FLASH: SPOILER Review 1×07 “Power Outage”

The Flash (1×07) –
“Power Outage”
Written by: Grainne Godfree
Directed by: Larry Shaw
This week opens on three friends partying outside of town
the night of the Accelerator explosion. 
One of the friends, Farooq, has climbed an electrical tower to get a
better view of the accelerator while being heckled by his friends.  Farooq sees the explosion and before he tries
to climb down he warns his friends to get in the car.  As the shockwave passes over them, Farooq is
enveloped by electricity then falls to the ground, seemingly dead.
In present day, Dr. Wells is in his secret room talking with
some sort of AI interface.  He’s
catalogue Barry’s progress on day 311 post-explosion.  Barry seems to be comfortable with his
powers, in fact he seems a little too comfortable with them.  He uses them for the mundane tasks of getting
ready for work, at Jitters he see a long line and uses his speed to treat the
entire line before leaving.  It’s here he
is accosted by a mugger and Barry is extremely entertained by the prospect
before subduing the man and making his way to STAR Labs.
He’s late for an appointment with Dr. Wells, who is rather agitated
with him.  Wells reminds him that while
they are helping him save the city, he also has to help them research his
abilities.  For that, Wells needs Barry
to push himself harder to get more speed. 
Their discussion is cut short when Barry is paged to a crime scene.
The crime is a body burnt beyond recognition in an
alley.  Joe and Eddie arrive on the scene
and as Barry takes pictures he points out that the body would have to be heated
to 2400 degrees to be burned that badly and that there are signs of arcing
electricity.  Thawne asks Barry how
taking pictures will help and Barry responds rather cockily that he has
“Mad Skills.” (Or should that be spelled with a “z” in this
Barry notices Joe is tense but he asks about it, Joe waves
him off. Unbeknownst to Barry, Joe is recalling the Reverse Flash’s warning
that he will kill Iris if Joe continues digging into Nora Allen’s murder.
At STAR Labs, Barry gives Cisco the photos he took of the
crime scene and he and Caitlin use facial reconstructive software and a peek
inside DMV records to identify the man as an employee of the power
company.  The substation he worked at
suddenly experiences a power drain and Barry races off to investigate.
At the substation, Barry finds someone attacking the power
lines with electricity.  We recognize him
as Farooq, though he’s clearly been changed. 
When Barry asks him what he’s doing, Farooq replies that he has to
“feed” then he attacks Barry. 
One of his bolts of lightning strikes Barry and he’s hurt by it.  Farooq drained some of his power and seemed
to like the taste.  He attacks Barry
again, but stops as it was too much. 
However, the damage is done; Barry’s lost his powers.
Back at STAR, the team is testing Barry out while Wells
tries to hypothesize about Farooq’s power. 
Caitlin is unconvinced, Barry’s powers came from a rewritten DNA
sequence and that cannot be undone. 
Barry worries that the drain might not be temporary but none of them has
any answers so Barry heads off to tell Joe.
Joe runs a test of his own using Barry’s favorite coffee mug
before stressing how important it is that he gets his powers back.  While they discuss the danger Farooq poses,
Iris arrives and ask what they’re talking about.  Joe tries to play Farooq off as a thief and
Iris says that if the police don’t catch him the Flash will.  Barry begins to question if the Flash has
“gone away” and Joe chases him out of the lab.
As Barry is leaving the station he passes William Tockman
aka the Clock King at the elevator.
Back at STAR, Wells goes to his secret room and quickly
learns the future has changed drastically. 
The Newspaper from the pilot has no mention of the Flash and the Red Sky
problem is getting worse (also of note, Wayne Enterprises’ acquisition of Queen
Incorporated has fallen through.)  Wells
has the AI search the future and it seems the Flash has been erased completely.
Caitlin finds Barry and he laments that despite not having
them for long he already feels like he’s not the best version of himself
without them.  Cisco arrives with the
identity of Farooq Gibran.  He explains
what happened to him the night of the explosion.  An alarm draws their attention to the
security cameras where they find Farooq outside looking for Dr. Wells.  When they don’t let him inside, he begins
draining STAR Labs’ power.
