Barry Allen is The Flash and one of the core members of The Justice League of America, but how did the Scarlet Speedster get there? How did Barry become the Fastest Man Alive (no matter what some comics say The Flash is faster than Superman) and what drives him?
In the wake of the success of the CW’s Arrow we get our first spin-off and it is a delightful one. As much as I enjoy Arrow it has been hampered by the producers trying to keep it in a Nolan type universe; no fantastical villains, no one with real super powers, and no boxing glove arrows. Now along comes The Flash and apparently the gloves are off…and gauntlets on!
Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) had a traumatic event in his past, which is almost a required thing for superheroes, his mom was killed by a strange energy force but because his childhood account isn’t something adults can believe in his father is arrested for the murder. Fourteen years later Barry is working as a forensic assistant for the Central City Police Department, he is helped by detective and father figure Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his lifelong best friend Iris West (Candice Patton) who much to Barry’s dismay has stuck him in the dreaded “Friend Zone”
Cue heroic origin event. There is a disaster at Star Labs when its particle accelerator goes ballistic, exploding strange energies out into the city and beyond. Some of the energy seeds a storm cloud that lets loose a bolt of lightning that strikes Barry. Much to everyone’s surprise he isn’t killed, but just stuck in a coma for nine months. Even more surprising is that when he wakes up at Star Labs he is in perfect health, his muscles have had accelerated healing instead of the expected atrophy of a bed ridden coma patient.
Soon enough Barry finds out that he isn’t just in better shape than he’s ever been before, he can now perceive things as if the whole world is slowing down, and of course he can run really, really fast. When he discovers that a murderous bank robber, one assumed killed during the night of the Star Labs accident, is not dead and has gained powers of his own. Barry knows it’s up to him, or more accurately The Flash, to stop him.
I really enjoyed this pilot, Grant Gustin is perfect casting as Barry Allen, and most of the supporting cast is solid as well. The biggest danger I see is what I call “The Smallville Effect” as in that show almost every villain Clark had to face was a result of kryptonite radiation from all the meteors littering that part of Kansas. Now in this pilot The Weather Wizard was caused by the same accident that created The Flash, and when we get a tour of Star Labs we see a destroyed animal cage with the name Grodd posted on it. And of course anyone familiar at all with the comic knows that the killer of Barry’s mom is The Reverse Flash who we can assume was created by this same event. This kind of thing got old on Smallville, and I hope they ditch quickly for this show.
With Barry and Oliver Queen being friends this opens up a DC Universe for television, one where we can ignore Zack Synder’s murdering Superman, and we can hope to some day see Blue Beetle or Booster Gold showing up in Central City. There is certainly no need to connect this to the movies, but it is a shame will never get a Batman guest appearance.
• Gorilla effing Grodd! God but I can’t wait to see a talking gorilla on this show.
• John Wesley Ship from the 1990 Flash series is Barry’s dad. Awesome!
• We should hear the Law and Order “Dun-Dun!” whenever Jesse L. Martin appears on screen.
• The effects are great, and not just TV show great.
Unlike Gotham having Flash’s rogue’s gallery showing up is to be cheered, so I have a little more hope for this show than I do Bruce Wayne’s hometown show. Only having seen the pilot we can’t be sure what exact direction they are going to take the show, but I’ll certainly be in front of the television set every Tuesday night to find out.
The Flash (2014)
Show Rank - 7.5/10
This is an excellent pilot, it doesn’t waste time before getting to the good stuff, it shows the joy of being a superhero, and will only get the most pedantic of fanboys enraged.