This was the first episode of THE FLASH I'd describe as workmanlike; which isn't necessarily a bad thing for a show of this nature (expected to produce two dozen episodes a year), but if the majority of The Flash is going to be of similar quality, I won't be reviewing every episode.
Worryingly, there's already a mild feeling of boredom whenever Barry (Grant Gustin) encounters a fellow metahuman, because the confrontations we've had feel largely the same. Unlike the superhero of companion series Arrow, Barry isn't very watchable when he's moving at normal speed. The selling point of The Flash is his extraordinary pace, but gaps in logic are beginning to rear their head when, for example, this week's villain Kyle Nimbus (Anthony Carrigan) could somehow transform himself into a poisonous gas quicker than superfast Barry could throw a superfast punch? And why are all the metahumans we've encountered bad guys? We need more variety. Misfits handled a similar backdrop much better.
While the A-story of "Things You Can't Outrun" wasn't especially engaging (although bald Carrigan looked very cool as 'The Mist'), this hour at least managed to weave in some background details and push the mythology forward slightly.
There were recurring flashbacks to the fateful day S.T.A.R labs' particle accelerator overloaded, killing Dr Snow's (Danielle Panabaker) boyfriend during a heroic act of self-sacrifice to protect everyone from an explosion. This handsome saviour is Ronnie Raymond (played by The Tomorrow People's Robbie Amell, cousin of Arrow star Stephen Amell), and it won't surprise non-comic fans to learn he's due a resurrection...
More interesting was the last-minute revelation Dr Wells (Tom Cavanagh) has been communicating with the future since before the particle accelerator went haywire, and knew it would endow Barry with super-speed. It seems like everything has been carefully manipulated by Dr Wells from before "the beginning"; but is he simply allowing an established timeline to stay intact, or is he guiding things down a dangerous new path?
This episode also introduced the idea that all captured metahumans will be incarcerated in the particle accelerator's chamber, which is an understandable creative choice (supervillains can't all die, or risk being exposed to everyday society), but also one that means the heroes are illegally detaining people without trial. And that's a little troubling. Also, running a makeshift underground prison isn't going to be easy, so I predict some kind of mass jail break before the season's over—where the year's most memorable metahumans duke it out with The Flash.
When the dust settles, it may then be easier for the authorities to be informed of the existence of metahumans and allow S.T.A.R to become a Guantanamo Bay for supervillains—but that would impact Arrow in this shared universe, so who knows what the future holds.
written by Alison Schapker & Grainne Godfree • directed by Jesse Warn • 21 October 2014 • The CW