WARNING! THERE ARE NO SPOILERS IN THIS EPISODE AS IT IS THE PILOT, BUT GOING FORWARD THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR EACH EPISODE.
The episodes featuring Barry Allen’s origin story was among the best of the really strong second season of Arrow, which returns tonight, and it’s great to see that we’re finally getting The Flash to run the night before, especially given that Grant Gustin has showed here that he’s more than capable of handling Barry’s character in what was established as one of the most fun pilot episodes this fall, along with ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder.
Chances are, if you’re reading this then you’ll already be familiar with The Flash’s origin story, and the episode itself retreads some old ground covered in Arrow, but aside from that, the pilot still feels fresh and energetic. More importantly, it marks a breakaway from the darker side of DC Comics, and although it suffers from some familiar CW-isms, it remains fun, and is a remarkably different, lighter tone from Arrow’s pilot, which was whilst entertaining, not quite as strong as what we were presented with here.
The special effects are kind of crucial for a series that revolves around superpowers and the fastest man alive, and The Flash pulls that off very well with them not feeling overly cheesy. It could have failed and been Once Upon A Time-kind of bad, but the team behind the special effects of this show lead the way by a long shot. It looks good. It’ll be great to see Barry in action for the next twenty-odd episodes that this season will hopefully have to offer, and hopefully they can keep up this high level of quality.
Much like Gotham, The Flash has started off with an incredibly strong pilot. One of the bonuses going for this series was that we were already familiar with the world surrounding Barry Allen, or at least viewers of Arrow will be. We’ve already seen him become The Flash and the pilot deals with it so well that we don’t mind being repeated what we’ve already seen. And that’s only for part of it, because by and large, the main episode is focused on dealing with Central City and establishing the new world that we find ourselves in.
The supporting cast for the most part, is strong, and there are no unlikable characters here yet. Candice Patton plays Iris West, Ollie’s best friend, whilst her father Detective Joe West, is played by Jesse L. Martin, who balances being Barry’s father figure and boss well. And on top of that we are reunited with already familiar characters, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), who in the comics, are Vibe and Killer Frost respectively. There are no seeds planted of their superheroic (and in the case of Caitlin, supervillainous) nature yet, but if the show will have them fall down the same paths of their comics characters then you will probably see some hints dropped as the series progresses. Both Caitlin and Cisco work as part of STAR Labs, and with Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavangah) a scientist fallen from grace for his work on the particle accelerator catastrophe, which as we all know, gave Barry his powers. They’re working with him from pretty much the get go, and it’ll be interesting to see what will happen as the series progresses.
If there was a negative aspect about The Flash, it would be the fact that it suffers from the same problem as Arrow in regards of an underdeveloped villain. Whilst that is to be expected with pilots as they spend more time focusing on the good guys than the bad guys, I would have liked to see a little more attention devoted to the Weather Wizard, who fans will be familiar with from the comics. Unfortunately, he comes across as too cheesy and underdeveloped, which is a real shame given his potential as essentially a villainous version of Marvel’s Storm.
On the subject of the Weather Wizard, it’s also important to note the wealth of other DC references that we got in this episode. As well as a massive, jaw-dropping ending tease that DC fans will love (and hints to several Flash villains thrown throughout the pilot), there’s a guest appearance from Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen as the Arrow stops by to say hello, and I’ve already mentioned Cisco and Caitlin. It’s great to see these characters show up on screen and it’s already showing that The Flash could well have the potential to be the series most faithful to the comics out of the four that we currently have on our screens, with Gotham, Agents of SHIELD and Arrow all adopting for the most part, a different approach. (Also, on a similar note, how cool is it that we’re going to be having FIVE different comic series on screens come the end of October? With the shows previously mentioned in addition to Constantine, it’s a great time to be a fan of comic book adaptions.)
As long as this show avoids a “Case of the Week” formula, which Arrow sort of adhered to for the first half of its first season, we should be fine with the show going forward. The Pilot is off to a strong start and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops and next week can’t come quickly enough.
What did you think of the pilot? Did you have as much fun with it as I did? Or are you one of the few people who weren’t as entertained by it? Let me know in the comments below!