Back at the police station with Joe and Iris, Captain Singh
is leaving Joe in charge of Tockman’s prison transfer.  The lights begin to flicker there and Tockman
uses the distraction to get out of his handcuffs, take an officer’s gun and
shoot him and another officer with it before taking everyone else hostage.
Singh returns to take command of the negotiations and
receives a call from Barry looking for Joe. 
Singh tells him the situation and Barry hangs up.  He tells the others and says he needs his
speed back immediately.  Wells theorizes
that since Barry’s cells are still primed to use his abilities that they could
use an electric charge to essentially jump start him.  Caitlin and Cisco both object since the
amperage needed to do that would be much more than enough to kill Barry.
Wells reminds them that Farooq is inside the Labs and
looking for them.  They hit on using the
treadmill to deliver the charge but Cisco will have to restart the generators
first.  Barry starts to leave, he intends
to try and talk to Farooq, Wells objects strongly and reminds Barry that Farooq
killed a man just that morning.  Barry
says that he needs to help Farooq, and leaves.
At the police station, Singh calls Tockman asking for his demands;
he wants a helicopter out and a laptop and gives him 53 minutes to acquire
them.  Joe tries to talk to him but
Tockman explains his sister died and he wasn’t able to see her, he refuses to
spend any more time in jail.  Eddie
sneaks up behind Tockman and the two exchange fire.  Both were wearing a vest but Tockman also
stuck Eddie in the arm, wounding him badly.
Barry finds Farooq, as the two talk he explains his friends
died trying to give him CPR.  Barry tries
to convince him it wasn’t his fault, Farooq agrees.  He blames Wells.  Barry tries to talk to him but Farooq blasts
him in the shoulder.  Cisco closes the
blast doors and Wells orders Barry and Caitlin down to the treadmill while he
and Cisco set the plan to jump start Barry into motion.  Well, Cisco is working on that plan.  Wells sneaks down into the Pipeline and lets
Tony Woodward out to kill Farooq in exchange for his freedom.
Meanwhile, Farooq has cornered Barry and Caitlin.  Just as he’s about to find them, Cisco gets
the power back on, and Farooq leaves the lab. 
Tony finds him and the two start to fight.
Caitlin refuses to turn on the treadmill as she doesn’t want
to lose Barry like she lost Ronnie. 
Barry makes an impassioned plea to her and convinces her to turn on the
power.  Barry survives the charge but he
doesn’t seem to have his speed back yet.
At the station, Eddie is bleeding out on the floor while
Tockman waits.  Iris and Joe beg for help
and Tockman eventually relents, using Eddie’s tie for a tourniquet.  Iris then tries unsuccessfully to threaten
Tockman with the impending arrival of The Flash.
Caitlin and Barry find Tony Woodward; he’s mortally wounded
and tells them to run before he dies. 
They escape and find Cisco, when they tell him that they believe Tony
got out when the power went out Cisco says it’s impossible.  The Pipeline was designed to operate without power;
Wells arrives and tells them he let Tony out to buy them time.  Barry asks him how he could be so cold and
Wells scoffs.  Barry says that while Tony
was a bully he didn’t deserve to die, Wells asks if Barry would rather one of
them die in Tony’s place.  He made a choice
and he did it without hesitation.  Barry
mockingly asks who he intends to sacrifice next.
Cisco offers the idea of heading for the garage while
Caitlin has finished her test of Barry’s blood. 
She says that whatever the reason Barry doesn’t have his speed is not a
physical problem.  Cisco diagnoses Barry
with the yips.  Barry is unconvinced but
Caitlin reminds Barry of their earlier conversation and Caitlin says that she
believes in him and he should as well.
At the Station, Tockman’s time limit is almost up and he
decides to head to the roof with Iris as a prisoner.  Joe begs him; first to take him instead and
when Tockman scoffs he begs to let Iris say goodbye to Eddie.  Tockman lets her and Eddie whispers something
to her before Tockman takes her away.
