Warning: Spoiler Alert
We open this episode with Barry testing himself. This time it’s an apartment building on fire. He is able to bring each person still inside, outside. And does so fast enough that the only sign of detection is the wind he causes when he moves. And here’s a shocker, Caitlin is giving him grief about it. Exercise restraint. And why do we always have to hear, “know your limits”? Maybe it’s a DC thing.
Despite our first foray into the early stages of the genesis of “The Flash”, all is not well. Each time he uses his speed (twice thus far), he immediately feels after effects. From the looks of it, disorientation.
Barry agreed to explain the science behind an award recipient at a swanky affair with Iris for a journalism course. Towards the end of which six men in masks show up to rob the event of its attendees’ jewelry. These are the same 6 from a previous crime Barry is working on, believed to be perpetrated by one man. Barry is able to save one security guard but otherwise, did not engage the criminals. The security guard is the third time today he’s used his power. And this time, if causes him to pass out.
He does inform Dr. Wells and crew of the dizzy spells and Caitlin gives him a tongue lashing as if they were an item. They devise a test to see if any vitals will tip them off as to what is causing the problem. Everything looks fine except his glucose levels. Maybe running 300 mph is burning calories or sugar too fast. Maybe being the Flash makes Barry Allen hypoglycemic.
Meanwhile, Det. West is looking for Barry in Barry’s loft/lab. He doesn’t find Barry but he finds a couple interesting things. For one, the evidence board of his mother’s death inlaid behind his work evidence board. And the Star Labs sweatshirt from last week’s episode.
At Star Labs, they have concluded that Barry needs to change his diet to compensate for the changes in metabolic rate. Cisco suggests 850 tacos.
Det. West: For Mexican I recommend Tito’s. Best burritos in the city.
Wells: Detective West, what brings you to Star Labs?
Det. West (pointing at Barry): When I couldn’t find you at your lab I started doing a little research. Turns out there have been reports of a red streak? around the city. Stopping muggers, rescuing people from burning buildings.
Wells: You didn’t tell him we were working together?
Barry: Joe I can explain.
Det. West: You already have a job in law enforcement Barry. I suggest you get back to it.
What follows was foreshadowed early. Joe feels responsible for Barry’s well-being. The idea of Barry running around saving people and preventing crimes, puts Barry directly in danger’s path. So like the surrogate parent Joe West sees himself to be, he wants it to stop. For there is no greater good. The greater good is ensuring Barry’s safety (probably why Barry works for Joe) and preventing Iris from knowing anything about ‘this’. However, each time Joe pushes too hard, Barry fires back “with your not my father”. Which is true, but in some regard, Joe did raise him for half of his life and deserves a little slack pertaining to any over parenting he attempts to do.
As suspected this week’s evil ‘meta human’ is one man with the ability to split himself like mitosis. The aim was not to steal jewels. It was to kill the key-note speaker. Now the guy wants full itinerary which the head of security is not willing to grant. And for that he paid with his life.
Det. West ventures over to Stagg Industries to question Mr. Stagg about the death of his head of security. Stagg is of little help. Up to and including the tidbit that the guy West suspects is ‘absolutely’ not the killer. And right when Stag says he wants this guy found, three of them appear masked and shooting. Back at the precinct, there is a commotion. Barry is told there is a shoot out at Stag Industries. Where Joe is.
West exchanges fire to allow Stag to get away. Then he sees with his own eyes, the aforementioned mitosis effect happen. They bear down on him. Then Barry runs in fast enough to disarm the three gunman. Drops the guns in front of West and says, “go”. Joe replies with “no”. Then Joe West finds himself outside.
Like the foolish crusader that he is at this point in the timeline, Barry tells them to turn themselves in. Which is not smart. They begin to beat on Barry like they did the head of security. It takes a moment but Barry focuses long enough to get out of there.
After which, Barry makes his way to Star Labs for some medical care. Which he really doesn’t need as his body would heal itself anyway. And we have our first introspective moment of fear. Barry is not the hero he is going to be yet. And losing a fight was a pretty strong indication that this is not going to be as easy as he had hoped. Minor setback.
Side note. The kid playing young Barry is so very annoying. He’s probably playing it exactly how they want him to, but it just makes me want to fast forward to the next scene.
Stagg is refusing policy protection. Harrison Wells appears clapping and taking a cheap shot at Stagg. And Stagg replies with, “Harrison…don’t get up”. Wells is actually there to speak to West. Wells informs West that Barry has quit. Until the next time he’s compelled to put on the suit. The bottom line is that there are things in Central City that the police are not prepared for. If Barry goes out again, into danger, he will fail. “Doubt is his true enemy”. And as long as Joe doubts what Barry can do, Barry will doubt what Barry can do.
