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The Flash #1.3 “Things You Can’t Outrun” Recap & Review

An emotional exploration of pain and tragedy is marred by too many winks and on-the-nose remarks.

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FLA103b_0120bSummary: An emotional exploration of pain and tragedy is marred by too many winks and on-the-nose remarks.

Recap

Barry and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs work to capture Kyle Nimbus, a.k.a. The Mist, a dangerous new metahuman who can turn into poison gas and is going after the people who charged him with the death sentence. Upon realizing they’d need a prison to house the metahumans that are not killed in battle, they realize they could use the particle accelerator as a makeshift prison for people with powers. They revisit the painful night the particle accelerator exploded and killed Caitlin‘s fiancé, Ronnie; an engineer who helped build the machine, Ronnie singlehandedly recalibrated the blast so that it would go up instead of out, saving everyone at S.T.A.R. Labs, but died in the process. Meanwhile, Joe decides to finally visit Henry in jail after all these years, but things take a dangerous turn when Nimbus shows up looking to punish Joe for arresting him years ago. Barry is able to save Joe with an antidote, and eventually stops Nimbus by tiring him out, as he could only stay in his gas form for limited times. Meanwhile, Iris and Eddie reveal their relationship to Joe. Caitlin faces the particle accelerator again, and realizes it only reinforces her love for Ronnie as a hero rather than causing her more trauma, allowing her to be more open and happy again. In flashback, we learn that Dr. Wells had a video feed of Barry getting hit by the lightning the night the particle accelerator exploded.

Review

Barry’s end monologue in “Things You Can’t Outrun” is a good example of what worked and what didn’t quite work in this episode: “No one can outrun pain”/”Life is tragic”/”Life is also precious.” This is an episode about facing tragedy head-on, powering through it and embracing the life one has now. But it’s also an episode that is fiercely, almost obsessively on-the-nose about all of its themes. The Flash has been delightfully lighter and slightly cheesier than Arrow thus far, but “Things You Can’t Outrun” goes a rather overboard with those elements to a detrimental extent.

From a general structural standpoint, this episode is decent. It’s a freak-of-the-week formula with an okay villain, though one with less imagination than his predecessor. Anthony Carrigan works well in the role as Kyle Nimbus/The Mist, mostly due to his slightly alien delivery that makes Nimbus a clear sociopath. But like Weather Wizard in the pilot, he isn’t given much to do other than formulaic villain things. Much like Arrow, though the episode explores every detail of this formula, with this week addressing the incarceration of the metahumans. There’s no Arkham or Belle Reve yet, so the scientists have to improvise and, as Caitlin says, get used to having a bunch of superpowered criminals living underneath them. Not only does this provide a ton of story possibilities, but making the particle accelerator the new prison weaves in nicely with the main character arcs of the episode. The guilt and grief of the S.T.A.R. Lab scientists are at the center here, particularly with Caitlin in the flashbacks. We aren’t seeing a long form story about Barry’s childhood in the flashbacks, it seems; instead, the they are more akin to Lost or Once Upon a Time, drawing a major moment in a character’s life and using it as a backdrop to display the themes of the episode and infer the character’s actions.

FLA103a_0167bThe flashbacks outline a sweet relationship between Caitlin and Ronnie Raymond, and Danielle Panabaker and Robbie Amell have nice chemistry in the short period they’re onscreen together. Panabaker is much better than what we’ve seen thus far, easily attributed to Caitlin being allowed to lighten up in the past and present. Amell is also the quintessential hero; he’s nothing wildly original in how he plays the future Firestorm, but he’s charming and likeable, which is all he needs to be at this stage. The flashback is essentially showcasing why Ronnie’s loss is such a big deal to Caitlin and Cisco. Obviously there’s the fact that he died, but that he died so selflessly and as such a hero is inevitably going to lead to guilt from the people who were ostensibly responsible for the faulty experiment. That angle is nicely detailed, as is the eventual resolution between Caitlin and Cisco in the accelerator. As much as the episode presses the “things you can’t outrun” and “facing the pain” stuff, the heart of Caitlin’s arc comes from the empathy in her friendships with Barry and Cisco, as these people share their pain and support one another. Everyone on the side of good who face their pain do so with the help of someone else—Caitlin with Barry, Barry with Joe, even Eddie and Iris together. Kyle Nimbus faces the “pain” of people who tried to kill him alone, and ends up failing. It’s nothing wildly complex, but it fits with this show’s insistence on how much these people need each other.

