WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS!
The pilot episode of The Flash got off to an excellent start and it’s great to see that The Fastest Man Alive is continuing the form of the series that is shaping up to be one of the year’s best shows. It’s fast paced, energetic and fun, and with the second episode, we continue to see several things happen that advance the storyline further, in mostly positive ways.
The best thing about The Flash continues to be the more light-hearted element of the series. It’s not grimdark and that allows for some great moments to be had throughout this episode. We see Barry understanding the limits of his powers as he attempts to battle a metahuman who can multiply himself, as well as deal with keeping his identity secret from Iris. Grant Gustin continues to prove that he’s an excellent casting choice for this series, and with another incredibly strong episode.
Whilst this episode falls into the trap of recapping the pilot with the annoying voiceover that Arrow also had for the early first season, The Fastest Man Alive tackles an interesting new storyline for The Flash as we continue to get a good idea as to where this show might be heading from here, even if it does look like at least for the start of the first season, we’ll be falling into the category of “Case/Monster/Metahuman of the Week”, for this drama at least for the first season, which is a shame as I’d have preferred a more serialized show. But that at least gives us a greater opportunity to explore the Flash’ rogues, and in this episode we meet Danton Black, aka Multiplex (initially labelled by Cisco as Captain Clone). With the ability to multiply himself he’s already established as a clear and present threat and it’s good to see that the series is capable of producing villains that are able to pose at least a challenge to The Flash, who would normally be able to beat any normal problem due to his enhanced speed.
However, there was a problem. Like Weather Wizard, Multiplex wasn’t really fleshed out that well, once again coming off as little more than a forgettable villain who didn’t really make much of an impression. It seems that whilst most mistakes from Arrow’s early season have been corrected, The Flash is so far failing in this department. But then again, it still manages to be entertaining enough not to matter, with some great scenarios for Barry to face. Also, it’s good to see that the many copies of Multiplex don’t fall into the same trap as most bad guys do when in large numbers, and attack the hero one at a time. There’s a scene near the end of the episode where they’re all crowding around Barry and preventing him from getting up, which works well even if we know he’s going to make it out in one piece.
We also got to see Simon Stagg this week, coming across as more as a background villain than Multiplex. Stagg isn’t necessarily a Flash rogue per say, having been previously been attached to the likes of the Metal Men, but it was good to see his inclusion here. Whilst he was dispatched of sooner than I would have liked, it did open up to yet another interesting reveal about Harrison Wells’ character, who protects Barry by killing Stagg in the episodes’ final moments. It furthers the mystery as to who Wells is, and I for one cannot wait to see it unfold whether we will see it do so in this season or later. Another good thing about Wells is that we have the element of unpredictability going for his character as well – whilst with Caitlin and Cisco we know they’re eventually going to become Killer Frost & Vibe (presumably) we don’t exactly know about Wells that well and the mystery as a result instantly becomes one of the most interesting things about this series so far.
The episode, whilst having some cheesy moments like normal, did allow for some good development of Barry and Joe’s characters and their father/son bond. Joe is clearly playing the Detective Lance-esque role in The Flash, and has already demonstrated better Detective skills by working out that Barry also operates at STAR Labs. This was an interesting move by the writers and you get the feeling that he would have figured Oliver Queen’s identity as the Arrow a heck of a lot sooner had it been the other way around. But Jesse L. Martin is continuing to deliver, and it’ll be interesting to see what new elements we’ll uncover going forward with him working on the side of Barry from the start as opposed to Lance.
In conclusion then, The Flash continues its awesome run into its second episode, already establishing itself as one of the strongest new series of 2014 and I’m looking forward to seeing it continue next week. Along with Person of Interest & Agents of SHIELD airing on the same day, it’s great to have some good television to look forward to on a weekly basis once again.