"The Flash" 1.3 - Things You Can't Outrun (8 out of 10) - Written by Alison Shapker and Grainne Godfree; Starring Grant Gustin, Candice Patton, Rick Cosnett, Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Tom Kavanaugh, Jesse L. Martin, and Robbie Amell.
In the first two episodes of "The Flash,." most of the time was spent on Barry Allen. This is fitting, since he is...The Flash. A likable guy who could be the kid next door, if that kid was super nice and was a CSI and his dad had been framed for murder, and he got struck by lightning... Anyway, a nice guy. Like his good friend Arrow, Flash has a solid supporting team to help him on his road to being a hero. The third episode of "The Flash" focuses more on that team, especially Danielle Panabaker's Caitlyn Snow.
Much of this episode is told in a flashback, going to the day that the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator exploded, triggering metagenes in Central City and beyond. This creates heroes and villains with genuine superpowers, like say, running super fast. We see Caitlyn the last time she was truly happy, with her fiance Ronnie Raymond (portrayed by Robbie Amell)("Arrow" star Stephen Amell's cousin)(a genetically gifted family)(damn them). The night of the accident, Ronnie was killed. Minutes after talking their honeymoon plans, Ronnie walked into the supercollider tunnel to fix a malfunction, was locked in to save other lives, and was vaporized. Being vaporized really sucks, you guys. SPOILERS: Anyone who knows DC Comics knows that this doomed couple becomes the superhero Firestorm (Ronnie) and the supervillain Killer Frost (Caitlyn). I don't know if that will happen first season or further down the road, but it's got to happen.
Being vaporized really sucks, you guys
This deepening of Caitlyn's character is welcome, and even her lab partner Cisco gets some more powerful moments than the wisecracking sidekick he normally is. It made me like both characters more, and made Caitlyn's loss more real than just a footnote to explain why she's such a cold fish. A supercold fish. Like...a KILLER FROST. That's the kind of supervillain name Cisco himself would come up with. That guy. This episode had more pathos than previous episodes--the title "Things You Can't Outrun" applies to each of the main characters...their past is catching up with them. How they cope with it is going to make or break them.
These first three episodes have been universe-building. We see the role of S.T.A.R. Labs, we see the manipulations of Dr. Harrison Wells, we learn more about Barry's dad wrongfully imprisoned in Iron Heights. Another piece of that universe is locked into place in this episode, where the abandoned supercollider tunnel beneath S.T.A.R. Labs is reconfigured into a prison for metahumans--sort of like Flash's version of Arkham Asylum. I don't even know if that's legal, but Harrison Wells gets it done.
So far the villains have been disposable
The problem with these first three episodes is that so far the villains have been disposable. Weather Wizard, Multiplex, and the Mist are all one-shot villains, with the first two being killed, and the Mist being pretty ineffectual. I assume these lameass villains are all so weak to showcase Barry and his team--build them up before they face a real Big Bad. That seems to be coming next week, in the person of Leonard Snert, AKA Captain Cold. He's usually considered Flash's archenemy, and the leader of a pack of villains called the "Rogues." I may be looking forward to next week's episode of "The Flash" more than any other so far--including the pilot. I've been waiting for this showdown since "Challenge of the Superfriends." A fricking long time.