The Flash: City of Heroes (1×01)
Synopsis: Barry Allen is struck by lightning during a freak radiation wave after a meltdown at STAR Labs. Instead of dying, however, he gains superpowers and finds out he can run incredibly fast. It sets him up to finally be the hero he’s always dreamed of being. But things aren’t that easy. Barry’s got a long road ahead of him and this is only the beginning.
I love The Flash. I love this show. I have loved this show ever since SDCC and I have been waiting anxiously for it to finally start airing so that I could finally see some new episodes. I mean, no, this is not a new episode. This was the same pilot I saw at like 9 PM at SDCC right before the premiere of Gotham’s pilot. But that doesn’t matter. I loved every second of it all over again.
First things first, this show is not just a glorified Arrow spin-off.
They are certainly connected – and we know that already – but besides Oliver and Barry’s pre-existing relationship the shows have very different tones. That is very evident from the beginning of the show because Oliver and Barry are two very different people and they are going to be two very different heroes.
We start the series shortly before Barry’s big accident and lapse into a coma. We know that while he’s knocked out a lot of shit goes down in Central City but we actually don’t touch on much of that. Since we’re looking at this mostly from Barry’s point of view Cisco and Caitlin’s partnering up with the vigilante out there so far remains off Barry’s radar entirely. Instead, we once again meet a young, idealistic, and constantly late Barry who has a good heart but doesn’t quite have the means to follow through. He means well but he’s got his head in the clouds and it’s pretty obvious.
At least he’s good at what he does. And he’s got Detective Joe West – the father of his best friend and kinda crush Iris and also his adoptive father – looking out for him. He gives Joe and his partner a heads up on finding a particularly heinous duo of bank robbers and as his reward gets to go off to STAR Labs to see them boot up some super hardcore particle accelerator that he’s all nerding out about. He’s also maybe going to tell Iris he’s in love with her but… yeah. That doesn’t work out. At all. And, to make things worse, Barry doesn’t even get to see the particle accelerator. He tries to play the hero and rescue Iris’s laptop from a some guy who swipes it and, yeah. Gets his nose busted up and then gets shown up by some new pretty boy detective.
And then he goes and gets caught up in some wave or radioactive energy that causes the skylight of his lab to blow out, gets him hella injured, almost kills him…. and gives him superpowers and crazy toned abs.
You know what? I’d volunteer to get hit by some crazy wave of radioactive energy if that was going to give me powers and abs.
Barry eventually wakes up and meets Cisco and Caitlin Snow – who we know from Arrow. They call down Dr. Harrison Wells and everyone is super stoked that he’s awake and they explain that he’s not dead because his body is adapting to the changes – which include a way supercharged, superfast heart and, you know, the abs. But Barry? All he cares about is getting out of there, finding Iris, and keeping the awesome STAR Labs sweatshirt they give him because, c’mon, he might have almost died but he’s still a total nerd so. He wants that sweatshirt. (And Harrison lets him keep it!)
He rushed off hoping that he can pick things up where he left off with them, I guess, but things have changed. Iris is dating professor pretty boy now who was there for her and her father while they waited by Barry’s bedside. After seeing another person who has crazy supernatural-ish powers kind of like him running from the cops – and saving Iris’s life – he winds up going back to STAR Labs to have Harrison, Cisco, and Caitlin help him try to figure out what’s going on. They suit him up, run some tests, and generally blow each others’ minds. Caitlin is trying to sort out what went wrong because she lost her fiancee in the blast that gave Barry his powers. Harrison lost the ability to walk and is bound to an automated wheelchair, and Cisco… well. Cisco is kind of like an even more socially awkward, nerdy Barry.
Ultimately, it turns out that the guy Barry saw the cops chasing was the same guy who killed Joe’s partner. He was thought to be dead in an accident the night of the blast but he apparently survived and became a “metahuman” like Barry but with the power to control the weather which, you know, of course he uses to rob banks. Joe and Barry chase the guy down and Barry uses his powers to counteract a tornado the bad guy summons. But it nearly pushes him past the brink and kills him. The guy almost gets the better of Oliver but Joe eventually saves the day.
The number of people who know Barry’s secret after episode one is crazy and it changes pretty much everything. But Joe makes Barry promise him that he won’t tell Iris. Because if Barry is going to do the hero thing he doesn’t want Iris getting caught up in all of it. Barry does take the time to tell Oliver, though, which if you watched last night’s episode of Arrow you can see where the scene with the two of them fits in to the Arrow timeline. It’s a great scene because Oliver – whose going through a lot himself we realize – basically tells Barry he has the opportunity to be a real hero – not just a wayward vigilante like himself. Which is nice.
It’s also nice that we get to see a bit more of Barry’s father this episode, too. We get the full flashback treatment to the night Barry’s mother was murdered and his father was arrested. That’s where we learn just how far back the relationship between Iris and Joe and Barry goes. But we get to see Papa Allen in prison and it is such a ridiculously heartbreaking scene that I swear they better resolve this whole thing and soon because OMG I just need them to hug and cry and shit because Barry and his dad are just… there’s so much love there.
Basically, I just need all the episodes now.
Because this show?
There are a lot of secrets to be revealed with the biggest one coming from Dr. Harrison Wells himself. Wheelchair bound? Yeah right. At the end of the episode we learn that the good doctor isn’t really crippled and, in fact, he’s not really who he says he is at all. He steps into a room full of super advanced technology from a good ten years in the future where he accesses a news article about the Flash… disappearing.
What the hell, right? Here I was all happy with this lighthearted series and everything and BOOM. Shit’s going to happen. Well, CW? Bring it.
This is my favorite new comic book series of the fall, folks. I’ll explain why in a later article (basically the one I’m writing right after this) but for now, I leave you with the trailer for the upcoming season. Which, by the way, features a kiss with Barry and Felicity and if Felicity left Oliver for Barry I am so okay with that. (I can dream, right? Freakin’ Roy Palmer…)