But, man, there are a lot of references, anvils, and foreshadowing. Now, some of these aren’t bad on their own; even something as groanworthy as calling future Firestorm and Killer Frost “like fire and ice” is layered over genuine character information. That’s actually a clever way to insert the references, by weaving them in the dialogue as ciphers for necessary exposition. So far, The Flash has done well with them, the cheesiest references usually played to be funny by the enthusiastic Cisco. This episode just has…a lot of them, packed on top of the obvious foreshadowing of Ronnie’s imminent return, packed on top of Dr. Wells’ “I feel like I’ve waited for this day for centuries,” on top of Barry practically spelling out what the episode is about every other line. The winks become overwhelming at a certain point, and the show ends up feeling less like an actual world full of actual characters and more like a TV show with writers that hope we’ll be in on the joke.

FLA103c_0201bThat’s especially frustrating considering there are some emotional beats that ought to resonate. Caitlin’s story works surprisingly well, and garners genuine growth for the character. Cisco finally gets a bit of pathos, though his guilt is quickly and quietly brushed off at the end. Joe’s visit to Henry Allen in the prison is also quite affecting, helped that Jesse L. Martin and John Wesley Shipp both convey a rich history behind their characters that lends credibility to why Joe’s belief in Henry is so important. Even the Iris/Eddie stuff, trite as it is, gets necessary progression by outing the secret to Joe. One thing about these early episodes is that everyone keeps ending in a good place, with everyone in the main cast still liking each other at the end of the day. Even with the Wells stingers, which are admittedly getting grating already, there’s always something optimistic at the end. It’s nice to hang out with the characters and see them grow and learn together, even when there isn’t much beyond the episodic plot carrying them.

But that’s why we don’t need Barry stating what’s important or what we should have learned right there at the end. Or, worse, have him randomly bring up his guilt about his father in the middle of an episode, to remind us that, yes, there is a serialized plot going on in the background, even if they haven’t gotten anywhere with it yet. Both of those incessant needs to remind us that the show knows what it’s doing comes off as neurotic and unsure of itself, which this show really doesn’t need to be at this point. Barry’s monologues are nowhere near the disasters Arrow‘s early voiceovers were, mostly thanks to Grant Gustin’s delivery, and in fact his opening monologues are usually quite fun. But the hand-holding nature of this week’s is a big misstep, and it’s only worse by the constant restating of it throughout the rest of the episode, too. “Things You Can’t Outrun” is run-of-the-mill, but could easily sustain itself as a step towards learning more about these characters and their relationships. We don’t need all of it so blatantly spelled out.

Odds & Ends

  • So…why didn’t anyone think to use a gas mask…?
  • Caitlin references binge-watching Orange is the New Black, so major points to her.
  • The particle accelerator set is very well-designed. Sure, it looks a little too CGI-y, but its colossal size is such a striking difference from the rest of the show, and that shiny unrendered look actually makes it look a bit more futuristic.
  • Big Belly Burger! It’s been a while since you were seen or mentioned on Arrow, hasn’t it?
  • Grant Gustin is…not very good at playing angry intimidating Flash, after the woman is murdered in the mall.
  • Ingenious use of the speed powers by having Barry blur his face from his father.
  • So, is anybody going to feed or keep guard of the prisoners under S.T.A.R. Labs if it’s really just the three of them? Lots to be explored there.
  • I know I just railed against too many winky references, but I did quite like the subtlety of “It’s not like I want a museum in my name.”
  • “This small needle, you probably won’t even feel it.”
    “You’re definitely going to feel it.”
  • “My chest feels like that one time I had a cigarette.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. sean

