibe, part-time breakdancer and full-time ass-kicker with the ability to emit shock waves. And Caitlin Snow is Killer Frost (there have been several Killer Frosts, but Snow is the most recent one), a not so nice villain that absorbs heat and spits it back out as cold. Caitlin already looks to be on the path to permanent piseed-offedness, so we might see her turn even more of a cold shoulder to S.T.A.R. Labs.
Just where is Starling City?: Luckily for us, almost every damn state in the country has a Central City. In the comics, it is referred to being in the middle of the country, from Ohio to Chicago to Missouri. However, when Allen takes a trip to Starling City in the show, Arrow says that it is just 600 miles away (lol “only”). We have previously thought Starling to be a West coast city (San Fran, Seattle) or an East coast city (Connecticut, Massachutesetts), but from this reference it looks like the most fitting location for Starling City must be something like Minneapolis. As many times as I’ve traveled there in the books, I realize that I have no idea where I’m going.
Legacy: The man that plays Henyr Allen, Barry’s father, was the star of the 1990’s Flash series. John Wesley Shipp does a great job here, which we can only assume was due to 25 years of practice.
Heroes raining from the sky: It looks as though the particle accelerator’s failure caused meta-humans to pop up left and right across the city, and that is the logical approach they will take to explain all these super-heroes and villains to emerge. It is an approach that reminds me of how the video-game DC Universe Online was explained, where nanobots were dropped around the world that gave people random powers all over the globe to help combat Brainiac’s invasion.
The “FUTURE”: Oh man, wasn’t that knowledge bomb at the end just spectacular? Just who the heck is this Harrison Wells guy and what horror does the future (spooky voice) hold? There are a few theories floating around, and thanks to the inclusion of time travel, the possibilities are endless:
Theory 1: Either Eddie Thawne is a smoke screen and Wells (who is not a real character on his own) is the real Reverse Flash, or Wells is related to Reverse Flash somehow. In the books, Eobard’s son, Thaddeus, becomes the villain Inertia. This is unlikely in the show since Wells looks considerably too old to be Eddie’s son, but with time travel, there are no rules.
Theory 2: Another DC magic word, “CRISIS,” insinuates that there will be some event relating to the book Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Barry Allen sacrifices himself to save the universe. As epic as this would be to see on TV, I feel that DC would want to avoid something as spoilerific as that.
My theory: Perhaps… Harrison Wells IS Barry Allen. The headline reads that The Flash has disappeared; this could be a literal translation, implying that he has traveled back in time. His insistence on testing Barry’s reaction early on in the goal of “unlocking mysteries,” his attempts to keep Barry from crime-fighting and his eventual encouragement suggests a personal investment in Barry; his hopeful glances at the paper ten years from now to see if circumstances have change further reinforce the theory that he is a good guy, contrary to the eerie music playing.