Thursday, 16 October 2014

THE FLASH, 1.2 – 'Fastest Man Alive' • attack of the clones

Thursday, 16 October 2014


Like countless second episodes, "Fastest Man Alive" half-existed to reiterate the concept behind THE FLASH, in a manner that wouldn't test the patience of those who saw the pilot. (Which is usually the majority of people watching.) It managed to accomplish that rather well, with dialogue recapping that wasn't always subtle, but felt reasonable. In some ways, the story was also a mini-version of the pilot—with Barry (Grant Gustin) testing the limits of his super-sonic movement before having to fight 'metahuman' Danton Black (Michael Christopher Smith), a one-man clone army.

Everything could have felt like a retread of the premiere, but it found ways to push a few things along and setup new long term goals for a few characters. Barry now has the support of his surrogate parent Joe (Jesse L. Martin) to investigate the wrongful imprisonment of his real father; plus Joe's blessing when it comes to putting himself in harm's way to rescue imperilled citizens. The writers have also, wisely, made sure Barry's high-speed doesn't make him feel unstoppable. He's not bulletproof, he's not exactly trained in the takedown of criminals, and there's the sudden issue of his physical exertion giving him hypogylcemia. Yep, The Flash's kryptonite is low blood sugar!

This week's supervillain posed a cool problem of simple mathematics, in the sense Barry was outnumbered by the so-called "Captain Clone", although he ultimately managed to overcome this by targeting the original lurking amidst a legion of clones. Was anyone else reminded of the Burly Brawl from The Matrix Reloaded with the Barry-vs-Danton climactic fight? It's amazing that television can recreate what was once cutting-edge CGI a decade later.

It's difficult to say if I'll be reviewing The Flash weekly, because I did get a strong Smallville vibe from this episode. I don't mean that in a bad way, but there's a certain formula to superhero TV shows that The Flash will likely cling to in its infancy. I don't know if there's enough to be said on an episodic schedule, but we'll see how serialised and complex the storylines become.

I do like the twist that Barry's mentor, Dr Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), is hiding the fact he's not disabled and has knowledge of the future. This episode ended with Wells killing a potential enemy of Barry's, which was filmed like we're supposed to see him as a scary, untrustworthy villain… and yet he is clearly acting in Barry's best interests. Or is he? Is Dr Wells misguided and excessive in his actions to protect Barry's secret? Or is he going to be revealed as the true villain of the piece?


  • Yesterday, Warner Bros. and DC Comics announced that Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) will play The Flash in a movie scheduled for release in 2018. This means we'll either have two universes existing independently of each other, with two actors playing Barry Allen… or, there's an unspoken arrangement that The CW's series won't go beyond a fourth season. But then why not just promote Grant to features and use The Flash/Arrow in the same way Marvel use Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the upcoming Agent Carter and Daredevil series?
  • I'm not much of a comic-book nerd when it comes to superhero titles, so it was a surprise to me that Danton Black (a.k.a Multiplex) is an established supervillain from the DC Comics. He became part of the Suicide Squad, who have been brought to life over on Arrow.
  • Iris (Candice Patton) has the potential to be as useless as Laurel Lance from Arrow; stuck as the off-limits love-interest to the protagonist, investigating a new masked superhero in town. "The Red Streak" is this show's "The Vigilante", too. I hope the writers find a more interesting direction for her.
written by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns (story by Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg) • directed by David Nutter • 14 October 2014 • The CW