Wells: And for the record, I care about him too
Yeah, but for all the wrong reasons. We’ll put that on the back burner for a bit.
Barry meets Iris at a coffee shop to apologize. He also offers to help her find a new topic for her journalism assignment. But she’s already found one. “It’s all over the internet”. OK, take new assignment, journalism, all over the internet and guess what the new article will be about. I’ll give you three guesses but you should only need one. That’s right, the mysterious red streak that is saving people. Then his phone rings. Caitlin demands that he get to Star Labs immediately. D’Anton Black (the mitosis guy) is there.
Caitlin’s got a little she-devil in her. Caitlin was able to take skin cells from Barry’s suit and replicate on of Black’s clones. She explains that if he takes out the prime, the clones will cease. Then Joe West appears to shoot it. When Barry suggests that Joe ‘call it in’, Joe fires back with the confidence inspiring, “you’ve got to do this Barry”. You see at the end of the day, whether Barry likes it or not, he sees Joe as a father figure. Maybe not in blood and appearance, but the respect, love, reverence and compulsion to seek approval will always be there.
West: It’s beyond me. It might be beyond them too. The only person it’s not beyond is you. You gotta do this. I get it. So for once in your life, do what I tell you to do. Go stop him.
So much for that increased security detail. Black worked through them in record time. Barry tries to appeal to the injustice of taking a mans life for sealing research. Black tells a different story. One of his wife dying and in need of a new heart. The transplant list was long. So he was going to grow her a new heart. That is until Stagg stole the research to collect the fame. And Black had to bury his wife.
Side note. There are certain things you learn to look for in any version of a comic book/superhero production. Especially when dealing with the origin story. One of my favorites is the coming together of assets to aid the hero. In this case Cisco, Caitlin, Wells and West working together to give Barry the specific support he needs in this specific moment.
He needs to isolate the ‘prime’. At this point, there are more D’Anton Black’s than Agent Smith’s in the end of the Matrix trilogy. Barry begins to run through the crowd of clones and at the top of the escalator one of them looks down and a sweat bead is visible. Barry grabs him and in a ‘flash’ (pun intended) runs him across the building and into a support beam, knocking him out.
Using his coms, he verifies that he’s alright and that it’s over. But it’s not over. Apparently Barry didn’t knock him out. Black stands. Then runs at Barry. Barry slides out-of-the-way and Black goes through a window on what must be at least the 20th floor. Barry catches him. And in this moment, Black clones a hand on top of his own hand to remove Barry’s grip so that he may fall to his death.
Insert hero’s inner conflict. A hero out for justice and security for the innocent is always going to have a problem with the unnecessary loss of life. Understanding the why behind what D’Anton Black did will make this a little more difficult to handle. However, as it turns out, Barry’s resolve to see things as they are and accept them is ahead of the curve for other hero origin stories.
Joe brings pizza. I fancy myself a bit of a foodie. Even consider myself a decent chef. Where a person gets the cojones to experiment with pepperoni, olives and jalapeno pizza is beyond me. But the Joe says something that even I didn’t think was coming for a couple more episodes. Instant gratification is great, but sometimes you can rush it. Just ask the people behind The Tomorrow People. Not a bad premise, but they rushed it. A number of story lines that should have carried them through the entire first season, ran through in the first episode. We shall see whether this one came too soon, but for the time being, this is nice.
West: You were wrong.
Barry: I have been wrong a lot this week, you’re going to have to be more specific.
West: You said one the things driving to run around out there, was that you couldn’t help your Dad.
(West pulls on the evidence board to reveal Barry’s evidence board for his mother’s killer)
West: You can help him. We can. We are going to figure out who or what killed your Mother that night. And then, we’re going to get your Father out of prison. Together.
My standing as a relatively new Dad prevents me from transcribing the rest. Sometimes there are moments in a show or a movie that cannot be experienced in text. Sometimes you need to see it for yourself and see just how you experience it. We want to bring you the our coverage as if you didn’t need to actually watch the show. But in this case, for the long-term impact of the series, you really should go back and watch this episode. The pilot was great. And so is this episode. But there are factors that will play in long after tonight. Then you can come back next week and we’ll paint the picture for you if you happen to miss the episode.
I thought we were winding down there. Well played CW. I forgot about our messed up Harrison West revealing his true nature scene. Wells shows up at Stagg Industries unannounced. Stagg and Wells have a conversation about the ‘man in the red mask’. Stagg claims that he will get him. Then Wells stands up and while Stagg is stunned at this revelation, Wells stabs him.
“His name is The Flash. Or at least it will be some day. The man in the red mask. The fastest man alive, must be kept…safe.” -Harrison Wells