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REVIEW: The Flash 1×02 “Fastest Man Alive”

I believe after only two episodes I have come to a simple understanding about what will happen when I turn on The Flash. There will be a big stupid smile on my face for nearly the full hour, only pausing for commercials or when Iris or Caitlin become too annoying, and at the end of the hour I will yell WTF at my television as something unexpected happens in the post credits scene. If there was a problem with this week’s “Fastest Man Alive” it clearly wasn’t big enough for the second episode blues to happen as this episode was just plain wall to wall enjoyment. This week quickly dealt with the ramifications of what it means to be Barry Allen, and unfortunately it was not all puppy dogs and rainbows for our hero. Luckily, unlike Ollie, Barry Is actually willing to accept help from people. So let’s dive in.

Can I just say, thank what ever diety or being you want that this show has a sense of levity and humor to it. From the opening moment where a monologuing Barry states that he is going to skip the recap and “get to the good stuff” the series cemented it’s particular style of humor and identity. This show is not going to be the dark, brooding, but occasionally light hearted Arrow. The Flash will squarely be centered on the fun nature of being a hero and how Barry being that symbol for hope effects those around him and Central City as a whole. There is no better example of this right now than the relationship between Barry and Cisco, who have apparently, in the course of a few weeks, have become best-ish friends and bonded over a lifelong dream of the majority of males wanting to be a superhero. The opening scene seemingly perfectly encapsulates what this series wants to be – Barry using he powers for good while also enjoying the weirdness that has now infected his life.

There were only two real conflicts that happened in the episode: Barry getting into an argument with Detective West and Barry learning his metabolism had increased exponentially. Neither of these felt unnecessary or tacked on as they both provided necessary fleshing of both Barry’s powers and personal relationships. Barry’s increased metabolism is a standard character trait of his so it was nice to see it not only be quickly weaved in but also have the issue speedily resolved. As for the Joe situation, although his and Barry’s butting of heads could have been seen a textbook both Grant Gustin and Jesse Martin play the conflict so well that it just naturally works. Joe’s ability to recognize that Barry needs someone close to him to support his new super powered lifestyle showed some great humility as well as Barry’s ability to admit he needs not only a smart team, but a strong one as well. Granted the flashbacks made little Barry seem like an obnoxious prick, but the scene between Barry and his father once again played out spectacularly. Without a doubt the MVPs so far are clearly Barry’s three dads.

As for the actual “threat” of the episode, I fear that The Flash may suffer from the same problem Arrow did early in it’s first season as they killed off Simon Stagg and Danton Black, aka Multiplex. In terms of the high quality DC villains Multiplex and Stagg are nowhere near the top of the list but they clearly could have been used in future episodes and opened up many different plots. One of the great things about any rogue gallery, especially The Flash’s, is when villains get the opportunity to team up with each other. The whole concept of The Rogues is that no one member is strong enough to pose a real threat to Barry, but when they team up they stand a chance. The writers could have done a hundred different things to keep Multiplex and his power in play rather than have him fall to his death, but I guess someone else can always pick up the mantle.

With Simon Stagg, it was a case of killing him off to serve a larger purpose in expanding the mystery of who Wells’ really is. Even though Stagg, and by extension Stagg Industries, play a sizable role in the creation of certain heroes and villains the writers chose to kill him off because Wells, or whoever Wells really is, deemed him to be a sizable threat to Barry’s survival. At this point it does not seem like Well’s intends Barry any harm, but rather anyone who wants to take Barry away from him immediately becomes a threat. That immediately raises the question of how long Barry’s inner circle will remain safe from Wells, or if the moment they stop being useful to him and Barry they will be killed off as well. The only thing I can hope is that Stagg Industries as a whole remains an interesting threat as one of my favorite heroes is created due to Stagg.

Easily a very entreating episode with no drop in quality.

Final Grade B+

+Effects still great

+Dialogue although slightly cheesy still good

+Great stuff for Detective West

-Iris needs something more

-Kill all the villains

Extra Thoughts

-I like the detail on Barry’s boots. Small note but the gold flair is great

-Seriously, cosmic treadmill and Jay Garrick reference in one episode, sweet.

-Last I checked Central City PD doesn’t look like Rapture from Bioshock.

What did you make of this latest episode of The Flash? Let us know in the comments section below!

About the author

Scott Swartz