Flash 1.03 – Things You Can’t Outrun

Reminder: Muggle section for a straight episode analysis, Metahuman section for excessively geeky, comic-book analysis.

Recap: The writers (and audience) struggle to avoid easy fart jokes as a man turns into green gas and causes mayhem.

Muggle Musing

After two very good set up episodes, in this one we start to get a feel how the “average” Flash episode is probably going to be.  At least I hope it is since it was a pretty decent outing over all with some good acting on everybody’s part (especially between Jesse L Martin and John Wesley Shipp – those two will squeeze manly tears out of you if they have to sit on your chest and beat them out).

Also I must say how proud I am with the show makers.  Historically (yes I promise, not too geeky) on a lot of older shows with the Flash, especially the Superfriends, Flash would end up solving his problems by running in a circle (yes, even the premiere of the 90s series).  Now while it was understandable why he had to run in a circle in the first episode (that is a wise idea when dealing with a tornado), it must have been tempting for the writers to do it this one as “run around and contain the gaseous bad guy” would have been a viable strategy.  So kudos to them for staying outside the box.  Of course back then it was also a common story structure in Flash/Supes shows to have the hero beaten by an unexpected/lucky punch by the villain at the halfway (30 min) mark, research the villain a bit, then have the hero soundly win in the final 10 min.  A hint of it this episode to be sure, but they avoided it mostly by stretching out the final fight and by filling the rest of the time with good backstory and character examination.

Speaking of backstory… there is a style of storytelling I’m going to call “parallel plots” (if there’s a more proper name or trope, feel free to correct me) where you have one story being told in the “present” interrupted periodically with another story that’s told in the past (usually leading up to story A).  While I’m sure there must have been other shows which used this method, it didn’t really become popular or proven to be acceptable to audiences until the show Lost hit it big.  Since then we’ve seen more and more shows use parallel plots in their seasons, two of my favorites being Once Upon a Time and Arrow (which both use quite well I think).  I was curious if Flash would use this method as well (since they have some common production folk with Arrow) though they hadn’t in the first two episodes.  This episode is the first we see of it with a story of “what happened that fateful night” running alongside the main plot.  It worked well and I’m interested if they’ll try this “parallel plot” method only intermittently instead of the constant season long arc style they did with Arrow.

Things are still looking good for this show.  Though I do hope they stop calling him “the streak” soon.  Every time they do I have this song pop in my head…

Metahuman Musing

First I should add something I had missed (and thanks to the TVTropes boards for bringing it to my attention) but Cisco is apparently the real name of the superhero Vibe.  So even if WB is not going to set up a Justice League TV movie, we COULD be getting a Justice League DETROIT TV movie.  And that would be AWESOME.

So… our first look at Ronnie…

Interesting.  He has the body of a football player so he’s got the physical aspect of Firestorm down.  But they gave him some brains too.  I don’t mind this right off hand because in the real world there is a thing called specialization of knowledge, which movies/TV often forgets (i.e. if you’re a doctor, you’ll know EVERYTHING about the body, instead of focused on one aspect of it).  Historically, one clever way of balancing Firestorm was that professor Stein was needed for his knowledge.  Oh let me explain: Firestorm has the power of alchemy rays – he can change almost any substance into any other.  The exceptions are 1) it can’t be living and 2) he has to actually know the substance.  So he could never actually turn plastic into like… Adamantium since that substance doesn’t exist in the DCU, he would have no idea what the molecular structure is.  Thus when Stein, who knows his chemistry, is on board, FS can change things easily.  When Stein’s been unavailable, Ronnie’s had to actually learn what the chemical structure of things are or keep his changes very simple.  Now in the show, being an engineer, Ronnie should still need Stein’s atomic know-how to be a really great Firestorm, if they keep things realistic.  Part of me dreads that they’ll make Ronnie a general know-it-all and Stein will come off as a bit useless.

I did like his character, though and thought Robbie did a good job.  In the comics Ronnie’s gone through a bit of a rough characterization patch.  While he wasn’t always the noble boy scout that Superman was, he was usually the good-hearted jock type who wanted to do what was right.

The other big parts of the show are of course the love triangles.  Now if you’re familiar with the comics, you know that Iris is the one that eventually married Barry.  These shows seem to enjoy dragging out what the fans assume is inevitable.  In the first Flash series, Iris was engaged to Barry until she ended up leaving him in the first episode, clearing the way for Barry/Tina.  This time around we have Iris going out with a detective while Barry might be having sparks with a possible Killer Frost?  Could be interesting.  Well, I don’t find it interesting (love, blegh) but I am glad that while they have had Eddie Thawne not be a cartoon jerk like they so often do with competitors against the hero’s love life.  Even if he might also become a (if not “the”) Bad Flash.

And I noticed this on the IMDB:

Amanda PaysDr. Tina McGee (9 episodes, 2014)

Well played, show.

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5 thoughts on “Flash 1.03 – Things You Can’t Outrun

  1. Why did Barry hide his face from his dad? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to tell him? Doesn’t the mask already protect his identity?

    It’s kind of ridiculous how much fanservice we’re getting – a Flash Museum reference in this episode, what could become the cosmic treadmill last episode, less visible name references (Blue Devil, Elasti-Girl, Mark Waid), and of course appearances by characters who normally never get them. If Red Arrow, Katana, and the Royal Flush Gang can make it to Arrow, who’ll we get here?

    I’ve never read any Firestorm comics, but the way you describe his power set he seems like an interesting character. If I were to pick one up, would I start with the very first issue?

    Sorry for asking so many questions. I don’t have much else to say other than that having lived in Vancouver some locations are extremely recognizable, which throws me off a bit.

    • Why did Barry hide his face from his dad? Wouldn’t it be a good idea to tell him? Doesn’t the mask already protect his identity?

      Don’t know for certain. Possibilities: Barry upon seeing his dad was actually reflexively vibrating his face as he struggled with what he should do. OR It was a reference to the first FIRST Flash who only wore a helmet and kept his face vibrating to hide it. OR Maybe it’s the show admitting that even a parent would probably be able to pick out their child from behind a mask. Make up your own! 😀

      It’s kind of ridiculous how much fanservice we’re getting – a Flash Museum reference in this episode, what could become the cosmic treadmill last episode, less visible name references (Blue Devil, Elasti-Girl, Mark Waid), and of course appearances by characters who normally never get them. If Red Arrow, Katana, and the Royal Flush Gang can make it to Arrow, who’ll we get here?

      Oh we’ve got SOOO much, things even I missed the first time. And this is how fanservice should be: fans can get it but it’s not too obvious or blatant for those who don’t and doesn’t slow down the story. Heck in the very first, 90s era Flash TV, during one shot at a movie theater they actually had poster up of the ACTUAL Batman and Superman movies (first one of both).

      I’ve never read any Firestorm comics, but the way you describe his power set he seems like an interesting character. If I were to pick one up, would I start with the very first issue?

      lol oh man there’s a lot…

      Actually you’re in luck because Firestorm isn’t THAT popular so he doesn’t have the 800 books or so that Batman/Superman has. Now you can always check out the fansite (http://firestormfan.com/). Probably the best collection is this reprint they did of some classic comics
      (it ain’t too expensive for a TPB). Also… well Firestorm comics aren’t quite THAT popular so if you hunt a little in some comic shops, you can probably find some issues. After that, you’ll probably want to ask the main fan I linked to up there for some more details or at least summed up. 😀

      And it’s no bother asking questions, just don’t be offended if it takes me a bit to get back to them.

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