“ANYTHING BUT THE STREAK”
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
Finally, The Flash has dropped the need to annoyingly call its protagonist “the Streak.” It was an overdue move, but exemplified the best parts of this episode, which moved the narrative and series forward in a big way. Not only was there quite a bit of new information in the ongoing Reverse-Flash plot, but a better crafted, more compelling villain of the week and neat expansion of Flash’s very wide powerset.
When a Humvee goes missing, Flash chases down the owner to find it’s a man who can turn into steel. Cisco dubs him “Girder,” but Barry finds his true identity is Tony Woodward, a bully from his childhood who has taken a likening to beating him in superpowered form too. At the same time, Iris is refusing to back down from her Flash blog and gets abducted by Girder, leaving Barry to figure out a way to his childhood tormentor all over again. Meanwhile, Joe West is enlisting the help of Harrison Wells in solving Nora Allen’s murder, but goes further down the rabbit hole than he expected when digging up Dr. Wells’ past.
There was some great strides made with the series’ storytelling this episode, as Girder, akin to Captain Cold, doesn’t feel like a one-note antagonist. His metallic skin looked surprisingly decent, and his interaction with Barry was certainly memorable. Joe West and Harrison Wells also got some great scenes, which not only fleshed out their relationship but also the events surrounding the founding of STAR Labs in the months following Nora Allen’s murder. Joe’s well-placed suspicion was warranted, as The Flash constantly teases Wells as being the villain Reverse-Flash, which was seemingly confirmed this week as Joe’s inquiries send Reverse-Flash surging through his house. “The Flash is Born” also gave some much-needed development to Eddie Thawne, who found himself working with Barry to track Girder as he rampaged across the city. While Eddie still doesn’t do much narratively, it’s good to see him get the spotlight for once. Considering Thawne becomes Reverse-Flash in the comics, it will be interesting to see whether it’s him or Dr. Wells in the Yellow suit as the series goes on.
Less impressive, though, was the episode’s handling of Iris West, who is quickly becoming something a damsel in distress due to her blogging about the Flash. It’s an issue the show tackles head on in this episode, but it’s rather grating to hear everyone justifiably say that she’ll be attacked if she keeps writing, and yet she keeps doing so. Considering the amount of troubles Arrow has had with its female characters, hopefully The Flash can right the ship before it suffers the same fate. Also curious is the way Barry’s opening monologue from the pilot is shoehorned in, but that’s a nitpick at best.
“The Flash is Born” did many things right, and was able to shine the spotlight on some new characters while moving the narrative forward nicely. However, Iris is quickly becoming one the show’s weak points, and there’s only so far being a courageous journalist will take her. Luckily, there was more than enough developments to make up for it, with Flash dumping the ridiculous “Streak” moniker and having a memorable fight against Girder (hooray for the Sonic Boom Punch!). The Flash may be stumbling at times, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction.
Who is Reverse-Flash? Eddie Thawne or Harrison Wells? Supersonically enter your comments in the area below.
85/100 – ‘Great’
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