On tonight’s new episode of The Flash, Danielle Panabaker will play triple duty as Dr. Caitlin Snow, Killer Frost, and as director of the episode. This will be Panabaker’s third time in the director’s chair after making her directorial debut in season five. I got a chance to speak with the actress/director recently about getting back behind the camera post-COVID and what it’s like to be the last remaining member of the original S.T.A.R. Labs team.Continue reading “Danielle Panabaker Discusses Directing ‘The Flash’”
My name is Barry Allen, and I am the saddest man alive. The title of the episode is “Back to Normal,” but this is not the normal Barry Allen that we met on Arrow years ago. He hates buses and putting on clothes and when his coffee cup breaks, he looks like he’s going to burst into tears.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Earth-1… King Shark returns. Also, I learned that there’s no such thing as a “filler episode” for The Flash. I’ll admit that I was wrong and incorrectly assumed that bringing back King Shark after the heavy Earth-2 plotline was a gimmick, but this episode (aka Jaws 2) really sunk its teeth into developing character growth of the members of Team Flash.
All the Barry Allens. All the Iris Wests. All the Caitlin Snows. All the Jay Garricks?
I’d laugh that Zoom is doing the CW voiceover for this episode if he weren’t, um you know, scary as hell. Zoom takes Banksy-ing a city to a whole other level:
Earth Freaking Two.
Is it just me, or have the early episodes of both Arrow and Flash felt more like prologues for Legends of Tomorrow than independent, standalone series? Perhaps this is the one drawback of such a wide-ranging shared universe. It’s difficult to serve your own story when you must also plant seeds that will bloom in a completely separate show that will happen several months from now. Like I said in last week’s Arrow recap, “The Fury of Firestorm” felt more like a prequel to Legends of Tomorrow than a self-contained Flash story. Still, there were a lot of things to like from the episode that launches Firestorm 2.0.
“I opened up our world to new threats, and I am the only one fast enough to stop them.” You sure about that, Barry?
Barry spends the episode denying the existence of another speedster due to some residual other-speedster trust issues, when he should really be wrapping his mind around the existence of another freaking Earth. It’s official: Earth-2 is a thing and pretty much everyone, except Barry, is running with it. C’mon Barry, it’s exciting! Like Cisco, the king Nerd of Color, we’re getting goosies!
I bet you didn’t think that our second season would include Barry Allen ditching Team Flash to become a mysterious midnight contractor, Cisco becoming a semi-cop, Harrison Wells making things right, and Iris West actively-in-the-know regarding all things concerning The Flash. Yes, that all happened… or did it? I don’t know who or what to trust anymore after the re-imagined reality that was the episode’s opener.
It’s like one minute you’re in a bear hug (Barry-hug?) with Grant Gustin… but then you pull back to realize you’ve been hugging the sharp bony angles of Ezra Miller instead. NO NO NO. NOT MY FLASH. HE IS NOT MY FLASH. #NotMyFlash
It is time to bust out my time-travel movie reference arsenal, because things are about to get heavy, Doc. Yes, this recap title is a Terminator quote, and dammit does it apply. I am about to recap the crap out of The Flash’s first season finale, so SPOILER ALERT: you can’t go back in time and unread what you’re about to read if you haven’t already seen this magnificent episode of superhero time travel television. Alright, here I go:
Pizza party! Reason why I love Barry Allen #427: He uses his powers for good… like running to Coast City to get the best pizza pies on the west coast. In my head, he bumped into a young test-pilot Hal Jordan. Maybe they exchanged a few friendly words, unaware of what kind of best friendship they’d eventually form. I wonder what they ordered on their pizzas? I wonder if they have similar pizza topping tastes, so that they’d probably even split a pie every once in a while. Wait, no. Barry needs all of the food for his metabolism. Maybe Hal shakes his head at Barry’s appetite beca — sorry, I lost focus. Pizza party.
So far, everyone in Central City who knows Barry’s secret who isn’t a body snatching, anachronistic speedster was invited to the West house to discuss Harrison Wells/Reverse Flash. The game plan is this: Joe and Cisco investigate the night of the Tess Morgan’s death in Starling City, Eddie covers for Joe at the precinct, Caitlin covers for Cisco at the lab, and Barry must refrain from punching Wells in the face.
“Crazy For You” opens in an upside-down car with two “ohmygod”-ing teenagers strapped down (up?) and trapped while electrical wires zap around, signaling to us that they are in trouble. It’s very Smallville/CSI/Teen Horror Movie, but I accept it; The Flash has always had a trope-ier tone anyways. Our hero zips in just as a powerline ignites the car’s leaked gas and creates a LITERAL RING OF FIRE around the inverted vehicle. Shit goes down real fast, but our man in red is even faster. The car bursts into flames like Ronnie Raymond, but Barry has already rescued the remaining victim. And the Central City Fire Department is all, “Okay we can take it from here, I think.”
But the two car crash victims embrace and turn to Barry. “Thank you… Flash.”
I think I’ve figured out why I love The Flash so much. It goes along with something Christelle mentioned in her recap of Episode 6 last week; namely, that the show is very reminiscent of another CW superhero show. Not Arrow, but Smallville. And last night’s episode, “Power Outage,” was no different. While it took 12 episodes before the Smallville writers stripped Clark of his powers1, The Flash needed only seven before having Barry figure out how to be heroic without being super.
I’m going to start by straight up saying that The Flash might end up being my favorite hour-long show on television. Not right now, but some day. This series has so many strengths only six episodes in: a solid feel for its characters (I was a little bit worried about Iris at the beginning, but now she’s getting her spine), a consistently-propelled character arc for the title hero, and continuously impressive (Gorgeous! Beautiful! Mindblowing!) CGI’ed action-sequences perfectly worthy of the art of the comics.
Also, I would like to note that this episode was directed by Millicent Shelton. YAY WOC + SUPERHEROES!
Let me start off by saying that The Flash intro is getting too long. We’ve got a minute of “My name is Barry Allen…” PLUS a “Last time on…” I know other shows do this occasionally, Arrow too, but I feel like Arrow’s intro has been streamlined at this point. It certainly feels shorter. So hopefully this — as well as the voice over — becomes less frequent. It’s a bit overdone this TV season, and its sister show, Arrow, nixed it by episode 6 of their first season. It’s also not there every episode (it was notably absent last episode), so either stick with it, or drop it. It’ll probably decrease when the plots of each episode get more complex and they need to shave the intros for time.
Another Tuesday and another strong episode of The Flash has come and gone. Unlike Arrow, which I admittedly bolted on after three episodes during its debut season, or even Gotham, which I continue to hate-watch for some reason, I’m pretty sure I’m all in on The Flash. While there are some superhero TV tropes that might get annoying eventually — Barry’s unrequited pining for Iris, for instance — there’s enough good to keep me tuning in. Episode three, “Things You Can’t Outrun,” introduced yet another baddie from the DC Universe while foreshadowing the debut of another classic DC hero.