The Flash Season 1 Ep 2 (TV Show Review)
CW’s The Flash is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season/year. Spinning out of the successful 2-season Arrow, The Flash brings to life one of DC’s greatest superheroes and it is pretty much tone-perfect. It has the right emotional beats, the right character beats, the right setting, the right stories, and some really hellish cliffhangers that blow your mind. Of course, the acting department isn’t slacking either, with the likes of Grant Gustin, Jesse Martin, Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton, Carlos Valdes and Tom Cavanagh. It is pretty much a great show, and that is going off only the pilot from the last week!
The second episode of The Flash brings to life another true-to-comics villain like Clyde Martin aka Weather Wizard from last week, Danton Black aka Multiplex (or, as Cisco first called him, Captain Clone, hah!). Alongside a memorable villain, we also have a slightly expanded roster of characters this week as we get to meet one of the most despicable industrialists/scientists in “Fastest Man Alive” and also get to see Barry suffer from some of the side-affects of his new powers. I thought the pilot last week was great, but it turns out that it was only the start, and that the trinity of Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns are just getting started!
Note: This review contains spoilers about the final minutes of the premiere and this week’s episode.
To start off, let’s address the big elephant in the room here, namely, Harrison Wells’ jaw-dropping final scene from last week’s episode. We were told up until then that Harrison Wells had lost the use of his legs following the explosion in the particle accelerator that seeded Central City with exotic dark matter and granted special abilities to many individuals all over the the city. But, soon as Tom Cavanagh’s character enters a secret chamber within STAR Labs, he gets off his wheelchair, walks to a plinth and activates a holographic recording of a newspaper from several years in the future, which headlines that The Flash is missing during the Crisis plaguing the world at that time.
It is utterly bonkers and really blew my mind soon as I watched it. First off, DC is never gonna be able to do a Crisis story in either movies or television. The scope is simply too grand, with far too many characters involved, and too many different versions of realities crashing together. But, you can still take a moment’s pause and marvel at the fact that the show is starting off on such a grand scale. I mean, it would be great if this happened, but I’m not really thinking of it. It is just nice to see that the show is firmly rooting itself in comics traditions and playing with it all.
As I said above, new villain this week, some new personal challenges, and a killer ending (pun intended).
Danton Black aka Multiplex is the villain in this episode, and he was a great challenge for Barry, especially at a time when he is still getting used to his powers, their side-affects, and some self-doubts as well. Which is great. Whereas Arrow was driven with the protagonist’s need for vengeance and dark drama, The Flash is driven by humour, comics drama, and personal challenges. I’ve heard it said in a lot of places that the showrunners want to make this show the most comics-oriented show out there, and given everything that happens in this episode, that claim is certainly holding up.
First we had a man who could control the weather and a man who could run faster than the speed of sound. Now we have a time traveler and a guy who can create multiple identical copies of himself almost without end. And yeah, with the latter there is the expectation of a great “ocean-wave” scene happening, and that is exactly what we get. Remember the scene in The Matrix Reloaded when Agent Smith swarms Neo with endless copies of himself until the hero gets out of the predicament with all due haste? Yeah, that’s the kind of scene we get in the climax of this episode and it is glorious, to see Barry fighting off so many copies of Danton Black and it all being a real struggle for him.
Which brings us back to the other challenges that Barry faces in this episode. The most important of these is related to his new-found powers. As we’ve seen in the comics and the animated features of the years, Barry and the other Flashes have a really high metabolism and that requires them to eat a ton of food every day to keep their strength up. This is a nice subplot for the episode and it also ends up being a shoe-in for something very Flash-y: the Cosmic Treadmill. Sure, we don’t get an actual Cosmic Treadmill in this episode, but the indirect reference to it is still a great thing and is just another way that the writers are able to seamlessly weave in comics lore and make this is a great comics-based show indeed.
Then there is the more romantic side of things, what with Iris and Eddie being a couple and Barry watching sadly from the sidelines, his crush on Iris being just a form of love that will never be reciprocated, at least not for a good long while. Romantic dramas are a staple of CW television and we’ve seen several versions of it played out on Arrow as well, so it is no surprise on The Flash, but I like the fact that none of the women in Barry’s life are interested in him, what with Caitlin still not over the death of her fiance Ronnie Raymond and Iris dating Eddie. It creates some really interesting possibilities, and could even be a way for the writers to eventually introduce Patty Spivot, Barry’s girlfriend in the New 52 (not sure if she has been in the comics before or not).
And then there are the growing pains of his relationship between his friends and allies at STAR Labs on one hand and his foster-father Detective West on the other hand. This subplot provided some of the best emotional moments of the show, especially once the flashbacks to Barry’s childhood are factored in, and I couldn’t help but cry at several scenes. It is just that kind of a show you see. It really gets you worked up nicely with what the characters are feeling, and you just can’t help but connect with them on an emotional level.
Seeing young Barry really does get you seriously invested in the character’s struggles and the moment when young Barry goes to Iron Heights Prison and hugs his father is perhaps the most touching moment in the episode, especially once a guard breaks up the tearful reunion between father and son. John Wesley Shipp played Barry Allen/The Flash back in the 90s and it is so great to see him on the show now, in the same way that it was great to see Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain on Smallville.
This week’s cliffhanger involves Simon Stagg, the owner of Stagg Industries, and a character who is quite important to the larger DC mythos as well since he was the driving force that turned Rex Mason into the superhero known as Metamorpho. Stagg is the target of Danton Black’s ire in this continuity, and the ending with Stagg and Harrison Wells really mind-boggling, given what we know of the man behind the mask so far. It creates some realy dark drama for the series and even makes you wonder just what Harrison Wells is doing in the past, helping Barry become The Flash.
Either way, The Flash is definitely off to a great start with a second episode that is even better than the premiere!
More The Flash: Ep 1.
Posted on October 16, 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, Danton Black, 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, Multiplex, Mystery, Oliver Queen, Review, Review Central, Rick Cosnett, Robert Kanigher, Scarlet Speedster, Science Fiction, Simon Stagg, Stagg Industries, Superhero Fiction, Superhero Television, Superheroes, Supervillains, Television, Television Adaptation, The Flash, The Flash Premiere, The Flash Season 1, The Flash Season 1 Ep 2, Tom Cavanagh, Trailer Thoughts, TV Show, TV Show Review, Vibe, Wally West. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.