The Flash, S1 Ep02 – Fastest Man Alive

It’s safe to say that the pilot for The Flash was heavily pirated and downloaded prior to its October 7 premiere. Producer Greg Berlanti even acknowledges this fact after stating via Twitter that “Fastest Man Alive” is “the first episode that hasn’t been online (illegally) for months!” Although, even with the pilot leak, the actual series premiere broke records. The pilot is said to be the most watched CW premiere ever, beating out the 2009 series premiere of The Vampire Diaries. This is most definitely with good reason, as the series premiere delivered a fun and entertaining experience while crafting a compelling world and cast of characters. This week’s episode definitely keeps that momentum going.

Detective Joe West

Detective Joe West

The father-son relationship between Detective Joe West and Barry Allen plays a major role in this episode. Joe confronts and reprimands Barry about his secret life as The Flash, saving people around Central City. The plot-line delved into some cliché material. How many times have we heard a young superhero yell at their surrogate father, “You’re not my father!” That being said, the dynamics of Barry and Joe’s relationship were very compelling to see play out on screen. Actor Jesse L. Martin deserves a lot of credit for his role as Joe. You really get a sense for how much the character cares for Barry and appreciate when he comes around to Barry’s side and supports his noble, heroic actions.

Father-son issues aren’t the only problems Barry faces in “Fastest Man Alive”. The episode also draws some attention to Barry’s eating habits. As someone who can run faster than the average person, Barry has to eat more than the average person. This leads to the show’s comic relief, Cisco Ramon, to develop a nutritious energy bar Barry can eat on the go to prevent himself from fainting. It’s a good thing this issue is resolved, as Barry has to fight another villain-of-the-week.

That villain is Danton Black (Michael Smith). Black is a man who has a vendetta against a rival scientist to Harrison Wells named Simon Stagg (William Sadler). Unfortunately, like Clyde Mardon before him, Black isn’t very well developed as a character. Although, his power set is fun to watch The Flash struggle against, as Black has the ability to make duplicates of himself. Cisco even calls him Captain Clone when trying to think of a good name for him, which I saw as a inside joke poking fun at comic book villains like Captain Cold, who will eventually appear on The Flash played by Wentworth Miller (Prison Break). Fortunately, Cisco comics up with name Multiplex later on, which is what the character is referred to as in the comics.

Harrison Wells continues to be the most intriguing character on The Flash. It’s fun to watch him basically lie in the faces of his colleagues and keep the secret that he’s up to no good. The fact that he knows the future, and most likely periodically checks the newspapers from 2024, makes it safe to say Wells is manipulating the present to make a certain future occur.

But what is this future and why is he using his knowledge to turn Barry into the hero he has the potential to become? Tom Cavanagh’s portrayal of the character is solid. When we see him interact with Barry and his colleagues, his charisma makes us want to trust him. Then we see him murder Simon Stagg. What is Wells’ endgame?

The Flash, S1 Ep02 - Fastest Man Alive [3]

Team Flash

“Fastest Man Alive” was yet another fantastic episode of The Flash. The father-son story shined and the performance from Jesse L. Martin really sold it. The relationship is reminiscent of the relationship between Peter Parker and his uncle Ben in the Spider-Man films and comics. Hopefully, that sentence didn’t just curse Detective West to the same fate as Uncle Ben. There were a few corny moments thrown about the episode, but it’s expected. The line “we were all struck by that lightning” said by Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen sounds cheesy no matter who says it or how they say it.

The special effects for The Flash are commendable for a TV series. Hopefully, the budget for The Flash doesn’t drop too much as the series progresses and the series is able to maintain that same level of quality. We’ve come a long way from seeing Bart Allen race Clark Kent in Smallville. Also, for the DC readers out there, “Fastest Man Alive” gives us a glimpse at what might become The Flash’s cosmic treadmill.

The flashback scenes showing Barry as a child trying to see his father in prison against Joe’s wishes were pivotal to the main plot and strung in very well. I just hope The Flash doesn’t rely too heavily on flashbacks scenes like Arrow does. That can get annoying. Also, seeing that both Barry and Iris lived in the same house when they were children solidifies how much of a brother-sister relationship they shared. It’s a little weird to me that Barry is romantically in love with someone who is practically his sister. Am I reading too much into this? Still, this was a great episode. Let’s hope this momentum continues.

Next week The Flash will face off against a man who can turn himself into a poisonous gas and enter the lungs of his victims. Check out the promo for “Things You Can’t Outrun” below and feel free to let us know your thoughts on “Fastest Man Alive” in the comments.

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