At a point when we are pretty much half-way through the first season of CW’s The Flash, there isn’t really any point in repeating myself that the show has been incredible since it started. Debuting the Scarlet Speedster back in October of last year, The Flash has made waves everywhere and I dare say that it has overtaken Arrow in terms of popularity, for the pure reason that it is such an uplifting show in general, less moody and more action-adventure with a bigger dose of humour. And thus the show totally fits the titular character, though the writers never shy away from showing some really serious stuff. Nor they should.
Episodes 12 and 13 of The Flash do a lot of great things. For one, we delve further into the mystery of how Ronnie became Firestorm and how Dr. Martin Stein is caught up in everything. This is where previous supervillain Hartley Rathaway fits in with a really interesting twist and we get to see Cisco get to kick some ass. Then there’s the whole thing with a new character being introduced into the mix, and suddenly, it is as if the show’s cast has increased to almost double, and I’m loving all that has been happening the last two weeks.
And did I mention as well that the stinger for Episode 12 was all about Gorilla Grodd? He has been teased since the very beginning of the show, and if there’s any one supervillain on the show I’ve been looking forward to seeing more than Captain Cold, it is this guy, or gorilla rather. He is very much a classic Flash villain, certainly if you’ve been keeping up with the New 52 continuity of The Flash comics from DC, and the show’s writers have collectively done a great job of teasing out his appearances, bit by bit, and recent rumblings from the producers have hinted that when the big guy finally makes his full-on debut, it is going to be pretty kickass. And I trust them with it. I haven’t been let-down so far.
So anyway, back to the narratives for these two episodes. In episode 12 we meet Shawna Baez, a metahuman who has the ability to teleport as far as she can see, whether aided or not. This creates a really big challenge for Barry since while he’s superfast and can get to Shawna wherever she is within his field of vision, she can also slip-out pretty easily. In episode 13 we deal full-on with what has been happening to Ronnie and how Dr. Stein is involved, and what it really means for FIRESTORM as a scientific project and an entity both. There is a lot of emotional wrangling in this episode, and we get to see Caitlin make some peace with the changes that have happened to her former fiance, which is where a really nice twist comes in that makes the television version of Firestorm so different to the comics version.
Money-shot wise, I think it was great that we finally got such an extended look at what’s been going on with Ronnie. After Hartley’s revelation to Cisco in episode 12, a lot of different things fall into place and that episode is essentially a lead-up to episode 13, where it all goes literary kaboom, and we get to see some stunning production stuff with the flame visuals on Ronnie, and more. This is something that has been teased ever since we saw how Ronnie’s story intersected with the explosion at the particle accelerator, and to finally get something so substantial, well, it is a relief, that’s for sure.
Either way though, what both these episodes do is that they set up lots of new opportunities for the characters to take some interesting turns on the road to their character development. And one of the most striking of all these was the inclusion of (somewhat) comics stalwart Linda Park. At one time in the comics, Linda was Barry’s girlfriend and the two of then even married eventually, which makes her inclusion into the show as one of more than just a romantic triangle between Iris, Barry and Linda. What we have here is a great way for Barry to pursue a more meaningful relationship with someone who doesn’t see him as as this cute and nerdy friend. Because that’s how Iris has always seen him and is apparently the only person in Central City who couldn’t pick up on Barry’s signals to her.
But then, that’s kind of the fun I guess. And I’m really digging Linda’s character, and Malese Jow has been performing brilliantly. She doesn’t have the kind of “sophistication” and “modern hip” that Iris West actor Candice Patton has, and she also develops a much better rapport with Barry that is kind of better than what Candice and Grant have had so far on the show, since their relationship has had such a skewed balance on-screen, and that kind of seems to make things really awkward at times.
Either way, though I think that Linda is being depicted as a bit too… fast of a character in some ways, I’m going all the way with her. Only two episodes in but she has become as much of a favourite character as Caitlin or Cisco or Harrison, and that’s without all the baggage that the others come with, whether as heroes or villains.
Which brings me to a really interesting thing in episode 13. The team is trying to rehabilitate Ronnie Raymond by splitting the two men so they can have normal lives as they did before. Which proves to be a humongous task of course, but that isn’t the issue here. The issue is with a scene that shows Harrison Wells in his little hidey-hole at STAR Labs, where he keeps his Reverse-Flash suit. And this scene just confused me all the more as to what Harrison’s real identity is. The problematic element in all of this: Harrison is shown wearing a gold-coloured ring with the The Flash symbol on it.
We know from comics that a ring such as this is what the Scarlet Speedster eventually used to contain his superhero costume until he needed it, so I’m left wondering if Harrison really is Eobard Thawne or someone like that from the future, or whether he is a Future-Flash gone dark side or something. I just can’t seem to decide.
And in the midst of all of this is Joe’s investigation into the death of Nora Allen, Barry’s mom and for whose murder her husband and his father sits in jail to this day, almost a decade and a half since that unfortunate event. It all kind of kicks off in episode 11, and there’s some passing reference to it in episode 12, but it is in this week’s episode 13 where things get really interesting when Joe and Cisco visit Barry’s old house and find some… clues. Mind-twisting stuff all of it.
So yeah, once again we have two episodes here where the story and characters and actors and everything else is just so amazing. I find myself in awe of all that the show has accomplished so far, and all that it has set out to accomplish with the end of the first season, which is some 3 months away still. Or thereabouts anyway.