By Justin Carter
The problem with the CW’s shows is that the leads, despite whatever their IMDB pages say, all look like they should be at least a sophomore in college. This in turn makes them slightly hard to take seriously when they talk about things like being a hero and getting married. The scenes with Caitlin Snow and her fiancée Ronnie are sweet, but Danielle Panabaker and Robbie Amell look too young for me to fully buy into their failed romance.
Caitlin is given the central story in the flashbacks for two reasons. The first is to not so subtly hint that her late fiancée will eventually return to the series as one half of Firestorm, and to give Caitlin some personality that at least feels consistent. She spent a good part of last week berating Barry for using his superpowers to do the very thing that they said they would do in the premiere, aka help people and find others affected by the explosion, so this week focuses on why she’s against this. Days before their wedding, Ronnie went to fix the accelerator as it began to malfunction, and Caitlin is projecting her grief onto Barry’s crusade. Panabaker plays the scene where Ronnie dies well and provides legitimate reasons for her to be how she is, which makes her smiling in the premiere all the more out of place.
The other reason is to justify no longer killing the villains of the week Barry goes up against. Whereas Arrow took an entire season to get Oliver to realize that he has to adopt a “no kill” code, Team Flash opts to use the particle accelerator where Ronnie “died” as a makeshift prison for the enemies Barry will face right away. Eventually, the prison will have to suffer an electrical outage or something that’ll have most, if not all of the villains able to break out, but for the moment it’s a nice way to keep villains around without having them escape in the nick of time.
This week’s villain is Kyle Nimbus, a former hitman for a gang who was sentenced to death by gas chamber the night of the explosion. Now given the ability to turn into gas and kill people just by touching them, Nimbus goes on a revenge spree against the gang who sold him out, the judge who convicted him, and Joe, who caught him in the first place. He looks appropriately creepy and the visual effect of him dissipating into smoke and traveling up someone’s nostrils is unnatural. He’s underdeveloped, like the villains of the last two episodes, but I’m willing to forgive it here because his story is simple and the show isn’t trying to make him sympathetic or out to be on some sort of power trip.
Other than that, the show continues to be in a bit of a formula. Narration, speed montage, meet villain, fight villain and lose, flashback, so on and so forth. Even the Wells tags at the end are settling into a formula of him doing something mysterious while strings play before a close up of his face. Not that I’m demanding the show change things up every single episode, but it needs to quit feeling like a routine. The only other thing that really happens is Iris comes clean to her dad about dating Eddie, and even that barely feels like progress. Much like the title states, one of the things the show can’t outrun is falling into the trap of a routine. I just wish it wasn’t three episodes in.
How did Cisco not end up nicknaming Nimbus into the Mist, his actual comic book name? C’mon, buddy.
Joe starts looking into tapes of Henry Allen’s confession and promises to get him out, and Jesse L. Martin is a master in almost crying. Law & Order trained him well.
I have a feeling Barry is only called “The Streak” by Iris and the public because Smallville took “The Blur” back in 2008.
- Next week, Felicity drops by. The sass will be strong if she and Joe meet.
- Clever references to DC’s often used number 52 and an actual Flash museum. Gotham, take note.