The Flash: Things You Can’t Outrun

“The hardest thing you’re going to have to face is not some monster out there with powers. It’s gonna be that feeling of uselessness when you can’t do anything."

This is an episode about that feeling of uselessness, and what made our characters what they are today. We’re confronted with a universal truth: history repeats. It's how we deal with it which changes.

The villain of the week, the Mist, is, in himself, pretty terrifying, and so is the method by which he kills. Anthony Carrigan does an excellent job realizing the desperate face of a criminal who can’t believe he’s still alive. Despite the showy special effects and reasonably tight plot, this episode is really a vehicle for us to find out more about the team we’re hoping will become Team Flash.

I keep waiting for a lemon of an episode so I can say Gotcha! We haven’t seen that episode yet. Even the Flash-backs are of an entirely different nature that we’ve seen so far on the series – and every single one of them worked and carried just enough emotional punch. The more I learn about Caitlin’s history the more I feel for her and the less I see her as wooden. Danielle Panabaker is showing some serious acting chops; her attitude and openness were so different in the scene where the reactor blows that I actually did a double-take; I thought it was a different actress! The character now comes across as someone who’s lost and is now terrified to open up. I’m reminded in some ways of how Stephen Amell started off Arrow–totally flat, and then you begin to see the man through the cracks. Terry Moore said in this life there’s only two kinds of survivors–those in recovery and those who aren’t. Caitlin takes her first steps towards recovery here. Cisco is also growing on me. He comes off as a typical nerd, but his clear survivor's guilt gives a little depth to the caricature.


Barry’s fights with the Mist are increasingly epic throughout. I wondered why he didn’t try the tornado trick with the Mist, but I guess it would leave him open to attack.

The season arc is increasingly focused on exonerating Barry’s father. Joe is now totally on Barry’s side. People have been commenting that this isn’t team Arrow - but I think it might just become Team Joe. Watching the detective go over the footage and seeing his heartfelt remorse at his friends’ false imprisonment was painful. Jesse Martin brings depth to every scene he’s in. Even the initial scene with the team dissecting their first bits of data about the Mist is a layered. The look West gives Wells during the discussion about where to house captured metahumans says a lot about their differing perspectives.

And we now know Wells is not only a killer–he was watching Barry during the whole accident, and had had time to set up the necessary equipment in the right place prior. He may have come to the future, but he hasn’t changed it yet.

Bits and pieces

–The opening with Iris actually highlighted one of my concerns with the show. It felt sort of iffy that Barry is showing signs of being in love with someone who’s essentially his sister. This show destroyed that iffy feeling. Seeing the footage of Barry’s dad begging Joe to defend him during his interrogation brought home how close the two families were. I don’t know why that makes a difference, but it did.

–The other problem with the show has been the fractured nature of the team. But this fracturing makes so much more sense now we’ve seen more of Ronnie’s heroism and death. Both Caitlin and Cisco have been seriously struck by Ronnie’s sacrifice.

–Which is another crack in Wells’ mask: he doesn’t seem to care at all.

–The moment when the champagne arcs in the air for a moment. I watched this episode with my husband; he doesn’t go for superhero series, but I thought he’d love the action. He actually gasped at this moment, and was completely hooked after.

–I’m not sure about the logic of an executed man becoming the gas that killed him due to an explosion from a particle accelerator, but I wonder if they used an electric chair or some kind of electric hookup in the gas chamber, and if there’s some connection between electricity and the metahumans. What can I say? I look for patterns.

–Iris’ relationship with Forgettable Partner Eddie bores me. West threatening to shoot him caused him to show the most genuine emotion I’ve seen so far. I’m hoping the writers find a reason for him to be there soon.

–Barry was able to save his second father at the end of this episode, while his first watches.


Quotables

Wells: I feel I should say something profound like “One small step for Man," but all I can think of to say is I feel like I’ve waited for this day for centuries.

Joe: Except Iron Heights isn’t exactly equipped to handle metahumans.
Wells: Then I guess it’s fortunate that the ones you’ve encountered so far are no longer with us.
Joe: Well, unless we plan on executing every super criminal we stop, you geniuses are gonna have to come up with some other place to hold them.
Cisco: A metahuman prison. Sweet.

Caitlin: Tahiti? I know it’s a long flight, Ronnie, but we can binge-watch Orange is the New Black.

Barry: Which one is the north wing?
Wells: The one with the Big Belly Burger. (To Cisco:) What? I eat.

Joe: You think I don’t understand what you’re feeling? I’ve been a cop almost as long as you’ve been alive. So you should know, putting on that suit does not make everybody safe. For every person you save, there’s gonna be somebody you can’t.

Overall

3.5 out of 4 increasingly frequent restaurant stops. I think the villain aspect needs some polishing, but this was a good meal of an episode.

