Four Color Television - The Flash Season 1 Recap
My name is Barry Allen, and I am the fastest man alive. When I was a child I saw my mother killed by something impossible. My father went to prison for her murder. Then an accident made me the impossible. To the outside world I am an ordinary forensic scientist, but secretly I use my speed to fight crime and find others like me. On day, I’ll find who killed my mother and get justice for my father. I am: The Flash.
Season 1 Recap:
When last we saw Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) he was leaving Starling City to race back to his hometown of Central City in time to see the ignition of S.T.A.R. Lab’s innovative particle accelerator and returning to his forensics lab at the Central City Police Station where he was struck by the bolt of lightning that would turn him into The Fastest Man Alive.
We pick up the series with a slight backtrack to the point where Barry gets off the train from his Starling City adventure and lives out the day leading up to the fateful bolt of speed force lightning that will change his life forever. We’re shown a fairly clear picture of who Barry is before his accident; he is constantly late for everything and has a kind guardian in the form of Joe West (the always amazing Jesse L. Martin) who goes to great lengths to cover for him; he is pining away for Joe’s daughter Iris (Candice Patton) for whom he has carried a torch since childhood; he carries the burden of trying to solve the mysterious murder of his mother; and he unrepentantly loves science. It is his love of science that drives Barry not only to see the launch of Dr. Harrison Wells’ (Tom Cavanaugh) particle accelerator but to talk to Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber) on his journey back from Starling City. It is his love of Iris that will cause him to take her to see the Particle Accelerator and will ultimately change his life forever.
When he was ten years old Barry woke up one night to find his mother in the living room being attacked by a ball of yellow lightning, before he could act a ball of red lightning rushed toward him and he found himself miles away. By the time Barry returned home, his mother was murdered and the police were arresting his father Henry (original TV Flash John Wesley Shipp) for the crime. Barry, having no other family, is taken in by Officer Joe West – the father of young Barry’s best friend Iris. Barry spends the rest of his life obsessed with finding the yellow lightning man that murdered his mother and becomes a forensic scientist to pursue that goal, and then the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explodes releasing dark matter into the atmosphere and turning Barry into something far greater than he was.
When Barry wakes up it is almost a year later, he has been taken in by a wheelchair bound Dr. Wells and the remaining S.T.A.R. Labs team of Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) have been assisting in his care. Barry soon learns that he can now run incredibly fast and with the help of Dr. Wells and company he begins to study what has happened to him. The dark matter didn’t just make Barry really fast, it also gave many other people powers – and these other metahumans are rarely as pure hearted and kind as Barry. To protect the city from dangerous super powered criminals, Barry takes on the identity of The Flash and puts together a team of people to help him. Team Flash in Season One is comprised of Dr. Wells, Cisco, Caitlin and Detective Joe West. Barry has to keep his secret from intrepid reporter Iris and her boyfriend/Joe’s partner Eddie Thawne. Barry spends the first season going up against various metahumans, and getting closer and closer to the mystery of The Man in the Yellow Suit who killed his mother – a twist that turns out to be one of the best played moments of the show to date.
Dr. Harrison Wells was a brilliant scientist who would one day create a particle accelerator, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Flash’s greatest villain, Eobard Thawne, thought he had found a way to change the past so that Barry would never become The Flash. He ran back in time and killed Barry’s mother, but without The Flash to inspire him to become The Reverse Flash he himself lost his powers and became stuck in the past. He needed The Flash to become The Flash in order for him to go home. His solution: kill Dr. Harrison Wells and become him, use his advance knowledge to build the particle accelerator that created the lightning bolt that turned Barry into the Flash earlier than in the previous timeline so that he could manipulate the speedster and steal his speed.
When all is said and done, Thawne’s plan was so perfectly laid that there was almost no escape. It all came down to an offer from Thawne to Barry that would allow Eobard to go home and Barry to be happy. All Barry had to do was run back to the night his mother died and save her life, while the time breach remains open Thawne would travel through it and return to his own time. Barry, knowing that his world would be altered, agreed and ran back in time to save his mother. He ran back in time, fully aware that his relationship with Joe and Iris would disappear and he might never become The Flash, and he found himself in his childhood home poised to face an earlier version of Eobard Thawne and save his mother’s life. But there was another version of himself already there, an older version that warned him to do nothing – Barry heeded the warning and refrained from saving her. Opting instead to say goodbye to her and let her know that he is safe and well, Barry tearfully came to the side of a dying Nora Allen and comforted her before running back to the present.
Eobard Thawne – despite being briefly distracted by a winged helmet that fell out of the vortex Barry opened - was about to escape to the future, until Detective Eddie Thawne realized that he was an ancestor of Eobard and took his own life – erasing Eobard from history. It was too late however to prevent the formation of a singularity over Central City that could swallow the universe. Having no time to digest the heaviness of what just transpired Barry ran toward the tallest building and leapt into the sky to close The Singularity.
Season One of The Flash takes all the love and respect for the DC comics source material shown by Arrow and goes all in. The series is packed full of comics accurate villains, easter eggs that tease future stories and a love and reverence of not only the comics but also the 1990 CBS television series. Barry and Team Flash are fun to watch as they tackle the bad guy of the week format, and the way these charming characters interact is note perfect. Arrow Season One gave us a sort of Batman Begins, building blocks of Green Arrow approach to introducing Oliver Queen and his world. The Flash goes the opposite direction, from moment one Barry is a fully formed version of The Flash and everything is on the table. Time Travel stories are common in The Flash comics and they’re teased in the pilot, and paid off early in the series over all. The Flash also serves as a springboard to introduce other DC comics heroes like Firestorm, but what really makes The Flash work week after week is that the core of each episode is the emotional bonds of Team Flash. The show has an incredible amount of heart, and it wears that heart on its sleeve.
What Works about Season One: is almost everything. Grant Gustin is wonderful as The Flash, the weekly supporting cast is amazing – but the show makes truly great choices in casting some of its villains. Wentworth Miller joins the series early on as Captain Cold , and is followed quickly by his Prison Break costar Dominic Purcell as Heat Wave. These two are hands down the most fun villains across all four CW DC shows, and it is no secret why they are quickly snatched up to star in their own series Legends of Tomorrow. The often praised, but very deserved MVP of Season One is Tom Cavanaugh as Dr. Harrison Wells/Eobard Thawne – playing two different roles the way he does is challenging and it will get more challenging as the show progresses.
What doesn’t work about Season One is the chemistry between Rick Cosnett’s Eddie Thawne and the rest of the cast. While giving great performances, Cosnett never really connects with anyone on the show beyond Candice Patton’s Iris, and that just makes the character feel like dead weight on a show that thrives on the connection between its main cast.
Thanks to YouTube.com user Marco Polo for this awesome supercut of some of the best moments from Season 1:
Next Week: Stronger Together, Jimmy Olsen and Supergirl, and Cat gets catty.
In Two Weeks: “My name is Jay Garrick, and on my world I’m The Flash”
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