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FLASH: SPOILER Review 01×02 “Fastest Man Alive”

The Flash (1×02) –
“Fastest Man Alive”
Written by: Greg Berlanti, Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by: David Nutter
Television series are a lot like Comic Books.  The First issue is full of big, double page
splashes and pithy dialogue but it’s usually issue two that starts the heavy
lifting.  The pilot episode was full of
exciting imagery and snappy dialogue to hook people in but things usually get truly
started with episode two.  Is this the
case for “The Fastest Man Alive?” Let’s find out.
Our episode opens similar to the first, clouds giving way to
a bird’s eye view of Central City with a voice over from Barry.  This time he makes a joke about pre-caps
before he decides to “Get to the good stuff!”
With technical support from Cisco, Barry’s on his way to an
apartment fire.  It seems he’s still
getting the hang of his powers as he overshoots by six blocks before charging
into the building.  We get some nice
effects work here, both with his speed and the fire while Barry pulls a girl
and two other tenants out of the building.
At the same time, we are getting out first glimpse at the
day-to-day chemistry of Barry and the STAR Labs team; Barry is upbeat and
excited but also increasingly committed to using his powers to help
people.  Cisco is the bubbly excited one,
encouraging Barry to take up the role of superhero and Caitlin is the stern
voice of logic.  We also get a charmingly
awkward bit of Barry’s character during this sequence.  His “Heeey Caitlin” is pretty much
pitch perfect Barry Allen.
On Caitlin’s order, Barry returns to the lab but not before
he has a momentary bout of vertigo (Small V, no sign of green pills here.)  On arrival, Barry and Cisco receiving a more
detailed tongue-lashing from Dr. Snow to remind the men and the audience that
Barry’s primary concern is containing the meta-human outbreak caused by the
explosion.  She stresses that other than
Clyde Mardon, they have found none of the others.
Here we are reintroduced to the final member of the Team,
Harrison Wells.  Wells is established
here in a fatherly role, softening Caitlin’s accusation while still agreeing
that Barry needs to show more restraint so he doesn’t end up like Wells in a
metaphorical or worse, literal sense. 
The dynamic between the quartet is still strong as they start to
establish the series status quo.
From here, we move to a crime scene and reintroduce
Detective West.  An armed robbery at an
army surplus store requires Barry’s attention as a CSI.  West also implies that perhaps Barry’s been a
bit neglectful of his actual duties in favor of chosen one.  Barry speeds off to the crime scene, forgetting
his clothes which is quickly remedied thanks to a nearby clothing store.  This scene not only establishes Barry’s skill
at crime scene investigation but hints at our villain of the week.  Detective Thawne explains that the security
camera identifies one suspect who has made off with a considerable amount of
weapons and ammunition, but Barry notices six sets of identically-sized
footprints.
At the police station, West and Barry establish that things
are tense between them since Joe learned about Barry’s abilities.  He then reminds Barry of his promise not to
tell Iris before dismissing Barry.  This
is dovetailed with a flashback to Barry’s childhood, where not long after Barry
is taken in by Joe he’s tried to sneak away to see his father in prison.  Joe finds Barry and brings him home and
forbids him from running off and refuses to listen to Barry’s story of a
“lightning man.”  Frustrated
and angry, Barry lashes out at West and storms off.
Back in the present, Barry’s working on the robbery.  We see another display of his speed and
another bout of vertigo when Iris enters. 
We learn that, at Barry’s urging, she’s taking a journalism class for an
elective and that she’s not enjoying it all that much.  We then learn that Barry’s promised to come
with to a presentation she’s covering. 
Detective Thawne arrives, looking for progress on the shooting and we
are reminded that he and Iris are dating secretly and that Barry knows.  We also see a moment of frustration on
Barry’s part, both at keeping Iris’ secrets and his own.
At Stagg Industries, Dr. Simon Stagg is receiving an award
for his work on organ transplants.  He’s
made a major breakthrough in organ replacement using cloning.  The ceremony is cut short by armed gunman
dressed the same as the man who robbed the gun store.  After Barry saves a security officer from
being shot, Barry attempts to chase them but passes out after another dizzy
spell.
After the break, Iris revives Barry in the back alley and
leads him back inside.  Joe and Thawne
are on the scene and when he overhears the guard’s story warns Barry not to
pursue the gunmen and not to endanger Iris.
