Retro Flash – Out of Control & Watching the Detectives

Out of Control

Recap: A mad scientist shows up in town and decides to experiment on homeless people before Clinton’s election gets rid of them.  Later the Hulk breaks out of the CBS vault and invades the show.

Review: While I do like him, I wouldn’t ever want to write for the Flash.  Sure Superman can do almost anything but since his set up is “space alien” it’s easy enough to just invent “bigger, stronger alien” and throw it at the protagonist.  The Flash, however, is pretty ordinary save for his speed.  So how does one build a challenge for that?  How are drug dealers a threat to the city when the Flash could check every house for drugs in an afternoon?

So this episode they stretch the boundaries of the show by introducing the mad scientist character who not only gets a monstrous creation in one scene but ends up monsterizing himself at one point.  In fact the process by which he “hulks out” takes so many cues from the original Hulk TV show that I legitimately wonder whether it was a deliberate homage or “take that” or what the behind the scenes deal was.  Between that effect and the brief wolfman, this seemed like a heavy budget episode and a promising sign at the time that CBS must have believed in it.

Side-Kick sighting: This episode our lovable Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy end up coming face to face with a werewolf!  Yet Murphy STILL refuses to believe in the Flash.

SFX Win: The “bubbling” skin and morph effects were incredibly well done.

SFX Fail: When the gun is taken away from the bum in the police station it’s too obvious it’s a spliced frame.

Conclusion: Not a bad second outing though I was disappointed that the villain of the week (VotW) showed up because of a connection he had to Tina and not because he thought studying the Flash would help his research.  The question of “am I helping or am I attracting trouble?” is one many superheroes struggle with and is a worthwhile question to study, so I’m somewhat disappointed that wasn’t examined here.

Watching the Detectives

Recap: Today the Flash teaches us that stalking is OK as long as you’re paid for it or the parties involved are really really hot.  Also he proves that he does his job just because he enjoys it.

Review: Usually with TV supes shows it’s a later episode in the first season that considers, “What if protagonist’s identity was found?”  Here we are at episode 3 and already Barry’s having ident issues.  Also since Tina had someone competing for her affections previous episode, Barry gets to be the one tempted by not-Sandra Bullock to forsake the love-interest.

John’s acting is much more solid in this episode getting to work with a wider range (such as when in the casino he has to act as Barry acting).  He also proves that it’s good to be good looking as I never a chance to turn down babes as hot as those.  Though while I’ll admit I might be biased since I find Judith more attractive, I do think it would have been funny to have her stumble onto the truth with her mumbo jumbo while Mega (the PI) had to struggle with the old fashioned ways.

This also demonstrates how episodic this show is when a corrupt DA and mob boss seem like people that would have been involved with the biker problems from the pilot.  I mean the mob boss at minimum seems like he would have had a beef with the bikers.  He could have hired them to wreck the properties he was trying to buy up (only to have to resort to arson after the Flash messed them up) but no, it’s easy to forget that episode 1 and 3 are supposed to take place in the same city.

Sidekick sighting: In keeping with this episode’s theme about gambling, Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy talk about a police betting pool on when the Flash will show up next.  Though later forced to cheat, Barry proves he’s a stand-up guy by not participating at all.

SFX Win: I like the bit with the card trick (another foreshadowing of Barry’s later cheating).  Even though easy to set up, it’s the subtle set ups and selling of the heroes’ abilities I like.

SFX Fail: Flash fighting the mob at superspeed.  A composite shot that does NOT work well in this high-def age.

Conclusion: This is kind of a mixed bag.  If you want to believe the show has any continuity, this episode just stomps all over that belief.  But if you like JWS and want to laugh at the Flash using his powers for maximum profit, it is pretty enjoyable.

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