The Flash 1:02 ‘The Fastest Man Alive’ ReviewOctober 15, 2014
As with all new shows, once the premiere has come and gone the following few episodes are usually a good way to gauge not only the direction of the show but if it will be worth the commitment by the viewer. (Comic fans may be the worst as they tend to pick apart every last detail of every episode)
For the most part episode two, entitled ‘The Fastest Man Alive’, builds on the strengths and direction shown in the pilot, improves the special effects and drops more hints of things to come.
In episode two, we see Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) becoming seemingly more comfortable with the whole hero gig as he races around the city stopping crimes and saving people from burning buildings (I think that is some sort of law for super heroes) In fact, the only thing he seemingly can’t do is be on time for anything, an irony that really doesn’t need any explaining.
After numerous dizzy spells leads to his outright fainting after attempting to stop a robbery, Barry tells his S.T.A.R. lab team about it which leads to a nicely done special effects laden test using a ‘special’ treadmill to pinpoint the problem.
Eventually, Barry comes across another metahuman villain they dub Multiplex, who has the ability to split himself into as many clones as need be. While still not nearly a Grade A villain, at least this guy is a step up from the Mr. Tornado from last week and their final fight is pretty well done.
The big story arc in this episode remained rooted in the ‘keep Barry Allen human’ mantra with the numerous arguments/discussions between Barry and his step dad Joe West (Jesse L. Martin). While some dialogue once again was quite cheesy, both actors came across as believable and made you think they actually care about one another.
However, the constant question over the first two episodes still starts and ends with Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). As we saw at the end of the pilot, there is much more to this man than meets the eye and while he shows off some fine manipulation skills in this episode he once again gets the ending to himself and makes his character seem even more perplexing and ominous.
As Barry Allen becomes more zen with his powers and alter ego, so does the show and all it’s moving parts. The special effects were always a worry to me but they have been nothing if not solid through the first two episodes. The same can be said for the characters, who have taken the next step in finding their footing. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) drops the hint of the week to lay the groundwork for some interesting developments in future episodes.
While the villain was better this week, it was also a repeat of last week in the way they treated him. I am hoping that soon they are going to begin an arc with a larger villain, like Arrow did with Deathstroke, that far reaching implications down the road. Barry is going to have to be taken down a few notches in order to build up his aura of a true super hero that never gives up.
The pacing, humor and story lines all seemed a little crisper and smoother, making the episode an improvement over the pilot. While the first episode was not bad at all, this second part to the series shows me more of the direction the show runners are going and that actor Grant Gustin looks very capable of caring the burden of both Barry Allen and The Flash and be convincing while doing it.