Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Flash Ep. 7 "Blackout" Review

The Flash Ep. 7 “Blackout” Review
By Rob Jefchak

Sometimes we get so complacent with a TV series that we think we can expect what kind of mood or reaction it’s going to put us in; like we’ve seen it enough to know the formula and what it will do to us. This week’s episode was NOTHING like past episodes. I call this “Flash’s” perfect storm episode: everything that could have gone right; went right. It starts off with a new meta-human, Blackout who has incredible energy draining powers and uses them to literally suck the speed out of Barry; reducing him to an ordinary human being. 

Dr. Wells is becoming increasingly more concerned with Barry’s effect on the future and fears his pension for saving human lives is wasting his potential for his speed capabilities. Meanwhile, Joe is still shaken by the death threat made against Iris for investigating the truth behind the man who killed Barry’s mother. But things take a turn for the worst when a criminal known as the Clock King holds the entire police station (Eddie, Iris and Joe included) hostage, just as a powerless Barry has to deal with Blackout coming to STAR labs to kill him and Dr. Wells for the particle accelerator that created him. 

There was so much going on this episode that many series could have easily screwed this opportunity up: juggling 3 villains, Barry losing his powers and exploring more into the cryptic background of Dr. Wells. Not to mention a true unexpected treat to see Girder return and have a brief but much appreciated meta-human brawl with Blackout. I loved the use of Girder here, what was once a cliché bully from Barry’s past became a figure of empathy and tragedy as both Barry and Girder reveal genuine concern over each other’s fate. Barry losing his powers was perfectly handled. 

The opening scene with him getting so excited to tease a hapless mugger was not only funny, but it served as a painful reminder of how much he takes his powers for granted and how he feels like he’s lost a part of himself once they are taken from him. Things get even more dangerous when Joe and Iris have to fend off the Clock King without Barry’s powers, creating an intense conflict at both ends of the spectrum that leaves both heroes helpless in confronting 2 villains. Robert Knepper as Clock King was a marvelous choice, he was methodical, creepy, and polite and a perfect fit for the time orientated crook. 

He was the perfect villain for the situation, it’s nice to see a non-meta-human villain for a change and with Barry powerless and still dealing with Blackout; he provided excellent drama for Barry’s friends. Speaking of Blackout, I was at first worried he’d seem too much like a typical whiny guy who hated the world for his powers but his motives worked well enough here and he was a successful mix of bitter tragedy and malicious rage. Everything seems to be coming full circle with the writers of this series, like they finally understand how to properly use their characters, have them interact and explore what’s truly important to them; especially Dr. Wells.

My only perceived weak moment would be when Barry goes as the Flash to tell Iris he’s sorry and he’s “back now” and he won’t fail to save her again. This just seems WAY too obvious of a clue as to who he is since Iris already knows Barry wasn’t around for a mysterious reason too, I get what he was trying to do but that’s way too big a breadcrumb to leave behind if you ask me. Overall, “Blackout” is at the top of the class as far as my favorite “Flash” episodes so far. 

We got 3 villains perfectly mingling together, great development with Dr. Wells and a genuinely gripping tense story that pulled me in and never let me go since it started. Now THIS is the kind of quality entertainment I’ve been looking for.