So damn, that was awesome.
After all sorts of build up and much anticipation, The Flash has finally premiered, expanding the DC television universe established with Arrow, and boy howdy was it worth the wait.
The series opens with a voice over from Barry Allen, and shots of a red blur running around the city. He gives the usually superhero speech, who he is, what he does, blah blah blah. It then jumps to young Allen as he runs away from some bullies, only to be caught and get pounded on. Tough breaks. We are then introduced to his mom and dad, who seem to be solid people. Always nice to see. The happy family fun times don’t last long as Barry wakes up one night to find his mother trapped inside a spinning lightning storm, thingy, whose color scheme has a striking resemblance to a major Flash baddie. Barry is somehow dumped outside, and his dad is blamed for the murder. Jumping to the present day (mostly) we see Barry, no a CSI tech, on his way to a crime scene. After finding clues and giving the cops a lead he returns to his lab, where we are introduced to Iris, Barry’s long time friend and current crush, who in true to teen drama form, has no idea that Barry has a thing for her. They talk about going to see the activation of a Hadron Collider at S.T.A.R. Labs. While there, Iris gets her laptop case snatched and Barry gives chase, but is unable to catch him. We are then introduced to Det. Eddie Thawne, the third part or our love triangle. (grrrr) Upon returning home, those people who watch Arrow are treated to a familiar scene of Barry getting zapped by lightning and being put into a coma. He is transferred to S.T.A.R. Labs, no basically hated by the community for the disaster caused when the collider exploded, and wakes up nine months later, where we see Cisco Ramon and Dr. Caitlin Snow, also previously seen on Arrow, and Dr. Harrison Wells, the mind behind S.T.A.R. Labs. Barry goes to see Iris but leaves quickly when time seems to slow down around him, he then discovers his speed. He returns to his new scientist buddies, and they run the all important tests. At the same time, a crook with weather powers is on a crime spree, and after a brief confrontation, Barry sees that he is the same suspect from the crime nine months before, who was believed killed in the collider accident. Dr. Wells then relieves to Barry that the explosion cased a dimensional rift, thing, that caused the appearance of an unknown number of Meta-Humans. Barry believes that he has to stop the bad guy, but Wells dissuades him of it, saying that he isn’t a hero, just a kid that got hit by lightning. In a state of rage and frustration Barry runs away, and ends up in Starling City. He goes to see Oliver (in our first of hopefully several crossovers) and tells him everything that happened, saying that he always wanted to be something more, but not believing he can be. Oliver knows this is BS, and tells Barry that he can be what Oliver never can, a symbol of hope and inspiration for his city, a true hero and not just a vigilante. Barry takes this to heart and returns to Central City, enlisting the help of Cisco and Caitlin to stop the baddie. Barry suits up in a suit made by Cisco designed to withstand the friction and heat he generates when he runs, and Barry is off to stop the baddie. He shows up just in time to save Det. Joe West, his long time friend and Iris’s father, and his partner, Det. Thawne. The baddie, who believes he is God, is intent on destroying the city with a massive tornado. Barry goes to stop it, and is able to succeed after a false start and some inspirational words from Dr. Wells.
We close out with Barry visiting his dad in prison, telling him he has made new friends that will help him find his path in life, also telling him that he never believed that his father was the killer. At the same time we see Dr. Wells enter a hidden room at S.T.A.R. Labs and get out of his wheel chair and walks to a terminal that projects a holographic display or a newspaper from the future, saying that the Flash has gone missing.
This was a fantastic start to the series. Some old ground was retread with the scene that we previously saw on Arrow, but it only made sense to actually show the clip in the premier. The story progressed smoothly, most the the emphasis being placed on Barry’s character and his adapting to his new power. We got a lot of Barry, establishing the important people in his life as well as his backstory and motivations. Sadly this didn’t leave much to the supporting characters, we are only treated to brief glimpses of them, but lets be honest, it’s not there show, so it makes sense that we would be pushed to the sidelines, at least for the premier. I am sure this will change as the show progresses, and given the names of these characters, I have no doubt that we will have plenty of them in the future.
Let’s take a moment and talk about the characters shall we? Barry is almost taken right out of the comics. He is a good person, believes in the impossible, and wants to make a difference in the world. He his motivated by the murder of his mother, and the fact that his father was falsely accused of the crime, always seeking the truth, no matter what. He had a brief moment of doubt, which is perfectly understandable when he wakes up with super powers and has virtually no support from the few who know the truth. The guest appearance by Stephen Amnell was perfect, he didn’t steal the scene, was there only to offer advice to his friend and help tie two shows together. Barry’s remark of cool as Oliver swings away, and Oliver’s same comment as Barry speeds down the street was simple fun, and shows the mutual respect and admiration the two have for each other. His dealing with Cisco and Caitlin was great, not having any anger or placing blame on them for the accident and the appearance of Meta-Humans, but calling them to action, saying he needs there help to stop them.
In his support structure, we have Team Science. Cisco is the upbeat tech head of the group, and obviously a geek if his 8-bit video game t shirt is anything to go by. Caitlin Snow is a bioengineering expert with a less than sunny disposition. Because of the explosion her career is in jeopardy and her fiance dead. There isn’t much done with her, but its pretty obvious that her working with Barry on the hero thing will help her make peace with her past. On another interesting note, she bears the same name as the civilian identity of the DC villain Killer Frost, so we may very well see her going evil before to long, which could be a very interesting story to watch unfold. Dr. Wells has a secret, he is obviously from the future and has plans for Barry, whether they are for good or ill is still yet to be seen.
On he cop front, it was surprising to see Det. West learn of Barry’s identity so early, but its not a bad thing. It gives him some help in the police force, West being set up to act as the Lance of the show, being able to pass on information to Barry in his dealing with the super powered baddies. This also gives the added bonus of the man who was basically a second father to him, being there to help and support him. Barry will of course have some stumbles on his road to being a hero, and who better than his surrogate dad to help him back up. Iris was there, and that is really all that can be said about her. She is Barry’s love interest, another thing taken from the comics. She is currently secretly dating Det. Thawne, whose name is shockingly similar to that of the major Flash baddie, Professor Zoom/Reverse Flash. Yeah, I bet its just a coincidence, nothing happening there.
Overall, this was a fantastic premier, there is great set up for the series and the characters are interesting and have a lot of potential in them. Flash is starting out fast off the blocks, and I can only hope that it won’t stumble further down the track.