Yesterday the Pilot episode for The Flash leaked its way online, months before it’s October release date. Well… I could have waited a few more months to watch it in HD as it aired… with commercials. But I didn’t. I caved in the day after (today, I mean) and watched it. What did I think? Well, I didn’t love it. But I rarely ever “love” Pilots. Good thing though, you don’t need to be caught up in Arrow to understand what’s going on. Some spoilers ensue, including character reveals, and potential endgame plot points.
As pilots go, this one showed quite a bit of promise, and it’s easy to see why the CW picked it up. First and foremost, the episode runs very much like your average episode of Arrow in season one: too fast. Too much happens in the 45 minutes for you to really find any time to like any of the characters, aside from Barry (who was appropriately introduced in Arrow this past season over the span of two episodes). But that’s okay, it’s all very exciting. They even brought in a guest appearance from the Arrow himself, which sadly fell face forward and flat. It felt injected, completely auxiliary, unnecessary and that doesn’t even begin to dig into Stephen Amell’s forced monologue. AND THEY USED THAT SAME TRANSITION SCENE WITH THE CARS!! (Seriously, this two second sequence bothers me to no end. Nearly every episode of Arrow, when they transition to the Police Department they recycle this same footage. In this leaked pilot it appears at the 4:48 location).
But where they differ from Arrow is the fact that they introduce Barry’s “team” right away, instead of wasting half a season. Whether that’s good or bad is up for debate. Like I said, it leaves out any room for character development, but their presence is a necessary evil if he’s to understand his powers, and get his suit. It is a great looking suit too.
The Pilot also races past just about 7 seasons of Smallville, as Barry reveals his newfound abilities to nearly half the cast. This bit didn’t upset me so much as the rest might have surprisingly. It felt natural, most of it. But it looks like they may be going down the meta-human villain of the week shtick Smallville had going for a while. Just, instead of radioactive meteorite fragments, it’s people similarly affected by the Particle Accelerator malfunction that granted Barry his speed. And do take heed of the characters introduced. Nearly all will be important at some stage in the series’ lifespan or other. So as to give you folks time to choose not to spoil yourselves, I’ll list off some down at the end of the review.
The most interesting facet of the episode is undoubtedly Barry’s relationship with Harrison Wells and that ending. That ending which I don’t want to spoil which may or may not have something to do with a major story arc in the DCU. Some sort of i
nfinite cri….. GAH! Watch the stupid pilot!
Despite the exceptionally terrible writing, the plot made good sense. No skipping plot points on the way from point A to point C. And the villain was pretty cool too (despite himself having the worst lines of anything ever: “It’s time to think big!”). The special effects worked well with the Arrow-tight budget and the casting was spot on. It’s so apparent that Grant Gustin will play an excellent Barry Allen, and one can only hope this sees its eventual crossing over into the DC movie realm. He fits the role better than he fits the suit, which is saying something.
Okay, so. More spoilers below. A list of characters/easter eggs introduced that will undoubtedly have more to do with the future of the series. (Based on comic book knowledge and perceived fan wisdom.)
- Cisco Ramon – Employee at S.T.A.R. Labs, eventual superhero alias of Vibe.
- Iris West – Eventual love of Barry Allen.
- Caitlin Snow – Employee of S.T.A.R. Labs, will become supervillain Killer Frost.
- Eddie Thawne – Police officer, turned villain. Eventual name of Professor Zoom. Can be seen in the pilot as a yellow blur.
- Mark Mardon – The metahuman villain of the episode, who can control weather. Weather Wizard.
- Grodd – There is a broken cage inside S.T.A.R. Labs labeled “Grodd”. This can be no other than Gorilla Grodd.
- There is also the cameo of the “Ferris Air” logo, which is the airline that Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) works in. This logo has also appeared in Arrow.
As you can see, the Pilot accomplishes a lot, and falls flat just as much. But it is an enjoyable experience. I can’t wait for this show.