The first two installments of The Flash were focused on establishing Barry and his newly found super powers. With the third episode, the series expands the focus a bit and begins to give us some development of the other characters who are part of the Flash’s crusade against meta-humans.
In this case, we get a bit of expansion of Caitlin’s character, including a well done use of flashbacks to the night that everything went wrong at Star Labs. As displeased as I was last week with the flashbacks, feeling them to be the weakest part of another wise solid outing of the show, this week I felt like the flashbacks were better connected to the character and storyline. I also like the concept that the flashbacks don’t necessarily have to center on Barry’s past each week, but can instead be used like the ones on Lost were — to give us some details and insights into the character.
In this case, it’s Caitlin and her fiance Ronnie, who wasn’t supposed to be at the start-up of the particle accelerator the night it went up. An engineer she met working on the project, Ronnie throws himself into the fray when things start to go sideways and ends up apparently getting killed in the process. I say apparently here because given what we’ve seen about Wells and his ulterior agenda (more on that later) and that we never see a body for Ronnie, I fully expect him to be back at some point, quite possibly as the biggest meta-human the Flash has faced up to that point. In fact, I can fully see him returning for the mid-season or possibly season-ending cliffhanger to the show.
It wouldn’t shock me of Ronnie turns out to be some kind of unexpected side effect of the steps Wells has taken to create the Flash and that he’s pretty upset at being second fiddle to the hero that Barry is. Side prediction: Could Ronnie be Ronnie Raymond who becomes Firestorm? I seem to recall news this summer that the series was thinking of heading in that direction. If that’s the case, I’m all for it since I loved reading Firestorm comics as a kid and he was a great late addition to Super Friends back in the day.
It’s interesting to see that Caitlin and Barry share the connection of having lost someone important to them due to what appears to be supernatural forces. This is a solid basis for their connection and I have a feeling that the writers could be tempted to take these two in a romantic direction — possibly just in time for Ronnie to return and be even angrier about it. For now, I like the connection of that these two share and how it ties into the title of things you can’t outrun. Each of them is unwilling to just put this pain in the past and move on. Instead, it’s a large part of what drives them both in the crusade to be part of team Flash. (It’s even nice that the story that Joe tells Barry about learning to walk and running toward his mother ties into this. Years later, he’s still running towards Mom. Prediction two is that the streak that Barry saw that night is himself, come back in time to save his mom. Again, I’ve not read any recent comics but I’ve heard rumblings. And at this point, I’m almost averse to starting the comics for fear of ruining the twists and turns to come…or setting myself up for expectations of storylines).
I also find it interesting that the show has realized that we need a place to hold all these meta-humans and that it’s worked out a solution. I like that Star Labs is involved and I wonder how Joe will react if and when he finds out. After all, these guys aren’t exactly being read their rights and given a fair trial here. Of course, that’s not something you may necessarily be able to do within the superhero universe, but given what we’ve seen of Joe so far, I can’t help but think that he may have reservations about what Wells and company have set up here. I also wonder if Wells isn’t trying to have a back-up plan when and if his double agenda is revealed. Is he setting up a rogues gallery to keep Barry in line if Barry should go against him or not follow whatever elaborate plan he’s running?
As for the Mist, I found the villain works fairly well and it’s nice to see they kept the major effects sequences utilizing his power to night and shadows. It’s a case of less is more and I think it works well. Also the fact that Barry and company are able to outwit him by weakening him is a nice touch — and again, I don’t think the Flash can or should kill every villain that h comes up against.
On the other hand, the whole “you can’t outrun things” with Iris and Eddie felt like the weakest link in the show. I’m glad that the show has Joe into the loop on things (and his line about being a detective worked was a nice touch), but am I the only one who feels like things grind to a halt when these two become the focus? I’m not sure I want to see Barry with Iris (again, more chemistry with Caitlin) but I feel like Iris and Eddie could use a bit more work to sell me on their working as a couple. Maybe if we see a flashback of how they got together, this could help. Or could it be that this is a relationship that may fall apart now that they don’t have the thrill of sneaking around?
But other than that, another solid installment from what may be my favorite super hero show on the air right now. It’s certainly the only super hero show that I feel a need to keep current on and to watch first when new episodes hit the DVR. And given the huge selection we’ve got right now, that’s saying something very good.