The CW has a lot riding on their new Flash pilot. Arrow was one of last year’s biggest success stories, and they’re aiming for similar results with Barry Allen’s origin tale. I was weary of the superhero’s first appearance, but I must say, this hour was a resounding success on practically every level.
Surprisingly, Grant Gustin was immediately likeable as the curiously brilliant Barry Allen. From his social awkwardness to a surprisingly flirtatious dynamic with Felicity, he’s so far removed from Oliver Queen that I can perfectly see him headlining his own show. Of course a lot of the character’s success will rest on how well they can integrate his superpowers into the show’s semi-realistic world, but all in all, Arrow has done an admirable job of slowing ratcheting up the crazy this season. I don’t think it will feel like such a stretch to see some otherworldly abilities take center stage.
Although the flashbacks on the island were much too short for my liking, I was positively riveted the entire way through. I was sure the writers would prolong our characters finding the infamous sub, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them not only get their hands on the super-serum, but inject Slade with it as well. Obviously Manu Bennett can not been killed off, so there’s a ton of story to mine here. Even more satisfying was Oliver linking that serum to Brother Blood’s present-day shenanigans. It’s this kind of complex yet surprisingly intricate storytelling that I’m most impressed by this year.
Much like what has become the nor on Nikita, this week’s action sequences lived up to Hollywood-blockbuster standards. First we got Oliver on his bike making his way to the truck, where he then got flung around on the hood and thrown back out onto the street. Then, we got Arrow’s epic faceoff with Brother’s Blood terrifying Bane-like super-soldier. I loved the fact that Ollie uses his wits (and special arrows) to contain the threat, only to get practically decimated and punched into a ceiling. I’m genuinely in awe of this show’s immaculate production values.
As for the show’s MVP, Moira continued to kick ass this week by refusing to bow down to Malcolm’s threats (and tell Thea the truth about her paternity). Her response? She alerted Ra’s Al Ghul about Malcolm’s whereabouts, and the latter’s now got some “running” to do. I love that Moira got proactive, because I was dreading another season of her sulking in the shadows, terrified of Mr. Big Bad. Now can we please meet Ghul or one of his notorious daughters soon?
Bits & Arrows
– Awesome touch: Barry saying the Arrow’s green attire is a subtle nod to his forest training. That’s just really cool.
– Can I get a collective woohoo now that Roy and Thea are involved in the Brother Blood storyline? The two didn’t get much screen-time this week, but seeing Roy get shot in the knee by our hero was fantastic.
– I’m guessing Barry’s quest to find his mother’s killer and free his dad is going to be one of Flash’s central storylines.
– Is anyone else completely intrigued by Moira and Isabel’s past? What does Moira know, and can she tell us already?
– I hate to admit it, but that was some really cheap CGI with the submarine. I guess they blew this week’s budget on those action sequences.
– I was most amused by Oliver’s jealousy of Barry and Felicity. That is, until he got them slow-dancing together.
– So the disaster bunker is for ARGUS. Hmm…
– It’s sad but I didn’t even notice Laurel’s absence this week. Oy.
– Ollie mentions that Ivo is dead. I wonder who killed him?
– With everything going on, Slade still managed to profess his love to Shado before dying. And Ollie obviously ain’t pleased by this new-found relationship.
– A bit weird how Ollie got accidentally injected when he crashed into the crates.
– Awesome ending with Felicity’s plea to a drugged up Barry Allen. “Please save my friend”. Yup, she’s adorable.
Felicity: Did you do something to your hair?
Moira: Yes I shampooed it without eight women and a guard watching.
(To Barry Allen)
Lance: Who the hell are you?
Oliver: And do your parents know that you’re here?
Barry: I’m guessing you don’t know how hard it is to break someone’s neck.
Oliver: Nope. No idea.
Oliver: He did lie about who he really was?
Felicity: And what do we do every day?
Oliver: (about Barry) FYI, they will card him at the bar.
Isabel: I tried to warn you.
Oliver: I tried to ignore you.
Moira: And I thought it couldn’t hurt to add extra security guards.
Malcolm: It hurt them, badly.
A superb hour that expertly sets up next week’s mid-season finale.