Following on from an excellent pilot presentation, reviewed here, comes ‘Fastest Man Alive‘ a second episode which successfully holds back from making Barry an instant hero and instead focusses on blowing the universe wide open.
Where ‘Arrow‘ initially held back from introducing too many characters from the DC Universe ‘The Flash‘ is diving right in with the inclusions of Simon Stagg and Danton Black and as it eventually did with ‘Arrow‘ it works really well for ‘The Flash‘.
Gustin is still a little doe-eyed to front the series but his ensemble cast a helping to push him to be the kind of lead that Stephen Amell is on ‘Arrow‘ and I also promise to stop comparing the two after this review as its abundantly clear that these are not even two shows of the same genre with ‘The Flash‘ really ramping up the science fiction elements of the comics that the writers were initially so scared to bring in.
The camaraderie between Team Flash is a little forced at the outset but once Barry’s insecurities become clear then the team starts to pull together is a really natural and organic way which allow for any pilot-isms to be forgotten which is great at this early stage of the season. Both Danielle Panabaker and Carlos Valdes are brilliant in their roles and bring a great youthfulness to the show which does parallel the often older and more downbeat nature of Team Arrow.
Panabaker is a little cold but has the beginnings of a great breadth of emotion that will surely come fourth after we delve further into the tragic loss that she experienced during the incident which birthed The Flash. Caitlin is a complex character who has perhaps been a little oversimplified to allow us as viewers to connect with her and hopefully as the weeks go by those extra dimensions to her character will help her become an audience favourite.
Easier to love is Valdes portrayal of Cisco Ramon. His exuberance and enjoyment of everything around him despite all the tragedy is a real light in the show, particularly I love his agonising over stage names for the shows villains which I hope continues on a week-by-week basis. It’s not that he doesn’t take the work he does seriously but he has such unwavering faith in Barry as a hero that it doesn’t seem to even cross his mind that things could go horribly wrong.
The two characters balance each other out so well that it would be a shame to ever pull them apart so I hope that despite the destinies that both their characters face they continue to work together as a team for some time, knowing the writers behind this show they’ll be around long enough for us to really fall for them before the team is ripped apart from forced to face each other from opposing sides.
The mystery surrounding Tom Cavanagh as Dr Harrison Wells continues, it’s very soapy but clearly there’s something going on here that we’re not allowed to know yet. I get the feeling he may be an older Barry but watch this space… in the meantime his appearances are still a highlight in the series.
One thing that is abundantly clear beyond the writers love for these characters is the amount of care and attention put in to the special effects. On a TV budget it would be easy for this show to appear almost like a computer game or a cartoon but actually everything integrates very well. Multiplex as a villain looks brilliant, when there are hundreds of clones on screen there is any cases of blatant stunt double-ism or even a floating cloned face stuck on somebody else’s body. It all flows really well and the effects when Flash is running are equally as fun to watch on screen. I hope in future episodes/seasons we get to explore the idea of the speed force and the consequences of that.
The music of the show hasn’t yet become standout for me as it has with ‘Arrow‘ but again we’re very early on and it wasn’t until that other show which I should really stop naming began to show really highly emotional scenes with soaring scores that I begin to setup and take notice so fingers are crossed for the same to happen here.
This show isn’t going to be for everyone especially with the added science fiction elements that turn off a lot of mainstream viewers but I applaud any non-comics fans who give this show a chance.