Fall TV 2014RecapReviewTV

Review: ‘The Flash’ Speeds To A Strong Start

Adam Reynoso ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Grant Gustin in The Flash episode "City of Heroes." Photo Credit: The CW.
Grant Gustin in The Flash episode “City of Heroes.” Photo Credit: The CW.

Having already been introduced in two episodes of Arrow last season, Grant Gustin is back as Barry Allen, aka The Flash.  Both the actor and the character embrace the comic book world they’re in, bringing to life one of the most faithful adaptations to date.

With all of the shows and movies about superheroes already out there, The Flash stands out because it has the cheese of The Amazing Spider-Man without going to far into camp and enough drama and action that balances the hour right. And like its companion show, Arrow, it has set up its own world and parameters, explaining the existence of “metahumans” by saying they are a result of the particle accelerator explosion seen near the beginning of the episode, which also gave Barry his super speed. However, where Arrow can be darker, gritty and set in a more realistic crime world with no powers, The Flash is definitely lighter in tone, made to be a bit more fantastical and has super powers.

Grant Gustin shines as the title hero, showing how much he loves the character. The character of Barry is the guy who’s wanted to be a hero and believes in them. He’s said to be the one who believes in the unexplained, even having a blog for that type of stuff. To see him transform into the Flash is a journey the audience can actually get invested in, if only for the way Gustin plays him. How often do superheroes ask if lightning gave them abs? On the other hand, Gustin also shows his more tragic side, recounting how his mother was murdered by a yellow, lightning storm and that his father was indeed innocent. Seeing him be doubted by everyone and have no one believe his claims, it resonates with the audience. It gives him a drive and mission.

Tom Cavanagh and Danielle Panabaker in The Flash series premiere "City of Heroes." Photo Credit: The CW.
Tom Cavanagh and Danielle Panabaker in The Flash series premiere “City of Heroes.” Photo Credit: The CW.

And like any hero, he has his own team here as well, made up of  Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes).  Each of them are looking for redemption (feeling responsible for the explosion), and see Barry as a way to fix that. At first, he’s just another experiment to study and observe, but they soon realize that they can be his team and help him, as he becomes the hero he’s meant to be.

Other supporting characters are Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), who took Barry in and raised him after he lost his mother. He’s the dad who keeps trying to do what’s right for Barry and get him to accept he didn’t see what he thought he saw the night his mom died, but by the end of the episode, he apologizes for doubting him after seeing Barry in action. Then there’s his daughter, Iris (Candice Patton) who’s dating pretty cop Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett). Barry is in love with Iris, so this means another triangle is in the cards, unfortunately.

The only weak point in the pilot is the villain of the week. He has no real motivation and is simply not that interesting as he could’ve been. But seeing the previews for the weeks to come, it’s clear that the show is going to really explore the super powered villains from the comics as the show continues.

Grant Gustin and Candice Patton in The Flash series premiere "City of Heroes." Photo Credit: The CW.
Grant Gustin and Candice Patton in The Flash series premiere “City of Heroes.” Photo Credit: The CW.

Of course, the most talked about scene has to be the end. With the revelation that Dr. Wells can walk and not only has some high tech secret room, but also a newspaper from ten years in the future, it shows that The Flash (in his real, comic book costume) has disappeared after a crisis. This sets up a mystery as to who Wells really is while teasing what is to come. And not to mention the other headline about a Queen Consolidated and Wayne Tech merger. This last scene teases that time travel may be introduced a lot sooner than many thought.

As a pilot, The Flash succeeds at every level. It establishes the world and has the action needed. What makes it go above and beyond is showing that this show will not follow in many superheroes show’s footsteps and that Barry is the Flash, complete with the costume and even name in a way. With a cameo by the Green Arrow himself (Stephen Amell) and easter eggs teasing Gorilla Grodd, Reverse Flash and even the Justice League, the show has a lot of promise and is bound to be a comic book show unlike the others.

Overall Grade: A

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