The Flash Review: “The Flash is Born”

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The sixth episode of CW’s The Flash finally got down to the most important aspect of Barry Allen – the fact that he is a massive loser. Through a series of Flashbacks and some expository dialogue, we learn that Barry was not the most popular kid-with-a-murdered-parent in school. He and Iris were both tormented to one degree or another by the episode’s main antagonist, Tony Woodward, who since became a metahuman capable of turning his skin into metal. Being that The Flash can only punch people and go fast, this caused quite the problem our lead character.

Right off the bat from their first fight, Barry learned that he can’t beat Iron Man Man of Steel Ironfirst that guy that can turn his skin into metal just by punching him really hard. He went to work on learning on how to actually beat the enemy – including getting his butt handed to him by a slow, predictable, homemade Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot – but eventually the team settles on “just run faster,” which is kind of a letdown.

The past few episodes, including this one, have boiled down to Power Rangers level of plot structure. The first 30-35 minutes are setting up an epic fight, then last few are the big finale battle. Where the Power Rangers destroy an entire city with a giant super awesome Megazord, the Flash just has to run a little faster and everything works out. Last week it was having to run fast enough to run on water, this week it was running fast enough to punch through steel because every material will break if you punch it hard enough or something. Science!

Iris, being an annoying blogger (wait…) would not stop writing about the Flash, or the “the streak” as she calls him. She also decided to leave a really dumb message on her blog after Tony came to her work and threatened her after mentioning that he reads her work. After that she brilliantly put on the front page of her blog, in a message to the Flash, “I have information on someone you want. You know where to find me.” Being that Woodward is obviously a reader of her blog, he’s going to see that message and not be happy about it. I get she wanted to talk to The Flash, but there had to be a better, less get-pounded-in-the-face, way to deal with it.

While Barry and Iris’ fiance were busy bro-ing it out and boxing at the police station, Iris was kidnapped by Woodward and brought to their old school for some weird reason. He never really explained why he brought her to the school (I can only assume that the show wanted to re-use the set they already paid for) but he wanted Iris to blog about him instead of “The Streak,” who quickly came to the rescue.

Maybe Woodward just really want to show Iris this picture of himself as a kid. I know I would.

Maybe Woodward just really want to show Iris this picture of himself as a kid. I know I would.

Barry’s big plan of running at The Iron Bro at 831 mph and hitting him in the face worked well enough, but it was just as silly on screen as it sounds on paper. He ran from five miles away, busted through the school doors Juggernaut-style and slow-motion punched Tony Woodward in the face. There was no indication that going so fast actually made a difference and the whole sequence just fell flat after so much dramatic build up.

I get that running quickly is kind of his thing, but the shtick of characters acting surprised when the Flash has to run another 100 mph faster to achieve something is going to get old real quick, and it already is starting to.

Aside from Barry’s personal struggle with corduroy pants and being a book-carrying loser in junior highschool, the episode also delved a bit more into Detective West and his investigation into the murder of Barry’s parents: including his distrust of Dr. Wells. West has been getting closer to suspecting the extremely shady doctor for the last few episodes and finally tipped his hand this one by calling him out at a coffee shop when the two were having a gentlemanly bite to eat. The way this all resolves at the end of the episode feels like a real dud compared to how heavily the show has been hinting that there is something more sinister with Dr. Wells. Hopefully this isn’t the end of that, because if he spent the last five episodes being so shady and talking to mysterious people who seem to want Barry dead and out of their way that’s some pretty boring resolution to a multi-episode arc. Based on the events of the last couple minutes of the show that may not be the case, luckily.

Aside from one weird piece of architecture that looked like a piece of kid’s playground equipment, the effects in this episode were much better than last week’s homage to effects used in films made by The Asylum. I particularly liked how, when he was about to mach-punch Woodward in the face, Barry’s eyes flashed first before he was running. It was a small touch, and probably didn’t a take a lot of effort, but it was appreciated and added to the scene in a nice, simple way.

A lot of the show’s humor falls flat and doesn’t even get a quick nose exhale laugh out of me, but there were a couple that made me chuckle in this one. It’s a sign that the crew is finally getting a solid feel for the characters and what makes them fun, instead of just being extreme stereotypes.

The best and worst thing I can say about this episode was that it was fine. No glaring flaws (other than recycled ideas), nothing that really stood out as great. But, as with previous episodes, it was light, fun, and told a good enough story. If anything, I’m probably scoring this a little higher than I probably should because a few of the jokes finally landed (“I look forward to you receiving your Nobel”).

Fun fact: The director of this episode, Millicent B. Shelton, also directed the music videos for “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Rump Shaker

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