The Flash Season 1 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)
One of the many new characters introduced in the second season of Arrow last year, Barry Allen probably stands out as the most anticipated and most exciting. After all, Barry Allen is The Flash, DC’s Scarlet Speedster. There have been many other heroes who have called themselves The Flash, such as Jay Garrick and Wally West most famously, but Barry Allen has been equally important and he is the one who currently stars in DC’s The Flash and Justice League comics, among others. And when it was announced last year that The Flash show would be a spin-off of Arrow, it was a time for rejoicing, because it would give DC Entertainment TWO superhero shows airing side by side this year.
The pilot for The Flash was leaked soon after San Diego Comic Con or juts about the same time, and so the new premiere isn’t exactly a surprise to a lot of people. From everything I’ve heard, it was a tone-perfect premiere that really captured the essence of the hero and the world he inhabits alongside Oliver Queen/Green Arrow in Arrow. But then, that’s the great thing you see, because even though it is pasrt of the same continuity, it is also very different, and lacks the grim/dark elements of its parent show. Having seen the premiere finally, I can definitely say that The Flash starts out on a much, much better note than Arrow did in its first season.
The Flash series premiere gets off to a great start by a short teaser intro from Barry, and then dives head-first into the character’s most defining moment when, aged 11, he witnesses the death of his mother by a “ball of lightning”. For any comics fan familiar with Barry’s story, the “ball of lightning” is future-Flash and one his greatest villains, Reverse-Flash, fighting it out around Barry’s mother. The build-up to Nora Allen’s death is an emotional one and so is the impact of watching it all happen. Barry screaming for his mother while his father tries to hold him back, and then all of a sudden he is several hundred meters away from his home in the middle of a no-name street.
The show moves into the present after that, and we get to meet Barry on just another day on the job, barely days getting back from Starling City, where he went to track up the rumours of the Hood vigilante. You see, after Nora’s death, Barry’s father was taken into custody and convicted of the murder, and Barry has been obsessed ever since with finding out the truth of it all. His father is innocent, but only two people know that, him and his father. Everybody else believes otherwise, and so Barry has been trying to get evidence for years as to who or what killed his mother. Hence his jaunt into Starling last year, which was covered in the mid-season finale and its preceding episode of Arrow last year, in a great team-up with Team Arrow that had me grinning ear-to-ear as I watched it all happen.
But that’s that, and now starts a new phase in Barry’s life. He came back from Starling City as a normal guy, but within the day, he is something more. At the end of the Arrow season 2 mid-season finale, we saw the accident that gave Barry his Speed Force powers. In The Flash series premiere, we see that accident in detail, with everything leading up to it that is relevant for the viewer, such as Barry visiting STAR Labs with Iris West, his childhood friend.
I loved the season premiere. It is pretty much everything that I wanted out of it and it certainly did not disappoint me in any way. Whether it is the flashbacks or everything that happens in the present timeline, such as the fact that the first villain Barry ever faces is Clyde Martin aka Weather Wizard, one of my favourites of his rogues’ gallery, this is a very impressive premiere. As others have said, it is tone-perfect and manages the seriousness with the humour really well. Barry’s accident knocked him into a coma for nine months and when he woke up and saw his body, his first sentence was “lightning gave me… abs?”. I don’t know about you all, but I loved it. There’s the fact that The Flash is as much a police procedural as it is a superhero show since Barry is a forensics assistant for the Central City Police Department, but it is also much more since it has a distinct science-fiction element to it, much stronger than the one for Arrow at any rate.
And that’s where Barry’s great supporting cast comes in. Grant Gustin as Barry Allen is excellent of course, giving a much better performance in his own show as a lead than he did as a cameo in Arrow last year, but he wouldn’t have the same impact if not for his supporting cast. Candice Patton as Iris West is one. Iris has usually been Barry’s romantic interest, even wife if I’m not mistaken, and while the premiere has her as little more than kind-of-sister to him, there are definitely some romantic overtones to Barry’s character when Iris is in the picture. It was never an in-your-face kind of thing, which I appreciated, and I actually liked that she was setup with someone else to provide a foil for Barry. And that’s where Eddie Thawne comes in. Eddie Thawne has been known by many names over the years, but two of his most famous are Professor Zoom and Reverse-Flash. And everything comes full-circle there, given how the premiere kicks off with future-Flash and Reverse-Flash duking it out in front of Nora Allen while Barry and his father look on.