8 comments:

J.D. Balthazar said...

Good review for a good episode. I really like how the showrunners are starting to explore character. Allowing us to see the cracks in the character's personality masks is essential to us forming attachments to them. So kudos for making me start to like Caitlin (I've always liked Panabaker)

Okay so villain theorizing, and I have no show spoilers this is all comic book conjecture;

Caitlin mentioning that she and Robbie were hot and cold might just be a nod to their comic book counterparts, or it might be foreshadowing.

If you don't know who Eddie is, I won't spoil you. Suffice it to say he most definitely has a purpose... if the show follows the comics at all.

I have no idea what they are doing with Wells. The thing that struck me about him in this episode wasn't him watching the Flash being born, it was how he casually mentioned centuries as if he had personal experience living for hundreds of years. Is he an immortal? If he is, there aren't too many of those kinds of characters in the DC universe. I'm assuming at this point that Wells is simply a cover name for who he truly is.

Anonymous said...

Definitely a cover name. Harrison Wells is too similar to H.G. Wells to be a coincidence. Good fake name for a time traveler. Can't wait to find out who I really is.

Anonymous said...

Who he really is I mean.

JRS said...

DANGIT JD!

I'm trying hard NOT to google everything. Problem is I love, love surprises. Last night we were nearly ready to see Firestorm. I want to see how they're going to play Caitlin.

Good catch about the name - HG Wells - I totally overlooked that.

The coolest thing is even if I google - this is a different universe and it might all go a different way. Here's to next week!

JRS said...

Update: Contrary to expectations, googling made things more fun! Now I have a lot of maybes to wonder about... and it looks like we're being set up for a lot more superpowered people to make their debut...

Patrick said...

JD, I know who Eddie Thawne's clearly meant to be tied to based on his name, but Dr. Wells' actions have me making a connection to the 2nd incarnation of that particular villain(who will definitely be making an appearance at *some* point, that seems clear).

I too have been a fan of Danielle Panabaker for quite some time, so I was glad she got some good material in this episode. It definitely helped to explain why she's been a bit "cold"(pun kinda intended) until now. Clearly there's the potential for Barry & Caitlin to develop a romantic connection at some point during the show's run. While I think it's too soon for them to be heading down that path(Barry's still got plenty of Iris & Felicity issues to sort through right now), this episode was the beginning of a real connection between them.

Speaking of Caitlin, I got a bigger laugh than they probably intended from the early scene when Barry & Cisco were screwing up the police codes and she interrupted with "Bad man with a gun in a getaway car! Go!" Something about the impatience on her face when she said that line just really amused me :)

I love the way they've handled the relationship between Barry & Joe so far. He's still protective of Barry, but he's not overly so, and willing to accept that there are threats out there that Barry & Team Flash is uniquely equipped to deal with. And I'm really glad he went to go see Barry's dad & tell him he knows the truth now. The conversation between them about guilt & regret was really well done, you can see how much it's eating at Joe now that he knows he got it wrong about Barry's dad.

Not sure how I feel yet about them taking a similar approach that Smallville did when it comes to how each metahuman gets their specific powers(linking their powers to their specific circumstances at the time they were affected by The Big Event). It could get cheesy if they aren't careful. This week's guy was pretty darn creepy, though. Kudos to the writers, the FX team and the actor portraying him.

That conversation between Barry & his dad has me curious, does his dad know or suspect Barry's secret? John Wesley Shipp played it beautifully, it could've gone either way.

Doc said...

JRS, I enjoyed your review. And overall, I thought this was a great episode. Loving seeing the characters get more fully developed with glimpses into their pain--and recovery. My only quibble has to do with use of the accelerator as an ad hoc prison: the writers appear to have completely neglected the logistics involved in housing prisoners, with no mention made of feeding and waste disposal. I don't expect (or want) to see these details covered in any great depth (it'd be boring) but it bugs me that they weren't mentioned at all.

Glad to hear the hints that Caitlin may have superpowers in her future--I'm a sucker for an attractive, capable lady. ;)

Marianna said...

I'm really loving this show so far. This episode in particular stayed with me after watching it. This show has a lighter tone to it than Arrow, which usually makes things less intense and therefore harder to get invested in, but that hasn't been the case here with only three episodes in!

I've been laughing to myself about Iris and Eddie's less than stealthy cover up of their relationship, thinking that Joe probably already knows; so I loved when he said "I am a detective!"

Doc, I had the exact same thought about feeding their new prisoner. I wonder if killing him would have been more humane, but I totally get why they opted for containment. Side note: as many of you probably know the actor who played The Mist is the same actor who plays Victor Zsaz on Gotham. At first I thought it was a Flash/Gothom crossover before I remembered that they were on different networks. Regardless, the actor is great so I can't complain.