In hindsight, The Flash‘s series premiere might not have been as good as we all thought it was. Admittedly, it was great to finally have a DC Comics adaptation that respected and trusted the source material enough to not make the show “dark” and “gritty” to make it palatable to audiences. However, in all of this excitement, it was easy to miss how the pilot did not always completely gel together. There were several well-executed and exhilarating moments, but there were also just as many things that didn’t work (most of the supporting cast and the dialogue). This week’s episode, however, makes up for it and is a better indication of what the powers-that-be behind The Flash are capable of doing with the character.
FLASHBACK: Barry and Joe
It seems as though The Flash is borrowing the Arrow‘s flashback format. This week’s flashbacks show us what happened to Barry soon after his father was arrested and imprisoned, and gives us further insight into Barry and Joe’s relationship. We first flashback to Joe catching young Barry, who’s trying to run away and visit his father in jail. Back at home, an upset Barry goes through his whole spiel about how his dad didn’t kill his mother and that there was another man there. He asks why he can’t see his dad, and Joe says it’s because he said so, even though it’s clear there’s more to it than that. An upset Barry says that Joe is not his father and can’t tell him what to do. Joe says he’s the only adult who gives a damn about Barry, making him like a father, and sends him to his room.
Later, Joe comes home from grocery shopping and, after a little prodding, gets Iris to admit that Barry is not at home. He’s run away again. Iris assures Joe that she knows where he is and that he’s safe. Being a fairly intelligent guy, Joe already knows where Barry went.
At the jail, Barry meets his father and complains about how he hates living with Joe because he wouldn’t let him come visit his dad. Henry confesses that it is he who doesn’t want Barry to visit, not Joe. He can’t stand for Barry to see him like this. Barry starts crying and begging the guard to release his dad because he’s innocent, but Henry tells Barry that there’s nothing he can do (he’s obviously wrong now) and to be a good boy and return home with Joe.
This week’s flashbacks felt more streamlined than the one’s in the pilot and help keep the pace of the episode. We were given just enough to make sense of Barry and Joe’s present day relationship, which was still rather tense from the flashed back period.
METAHUMAN OF THE WEEK: Danton Black, a.k.a. Multiplex
It’s been a few weeks since the events in the pilot and Barry still hasn’t gone up against another metahuman. In the meantime, and with Cisco’s help, he’s been performing relatively “dull,” but necessary, superhero acts like saving people from burning buildings. This is news to Caitlin, who insists that Barry’s priority should be metahumans. As always, Wells is there to caution restraint, and it might behoove Barry to heed his advice: Something’s been up with his powers, and he suffers a dizzy spell each time he uses them.
Joe, who is somehow unaware of Barry’s extracurricular activities (even though everyone around town is talking about a red blur), calls Barry to the scene of a robbery. Barry, again doing his best Sherlock impression, deduces that the crime was carried out by multiple people based on their shoe prints. Later, Barry accompanies Iris to an event she’s covering for her “boring” journalism class (if only she knew what we knew about her future!). Philanthropist and scientist Simon Stagg (guest star William Saddler) is being awarded a man of the year award for his organ cloning research. Iris tries to get a quote from him, but Stagg brushes her off and she just says she’ll make something up. Unfortunately, there’s no time for someone to teach Iris journalistic ethics and how to be a tenacious reporter because a gang shows up and takes everyone hostage.
On the bad guy’s way out after robbing all of the attendees, a security guard dares to stand up to them, and they start to shoot him, but Barry speeds his way onto the scene and saves the security guard just in time. He proceeds to run after the robbers, but he has another dizzying spell and faints in the alley.
Iris finds him later, and let’s slip to her father and Eddie that she found Barry in the alley. Joe takes Barry aside for another talking to, and tells Barry to cut the superheroics out because that’s not Barry’s job, it’s his.
NEXT: Doubt is the enemy