Just how the show is going to take Rick Cosnett’s character forward, and whether he will indeed be the main villain this season (I sincerely hope so!), I am nevertheless excited since Eddie is now in the thick of Barry’s extended family, since he is Iris’ boyfriend and also her father’s partner a the CCPD. Eddie Thawne making an appearance in the premiere itself was like a jolt of lightning, I kid you not, given how big of a villain he has been to Flash.
Then there’s what I call the STAR trio: Dr. Harrison Wells, Caitlin Snow and Cisco Roman. Wells is the man behind the STAR Labs Particle Accelerator that was the talk of Arrow last season and which is also the crime-scene of the explosion that happens in the first few minutes of the premiere, the explosion that then goes on to give Barry his powers via a freak lightning bolt. Given how the premiere ends, with a HUGE twist about Wells, I can’t wait to see more. I thought the show was going to go in one direction, but with this ending, it looks set to top anything that I or any other fan could have thought of. Caitlin Snow is most often also known as the supervillain Killer Frost, but in The Flash, she is Wells’ assistant and a scientist in her own right. The premiere gives some indication of her backstory, but it is limited to how things have changed for her in the 9 months since the Particle Accelerator malfunctioned, giving her a rather bleak outlook on things. But I liked both the actor and the character. She starred in Arrow as well last year in a couple cameos and was great. The same goes for Cisco Ramon, played by Carlos Valdes, who was there and here with Caitlin every step of the way. He is an easy-going dude and usually the joker of the STAR trio, and I loved him. Cisco is also known as the superhero Vibe in comics, so it is quite clear that just as with Arrow, CW and WB and DC are going all-out with establishing a star cast for The Flash, especially when it comes to superheroes and supervillains.
Which is where I need to make another point about the show. Clyde Martin aka Weather Wizard. He is also a member of the supervillain team, the Rogues, led by Leonard Snart aka Captain Cold. Given that the show has already cast Captain Cold, and also Mick Rory aka Heatwave, another member of the Rogues, its clear that eventually we are going to see the full membership of the team, including Cold’s sister Glider, her boyfriend Mirror Master (as per the New 52 continuity at least), and the cheeky scamp Trickster. How awesome is that?
I guess what it all means is that The Flash is off to a great start. The only negative, at all, in this premiere is that I don’t get the casting of Patrick Sabongui as Captain David Singh. In the New 52 comics at least, Singh is shown to be an Indian-American, with a strong focus on the first half of that identity. But in the show he is completely white. This is a minor issue for me since the show otherwise has a great mix of cast members, whether male or female, white or black or Mexican or otherwise, and in a way, it is kind of reaching for me to even point it out. We have accomplished scientists in Caitlin and Cisco. We have Iris who is doing her PhD. We have her father Joe West who is CCPD detective with several years of service. And more.
Ultimately it all comes down to this: if you are not watching The Flash this fall, then you are most definitely missing out. It is a much more light-hearted show than Arrow, but it doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the characters do end up in some pretty bad situations, or that they wrestle with some deep-seated real-life issues. I highly recommend it!
Posted on October 8, 2014, in Review Central, The Flash, TV Show Reviews and tagged Action, Andrew Kreisberg, Arrow, Barry Allen, Caitlin Snow, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes, Central City, Cisco Ramon, Comics Television, CW, Danielle Panabaker, David Nutter, DC Comics, Detective West, Drama, Eddie Thawne, Flash, Genre Television, Geoff Johns, Grant Gustin, Green Arrow, Greg Berlanti, Iris West, Jesse L. Martin, Joe West, John Broome, John Wesley Shipp, Killer Frost, Melissa Kellner Berman, Mystery, Oliver Queen, Review, Review Central, Rick Cosnett, Robert Kanigher, Scarlet Speedster, Science Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Superhero Television, Superheroes, Television, Television Adaptation, The Flash, The Flash Premiere, The Flash Season 1, The Flash Season 1 Ep 1, The Flash Season 1 Premiere, Tom Cavanagh, Trailer Thoughts, TV Show, TV Show Review, Vibe, Wally West. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.