Despite throwing us the most generic villain of all time, a lackluster and self-righteous episode title, and general stupidity on Iris’ behalf, The Flash Is Born gives us plenty to chew on. It’s not quite the episode we were hoping for, and not nearly as good as the trailers made it seem, but still better than nothing. As we move a week closer to the (hopefully-jaw-dropping) Arrow/Flash crossover episodes, Barry levels up, stands up to a bully, and makes a name for himself.
Tony Woodward, or Girder as he is strangely never titled explicitly, is perhaps the most ridiculous enemy The Flash has had to deal with to date. This isn’t due to lack of threat or power. He’s got both. But he had no motive. No discernible drive. And the fact that it was one of Barry’s school bullies did little to aid the plot forward. I can’t get the flashback scene of Barry getting pushed into a locker as a kid, by a younger Woodward, out of my head. Not because it was any good, mind you, it was atrocious. The worst scene the show has yet to deliver. A waste of time and effort. And then to have the younger bully repeat the same cheesetastic line the older, more brutish version just uttered? Inexcusable.
Despite the fact that Barry couldn’t actually hit him without breaking his hands, the big threat with Girder was his obsession with Iris West. We know he wants her to focus on him and his abilities, instead of putting her time and energy into her viral blog The Streak Lives, but what really is his end goal? Well. He takes her to school. Why? What bully looks back so fondly on school as he did? I digress.
Iris continues to put herself in danger by writing about the Streak sightings, as was the point of the episode. But it seems as though slowing down hasn’t even crossed her mind, even after the Streak tells her enough is enough. She finally gets around to naming him, hence the episode title, which isn’t as rewarding as you’d expect. At least it didn’t take 10 seasons like Smallville. But really. Is she that bent on putting her and her family’s lives at risk because of her hobby? She’s the CWverse’s version of Journalist Lois Lang. While I’m on the subject, what was up with the blatant and entirely pointless “man of steel” comment from Wells?
Barry sees some growth as a character in several ways this week. He eventually finds a way (through science and smart friends) to defeat Tony Woodward, which is to hit him at a speed that shattered the sound barrier, and his metal shell. (It would’ve sucked to be a shop owner or someone who parked their car on that street). Despite initial signs of self doubt, he found his inspiration to defeat Woodward when Iris was taken. It was just a shame that Iris finished him off after all the work he’d been through to get to that point.
Joe West’s search to find answers on Barry’s mother’s murder continue. He even tries to rub shoulders with Harrison Wells, hoping to get his aid. Harrison sees right through him and realizes Joe is actually attempting to dig up dirt on him, potentially testing out his hypothesis that Wells was somehow involved with the murder. In Wells’ defense he brings out Tess Morgan, and tells Joe to look her up. Who is she? No clue. Google fails me. Nevertheless, the ending to this week’s episode sent shivers down my back. Reverse Flash/Zoom is still in town. What could this mean?