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REVIEW: The Flash 1×03 “Things You Can’t Outrun”

The Flash is already an enticing series with only three episodes having aired. They have a clearly developed larger conflict, all of the main characters are well integrated into the plots in a given week, and they have managed to solve Arrow’s nasty problem of killing off a lot of the villains Barry will face. That is largely where “Things You Can’t Outrun” both succeeds and fails as even when it is building the larger world it is failing to make the actual enemy of the episode interesting in the slightest. This is an issue a lot of TV shows face before they develop the Big Bad or a reliable cast of villains who can pop up and cause trouble for our heroes, and for The Flash who has a rather diverse cast of villains first impressions are important as it will help to determine which villains have the best chemistry for the show. So let’s dive in and discuss.

The Mist, aka Kyle Nimbus as a villain provides some interesting challenges to The Flash as he is literally a villain who cant be outran only tired out beyond a point. Barry’s quick thinking as well as the STAR Labs teams understanding of the basics of science helped them be able to not only defeat him but also contain in what can only be considered the beginnings of Supermax/ Belle Reeve. Despite all of this, The Mist is being kept alive out of plot necessity rather than a valid threat or the fact he could become an interesting villain for our hero to face. The fact Joe spelled out that they just can’t execute every metahuman was important, but I would have rathered the prison be built for a cooler/possibly more interesting recurring villain. If there was a benefit of actually having The Mist remain alive, it’s that his powers and the final fight with Barry looked pretty cool and hopefully if he returns he will be teamed up with a cool partner.

As for the actual metahuman who will most definitely be popping up again in the coming weeks, Robbie Amell made his debut as Ronnie Raymond, one half of Firestorm in flashback. For his first appearance Ronnie did all of the necessary things to ensure his character is likeable as a hero. He has a bond with many members of the cast, he has a necessary expertise that can be put to use now that Supermax exists, and he made an incredibly noble sacrifice that has seemingly killed him. There are some interesting updates to Ronnie as he is now a structural engineer as opposed to a high school/college student with no scientific background. It is an interesting choice as Ronnie is often portrayed as the heart/brawn of the Firestorm duo, so giving him any semblance of actual scientific knowledge is a huge step for the character. It will be interesting to see how this informs his character arc in future episodes and what exactly his relation with Dr. Stein will be. Either way I am super excited to see where this story is going.

With the Iris, Joe, Eddie storyline I felt it was a little more bearable than in the pervious installments as know we don’t have to worry about Iris attempting to hide a secret from Joe, who it turns out is the smartest character on the show. Joe knew Iris and Eddie were dating but choose to wait for them to tell him. It is also great that Eddie doesn’t come off as annoying or one sided as it helps to build up the idea that he really is a great guy, even if he all of a sudden gets revealed to be some sort of megalomaniacal villain in the end. Jesse L Martin continues to be the strongest element on this entire show as all of his scenes were especially enjoyable. The standout for me was when Joe went to Iron Heights to tell Henry that he was going to reopen his case file. That small amount of reconciliation did wonders for the episode and also led to a great moment where Henry saw Barry as the Flash without being able to completely see his face.

The character which I feel had the most surprising turn this week was Cisco who really managed to expand beyond his goofy nature. While I do love Cisco’s comedic timing and his childlike exuberance at getting to name all of the villains, it was a great turn for him to be feeling remorse and survivors guilt for having sealed Ronnie into the particle accelerator. It will be really interesting to see exactly how the other characters deal with Cisco and how Cisco will deal with the eventual return of Ronnie.

Overall an enjoyable episode just not quite as good as the first two.

Final Grade B-

+Barry actually using his brain to solve the problem

+Ronnie had a strong debut

+Strong secondary character material

-The Mist is kind of a lame villain to keep alive

-Post credits scene felt like a retread

Extra Thought

-So apparently the big mural in CCPD is of the greek gods, can’t tell if it is supposed to be a subtle or overt nod to the JL.

-Barry “doesn’t want a museum”. I can’t wait to see how they stage The Flash Museum.

-Barry has been planning to break his father out of prison since he was eleven. Please let this lead to a Supermax storyline

About the author

Scott Swartz