Friday, October 17, 2014

The Flash Ep. 2: "Fastest man alive" Review
By Rob Jefchak

            My initial reaction to the Flash’s pilot episode was met with marginal entertainment happiness…otherwise known as meh. The dialog was nothing for anyone to write home about, the good looking lead seemed to be only good in that SINGLE area and there were far too many ear marks of another “Smallville” series popping up. However, “The Fastest man alive” seems to doing far more things right than wrong this time around. There’s still some burn marks on the pavement but based on what I saw in this episode…it can be buffed out. While Barry wastes most of this episode’s dialog retreading past storylines that we already knew in GREAT detail from the pilot, we get to see some new developments with both his powers and relationships.
            Barry is experiencing fatigue every time he uses his powers and his insistence on putting himself in danger is stressing his relationship with Detective Joe West and his daughter. On top of that, a new meta-human that goes by the lately nicknamed “Multiplex” (Danton Black) is trying to kill his former employer, Simon Stagg (William Sadler) with the power to clone himself an army. The fear of freak-of-the-week syndrome still hasn’t left me, in fact, this episode (and the preview of next week’s ep) already has me concerned this show is just going to keep churning out super powered young people who die at the end so they can do it all over again next week.
            What I find working here best is the relationships Barry has to maintain with everyone and the growth each one takes as new directions and decisions are taken. Jesse L. Martin is a damn good actor, a damn good one who enjoyed many runs on “Law and Order.” Seeing West’s relationship with Barry grow, change and reveal far more complicated layers to their views on family and loyalty bring out the best of both actors and (in Martin’s case especially) the best of the dialog. Grant Gustin is improving, I’ll give him that; his knowledge of himself and his powers are brought out effectively by his performance. He’s making the character more likable and working to avoid the cheese flavor these roles tends to bring (despite the agonizing use of “You’re not my father” line/clichés).
            The mixing of Barry’s two lives (one with the police and the other at STAR Labs) is interesting because it creates a new little group; a team of sorts to help Barry out on both ends: superhero life and real life. Bringing this out so early is kind of a nice surprise; having a strong team of supporting characters eliminates most of the “secret identity” concerns and gives Barry lots of different personality types to bounce off of. William Sadler’s inclusion as Simon Stagg could have been very interesting; had they not went the route they did at the end (not a complaint though!) The special effects continue to impress, everything from Flash’s running red streaks, bullet time effects to Multiplex’s cloning power really does look quite impressive.
            Unlike the pilot, “Fastest man alive” gave me far more reasons to stay than it did for me to give up and never watch this show again. There’s more depth, more emotion and even some darkness that’s brewing that gives me more hope and interest in seeing where this series is running off to. Granted, two episodes are hardly sufficient judgment materials but let’s just say for now I’m feeling a little bit better about “The Flash.”