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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Welcome to The Flash! THE FLASH Pilot Review

The Flash Pilot episode starts with an opener which only a superhero origin episode could do right.  We get a glimpse of Barry Allen after he is already The Flash, zooming around town like only The Flash can.  Shortly thereafter we get a glimpse into “the past” in which Barry Allen, as a child, witnessed a very strange occurrence which ended in the death of his mother.  We also see the core virtues of Barry – honorable, caring, and heroic even though he’s smaller and weaker than the bullies around him.

Flash forward (no pun intended) to almost the “present day” and we see Barry as an adult.  He’s constantly late.  We find that he has a good relationship with a police officer coworker, Detective Joe West and a poor relationship with his boss, the police Captain, due to his constant tardiness.  All of this may seem bland, but it’s all backdrop and set up for the transformation which Barry will soon undertake.

Enter the damsel/love interest.  Barry is totally in love with his best friend, the beautiful Iris who also just happens to be the daughter of his friend Detective West.  We also find out that Barry was taken in by Detective West after his mother died and his father was convicted for her murder.

Iris cares for Barry, but more as a brother or best friend than as a potential romantic partner.  It’s such a shame that the nice guy has to finish last like usual.

Of course all this talk of who likes who and what the relationships are between the people is rather boring.  Where’s the action!  Well it starts after the STAR Labs particle accelerator blows up and spreads bad juju all over Star City in the form of strange energy.  This of course joins with a storm and creates a lightning bolt which strikes Barry square in the chest.

Longtime fans of The Flash will appreciate that, while the circumstances for Barry’s accident aren’t entirely the same, the creators kept the original scene from the comic books intact – complete with him pulling on chains and getting thrown into unknown chemicals.

Fast forward nine months.  Barry wakes up from a coma which he has been in since the accident.  He’s deep within STAR labs and we are finally introduced to what will be his supporting team – Cisco Ramon, Caitlin Snow, and Dr. Harrison Wells.  It’s very reminiscent of Arrow but with more science and super powers.

Of course Barry’s first priority is to check on his love, Iris.  After all, he doesn’t know he’s a superhero yet.  But while Barry has been in a coma Iris has started dating Eddy, the “pretty boy” new cop we meet just before Barry’s accident.  We can see the hurt on Barry’s face when he finds this out later in the episode.

What we DO see when he first goes to see Iris is two more Easter eggs for DC fans – another scene taken right out of the comics where Barry is starting to experience his powers and the inclusion of Iris’s workplace from the comics.  The whole incident where the food is falling and Barry sees everything in super slow motion is pretty neat and shows the type of special effects which we will be seeing a lot of in the future.

Barry starts to experience his powers again at the police precinct and then decides to experiment a bit.  Who wouldn’t?  And then, of course, goes looking for answers.  A quick scene later and we see Barry in a leotard with the STAR labs personnel at a test range to see how fast he can go.  Again, this is another little Easter egg from the comics as the group is at the Ferris Air testing facility – the place where Hal Jordon works as a test pilot before he becomes Green Lantern.

It’s here that we find that Caitlin has a troubled life because of the STAR Labs accident.  She lost her job (wait, she still seems employed…) and, more importantly, her fianc√© died.  Bummer.  Perhaps this is a reason why she’s so cold, a hint in itself of her becoming Killer Frost.

During Barry’s testing we also get a glimpse into some foreshadowing with the series.  Barry has a flashback to the night his mother died.  During the flashback we see clearly red and yellow lightning blurs.  But then the yellow blur slows down just long enough to see the figure of a yellow man who turns to look at young Barry.  That’s about the time when Barry was “teleported” away from the scene.

The yellow blur is likely the Reverse-Flash, another speedster from the future.  And if I guess correctly, then the red blur is Barry himself as The Flash, traveled back in time to save his mother but instead is forced to save himself by picking his younger self up and taking him away, thus giving Reverse-Flash time to kill his mother.  A time-loop which cannot be undone.  Sucky.

Interestingly enough we have a few hints later in the episode as to who might be the Reverse-Flash.  Dr. Wells seems a good candidate due to one of the Reverse-Flash villains being named “Professor Zoom.”  But Professor Zoom was also named Eobard Thawne which is extremely similar to the other detective’s name – Eddy Thawne.  Yeah.  The same guy who is dating Iris.  To make things sway more in Eddy’s favor we also have the fact that in the comics Professor Zoom killed Iris for refusing to marry him.  Tragedy foretold!

After the accident during testing we see that weird things are going on in Central City.  After Barry has a run-in with Clyde Mardon, the show’s take on the Weather Wizard, he decides that no matter what, something has to be done…and he’s the one to do it.  But Dr. Wells tells Barry that he isn’t a hero.  He’s just a lab guy who got struck by lightning.  So Barry takes off on a run and ends up talking to a friend who knows about being a hero – Oliver Queen.

Oliver Queen gives him some advice which sets him back on the path to being the hero he is meant to be.  Barry returns to Central City and finally gets help from Caitlin and Cisco in the form of the Flash suit, information, and the promise that they will help him via radio communication.

Barry heads off to take on Mardon.  He gets to an abandoned farm just in time to save Joe West’s life.  Mardon currently has a God complex and decides that he should create some serious weather in the form of a tornado to devastate Central City.  After deciding that running the opposite way which the tornado is spinning is the best option to stop Mardon, we see the Flash falter for his first time.

But he doesn’t falter for long.  Dr. Wells joins in with rooting for our hero to save the day which bolsters Barry’s confidence enough that he is able to run over 700mph and unravel the tornado.  Wow!  Take that Usain Bolt!

Detective West is now convinced that Barry was right all these long years.  After now having seen with his own eyes the truth of the weird things in the world he has a heartfelt moment with Barry.  And he is also wise enough to know that he must keep Barry’s secret. 

All is good in Central City for the time being and Barry is now on his road to being a full-fledged superhero.  Much of this will hinge on Barry’s self-confidence it seems and I foresee that being a major theme of the show for a while. 

But not all is as it seems.  We are treated to a final scene where Dr. Wells opens a high-tech secret door to a secret room in STAR Labs.  In this secret area we see that the good doctor has been faking this whole time as he stands up from his wheelchair.  He then walks over to a strange console which turns out to be a very high-tech hologram projector which depicts a newspaper clipping from the future. 

This seems to be an indication that Wells is from the future and that he knows all about who the Flash is going to be.  This is further indication that perhaps Dr. Wells is a Reverse-Flash.  Or maybe he’s something else entirely. 

Whatever the case is, I’m looking forward to it.  This show has a lot of potential and seems like it will be a classic CW show filled with fun, intrigue, love-triangles, and a bit of quirky humor.  And DC fans will love the Easter eggs that they are throwing in all over the place. 

Stay tuned to see what happens next week on The Flash!

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