The Flash: Fastest Man Alive (1×02)
Synopsis: Barry starts to get the hang of the whole superhero thing but his own insecurities might get in the way of his being the hero he was always meant to be. Not to mention his own physical limitations. Meanwhile, a metahuman with the ability to clone himself is terrorizing the city and Joe and Barry butt heads over how to respond.
Sorry this is so late, guys! We had some major hiccups here at the blog transferring over to our new server. We’re back on track, though, so let’s dive in!
All right, so, I didn’t want to admit it but… I was a little worried about this episode of the Flash. I fell in love with the pilot and Barry and the characters and going forward? I’ll admit it now. I was worried. I was worried that maybe I was putting too high of expectations on the show and that I would be disappointed going forward. I was worried that the CW might try to get too serious too early on and that the Flash would lack it’s quirky sense of adventure, action, and #feels.
After this episode, though, I think I’m even more in love with this show, if that is even possible.
Everything I could have hoped for happened in this episode. We learn a bit more about Barry’s past and his childhood with Joe and Iris. Barry gets to deal a bit more with his physical limitations and emotional insecurities. And we get a brief but significant moment with Dr. Harrison Wells that further confuses all of us. So, yeah, basically everything I wanted.
The episode starts out with Barry and Cisco basically playing superhero. Back at STAR Labs Cisco is tapped into the emergency services calls and he sends Barry around the city to rescue people. We see him pulling people out of an apartment building that has caught fire but people all around the city are talking about seeing a ‘red blur’ intervening to save people during what could have been real tragedies. Caitlin, it turns out, isn’t too happy about this. She’d rather they be focusing on addressing the metahuman problem. And Dr. Wells is worried about what pushing this hard this fast could mean for Barry.
Which, you know, turns out to be a pretty legitimate concern. Barry keeps getting dizzy and passing out while using his powers and that is obviously not a good thing. But he doesn’t really want to tell people about it because, well, the guy is already battling a serious crisis of confidence at basically every turn.
I mean, he went into a coma after nearly dying the same night he was going to tell Iris he loved her and now she’s all happy with Detective Pretty Boy. Not only that, Barry is still the only one who knows about their little secret relationship that they are keeping from Joe and everyone else. That just makes it worse and there is nothing he can do about it. He can’t even tell Iris why he’s been so absent-minded and distracted because Joe made him promise not to get her involved. He bares his soul to her while using his powers so she doesn’t actually hear any of it and it really doesn’t help.
To try and make it up to her, Barry accompanies Iris to an event where she hopes to get an interview with scientist Simon Stagg. She blows him off, but shortly after a metahuman with the ability to duplicate himself to pull of elaborate heists shows up. Barry tries to stop him at the event and manages to save a security guard but then winds up passing out afterward and being found by Iris.
Joe finds out about it and takes Barry aside to lecture him about playing hero when he clearly has no idea what he’s doing. Later, he continues trying to get Barry to get a clue after discovering Barry’s cork board full of clues trying to sort out his mother’s murder. They get into a big fight and, ultimately, Barry starts shouting at Joe and telling him that he’s not his father. It obviously hurts Joe and the flashbacks throughout the episode really do help to put things into perspective. Because regardless of what Barry says, Joe is one of his fathers and Joe raised him. Joe cared about him and raised him like his son no matter how often he tried to run away or sneak off to the prison to see his father. Joe was always there for him. Joe is really just worried about Barry and doesn’t want to see him get himself hurt.
But Barry isn’t having any of it. Back at STAR Labs they realize his body and his metabolism just can’t handle the added stress of his new powers and basically he has to eat like a million calories a day or something just to keep up. That apparently makes him think that he can get right back into the game and he goes to try and protect Simon Stagg after the self cloning metahuman goes to take him out. While Stagg gets away, Barry almost gets himself killed and, in a moment of serious self doubt, he says he’s hanging up the costume and not doing this whole superhero thing any more.
This prompts Wells to go speak with Joe about Barry. He tells Joe that Barry quit their little team and, at first, Joe seems like he’s pretty happy about that. Except Wells counters with a good point: Barry might say he’s done, but he’s not done. And what we know about Barry is that what other people think of him matters. He has serious doubts about himself and his abilities and as long as Joe keeps doubting Barry he is going to fail and ultimately he’s going to get into a situation where that doubt is going to get him killed.
Even though Barry said he’s out Cisco and Caitlin are still investigating the clone killer whose name is Danton Black. He’s apparently a scientist with a grudge against Stagg after the guy stole his research on cloning. (Later we learn something about his wife dying because his research was stolen but, honestly, it wasn’t really all that compelling.) Now, with powers amplified by the particle accelerator blast, he’s going to take his revenge on Stagg. They call Barry to tell them what they found out and he keeps saying he’s out. At least he does until Joe shows up and tells Barry to go for it. He keeps up with the encouragement, even coming over the comms later as Barry faces Danton head on in an effort to protect Stagg.
In the end, the team realizes that to defeat Danton you have to take out Danton himself so that’s what Barry does. But after knocking him out Danton comes to and tries to go after Barry again before falling out of a window. Instead of letting Barry save him, however, he forces Barry to let go of his hand and lets himself die.
Afterward, Barry goes back to the lab and Joe shows up with three pizzas for him just the way he likes it. They reconcile and Barry admits that Joe really has been like a father to him. Then Joe pulls up the map that Barry hides his “wall of weird” behind and promises that they’ll figure out how to prove his father’s innocence together. Which is basically all the touching #feels I needed this episode.
So, yeah. I loved all that.
The metahuman of the week is going to get old quick unless they abandon some of the cliches we’re already starting to see. But over all? This show is going to stay cheesy and I’m going to love it.
Oh, but you know what I loved the most about this episode?
The Harrison Wells mystery deepened significantly. We were treated to a scene where Wells goes to talk to Stagg, who turns out to be just as big of a dick as you’d expect behind closed doors. He tells Wells that he plans to find the “red blur” people are talking about and use him to his full advantage. Turns out Wells isn’t really okay with that. So he stands up. And you know when he stands up and blows his cover that shit’s going to go down. And it does. After all the effort that Barry put into keeping Stagg alive, Wells murders him in his office.
The Flash must be protected.
Looks like Wells, who we learned in the pilot, was from the future and knew about something that was going to happen to Barry in ten years time, may not be there for some malevolent reason but, instead, to protect him.
I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Wells and what he’s got planned going forward.
That said, based on the trailer for next week it looks like we’ve got another metahuman of the week to deal with and more of Barry’s crises of confidence… and I cannot wait.