By Candice Lopez / Staff Writer
“My name is Barry Allen, and I’m the fastest man alive.”
The CW is known for releasing programs that either become a fan favorite (Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries), or get cancelled (The Tomorrow People, The Carrie Diaries). Arrow, whose main character is the superhero Green Arrow, has joined the category of fan favorites, and now The CW is launching a spin-off featuring Flash.
Arrow fans met the young scientist turned superhero in Season two. But the pilot for The Flash serves as a nice way to introduce the character to new viewers and comic book fans alike. The episode begins with narration from Barry Allen telling the audience that he has been running his whole life. He includes the most pivotal moment in his life: witnessing his mother’s death and watching his father be found guilty of a murder he didn’t commit. This is what motivates Allen to work as a member of the Central City Police Department. While he was upset over the loss of his mother and the imprisonment of his father, Allen isn’t the kind of guy who is gonna let it bring him down. I’m looking at you, Bruce Wayne! Recalling this history allows viewers to understand why Allen was raised by Detective Jo West – his daughter, Iris, becomes Allen’s love interest. In the pilot, Barry calls Iris to tell her about the Particle Accelerator, and this is where the lab accident, in which Allen gets his powers, occurs.
As Allen begins to realize he has these newfound powers, he begins to test them out. The team at S.T.A.R Labs helps him figure out where his limits lie and how fast he can run, which becomes a hilarious but well executed scene. While Allen enjoys his new powers, he discovers that he was not the only one affected during the accident. The term given for those who may also have abilities are “Meta-Humans.” In a scene that may be confusing to new viewers, Allen calls Oliver Queen and tells him that he needs advice for dealing with his new powers; Queen appears in Central City as Green Arrow and says, “Take your own advice. Wear a mask.”
When Allen puts on the superhero suit to fight the main villain of the episode, it seems rushed in terms of special effects. It provides the audience with some serious butt kicking, but I’m not going to say what happens because it would be a serious spoiler for those who have yet to see the pilot. In general, there is A LOT that happens within the span of forty-five minutes, but that is expected of a pilot whose goal is to introduce audiences to something new and give them a taste for what is to come.
When the promos for The Flash came out, I will admit that I wasn’t sure the show would be any good. But when the character of Barry Allen first appeared in Arrow, Grant Gustin’s portrayal suggested another hero could carry his own show. Gustin has this sense of charm, humor, and wit that he brings to the character that makes us love him from the minute we meet him.
When it came to the rest of the cast, I was surprised to see Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow) since it has been awhile since she has done anything remotely popular. Then you have a new face in Candice Patton, who plays Iris West. The way Patton and Gustin portray Barry and Iris will bring a lot of joy to comic book fans who know about their relationship and cause new fans to want them to be together. Jesse L. Martin plays Detective Joe West, the father figure in Allen’s life. The man behind the S.T.A.R. Labs Particle Accelerator and who gives Allen his superhero suit is Dr. Harrison Wells, played by Tom Cavanagh. One of the greatest reveals was that the actor playing Allen’s father Harry – John Wesley Shipp – had played Barry Allen in the 90s TV series. That program was cancelled because of how expensive it was to film each episode. Shipp portraying Henry Allen is like a passing of the torch, which is just plain awesome.
Now, while there were many positive things about this show, there were some negative things. Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook) wasn’t quite what I imagined for the role, but this is the pilot; there is always room for improvement in future episodes. Some of the dialogue in the episode was a little cheesy but what superhero program or film doesn’t contain a little bit of cheese? And while some of the special effects that went into bringing Barry’s powers to life looked really fake during the promos, the pilot did improve the quality.
All that being said, I think comic book fans and new fans will tune in every week to watch the program. Is there a potential for it becoming a great show? Absolutely! Are we going to see more crossovers between Arrow and Flash? Maybe. There’s a rumor going around that there will be an episode where Flash fights Green Arrow. All in all, I was very impressed with the episode and can’t wait for what the rest of the series has to offer. If Arrow can get a fan following, then so can The Flash.