Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Flash - Fastest Man Alive

As Barry (Grant Gustin) begins his role as the city's new hero he must face the disapproval of Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), the questions from Iris (Candice Patton) about his odd behavior since waking up from a coma, a series of mysterious black-outs, and concerns from the Star Labs team about how much Barry is pushing himself. Despite Joe going from complete disapproval to supportive in speeds that would give the Flash whiplash (this turn could have been better explored over a couple of episodes), "Fastest Man Alive" continues to sell me on the premise and style of the show (even while featuring the hero in a costume that needs a serious upgrade).

Rather than introducing another Flash villain, the show uses a Batman/Outsiders supporting character in Simon Stagg (William Sadler), a ruthless businessman, and the Firestorm villain of Multiplex (Michael Smith), who has the ability to create and control duplicates of himself at will, to keep the hero busy in his second outing. Sadler is great casting as Stagg, but given his final scene I don't expect we'll be seeing more of the character. Going a step further than the tease of we got at the end of the first episode, "Fastest Man Alive" reveals a dark side to Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) who certainly has his own plans involving Central City's new hero and his future.

In contrast to Arrow, The Flash features a more optimistic tone and feel even when the Scarlet Speedster is getting the crap kicked out of him by dozens of clones. I'm also enjoying the small scenes where the show has begun to play on the speed's effect on Barry both physically (the blackouts) and psychologically (such as him moving incredibly fast and bearing his soul to Iris in the blink of an eye or not waiting for the centrifuge to give him a viable sample). Despite not being a Flash villain (and being stuck with a pretty terrible nickname even for a comic villain), Multiplex works well forcing Barry to think and react, not just run, faster than anyone else alive.

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