Review: The Flash (2014) TV Pilot
The CW network has really convinced me of quality programing in one of its shows (Arrow). Now with the backdoor pilot set in the Arrow universe, Barry Allen will become the Flash in his own show. I was able to catch an early screening of the pilot that will air in the Fall, and let me say that it has already begun much better than most pilot episodes for a series. Here is my review with minor spoilers included. I will not spoil anything from the plot itself, so the spoilery info will be kept to the minimum.
To cram all of this in 42 minutes is impressive when it doesn’t feel rushed. We have Barry’s lab accident that gives him superspeed. A reason for his suit to be what it is. His mother being murdered when he was a child, and you most certainly see the reverse flash (Professor Zoom) in the chaos that kills her. And a search for other meta-humans who have powers or abilities beyond normal. Oh, and we also have the Weather Wizard (kind of). Overall, it flowed well. Some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy in parts, and the easter eggs seemed forced, but it was pleasing above all else.
Flash/Barry Allen: Grant Gustin IS Barry. His presence on screen, really personifies the role, and though I was skeptical at first, I’m convinced they made the right choice. I also really like how he analyzes the crime scene. It is a unique take on visually showing what he has in his mind. I hope we see a lot more of this. As far as the costume goes… I’m glad that they referenced it was a prototype design. This probably means that it will evolve over time.
Iris West: Eventually Iris and Barry will be married (if we assume they follow the comics). Like any CW show however, they had to put in a different love interest to make it soap opera-y. That annoys me to a certain extent, and though I also hate when they change the race of a character, Candice Patton works well for this role. She’s attractive, and has great on screen chemistry with Gustin.
Detective West: I’m hoping that they don’t make him another Detective Lance (from Arrow). It seems like they might be doing that a little bit, but since Barry is a cop, we have to have some sort of veteran on the job. He came off as a bit of a prick but in a good way.
Caitlin Snow & Cisco Ramon: Their roles seemed to be placed forcefully into Barry’s life, but I think it will work. We already see a dark side to Caitlin (who in the comics becomes the villain, Killer Frost)… And Cisco has an overeager nerdy side, that you would only see in a protagonist character. He of course becomes (Vibe) in the comics, and of all the justice league characters I’m not sure why they’d choose him as a focal point, but I guess they are trying to push sales with that character. It’ll be interesting how their fates pan out.
Dr. Harrison Wells: Speaking of fates…wow, what a twist at the end. All I’ll say is that his purpose is of a much grander scheme, and like Malcom Merlyn in Arrow, I think that he will serve a similar role. And not to say too much, but his name is not really Harrison Wells, but I’ll bet that wheelchair really moves fast and I wonder how much tech Star Labs has gotten from the future (Yes, you comic fans might know what I’m saying here).
Henry Allen: Seeing John Wesley Ship in this role was awesome from the moment he appeared on screen. Sure it is minor, but I enjoyed the original live action Flash series in the nineties, so to see the original Barry Allen in a Flash series again is nice to see a passing of the torch in a way. I can’t wait to see what sort of person he will be as the series progresses.
Eddie Thawne: Okay, so I originally thought this was Eobard Thawne (Professor Zoom) from the comics, but apparently he may be a great great ancestor or something. I’m not sure, but all I know is he will definitely be connected to the twist at the end of the pilot episode. It’ll be interesting to see his placement and purpose.
Clyde Mardon: He’s the brother of the Weather Wizard (Mark Mardon), but exhibits the same powers. His role as villain of the week was only a minor part of the episode, but to see Barry racing against a tornado was pretty awesome. With him dead now, I am only assuming that his brother Mark will take over the role of the true Weather Wizard. The effects for the weather abilities looked pretty natural too, so it was quite welcome to see this.
The Easter Eggs (Hidden things):
Some seemed forced, but here are the ones I caught… Caitlyn referenced something called the ATOM SMASHER… could this be a forshadowing to the character of the same name being on the series? Of course there were the ZOOM tributes and presence in the beginning and end… A cage in Star Labs was bent out of shape with a tag on it that said GRODD… I only assume that we will get Gorilla Grodd in the show at some point soon…. In the futuristic newspaper that was during the twist at the end, one of the headlines said “Waynetech and Queen Consolidated”… It talked about a merger between the two companies, which means that Bruce Wayne (hopefully Affleck) may appear in one of these two shows at some point. In the same paper, we also see a hint at Barry Allen’s fate during the Crisis. Could this 10 year forshadowing be a way of thinking ahead. Smallville ran for 10 years. If The Flash has the same strength in its legs, could we get a series finale with a crisis storyline? Or perhaps this could be tying in to the thoughts of a Justice League movie with similar plots? Finally, I had to include Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. It’s more of a cameo than an easter egg, but having him in it with words of encouragement for the new hero was really cool. I’m not sure about his swan dive over the edge at the end, but hell, it was awesome to see that they will maintain that crossing over to some effect.
There are so many what ifs and what will happen running amok in my head right now as I still spin from a really delightful first episode. There are flaws in dialogue, but for a first episode, this really hit the ball out of the park. I’m going to give it an 8 out of 10 sCrypt Coffins. Did you see it? If so, what did you think? What are your speculations and hopes for this show? Comment below.