The Flash Season 1 Ep 9 (TV Show Review)

Last week on The Flash we were witness to something amazing, something that hadn’t been done before in superhero television, for obvious reasons. Barry Allen and Oliver Queen came together as a team to take down some bad guys in their respective shows, with Barry learning that all his optimism and everything jut isn’t enough sometimes, that there need to be hard decisions made, and that he still has so much to learn about being a hero, a superhero really, and that it is going to be ongoing “class in session” for him. And I loved pretty much every moment of it.

However, this week’s The Flash features something equally incredible, Barry getting in two matches with the man who killed his mother and is responsible for sending his father to prison, the man in the yellow suit, Reverse-Flash. Start to finish, it is an incredible episode in that we get to see some of what the character is all about, and we see him tease and taunt the hero like any good nemesis should. Also, we get to see Caitlin try and save Ronnie, though the formerly-thought-dead character has kind of become a metahuman now, and seems to have lost his memories too, which isn’t a good combo really. But it all makes for some great superhero television nonetheless.

The Flash Logo 0001

The promos for this week’s winter finale have all been about how this episode is a major game-changer for Barry. In keeping with how Arrow‘s winter finales have worked, the one for The Flash goes on its winter break in a really major way. Barry finally has a chance to confront the man who ruined his life, who destroyed his family and made him the man he is now, constantly tortured by his past. He has a chance to bring said person to justice and finally get his dad out of prison, declared innocent in the murder of Nora Allen. One heck of a ride is what this episode.

I loved this episode of course. I’ve been waiting for it since the title was announced and it was confirmed that Reverse-Flash would indeed make a substantial appearance. And the episode lives up to all my expectations and then some. We see that Reverse-Flash is quite unlike any other metahuman that Barry has taken down up until now. For one, he has super-speed like Barry and also happens to be just the teensiest bit faster actually, which gives him a huge boost in their match-ups in this issue. For another, he is clearly aware of who Barry is, what his weaknesses are, and constantly refers to how he and Barry aren’t really strangers to each other.

The big thing here is that Barry gets some help from Team Flash and Central City PD in order to stop the Reverse-Flash. The road getting there is slightly convoluted, just the teensiest bit actually, but it also makes for some great drama since there are conflicting opinions within Team Flash on how best to handle the supervillain. The most poignant moment in the entire episode comes when Barry goes to meet his father after failing to stop the villain the first time, and they have some heart-to-heart about how Barry has allowed the Man in the Yellow Suit to define his entire life. It is one of those moments on the show where Barry gains a significant mental or physical advantage over his challenges, and it also defines the state of the character, moving forward from that point in time and in general for the rest of the season as well.

As much as I loved all the scenes with the Reverse-Flash and his double beat-down of Barry, I also liked that the show addressed so many more things. Such as Barry’s crush on Iris, Eddie getting in on the metahuman secret though not getting ALL the details, Ronnie’s return, Harrison Wells’ many mysteries and so on. This was a very cohesive episode, as far as I’m concerned, and writers Todd Helbing and Aaron Helbing did a pretty thorough job there. I wish that the story had had a bit more of a resolution, but I’m equally happy with how things turned out, so I’m not overly bothered by the end of the episode. They really had to juggle a lot of different things, and they pull it all of nicely enough to leave me satisfied for the next month’s worth of break, until the show comes back in January and shows Barry going up against Captain Cold and Heatwave together, at the least.

If there is one thing that confused me about this episode, it is the ending with Harrison Wells. After everything that the writers do with the main villain of the episode, to end the winter finale on the moment that they do, it just doesn’t fit in with any of the previous theories I had about who Wells really is. Throwing out a big reveal like that for the viewer, it certainly has impact, but it also leaves more questions asked than answers provided. I’m hoping that it signifies a new theory I’ve come up with, which can kind of fit the facts but is still nowhere near close to the truth I’m sure, since the writers and executive producers on the show love to mess with people’s mind, and this particular reveal certainly has those hallmarks.

Reverse-Flash vs The Flash

And then, aside from all this is the subarc involving Caitlin, Cisco and Ronnie. Last week, we saw that Ronnie was still alive, though he was now Firestorm, a metahuman, potentially dangerous. In this week, we see what happens when Ronnie runs into Caitlin, and how she tries to help him. After all, he was her fiance and he died on the job, even as Cisco and Caitlin were forced to watch him “die”. Being Firestorm, he has some amazing powers and the character beat my expectations by becoming quite central to the larger story of the Reverse-Flash in the climax, when he made a big splash.

It is moments like these that really elevate The Flash beyond the source material. The way that the writers are developing this entire story, I can’t help but feel the same kind of giddy excitement I felt when reading Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s fourth arc on the The Flash comic last year. Those two did a pretty incredible job on that arc, and watching this week’s episode of the show gave me the same feels, which is incredible in and of itself.

There isn’t a very satisfactory conclusion to this episode and some of the events leading up to the big showdown aren’t quite so well-put together as I’d like them to be. But at the same time, the show is packed with great acting across the board, especially when Eddie is brought on board with the many things that Joe West has learned this year about metahumans, though the senior officer wisely leaves out some of the more intricate and critical details. And the threat of the Reverse-Flash? That’s going to be ever-present in the second half, more so since he did single out Joe and warn him again about getting in on the hunt for him. That can’t end well.

Too much goodness!

More The Flash: Ep 1, Ep 2, Ep 3, Ep 4, Ep 5, Ep 6, Ep 7, Ep 8.

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Posted on December 11, 2014, in Review Central, The Flash, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

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