If you watch The CW’s Arrow, you were already introduced to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), the police forensic assistant who would become The Flash. Just in case you don’t watch Arrow, and you really should, the series premiere of The Flash does a great job of getting you caught up quickly and then jumping into Allen’s own story: Barry was always just a bit too slow – whether it was running from bullies as a kid or arriving late to a crime scene to do his job – until one night during a flash storm when his life changed forever.
When he was a boy, Barry watched as his mother was attacked by a mysterious lighting storm in their living room. He was suddenly transported outside of the home and when he returned, his father was being arrested for his mother’s death. He was raised by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and is viewed as a brother by West’s daughter, Iris (Candace Patton). This sucks because Barry is clearly in love with her.
After attending an event at S.T.A.R. Labs in which Barry’s idol, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), was to reveal a particle accelerator, Barry is struck by lightning and lies in a coma for nine months. When he awakens, he finds he’s been in the care of Wells (now in a wheelchair) at S.T.A.R. Labs. Wells and S.T.A.R. Labs don’t have many fans in town as it’s believed his accelerator going online is what caused the lighting storm that destroyed some of the city, killed citizens, and injured Barry.
That’s not the only thing that is different: Barry has super speed (his accelerated heartbeat caused power outages while he was in a coma) and healing abilities, Iris is secretly dating the hot-shot detective she couldn’t stand before, and a bank robber Barry helped locate the day of the storm – and who was believed dead in a plane crash during the storm – is still alive and he also has a power: He can control the weather.
With help from Wells and his team of scientists, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), and a pep talk by Oliver Queen, Barry learns how to control his speed and decides to use his newfound ability to right some wrongs starting with the capture of the bank robber who killed a cop the day he “died.” Wells reveals others were affected and they’ve been trying to track these “meta-humans.”
- Grant Gustin is a star. Period. He was a guest star on Arrow, but can he carry his own show? Yes. Yes, he can.
- The writing. Everything just made sense. If other people were affected by the storm, isn’t it convenient that we’re just now learning this when Barry wakes up? No. The team at Star Labs knew there were meta-humans and they weren’t lying low. Barry discovers for the past nine months there has been an increase in missing persons and unexplained occurrences. The city has been busy trying to recuperate from the storm’s devastation, these things went unnoticed.
- When Martin, the weather controlling bank robber, claims that he is God, West delivers this line wonderfully: “Shut the hell up.” And later, “Why would God need to rob banks?”
- “Run, Barry. Run!”
- Yes, Barry has had it rough: his mother is dead, his innocent father is in jail for her murder, the girl he loves is with someone else, oh, and the whole in a coma for 9 months thing.. but he’s not mopey. He approaches his new power with enthusiasm. Sure, there will be hard lessons on the horizon as he learns that being the guardian angel of a city isn’t all fun and games, but so far it doesn’t seem like we’ll be getting dark and brooding like Bruce Wayne of The CW’s Oliver Queen.
- So many secrets! Barry can’t tell West about Iris’ relationship with Detective Thawne (Rick Cosnett). Barry can’t tell West that Iris is dating Thawne. Wells’ raggedy ass can walk and has access to some kind of database in the future where we see that in the year 2024, Barry disappears! And there’s a Wayne/Queen Merger!
- Great dialog. Wonderful acting.
- West finally believes what Barry has been saying his whole life: He saw a man in that ball of lighting that killed his mother and his father is innocent. Barry’s visit to his father in jail was heartbreaking.
- When Martin the bank robber is about to make a run for the ill-fated plane, and as he is in a shootout with the cops, he says, “I have to catch a flight.” I rolled my eyes so hard. That is only sour note spoken in an episode of goodness.
- When Thawne was knocked out before Barry had his final encounter with Martin and West wasn’t, I knew West would witness what Barry could do. I call this The Smallville Effect. Those who can’t learn the hero’s secrets will always manage to be knocked unconscious to keep them from seeing anything. Hopefully The Flash won’t drink from this well too many times. It’s a wonder the people of Smallville didn’t suffer brain damage by series’ end.