Caitlin is just as angry at Barry for keeping his dizzy
spells secret before they start medical tests to figure out what’s wrong with
Barry.  Cisco has modified a treadmill
and Dr. Wells notices Barry’s blood-sugar level dropping.  Barry passes out again, and revives after he
goes through forty bags of glucose. 
Barry’s not eating enough, and while Cisco is offering up a new diet
plan Detective West arrives to confront Barry.
Barry and Joe’s frustration with each other and the
situation in general boils over and the two argue.  Detective West warns them that they’re on the
brink of Barry getting killed before he leaves. 
In an alley, one of the gun men from earlier, Danton Black confronts Dr.
Stagg’s head of security demanding help getting to Stagg.  When he refuses, Black reveals that he’s able
to instantly clone himself shortly before he kills him.
Back at the lab, Iris confronts Barry about his behavior and
using his speed Barry vents his frustrations too fast for Iris to hear.  All he wants to do is tell her everything and
not being able to is eating at him.  One
of Barry’s tests on Black’s blood reveals that it consists entirely of stem
cells.  Joe and Thawne are questioning
Dr. Stagg when Black shows up with his duplicates to kill Stagg.  Barry suits up and arrives to confront Black
but ends up overpowered by all the duplicates before he manages to escape.
Barry returns to STAR Labs, bloodied and disheartened and
it’s here we learn the reason Black is going after Stagg.  Stagg stole his research into organ cloning
before firing him.  Barry doesn’t think
he’s up to the challenge Black presents and as he begins to doubt himself we
transition to a flashback.
Young Barry has managed to sneak out to the prison to visit
his father and we learn it wasn’t Joe who forbade Barry from visiting but Henry
himself because he doesn’t want his son to see what’s become of him.  He tells Barry that no matter how much he believes
his father is innocent; he can’t help him and encourages him to be good for
Joe.
Barry meets up with Iris and Thawne at Jitters while Wells
and Joe both try to warn Stagg.  They
also talk about Barry and what’s happened to him since the explosion.  Wells urges Joe to encourage Barry and help
ease his doubts in himself.  Back at
Jitters, Iris tells Barry she plans to investigate the “Red Streak”
before Caitlin calls him back to STAR Labs.
Caitlin and Cisco have figured out how Black duplicates
himself and she offers a way of defeating him. 
Joe arrives and encourages Barry to stop Black.  When Barry confronts him, we learn that Black
was trying to keep his wife from dying using his cloning research.  Stagg stole his research and she died and what
follows is a very cool fight sequence between Barry and Black.  Barry fights a seemingly endless horde of
Blacks, the action slows down at times only to speed up a moment later.  In concert with some quality doubling effects
for Black it tells the story wonderfully. 
Barry finds the “prime” Danton and subdues him.  Black manages to recover and charge Barry
only to crash through a nearby window and despite his efforts to save the man
Black falls to his death.
We return to STAR Labs where Cisco dubs Black “Multiplex”
and Barry declares Wells, Caitlin, Cisco and himself a team by saying “We
were all struck by that lightning.” 
At the police station, Joe brings pizza and pledges to help Barry clear
his father’s name.  Barry apologizes for
the things he said to Joe and tells the older man that he’s just as important
to Barry as his father.
With our status quo established, Barry speeds off into next
week’s adventure but not before we get one final scene between Stagg and
Wells.  Wells murders Stagg, not for any
personal reasons but because he’s protecting “The Flash.”
This week was about establishing the status quo going
forward and they do it very well.  The
use of Multiplex (a Firestorm villain) paired up with Barry speed in a
compelling way and the effects work is still top notch.  All in all, this is a quality effort that
leaves me as excited about week three as I was about week two, if not more so.
This brings us to the Three Things We Learned:
1)     
If Cisco’s correct, Barry is a Taco Bell
franchise owner’s dream. (850 tacos a day!)
2)     
Iris is suspicious of Barry already.
3)     
Tito’s on Bruckner Ave is the best burrito in
Central City.
Three questions:
1)     
How long until Iris figures out Barry’s secret?
2)     
Is Multiplex actually dead?
3)     
How long until Cisco upgrades Barry’s treadmill?

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