Introductions are cut short, this week on The Flash as Barry Allen knows we want to see him being a hero. This follow-up to last week’s muddled pilot moves at break-neck speed for the duration… and that’s no accident.
We start of by seeing that Barry is using his powers to help with every day problems, like fires. It’s a marvellous application of a hero’s power being used effectively. And we later learn that Barry has been saving people without the go ahead from Dr Wells and Caitlin Snow, the latter of which is furious to find out that Cisco is helping him by spotting problems across the map.
A new problem arises when, late to the scene of a crime (yes, the fastest man alive can still be late), Barry finds a crime perpetrated by six men when the cameras show only one. Amidst all of this we have Iris feeling let down because Barry isn’t around to help her with her journalism. On top of that, Barry learns that the overuse of his Flash persona has left him hypoglycaemic. It’s a rather sobering moment where Dr Wells simply states: Know your limits.
Our villain of the week is a fellow called Brandon Black, a man with the power to make clones of himself. Fortunately for the world at large, he’s only interested in getting revenge on his former employer: Simon Stagg. Alliterative names aside, Barry won’t stand by and let it happen. Also we get a more in depth look at what his childhood was like growing up with Iris and being looked after by her father Joe. One thing The Flash and Arrow both have in common is an abundance of flashbacks (get it?). But whereas Arrow’s are integral to the plot, these are more for flavour.
David Nutter returns as director for this second episode. Having directed this first, this episode feels very close to it in tone. The humour is important. Arrow is a fantastic show, and it’s always tempered seriousness with jokes. It’s all well and good to have your super hero taking things seriously, but because we’re to relate to them there have to be laughs. One such instance of minor humour comes from Barry realising he’s forgotten to lose his super hero costume when heading to a crime scene and noticing a men’s-wear store. He arrives with the price tags on, to the confusion of Detective Joe.
The special effects are mostly up to scratch this week. One minor gripe comes in the form of our opening scene, wherein which the building on fire interior is rather strange to look at. Obviously budget wise it makes more sense to fake it rather than put stunt people in a burning building so we’ll let that go. It’s character powers that are the main draw here so they have to pull their weight. The Flash running around is fun to look at, whether it’s from Barry’s perspective or from the person he’s saving. At some point you have to ask yourself: what would you think if you were in one place and then in the blink of an eye you were somewhere else?
Brandon Black’s character is something of a let-down if I’m entirely honest. His power is pretty darn cool though, especially as he is able to hold his own against the fastest man alive. However, there isn’t much to say about him. His character development comes very late in the game. And by very late I mean within the last ten minutes. It’s good that he had it, it prevents him from being entirely one-dimensional, but at best it upgrades him to two.
It’s essentially glossed over and left under the rug and the plot moves along without him. It’s very much the monster of the week approach where when all is said and done, it’s about our core cast of characters. That’s by no means a bad thing, but it definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth to think that everyone else who got super powers in that storm is probably evil.
Does the fastest man alive need to slow down a bit and have few quiet moments? Do we need recurring villains or should we wait until season 2 to start building up the more solid story lines and give things the chance to pick up steam? Let us know what you think in the comments below…