Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) is a forensic assistant who is always late, and always bumping into people. Combine that with a tragic backstory of a murdered mother and a father imprisoned for life over it, raised by a cop and you have the makings of a super hero origin story in five minutes. Things kick off on the night when a particle accelerator being turned on causes a storm that gives Barry super-powers, becoming The Flash.
Right away it’s clear that there’s perhaps a little too much crammed into this 40 minute pilot. The Flash has to entice viewers without having too much or too little story to go on, and the result can be a little murky at times. Arrow fans will recognise the ‘My name is…’ at the beginning, which can get a little old if you’re keeping up to date on Arrow.
The core cast of the show seems to be given from the off-set. When Barry comes to, he is greeted by Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Francisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), who explain what’s happened to him and inform him he’s been a coma for nine months. Arrow viewers will have met these two characters before, so the extra groundwork helps.
Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) is head of S.T.A.R labs, the company that turned on the particle accelerator. As a result, he’s lost the use of his legs, and is now not the most popular man in Central City. He takes on a slight mentor approach here, and seems of the belief that Barry could be something special.
Out of the lab, we have Iris West (Candice Patton), daughter of Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), the man who took Barry in after his mother died. The show is really telegraphing its moves here as a tragic love story plot can be seen a mile off. It’s a catch twenty-two where heroes have to be less successful in their day-to-day life to make them more relatable.
The Flash having super powers means quite a lot of visual effects. Such things can often be the downfall of television, but here they are well done. Of course, the show wouldn’t float if the powers couldn’t be portrayed convincingly, but hopefully the quality presented here is consistent throughout the show’s run.
Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook) as Weather-Wizard is the main conflict in this episode. It feels a tad shoe-horned in. With Barry having literally only just received his powers days ago, it seems a little soon for this kind of test when really the idea of him using his powers to help people is barely touched on.
Arrow also drops by to give Barry some much needed advice. It’s a nice little seen that surely hints of future encounters between the two of them. Overall, this strong pilot is too short and feels like it’s over in the blink of an eye.
The tone of the show is notably lighter than Arrow (which is odd, considering Barry is a young boy when his mother is killed). It’s simply a less brooding show, Dr Caitlin and Francisco in particular provide a wave of comic relief (and hang lampshades on the super hero thing). Dr Wells seems like the mentoring type, but considering the actor’s age, it doesn’t quite gel. Also, the setup of villains indicates we might be steering towards monster of the week territory.
Overall, a solid opening episode that hopefully rises to greater heights as it continues.