This latest version of the Flash certainly isn’t reinventing the wheel, but there’s something wonderfully good-natured about the show that’s keeping it fun and watchable. Episode three is a consummate balance of meteor freak… sorry, metahuman-of-the-week, and building blocks for the ongoing arc plot. Chuck in a few heart-to-hearts to remind us that even superheroes have emotions, and you’ve got 42 minutes of TV drama that adheres to a tried and trusted “action show with a heart” blueprint that US scriptwriters have turned into an art form. The reason you go with it is because there doesn’t seem to be a cynical cell in its DNA.
Sure, it would be nice if the show weren’t quite so doggedly formulaic, but there’s a sense here that the show is establishing the rules before before breaking them.
Barry’s fisticuffs with Kyle/Mist are entertaining, and the bad guy is – once again – visually interesting, though Kyle isn’t exactly the most well-developed character ever. The “revenge on everybody who sent me to execution” shtick is from page one of The Big Book Of Villainous Motivations. Far more interesting is the fact that Wells is now using his failed accelerator as a metahuman prison instead – or maybe a holding chamber where he can build a super army.
The “Flash”backs to the night the accelerator went boom are another highpoint, partly because the introduce us to the future Firestorm, partly because they have some really well-designed sets and impressive CGI and partly because they humanise Cisco and Caitlin a little more. Wells still feels like Mr Hyde to Brian Cox’s Mr Jekyll, though.
The Flash Trivia
The first Blue Devil film was advertised in Arrow a while back and now there’s a sequel. It’s based on a DC character who was a stunt man who became an actual blue devil. He first appeared in 1984 and has been a pain in the butt for Firestorm. Rita Farr in DC Comics is Elasti-Girl, who first appeared in 1963.
Joe is more fun now he’s totally on board with Barry’s secret life, and helping he try to free his dad. He was never much cop as the gruff, shouty cop anyway; he makes a much better friendly, quipping cop.
Let’s hope the little moments where Barry rights wrongs almost casually, in the blink of an eye, continue on a weekly basis. There’s no reason why Barry shouldn’t stop a mugging on his way to work, or foil a gunman when a friend’s back is turned. These brief scenes could become one of the show’s defining gimmicks.
The father/son chat at the end of episode feels a little contrived; as with their conversation in the pilot you can’t help thinking, “Surely they’ve had this conversation dozens of times before?” But the earlier scene with Joe telling Barry that there are some things his superpowers won’t be able to help him with is perfectly pitched. The show’s emotional moments teeter on Smallvillle-like sentimentality, but so far they’ve managed not to fall right in.
The only aspect that’s really not working is the Iris/Eddie relationship. Okay, it may turn out Eddie’s a conniving villain (it’s not set in stone, but it seems likely) but surely – for the moment – the show should be trying to convince us Iris was could fall for him. Instead he just comes across as a grinning non-entity.
The best thing the show has going for it remains Grant Gustin, who plays Barry with the right level of geekiness and determination. He’s more Tobey Maguire than Andrew Garfield, and he somehow wears the costume with an easy confidence that pulls it off.
Oh yeah, and it was great to see him doing that vibrating face thing from the comics.
Robbie Amell who plays Ronnie (soon to be Firestorm) is the cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Oliver Queen in Arrow. He previously appeared in the short-lived US version of The Tomorrow People.
Did You Spot?
Sticking with Firestorm, Robbie Amell Tweeted that the door to the vault was supposed to have a Firestorm logo designed into it. We can sort of see what he means, but it’s never really clear.
Mutants Or Metahumans?
You have to admit this bears more than a passing resemblance to those shots you see in most X-Men movies of Professor X and co just about to enter Cerebro.
Play Misty For Me
Kyle Nimbus, aka Mist, first appeared in DC comics in Adventure Comics in 1951 (although his surname wasn’t established until the ’80s).
The Flash airs on Sky 1 in the UK and the CW in the US on Tuesday nights.