    October 22, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    I really liked this episode, every week I’m moved almost to tears by Detective West’s acting, he’s great. Cisco is becoming my favorite character I love his fan boy dorkiness and glad they gave him some range and depth this week. Caitlin was heart breaking in her work this week. I didn’t feel all the “wink wink” references were overbearing at all. I think they are fan services to those who read the comics, I feel most of the fans aren’t very well versed in the Flash comics and probably didn’t notice them or understand them. I agree the end scenes with Wells are getting a little grating but truth be told they are making me very interested in the character and its the part f the show I look forward to the most. I just think the more they show of Well’s knowledge of Flash from the future and possible time travel possibilities are being revealed in a haphazard way. Is it wrong I was also concerned with how the mist was going to be fed? I’m also concerned about if anyone has been feeding Slade Wilson on Arrow. Loved Flash vibrating his face in Iron Heights and the time standing still for Flash at the Judges murder scene. Great episode all in all, can’t wait to see what’s next.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season

Review of The Flash Season 6 Blu-ray set from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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The Flash: The Complete Sixth Season is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, and we have been provided with a copy of the set to review on the site!

The set features all 19 episodes of The Flash Season 6 plus extras — the Blu-ray includes all of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover!

Here’s what’s up:

Packaging & Design: Starting with this because it’s probably the first thing you’ll notice. The box art for this set has changed since the original press release — the fired Hartley Sawyer’s Ralph Dibny is no longer on the packaging. While I understand the show distancing themselves — Ralph was indeed an important part of Season 6, with his Sue Dearbon story, and I’m not 100% sure how I think they should have handled it. As it is, it looks odd with just the other four members of Team Flash on it. Though, to be fair, Nash Wells isn’t on the cover either.

With that said, The Flash sets usually have some of the best designed packaging and menu art and this set is no exception.

The Episodes: Also seems I am repeating myself but the Blu-ray presentation on The Flash is loads better than what we see on TV and is pretty cinematic. All 19 episodes of Season 6 are here, and — spoiler warning — because of COVID-19, they were cut off at 19 episodes, so that means some storylines aren’t completely wrapped. With that said, this season saw Eric Wallace taking over as showrunner, and with him came a new tactic that he referred to as “graphic novels.” The first “graphic novel” included the character Bloodwork (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as characters are facing death, and the second, after Crisis, dealt with a new “Mirror Master.”

I will say that The Flash under Eric Wallace has a great vision and I love his enthusiasm, which you can actually hear on the “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” commentary. He’s as big of a geek as we are, and I mean that in the absolute best way. The only thing I’d have to say negative about Season 6 is that the mirror storyline has gone on way too long — and I wonder, if they had known all along that we’d end with 19 episodes (an impossibility, because who would?), it might have been a bit shorter.

This “graphic novel” set-up, however, does offer the chance to binge the season in parts, which is pretty cool, and the Blu-ray bonus disc of all of Crisis on Infinite Earths is a good thing to throw in the middle to tee up Graphic Novel #2.

The other thing I will say about Season 6 is that I really liked some of the new characters that are set up. Chester P. Runk, Sue Dearbon, Kamilla, and Allegra — all fun characters that add to rather than detract from the series.

The Extras: The set includes a bonus black and white noir version of “Kiss Kiss Breach Breach” with commentary by Eric Wallace. Commentaries don’t happen too often these days, so I’m so glad they put something on this set. There is also a gag reel and deleted scenes. And, of course, all of Crisis which has a lot of great Flash content!

Is It Worth It? If you’re a Flash completist or want to see the most recent season in high definition, sure. You might want to start at the very beginning, though. Still, I think The Flash is on its way back to its former glory and Season 6 is the start of that journey. Can’t wait for Season 7, and for now, this set will be revisited often.

Get your copy of the Blu-ray from Amazon.com at a discounted price and support FlashTVNews!

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season

Review of the Flash Season 5 Blu-ray set.

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Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided FlashTVNews with a free copy of this set for review in this post. The opinions shared are my own.

The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season hits Blu-ray and DVD this week, containing all 22 episodes of Season 5 plus bonus episodes from the Elseworlds crossover. In addition to the entire season, there are few extra features for all to enjoy, though some are duplicated from other sets that were made available this year. Here’s the review.

The Episodes: As mentioned, all 22 episodes plus extras are on this set. And as I tend to write every year, the show isn’t quite at the high level it was in its first season, but there are definitely standouts in Season 5. A big theme for the season is family, and the conflicts between parents and their children. Caitlin and her parents are a part of that. The season’s villain is a part of that. And the biggest part of that is Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), the daughter of Barry and Iris brought back from the future. Kennedy is fantastic in the role, though it is at times disappointing to see so much attention on a new character when we are here for the ones we’ve seen for 100+ episodes.

