The Flash, S1 Ep01 – Pilot

The Flash - New Key Art

The CW’s highly anticipated Arrow spin-off, The Flash, is finally here. Since premiering at plenty of screenings and conventions (and leaking online), The Flash pilot has received mostly positive reviews from critics and is even “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with a 96% approval rating. But does this pilot live up to the hype? Does it have what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Arrow and other comic book TV series? Yes it does.

Pilot

Barry attempts to clear his father’s name

The Flash pilot delivers a compelling origin story that thoroughly fleshes out its characters and ends with a cliffhanger that leaves its audience wanting more. We are introduced to an amazing ensemble of characters in this first episode who all play off each other very well. First up is Barry Allen, the hero of this show. Thanks to his appearances on Arrow in the episodes “The Scientist” and “Three Ghosts,” fans of Arrow already have a sense of who Barry Allen is and what drives his character. That being said, this pilot gives enough information on the character so viewers who missed out the previous season of Arrow can easily get a feel for him. Basically, Barry is a sweet and lovable dork with a tragic past. His mother (Michelle Harrison) was killed by what appeared to be a blur of yellow light when he was only a child. Sadly, his father, played by former Flash (from the 90s) John Wesley Shippe, was wrongfully accused for the murder. Barry, now a forensic scientist, has yet another life altering occurrence when a S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explodes and strikes him with a bolt of lightning, gifting him with the power of super speed.

That particle accelerator was created by Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), a scientist whose life was wrecked after his invention backfired thus ruining his credibility and causing his company to be shut down. Now a paraplegic, Wells mingles with two S.T.A.R. Labs scientists, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), who were both briefly introduced on Arrow beforehand. Caitlin is cold throughout the majority of the episode having been deeply affected with the particle accelerator explosion herself, while Cisco just seems very happy to be working with science. DC Comics readers know to expect big things from these two characters. To those who aren’t DC readers, keep watching. After Barry wakes up from his 9-month coma the pilot gracefully establishes Wells, Snow, and Ramon as Team Flash. By the end of the episode, and after Wells sorts out his own inner demons, with their help Barry Allen/The Flash is able to take down this series’ first villain-of-the-week, Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook).

The Flash, S1 Ep01 - Pilot (17)

Introducing Team Flash

Sadly, Clyde Mardon (known as Weather Wizard in the comics) is not developed very well as a villain. His story is very generic. He’s basically a bank robber with a god complex, who is given the power to control the weather after the particle accelerator explosion hits his plane. His underdevelopment is a very small complaint as the pilot does a tremendous job fleshing out plenty of other aspects and characters in only an hour.

Other characters that are introduced are Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), Barry’s surrogate father who works in the Central City Police Department with Barry. He is portrayed as a very caring father figure to Barry who tries to support Barry as much as he can. Unfortunately, he can’t support all of Barry’s antics as Barry has been known to chase the impossible even before given super speed. In an emotionally driven scene Joe displays his disapproval of Barry’s crazed theories of unexplained anomalies, and finally begs Barry to accept the supposed truth that his father really did murder his mother. Thankfully, by the end of the episode, West sees what Barry and Clyde are both capable of, changing his mind completely on what is possible and what’s not.

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