It’s great to see DC and Warner bros. finally giving The Flash his due after so many years in limbo. “The Flash” has always been a wonderful character from the DC universe that was way too science fiction based to ever become a respectable series or movie, so for years fans had nothing. Surely John Wesley Shippe’s “The Flash” was a solid adaptation, but beyond that, it was merely table scraps. “The Flash” fully realizes what an amazing character the titular speedster is and completely sets up nothing but storylines and sub-plots in the pilot, while also telling a great origin tale of how a scientist became the fastest man alive.
Grant Gustin thankfully comes back to reprise his role as Barry Allen, taking off moments after his final appearance on “Arrow.” Gustin is a spectacular casting choice for Allen, playing the character as charming and geeky without ever going over in to obnoxious and or irritating. Gustin has the average underdog charm suitable for Barry Allen, and Gustin slips back in to the character without a single misstep. As mentioned there’s a ton of foreshadowing present, but much of it is handled with grace and skill, establishing a lot of the principal characters, while also giving them all some form of motive for being interested in Barry and The Flash. Barry is still just an average guy longing for a family, even after donning the scarlet threads, and his dynamic with characters Joe West, and his daughter Iris makes up some of the best dramatic material.
Jessie L. Martin gives a strong turn as Joe, the officer who took Barry as a surrogate son when Barry’s mother was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Despite Barry and his dad’s insistence that she was murdered by an unknown assailant barely seen through balls of lightning, Barry’s father was taken away as her killer. A lot of the episode deals with mysteries about Barry’s past, and where his circle of friends and companions are going in the future. Particularly, there’s the question of who murdered his mother, and if the murder was at all intentional. There’s also the really intriguing final scene that leaves the door open for so many ideas about time travel, space time continuum, and paradoxes. As well there’s promise to discover The Flash’s more unique abilities through his speed, which the writers have promised to tackle in future episodes.
The casting is one of the many elements that bring major appeal to “The Flash.” Danielle Panabaker promises to bring some interesting melodrama, while Tom Cavanaugh plays eccentric scientist bordering on mad with great zeal. Whether or not he will be a force of evil for Barry remains to be seen, but his aggression to study Barry’s powers is troubling. Candice Patton is also great as Barry’s love interest Iris, who is easy on the eyes, and a very interesting female foil. “City of Heroes” is a great head start for the series, launching a series that promises to give the Flash his long overdue spotlight, while injecting its own flavor of fantasy and light hearted adventure. As witnessed by a surprise cameo, it’s definitely a spin off, but when you see who plays a recurring role as Barry’s father, it’s clear that “The Flash” has potential to take off as a hit series. So far, “The Flash” is fun, exciting, and compelling, and I look forward to where the writers will take this universe soon.
Premiering on the CW 11 October 7th. Check Local Listings.