At the lab, the team is head for an escape vehicle when
Farooq finds them.  Before Farooq can
kill Barry, Caitlin and Cisco Wells yells and says that his problem is with
Wells and not them.  Farooq attacks Wells
and Barry stops thinking, he surges forward, outrunning the blasts and saves
Wells.  Barry and Farooq fight and Farooq
tries to feed from Barry again.  But this
time something goes wrong, instead of draining Barry’s power Farooq dies.
Before anyone can react, Barry races off to find out what
happened to Iris.  We learn that what
Eddie said to Iris was that he kept a second gun in an ankle holster, as
Tockman pulled her away she grabbed that gun and she shot him with it and
subdued him. 
In the Pipeline, Barry asks the others why Farooq (Who Cisco
has posthumously dubbed “Blackout”) didn’t drain his powers.  Caitlin explains that Barry is no longer
thinking about his powers, he’s connected with him.  His cells are generating more energy than
before and that was why Farooq died. 
Caitlin and Cisco leave and Barry tries to apologize to Wells but he
dismisses the apology.  He points that
Barry’s not wrong but because of Barry he believes in a better future. 
Later at the hospital, Barry finds Joe and Iris with Eddie,
and the injured cop is pretty out of it on pain killers.  After Iris leaves to get a cup of coffee, Joe
recreates his test from earlier with a flower vase that Barry brought.  Barry catches it with his speed and Eddie
sees it.  Joe plays it off as a medically
induced hallucination.
At the coffee machine, the Flash arrives to apologize to
Iris for not being there.  He vows not to
let it happen again and when Iris jokes that she has a friend that makes and
breaks that same promise, Flash say she’s worth being on time for before he
runs off.  Iris comes back to Eddie’s
room to find Eddie Joe and Barry.
Dr. Wells goes to his secret room and checks on the future
and finds it restored.  He also notes
that Barry’s taken a great leap forward from the day before and he now believes
that it’s because of his connection to people. 
In the main lab, Wells finds Barry at the treadmill.  He’s early today; he agrees with Wells that
it’s time they learn how fast he can really go.
Later, Wells is down in the Pipeline with Farooq’s
body.  He takes a blood sample as he
intends to learn how to take away Barry’s powers for his own purposes.
This episode took a well-used trope of the superhero genre
(the hero loses his powers) and did some fun stuff with it.  By setting up the story with Barry almost
uncharacteristically cocky they gave him somewhere to go and something to learn
this week.  However, the B-plot of the
hostage situation was also a well-used trope of the genre and wasn’t quite as
Where the show shines is once again how the characters
interact.  Ratcheting up tension between
Barry and Wells was satisfying and the Caitlin and Barry stuff was good
too.  I liked that some of the Speed
Force higher concepts were explored this week; particularly that Barry’s
connection to people is what allows him to run at greater and greater
speeds.  It felt like they were laying
the groundwork for more sci-fi concepts in the future (time travel perhaps?)
I was also intrigued by some of the exploration they did of
Wells’ future knowledge and how they used it to show that time can be
manipulated.  All in all, this was a
pretty good episode that was built on an almost tired concept.
Three Things We Learned This Week:
The computer in Wells’ secret room seems to use
some sort of AI, named Gideon.
311 days is about ten months so Barry has been
working as the Flash for about a month.
Ralph Dibny is amongst those who died in the
explosion.  In the comics, Ralph Dibny is
a member of the JLA called the Elongated Man.
Three Questions:
Is Wells trying to stop whatever caused the Red
Skies in 2024? Or is he trying to make sure Barry survives them?
How fast was Barry going at the end of the
episode if he could outrun Farooq’s blast?
When I paused to write some of this review I
noticed one of the stories on the future newspaper and it begs this question: How
on Earth is there a Wooly Mammoth at the Central City zoo?

Just another guy on the internet.

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