This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics
Each week Panelteers Chris and Ali sit down and chat about the CW’s newest superhero series, The Flash! So grab and cronut from Jitters and join the conversation. There will be spoilers. You have been warned.
Chris: Let me start off by saying I am shocked by how much I enjoyed this pilot. Like, I thought we’d be in for something enjoyable that I might look forward to talking about with you every week, but I ended up with a show that basically stapled a stupid grin to my face for the entirety of its runtime. Like, I was super worried that this column would be me with a stank face complaining about minutiae while you made fun of me and were giggling about how great the show was. But that’s not the case and I couldn’t be happier. Ali… this was me for pretty much this entire episode.
Ahem. Back on track. We have a happy, excited hero that somehow shrugs off the dark origin story they’ve tried to saddle him with, a really fun supporting cast and a world that doesn’t seem madly ashamed to be involved with superheroes. This is everything I wanted from this show.
Ali: Chris, this was me the whole episode. The whole episode.
Chris: The whole episode?
Ali: Yup! I haven’t looked this doofy watching a thing since I saw The Muppets. This pilot was just full of unabashed joy. Not that it was all sunshine and rainbows, but there was hopefulness to everything. If Arrow and Starling City are Batman and Gotham, the The Flash and Central City are Superman and Metropolis. And this episode, and presumably the show, doesn’t shy away from that.
We got a whole lot of episode this week. There was an extra THREE MINUTES!!
Chris: And dang. It actually covered a ton of ground.
Ali: So much! So how about we break things down in chunks, starting with…
Chris: Literally from the first thing Barry says I was kind of onboard. I can be super critical about this kind of stuff, but there was something in Gustin Grant’s reading of that opening monologue that just said to me, “Dude. It’s cool. He’s got this.” And really, that’s exactly the kind of feeling the Flash should give everyone. He’s that guy. He’s got this. Gustin totally nails it out of the gate and gives us a dude who is legitimately excited about all sorts of stuff. Yeah, we got another dead mom origin. At this point, I don’t really have anything to say about it other than I’m tired of that trope getting trotted out alongside “dead girlfriend/fiance/wife” as a motivation for male heroes. It’s just boring. In this case, at least it looks like a tragic lady death isn’t what drives him to be a hero. It’s just that he’s a good dude who wants to help people. I love that.
Ali: I’m not always a fan of first person narration via voice-over. But Grant Gustin just nailed it. When he said “I’m Barry Allen. I’m the fastest man alive” I welled up a little bit. He’s just totally inhabiting the role of Barry. And I really love this version of Barry’s character. He’s a total science nerd and really good at his job, even though he is always late. And he has a really good heart. I feel like that’s lame to say, but he does. Like how before Steve Rogers was Captain America, he was just a really good guy who wanted to help people. That’s what we get in this episode with Barry. It’s not the powers that make him the hero, it’s the person.
Chris: Yeah, he’s super likeable from the get go.
Ali: How about the rest of the cast?
Chris: I love Iris. I love Iris and Barry as a unit already. Candice Patton and Gustin Grant have a shocking amount of chemistry for this being the pilot of a show. Iris is sharp and I like that she’s got things going on in her life that don’t involve Barry, as close as they are. Although, who doesn’t keep a version of their dissertation in the cloud. C’mon, Iris. It’s 2014.
Ali: Maybe she rocks it old school and had like 10 notebooks in that bag. You don’t know!
I love that they’re going with the fast-talking, coffee-addicted version of Iris from the New 52. Like you said, she’s really sharp and smart, and Candice Patton does a great job playing her. And I love that their interactions and relationship is one of the first things we see in the show.
Chris: Yeah, I’m a big fan of the idea that they honestly feel like they’ve known each other forever. These are clearly two people who know each other as well as two people can. Although, we do get a great moment from her completely missing Barry’s mega obvious, awkward hint.
Ali: I’m wondering how much is her being oblivious and how much is her willfully not engaging with him that way. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out with the two of them, especially with her dating totally normal police offer and probably not maniacal time traveler Eddie Thawne.
Chris: Yeah, I’ve already got enough faith in this show just from the pilot to just let it play out and see where they’re going with things.
Ali: Back to really great interactions, can we talk about Barry’s scene with Oliver in Starling City? Because that pretty much made the show for me.
Chris: Uh, yeah. So I said I was hesitant about Arrow and Flash crossing over a bunch, and maybe I was totally wrong. That scene was exactly what it needed to be and highlighted great things about both of these guys.
Ali: Right?! I like that Oliver tells Barry right out front, he doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be like the Arrow. He needs to be something better for his city, something that’s more about Barry than about Oliver. That you can be a hero who inspires and protects; the vigilante avenging wrongs isn’t the only kind of superhero. DO YOU HEAR THAT, DC COMICS AND ZACK SNYDER? DO YOU?
Chris: It reminded me of one of my favorite things about Olllie on Arrow. When he’s not brooding or being a captain in the Russian Mob he’s really good at seeing the potential that people have. It’s a subtle trait that really sang in that moment.
Ali: Chris! We haven’t even mentioned Team Science yet!! Also, I’m calling them Team Science because I think Science Bros should stay in the Marvel Universe. Anyway. I really adore Cisco. He’s got a great energy and acts as a good foil to both Caitlin and Wells. I kind of love that he wears nothing but Big Bang Theory t-shirts. He’s like Q and I love it.
And I like that they’re setting Team Science up so early. In Arrow, it took Ollie a while to find Diggle and Felicity and make them his team. And here, Barry’s with his back-up right from the start.
Chris: This show set up everything it needed to set up in this episode. The members of Team Science aren’t exactly three dimensional people yet, but they don’t really need to be just yet. We’ll get there. For now, they’re an interesting group of people that seem to have a lot more going on under the surface. A pilot should really be all about potential, and that’s what we’ve got going on here. Also: Detective Pretty Boy. I pretty much refuse to use his real name.
Ali: It’s like watching a brilliant pattern of dominos being set up knowing that any any second, we’ll see the push that knocks everything down. Speaking of a push. OH MY GOD THE ENDING!!!!!
Chris: It was weird seeing the Gravity Falls pilot’s ending in live action, I’ll say that much.
Ali: Hahaha! So true! Although I definitely had a moment where I really thought he was walking up to the cosmic treadmill.
Chris: I would have lost my mind. But, I mean, I already kind of did because… woah. I was not expecting to see a direct reference to a capital C Crisis.
Ali: I’m not going to lie. I yelled NO NO NO NO NO NO at the screen. Because. Ooof. Crises never end well for Flashes.
Chris: Crises are basically Flash Kryptonite.
Ali: We should probably wrap this up… with a LIGHTENING ROUND!! Three awesome things we didn’t get to mention. GO!
Chris: Okay, Sexy Mugshots
Ali: Grodd’s broken-out-of-cage at STAR Labs.
Chris: Barry solving Poop Problems
Ali: 1990s Flash/Dawson’s dad as Barry’s dad. I want his name to be Jay SO BADLY.
Chris: Barry has clearly chosen sides in the great Lady Gaga/Katy Perry war.
Ali: “Lightning gave me abs?”
Chris: “Why would God need to rob banks?” (The unsung hero of this series might very well end up being Jesse L. Martin.)
Ali: That’s four, Chris. But I’ll give it to you because Jesse Martin.
Chris: I’ll take it! We’ll be here next week, same Flash time, same Flash channel.
Flash Fact: This is gonna be fun.