It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time to talk about The Flash, mainly because everyone else gets to talk about Supernatural, but boo on you, because I get the fastest man alive! In the first episode, we were first introduced to Barry Allen (you’d know him if you saw Arrow season 2) and watched him become the man who can beat Superman in a foot race. It’s true, he did. If you are familiar with the comic books, you know that, along with several other nuggets that were revealed. I will not be offering up any future spoilers for the show, but there are some huge ones dangling out there. Hugh J.
Let’s start with what we know: Barry is a good guy. It’s that simple. He wants justice for his father and has made that his life’s goal. In order to free his father, he needs to find his mother’s true killer: the mysterious entity that was inside the yellow blur of lightning racing around her when Barry was 11. Up until Barry gained his powers of speed, no one believed him. Ockam’s Razor won out when it came to evidence against his father. An enraged husband is more likely a killer than a yellow blur of lightning. But now that Barry’s foster father, Detective Joe West, is aware of Barry’s newfound powers, he realizes that it’s possible Barry actually did see a face inside that blur all those years ago. That’s one person on Barry’s/The Flash’s side. Who else is there?
The man who inadvertently made The Flash possible is scientist Dr. Harrison Wells, played by Tom Cavanagh. It was his particle accelerator that malfunctioned due to heretofore unknown reasons, spreading a wave of power across Central City and imbuing an unknown number of individuals with powers. How many of those individuals will use their powers for good? How many for bad? How many aren’t even people with powers? That’s an easter egg you’ll find out about eventually, methinks. For my money, I think Tom Cavanagh is doing a bang up job playing the scientist that kickstarted a town of super powered folks. He may be wheelchair bound, but he has a sense of gravitas about him. Cavanagh pulls off a great barely-contained smirk, which I think serves this character well, because he knows he’s the smartest man in the room. We’ve also seen him show a stern and serious side, hinting at the possibility of ulterior motives. Time will tell where his true interests and concerns lie: with Team Flash or with Team Wells. And is it possible for the two to exist together? I won’t even touch on the glimpse of something greater shown at the end of Episode 1.
Cisco Ramon and Dr. Caitlin Snow round out the support crew as they are right now. They are the technical and medical brains of the group respectively. As for right now, they are supporting characters and haven’t been fleshed out too much. We know Caitlin lost her husband in the particle accelerator accident. We learned this in the first episode, and it is a cloud hanging over her. Seems like it could have an impact on the future storyline, doesn’t it?
In the first episode, The Flash comes to grips with the powers he has been granted and uses them to take down a cop killer by the name of Clyde Mardon. Clyde gained the power to control weather during the accident and chose to use his abilities to rob banks. He has no regard for human life. Barry quickly realizes that he is the only one able to stop Clyde, so he does, in dramatic fashion. It is at this point that I want to point something out. This is the birth of The Flash as a super hero. He chooses to do the right thing by taking out a criminal without killing him. He follows his moral compass, which leads him to a life of crime fighting, and he chooses to allow the justice system to punish the criminal once caught. This is worth noting as the complete opposite of Oliver Queen, aka Arrow/The Hood/The Vigilante. As a spoiled, entitled man-child, Oliver Queen never had the moral compunction to do abide by the existing legal system. Instead, he embarks on a clandestine crime-war in the name of cold-blooded revenge. It is only after he suffers a tragic loss, much like Barry as a child, that Oliver is able to find true north and realize there is a better, higher path.
His origin as a strong, ethical character that allows Barry to be a force of good in his city and to help those in need, rather than remain in a lab as a test subject. Caitlin and Detective West both argue against him being out and about, but Barry won’t back down. With an unknown number of super-powered criminals loose on the streets, the city needs someone who is willing and able to fight them on relatively even ground. The city needs The Flash. Arrow is the dark and gritty anti-hero, semi-grounded in reality; Flash is a true super hero. He is flawed and awkward and courageous and fun. And he can run over 300 miles per hour.
Bonus reason to watch The Flash: it gives us more Felicity Smoak. If you watch Arrow, then you know there is no way you can argue that more Felicity is a bad thing. It’s like saying we need less Ron Swanson or less Helena.