Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Flash Season 1 Episode 1 "City of Heroes" - Recap and Review

The Flash CW The Flash costume first look poster wallpaper screensaver picture image photo

The episode begins with a Spiderman-type voiceover by Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). 14 years ago, his mother, Nora (Michelle Harrison) was killed in a freak accident at their house. Barry's father, Henry (John Wesley Shipp) is arrested and is still serving his jail sentence. Barry himself does not subscribe to this theory and believes that something/someone else is responsible. This event continues to haunt Barry to date.

Cut to the present. Barry is an assistant police forensic investigator at Central City. He is a lazy genius (as most of them usually are) and is brilliant at making deductions. These deductions, by the way, are presented in a visual style that instantly reminded me of the BBC show Sherlock.

Grant Gustin and Candice Patton as Barry Allen and Iris West in CW The Flash Season 1 Pilot Episode 1 City of Heroes

Iris West (Candice Patton), daughter of Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) is Barry's best friend. Joe has been like a father figure for Barry and covers up for his laziness. While Iris considers Barry as her friend, he himself seems to be having more than just platonic feelings for her.

Central City is home to S.T.A.R. Labs and being a science geek, Barry is excited about the particle accelerator being showcased by the CEO, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Things do not go as planned, when Iris' handbag is stolen. Barry chases the perpetrator and is out of breath by the time he catches up with the thief.

Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in a coma in the hospital in CW The Flash Season 1 Pilot Episode 1 City of Heroes

The particle accelerator itself functions improperly, leading to a lightning strike that hits Barry, putting him in a coma. He wakes up nine months later and realizes that he has superpowers. He heals quickly and has superhuman speed.

Harrison was also hurt during the S.T.A.R. Labs explosion and is now restricted to a wheelchair. He is assisted by Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker). Cisco is a mechanical engineering expert and Caitlin is a bioengineering specialist.

Harrison, Cisco and Caitlin help Barry measure his speed at an unused Ferris Air testing facility site. As readers familiar with DC Comics might know, Ferris Air is owned by Carol Ferris. Hal Jordan works for Carol before becoming a member of Green Lantern Corps. In the 2011 film Green Lantern, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively portrayed Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris respectively.

Tom Cavanagh, Carlos Valdes and Danielle Panabaker as Harrison Wells, Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow in CW The Flash Season 1   Pilot Episode 1 City of Heroes

Superheroes don't exist without super-villains. Ours is one Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook), who can control the weather*. He uses his skills to rob banks. Interestingly, he is believed to be dead by Joe. Joe and his partner pursued Clyde nine months ago, during the night of the S.T.A.R. Labs explosion. As Clyde makes his escape in a plane, the plane is struck by a lightning and goes down.

Barry pursues Clyde as he flees from the cops after one of his robberies. Clyde creates a fog and makes his escape. Barry is convinced that Clyde has superpowers and in turn tries to convince Detective Joe about this.

Barry then confronts Harrison about his suspicions. Harrison confesses that the S.T.A.R. Labs incident that bestowed him his superpowers affected a large geographic area, covering more than just Central City. Like Barry, many more “metahumans” (term used by Caitlin) were created that night.

Grant Gustin as forensic assistant Barry Allen The Flash in CW The Flash Season 1 Pilot Episode 1 City of Heroes

Barry decides to use his powers for the greater good. Cisco provides him with a heat and abrasion resistant suit that will help Barry exercise a greater control over his superspeed. 

Using his new costume, Barry fights Clyde. Detective Joe is also on Clyde's trail and helps Barry subdue Clyde.

This was a good episode. The show does an admirable job of setting up the characters and the relationships.

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Grant is adequate as the Scarlet Speedster. Right now, Barry Allen is a lazy genius and an all round nice guy. And yes, he was bullied in his childhood. Hopefully, the characterization will improve in the upcoming episodes. Rest of the characters are stereotypes as well - idolizing geek (Cisco Ramon), serious minded scientist (Caitlin Snow), over-the-top bubbly girl (Iris West) and the inspiring mentor (Harrison Wells). 

Jesse L. Martin and Candice Patton as Centray City Detective Joe West and his daughter Iris West in CW The Flash Season 1 Pilot Episode 1 City of Heroes

Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West shows some acting chops. I personally found him to the best performer.

Arrow (Stephen Amell) makes a cameo appearance. His pep talk to Barry about how Barry can inspire and do things that he cannot reminded me of the parallels between Batman and Superman.

Speaking of Superman, the show's explanation of S.T.A.R. Labs explosion being the cause of creating the metahumans (including the villains), reminded me of another CW show Smallville. The meteor shower in the pilot episode was cited as the reason for the villain of the week type episodes that dominated the first season. Hopefully, The Flash will not take the same route. 

Superman The Greatest Superhero ever

I did like the line spoken by the cop to the thief (who stole Iris' handbag) if he wanted to see if he is faster than a bullet. I thought this was a nice reference to the classic Supes description: Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

  1. The song Poker Face” by Lady Gaga is the song on Barry Allen's facebook page.
  2. The song Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson can be heard in the scene, when Barry meets Iris after coming out of coma.
* - The character of Clyde Mardon is the brother of Mark Mardon, also known as the Weather Wizard.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, CW Television Network

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