For The Flash‘s first five episodes, there’s been a fairly strict division between police/superhero work and the domestic life. Now, before some of you take to the comments and point to The Mist as an example of how I’m wrong, let me say that the reason I don’t count The Mist is because he never entered the domestic sphere, by which I mean, he never came to The Wests’ home. This week, however, Joe and Iris’ safety at home is violated twice by threats. This works well because not only does it raise the stakes of Joe’s investigation into Nora Allen’s murder (more on this later), but it also brings Iris in from the periphery of the action, which has been part of her character’s problem. The downside is that Iris gets closer to the action via a damsel in distress storyline, which feels rather old school and not in a good way.
At times “The Flash is Born” feels like Iris’ pilot episode as this is her first significant encounter with the impossible. Yes, she’s known about
The Streak The Flash for quite some time; however, by the end of the episode she’s not only checked off several things on her Lois Lane bucket list, she’s also learned that The Flash isn’t the only one in Central City with powers.
[ASIDE: Tonight’s episode further supports my theory that The Flash is definitely supposed to be our surrogate Superman.]
Metahuman of the week: Tony Woodward, a.k.a. Girder
The Flash channels its inner Sex and the City as it opens with Iris writing a blog post, the beginning of which is exactly the same as Barry’s monologue from the pilot. Right after she publishes her piece (without proof-reading might I add), she’s immediately swept up by Barry in costume and taken to the roof, where he tries and fails to convince her to stop blogging about him. However, their
flirting conversation is cut short when the sound of police sirens signals duty calling for Barry.
Across town, the police are in hot pursuit of a tool driving a Hum-V, because only tools drive Hum-Vs in 2014; that wisdom courtesy of Joe and Eddie, who, along with other officers, have set up a barricade down the road to stop the tool. A young boy starts to cross the road as Tony Woodward (recycled CW actor Greg Finley), the tool in the Hum-V and Barry’s bully in elementary school, is barreling toward the barricade. Luckily, Barry arrives in time to save the kid, which allows the cops to unleash their guns on the tool. But their bullets do little damage and bounce off of him, which surprises Eddie.
Now it’s up to Barry to stop Tony, but because we’re less than five minutes into the episode, we know that’s not going to happen. Barry’s first encounter against Tony, who he learns can turn his body into metal—sort of like the X-men’s Colossus—ends with Barry having to flee the fight before he gets his butt kicked any more.
After seeing the bullets bounce off Tony’s head like nothing, Eddie has a lot of questions that Joe has no interest in answering. In the hope that Barry can come up with some fake-science to answer Eddie’s questions, Joe has them work the case together while he does some work on Nora Allen’s murder (more on this later).
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco has built a machine to help Barry learn how to effectively use his speed when fighting. Apart from the few boxing lessons Joe gave him as a child, Barry has very little experience using his fists and this shows when the machine is able to quickly take Barry out, in spite of his speed.
[ASIDE: As I noted last week, Cisco and Caitlin are really starting to come into their own. With each passing week, the on-screen chemistry between the actors gets better and makes for some fun and funny moments. See them arguing about how many bugs Barry swallows while running as an example.]
Following last week’s episode, things are still tense between Barry and Iris, and Eddie definitely picks up on it. While he and Barry are out investigating the thefts, Eddie tries to talk about it, but Barry shuts him down. Evidence found in Tony’s abandoned car leads Eddie and Barry to Keystone Ironworks in Keystone City, where they find out from one of Tony’s old coworkers that they all thought he had died. See, on the night of the particle accelerator explosion, Tony flipped out on his boss after being fired. His coworkers pulled him off of his boss, and he fell into a vat of hot metal right as the shockwave of the explosion hit Keystone.
Elsewhere, Iris’ coworker at Jitters is asking her about
her shadow’s Barry’s absence when Tony shows up. Turns out, he’s always had a thing for Iris, which comes as a surprise to no one since Iris, and the actress who portrays her, is really hot—but I digress. Once Tony’s done bragging about working out in the gym in his place on the west side of Keystone City, he finally gets to the point of his visit: to find out what Iris knows about The Streak. Since his encounter with The Streak a few nights back, he’s become rather obsessed and wants to make sure everyone knows The Streak ran off like a little girl. His attempts at seducing Iris are cut short when his mug shot is plastered across all the TVs in Jitters. Before leaving, he drops a wad of cash to (a) let Iris know it’s real and (b) to replace her phone, which he just crushed to stop to her from calling her cop father and boyfriend.
Following her encounter with Tony, Iris immediately takes to her blog to alert The Streak, who immediately comes running because of his feelings. Tony approaching Iris makes Barry’s job even harder this week because, unlike Oliver Queen, he has very little control over his emotions and they affect his performance and make him do stupid things like going after Tony before the S.T.A.R. Labs team has had a chance to come up with a way to defeat him. Barry’s second encounter goes even worse as Tony leaves him trapped under a huge stack of shelves.
NEXT: Cisco gets what he’s been asking for since the pilot