You defeated him because you trusted in people, because you believed in them.
Once again, we return to The Flash. It’s nice to be getting back into the swing of things again; having this show as a weekly occurrence, something to look forward to, feels very good.
We picked up from the end of the last episode, opening with Jay Garrick – the Flash of the other world – explaining his origin to the team, and introducing what’s going to be the overarching story for this season; the Multiverse. Teddy Sears has joined a fairly long (and growing!) list of excellent casting choices from the CW, bringing Jay Garrick to life with an impressive performance. I was similarly impressed by Shantel VanSanten as Patty Spivot, actually – she had a great rapport with Grant Gustin, and I’m actually quite interested to see where their relationship goes.
‘Twas also another great week for the cast we’ve come to know and love, of course. It seems worth singling out Iris in particular; whilst I never really held the same level of animosity towards Iris last year as other fans did, I think it’s fair to say she was at times under utilised, and poorly treated by the narrative. (Indeed, more scenes and deeper characterisation for Iris were amongst the things I called for prior to the beginning of the series.) It’s great to see the character being given more to do now, though, and living up to her potential; not just the love interest kept in the dark, but Barry’s closest friend, helping him when he needs it. It’s a much more effective use of the character, and I’m glad to see this change.
Wasn’t this such a fantastic shot, by the way? I really appreciated that. That sort of thing is the kind of reference I appreciate; I’d never advocate sticking slavishly to the comics, because that’s limiting, but it is always nice to see little things like this.
The visuals were fairly impressive throughout, I’d say; I liked the flashback (haha) sequences to Earth-2, which had a nice, distinct looking visual design – I hope that’s explored further when we inevitably return there. Similarly, I quite liked the design of Sand Demon, which I thought was rather effective.
But that does bring me onto one of my two main concerns with regards to this episode – the fact that, for the second week running, the villain was killed at the end. And, actually, in a fairly brutal fashion too – this week, Sand Demon was turned to glass and smashed into tiny pieces, and last week, they irradiated Atom Smasher until his body was riddled with cancers.
It was more than a little uncomfortable, to be honest. I hope this is picked up on at some point, within the narrative, because to leave it unaddressed would be a failing on the part of the show. The Flash has always aimed to portray more traditional heroics, with an eye towards a certain level of moral integrity; it’s concerned with questions of Doing Good and Being Good, rather than anti heroism and morally grey areas. Frankly, even Arrow, as early as it’s first season, never quite let killing the bad guys go unexamined. I’d expect The Flash to do the same.
The only other thing that bothered me, really, was the way that the relationship between Jay and Caitlin was handled. Now, it seems to me to be fairly obvious that they’re trying to set up a romance there, but it felt quite poorly handled; they seemed to sacrifice any semblance of subtlety or characterisation for a few cheap jokes about how well built Teddy Sears is. (And, frankly, the best of those jokes came from Cisco anyway!) I realise it’s a bit of a difficult situation that the show is in – obviously, they don’t want to retread the “Ronnie is gone” plot arc from last year, for fear of feeling repetitive, but it does seem like a bit of glaring omission if they do leave it out. I’m not entirely convinced there’s any need to start a relationship between Jay and Caitlin anyway, mind. Likely there are other, more interesting routes to go down.
So, in essence: Another fun episode, replete with plenty of entertaining moments, but on the whole, not quite as strong as the debut episode. Nonetheless, I’m still looking forward to the next episode (why wouldn’t I be?), and I’m particularly interested in the subplot with Iris’ mother.