THE FLASH Recap: “The Flash Is Born”

     November 18, 2014

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Tonight, The Flash decided to take on the topics of school bullies and domestic abuse, albeit in a very cursory manner with very little in the way of practical advice of how to handle such confrontations.  Unless your abuser happens to be made of metal and you happen to develop superspeed, The CW is not the place to turn for conflict resolution.  However, if you want to see some excellent action scenes involving some fun supervillains from the pages of DC Comics, then this is a great place to start.  The Flash continues to be a fun hour of television with perfectly cast characters playing out not only action-packed story arcs but also dramatic relationships that easily draw viewers in.  At six episodes in, it easily remains one of the most entertaining shows on TV today.

Hit the jump for The Flash recap.

the-flash-the-flash-is-born-grant-gustinIris, why are you narrating The Flash opening?  Oh, because we’re reading along with your blog, “The Streak Lives.”  Barry grabs Iris just as she publishes her latest blog post, and he once again pleads with her to stay out of his business (but in a flirty, “not really” sort of way).  He also asks to be called anything but The Streak.

A high-speed chase takes Barry away from Iris and puts him square in front of a muscle-bound man who can turn his skin to solid metal.  Barry doesn’t fare well in the fight, shattering the bones in his hand and suffering numerous other injuries.  While he heals, he can’t help but think he knows the assailant from somewhere.  Just as the captain reveals that the guy’s name is Tony Woodward (spoiler: aka Girder), we get a flashback to Barry’s childhood in which he was bullied by the very same guy.  He shares his memory with Cisco and Caitlin, who talk about their own dealings with bullies.  Cisco introduces a robotic metallic boxer, who he nicknames Girder, to help train Barry.  Round One goes to the metal bot.

While on the scene of another of Woodward’s robberies, Eddie tries to patch things up between Barry and himself as pertains to Iris.  (In another flashback, we see Joe training a young Barry to box, with Iris as his sparring partner.)  Barry nabs a sample of Woodward’s metal shavings from the Humvee and pockets it for the lab.  While he and Eddie investigate a local brewery related to the latest heist, one of the workers makes a run for it.  Barry heads him off, but stops short of being a hero since he’s out of his costume and Eddie’s in full view.  Turns out that their pal and coworker Woodward got upset at being laid off and started a fight that ended with him falling into a vat of molten scrap.  Looks pretty good for being melted though.

the-flash-the-flash-is-born-greg-finleyWoodward pays a visit to Iris to land himself a date, but ends up showing off his powers to her (and everyone in the coffee shop).  As Iris warns The Streak about Woodward, he in turn chastises her for continuing to write about him, which resulted in Woodward seeking her out.  Barry tracks Woodward to his hideout in a scrapyard where he finds the meta-human’s footsteps leading out of the pile of molten slag.  Woodward somehow gets the drop on Barry and The Flash gets the worst of it again.  Surely this guy must have a weakness, right?  Well Cisco and Wells use physics to figure out a speed (Mach 1.1, 837 mph) that Barry needs to hit him at in order to disrupt his metal skin.  Doing it right = sonic boom and heroic victory; doing it wrong = body full of shattered bones.  Let’s hope he gets it right since Woodward shows up at Iris’ house and dispatches her protective detail.

He kidnaps her and takes her back to high school in the hope that she writes about him now, saying that he killed The Streak.  She plays it pretty smart and flirts with Woodward just long enough to pull the fire alarm, which alerts the cops but does not make him too happy.  The cops get the alert and Joe sends Barry to save Iris.  Barry arrives in time to get Iris to a (relatively) safe distance and once again fights Woodward hand to hand.  (Okay, it’s at this point that I wonder why they didn’t come up with a better plan, like outfitting Barry with some sort of weapon instead of just “running really fast to punch him” but I digress.)  [Okay, the super-sonic punch was actually pretty cool, even if it did thousands of dollars worth of damage to all the glass in Star City. The real clincher was Iris getting in the knockout blow.]  They lock Woodward up in their meta-human prison, and Barry oddly chooses to reveal his identity to him.  It’s a bit of a cathartic moment for anyone ever troubled by bullies, though I feel like they could have done more with the topic rather than basically saying “fighting solves everything.”  Works for the show though.

the-flash-the-flash-is-born-greg-finley-candice-pattonAs a B plot, we get a little quality time between Joe and Dr. Wells.  Staying true to his word to help solve the murder of of Barry’s mother, Joe pays a visit to Wells seeking his help.  Joe’s piecing together Barry’s abilities and those of the man who killed Barry’s mother, and he asks Wells if it would be possible that someone like this existed 14 years earlier.  Wells is looking rather uncomfortable at this point, so they go out for a drink to lighten things up.  At this point, Joe hypothesizes that another particle accelerator might have been in action 14 years ago.  He then inquires about when exactly Dr. Wells came to town, a loaded question.  Apparently he already knows the answer, which is that Wells opened his lab a month after Barry’s mother was murdered.  Wells isn’t  pleased with the bait and switch, but before he leaves he tells Joe to question Tess Morgan if he wants answers.  Joe does, and then later apologizes for doubting Wells, who shares the story of how the accelerator came to be and why he moved to the city.  They patch things up over some fine distilled spirits. Later, just as Joe is crossing out the question of whether or not Wells is connected to Nora’s murder, the “yellow blur of lightning” speeds into his house and catches him up in a very familiar cyclone.  When the storm subsides (after a brief glimpse of Reverse Flash), a message is scrawled on the wall (Stop or Else) with a kitchen knife stabbed through the heart of Iris’ picture.  Yeah, Reverse Flash totally isn’t Wells, right?

Rating: A

Speeding Bullet Points:

  • the-flash-the-flash-is-born-grant-gustin-greg-finleyBarry’s Streaky voice sounds a little better this week.
  • Eddie: “What kind of a tool steals a yellow Humvee?” Joe: “What kind of a tool buys a yellow Humvee?”
  • Wells: “Interesting. A man of steel.”
  • Joe: “That particle accelerator is the gift that keeps on giving.”
  • Buy a shirt that fits, Tony!
  • Is it weird that I like Eddie and Barry’s new bromance?
  • Cisco: “All I want to know is which childhood bully we’re going to take down next.”
  • Iris drops another hint of Firestorm’s existence somewhere in the city.
  • So is this just incredibly obvious that Wells is Reverse Flash? Or some sort of heavy-handed red herring?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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