Barry Allen, a forensic scientist working for the Central City Police Department, is struck by a bolt of lightning after an accident involving a particle accelerator. The lightning bolt confers upon him the ability to move at superhuman speed, and after waking from a nine month coma he decides to use his powers as The Flash, Central City's newest crimefighter.
In this episode we see the accident that gives Barry his superhuman speed, and the show introduces some aspects of Barry's earlier life. Barry's mother is murdered when he is very young, and Barry's father is imprisoned for the murder. The team at S.T.A.R. Labs is introduced, as are several of the policemen that Barry works with. At the conclusion of this episode, Barry makes the discovery that there are other "metahumans" in Central City, and he does battle with the Weather Wizard.
A love triangle develops between Barry, his foster father's daughter Iris, and detective Eddie Thawne, who seems an obvious reference to the Reverse-Flash. In the course of the show Barry does battle with Multiplex, a villain that can create copies of himself, and his mentor at S.T.A.R. labs is cast in a more sinister light.
John Wesley Shipp, who also played The Flash in the 90s TV show, has a lot more to do in this episode. Barry fights a metahuman that can transform himself into a poisonous mist. The character of Ronnie is also introduced, and from this we can deduce that the show is leading up to Firestorm.
The Flash goes up against Captain Cold, a jewel thief using a "cold gun" invented by Barry's friend at S.T.A.R. Labs. There is friction (forgive the slight pun) between Barry and his friend over the creation of this gun, which was originally designed to neutralize Barry. Iris encourages Barry to date a girl from the Arrow TV show, but in the end they decide that it's better to remain friends. How is it that the fastest man alive has so much trouble getting laid?
Barry meets Plastique, another character dating back to the old Firestorm comics. General Eiling from the Captain Atom comic book also appears. The romantic conversations between the characters in this show are simply not conversations that reasonably attractive adults in their mid 20s have. I am starting to think that setting this show in a high school would have made more sense. What we're getting here is really Wally West, not Barry Allen.
A former bully from Barry's elementary school years crosses paths with the scarlet speedster. There's less high school romance in this one, and the action scenes are more satisfying. Fun Trivia: when Barry and Eddy visit adjacent Keystone City, there is an advertisement for "Garrick's Wharf" on the wall. Firestorm is also mentioned in passing.
Blackout temporarily robs Barry of his super speed, and several people are held hostage by the Clock King. This episode builds more strongly toward the "Crisis." I'm just wondering, as a sworn police officer, would imprisoning the other metahumans without trial bother Barry just a little bit?
The Flash vs. the Green Arrow? Um, yeah. That fight would last all of five seconds. In the beginning of this episode Iris says something like, "Everyday another person decides to believe in the impossible; they decide to believe in the Flash." Now hold on there! Are we talking about a superhero, or our personal relationship with Jesus Christ? This one is kind of silly, but Felicity Smoak looks amazing in that red dress.
We finally get a look at the Reverse-Flash, and Barry declares his love for Iris. The soap opera elements bring this episode down, but the action sequences are quite good. What this show really needs is strong female characters, and not just girlish love interests. Giving the women in this show something to do (other than pine over various superheroes), would add a lot of depth to the plot. Even so, this episode is better than the much-hyped "Flash vs. Arrow" crossover.
What I Liked
- The special effects are not bad, especially when Barry is running at higher rates of speed.
- The writers of the show, among them Geoff Johns, know the material. There are a lot of great references to the comic book, and some of these references are quite obscure.
- Grant Gustin is a passable Barry Allen, though in his scenes with John Wesley Shipp I often found myself missing the 90s TV show.
- The actress that plays Iris is hot.
What I Didn't Like
- The costume is terrible. The Flash has one of the coolest costumes ever, and they somehow turned it into this awful dark red thing that wouldn't look cool on anyone.
- The use of scientific concepts in this show is embarrassing, and I don't know why they bothered.
- Using the old "heightened metabolism" idea from the late 80s Flash is also ridiculous.
- The villains in this show are completely uninteresting, and with each episode they seem to grow increasingly one dimensional.
- Having Barry fight a supervillain at the conclusion of each show is going to grow tiresome. There's just not enough time in each episode to build up to that kind of conflict AND keep the plot moving forward.
- Barry really needs to grow a pair. If he spends an entire TV season pining after Iris, he's going to grow annoying very quickly. Come on dude, you're not in high school anymore!