The Flash might very well be our biggest “well who’da thunk it!” of the year. Personally, I can’t say I expected to find myself enjoying a CW show about a DC Comics superhero as much as I am, but The Flash definitely has me looking forward to each week’s new installment. The show’s still stretching its legs, so to speak, and there’s a strong sense that we’re yet to see everything that the show is willing to throw at us. But early indications are that the show’s willing to actually throw quite a bit at us, and it seems like it’ll be all the more awesome for it (if the gorilla cage in the pilot episode isn’t a great plant, I don’t know what is). “Things You Can’t Outrun” is another standard-issue episode of The Flash, such as the standard exists just three episodes in. It’s an easy call to make at this point, though, because all three of those episodes have followed roughly the same general formula. Granted, it’s a formula that’s given us three fun and generally well-done bits of TV show.
It’s also worth mentioning that “Things You Can’t Outrun” did bring us a bit of a narrative upshake, with flashbacks to the night of the particle accelerator accident taking up a good portion of the runtime. And it wasn’t all bad! At this point, Caitlin isn’t the most compelling character, and her boyfriend’s whole bit was just a teensy bit thin. That’s a tough bar to clear when you’re little more than a redshirt, but I’ll be absolutely delighted if Caitlin’s dead boyfriend shows up as one of the metahumans down the line.
This week’s metahuman, on the other hand, is a named Kyle Nimbus, which is actually a situation where this dude’s last name is entirely cooler than his villain name, which is The Mist. (Sisqó is entirely too proud of himself for coming up with that name.) Nimbus is going around killing the people responsible for putting him on death row, and by the time he’s down to the last guy on his list (we know this because he told Barry as much) the audience finds out that it’s Joe so we can have a nice ticking time bomb. Barry has an obligatory struggle with how tough it is to have to be a superhero, and boo-hoo, and unnnngggghhhhhhhh, and we’re all good, let’s do this. Then he goes and does this. Standard stuff, but the execution, believe it or not, is what keeps The Flash fresh.
The Mist is a cool-looking villain, and the scenes where Barry fights him are awesome, right up to the thrilling final confrontation, a scene so well-staged that it prompted my girlfriend—who had been utterly uninterested up to this point—to sit up and go, “Alright, that was cool.”
The Flash has totally won me over. The dialogue might need a bit of work here and there, but the show’s clearly not afraid to go nuts with the some of the more out-there elements of its mythology. Barry’s is a super fun world to spend time in, and I’m really looking forward to where things go over the course of the next season.
Oh, and also...
- A real good part of this show’s draw for me comes from Tom Cavanagh’s performance. He just knocks it out of the park. Also, holy shit—are he and Sisqó in cahoots?!
- I’m consistently surprised at how great the effects on this show look. The Mist’s green gas was particularly cool looking. But minus points for the fact that “The Green Gas” is even a cooler goddamn name than “The Mist.”
- Barry’s face-blur bit was maybe the coolest moment of the series so far.