Friday, 20 February 2015

THE FLASH, 1.14 – 'Fallout'

Friday, 20 February 2015


I don't read THE FLASH comic-books, so it's possible a lot of this season's twists and reveals aren't so exciting for DC Comics aficionados, but as a layman I'm having a great time watching this sprightly first season. It really seems to have hit its stride just lately, too, with a run of really good episode—but "Fallout" was particularly strong. In some ways all you want from a superhero television show is likeable characters doing cool things within entertaining storylines, and The Flash is now reaping the rewards of its careful build-up.

I just love the situation with Ronnie (Robbie Amell) being merged with Dr Stein (Alias' Victor Garber), to become the meta-human known as Firestorm—who's being tracked down by General Eiling (Clancy Brown), who intends to create an army of super-soldiers capable of flying and controlling fire. Typical 'bad-guy working for the alleged good guys' stuff, and how fantastic the show has genre legend Brown in its corner. The creation of a super-friend for Barry (Grant Gustin), who's literally two people sharing the same body, has worked really well for the show, and just on a visual level the Firestorm character's beautiful to watch. I'm constantly surprised by how effective the special effects are on The Flash, actually.

If you don't rate Barry as an interesting enough character, or find his powers a bit dull, I think The Flash is doing a solid job making it work better than it might have. The on-going situation with Barry investigating his mother's murder 15-years ago has been given an unexpected twist, with the reveal adult-Barry was present during the mêlée with (we assume) his nemesis Reverse-Flash, on the night his mother vanished and his father was blamed for her murder. Time-travel suddenly enters the equation, which edges the story closer to the other on-going mystery of Dr Wells (Tom Cavanagh) secretly being Reverse-Flash and manipulating Barry for… well, untold purposes. I'm very intrigued by all this, and, sorry if you disagree, but more so than anything Arrow's doing just now. (And I'm not dumping on Arrow, exactly, because the shows aren't rivals…)

And what about the last scene? Reverse-Flash kidnapped General Eiling and took him to a sewer, where he revealed he's protecting his fellow meta-humans before handing him over to a giant psychic gorilla called Grodd. This show is having so much fun it's infectious to watch, and not everything of merit directly ties into Barry/The Flash himself—which is actually a very wise move, and something Arrow also did. (Although Arrow remains a little hobbled by its flashback-subplots, which get increasingly tedious and rarely strengthen the present-day storyline's theme in a worthwhile way… but I digress).

Even potentially awful characters like oblivious step-sister Iris (Candice Patton) and geek-scientist Cisco (Carlos Valdes) are getting decent material, or being tackled in ways that play to each actor's strengths. There's really not much to be frustrated about as the show cruises past mid-season and sprints towards its finale.

written by Keto Shimizu & Ben Sokolowski • directed by Steve Surjik • 17 February 2015 | The CW