The Flash Season 5 contains the series’ 100th episode which is a great journey through the five years of the show. Sadly absent from Episode 100, though, is Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) who was recovering from an injury for a good part of the season. Martin’s presence was certainly missed though it is nice that the show upgraded Danielle Nicolet (Cecile) to series regular this year.

I’ll be honest: I wasn’t very invested in the Cicada story, at least not as much as I probably should have been. And I was even less into the latest Wells, “Sherloque,” which was a joke that stopped being funny within about 2 minutes, with no offense meant to the writers or Tom Cavanagh. It was nice to see the talented Cavanagh in another role, though part of me still is wondering why it was not Matt Letscher, though I’m forgiving that because, again, Tom Cavanagh.

I’m also not sure what to make of Vibe’s eventual fate, unless it is a way to make things less easy for next year’s crossover. In any event, watching these episodes still has me excited for Season 6, and The Flash is certainly a series that is worth the Blu-Ray upgrade.

The Extras: There’s a fantastic featurette about the origins of Killer Frost which is really well put together. I was, however, surprised that such attention wasn’t paid to XS/Nora as she was also a major arc for Season 5. Was there only room to cover one story? I’m also surprised there wasn’t some kind of 100th episode spotlight, especially since Warner Bros. did have press kit people on the line interviewing the cast.

There are Elseworlds, villains, and Comic-Con featurettes that you can find on the other DC TV shows this year, which I can only imagine is a cost-cutting measure to include them everywhere.

The set also has deleted scenes, with the most notable being Superman running with Oliver Queen from “Elseworlds Part 1.” It’s a shame that was cut. There was also a “My Name Is Barry Allen” from “Elseworlds” with Stephen Amell replacing Grant Gustin as Grant replaced him in the aired Part 2 — this was surely cut and unfinished so as to not blow the reveal that Oliver was Barry in Part 1. It’s still really cute and fun.

Finally, there’s a gag reel. While they are introduced with credits like The Office, they’re still a bit… meh.

Packaging and Design: Seeing Barry and Nora running side by side is the perfect way to sell this. Very nice looking.

Is It Worth It? I’ll always recommend picking up Flash Blu-Rays from the beginning, but this is certainly worthwhile, especially to prepare for Season 6 to premiere on October 8. You can purchase this set (and support this site!) here.

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Blu-ray Review: The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

Review of the Blu-ray set for The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season

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The Complete Fourth Season of The Flash hits Blu-ray and DVD this week (Tuesday, August 28), and we’ve got our hands on a review copy!

Before we get to the review, here’s how the season is described:

In Season Four, the mission of Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), is once more to protect Central City from metahuman threats. First, he’ll have to escape the Speed Force. With Barry trapped, the job of protecting Central City falls to his family – Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin); his fiancée, Iris West (Candice Patton); and Wally West/Kid Flash (Keiynan Lonsdale) – and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs – Dr. Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker), Cisco Ramon/Vibe (Carlos Valdes) and brilliant scientist Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). When a powerful villain threatens to level the city if The Flash doesn’t appear, Cisco risks everything to break Barry out of the Speed Force. But this is only the first move of a life-or-death chess game with Clifford DeVoe aka The Thinker (Neil Sandilands), a mastermind who’s always ten steps ahead of Barry, no matter how fast he’s running. Shocking surprises come fast and furious in all 23 action-packed adventures featuring The Fastest Man Alive.

So, how’s the set?

The Episodes: It’s going to be very hard to ever replicate the greatness that was the first season of The Flash. Unfortunately, one thing that The Flash Season 1 did so well that still didn’t connect for Season 4 is a strong villain. While I have more appreciation for The Thinker after rewatching some episodes and checking out the extra interview features on this set, I still don’t really feel that empathy and care for him that I had for, say, Eobard/Wells.

Season 4 also tried to course correct with more humor to varied success. Sometimes it worked; others the show was far too amused with itself. (I don’t need to see any more Wellses no matter how much I love Tom Cavanagh, for example, and “psychic pregnancy” will never not be too campy for me.)

There’s some good stuff, though. The best version of Barry’s suit so far premieres in Season 4, and Barry and Iris finally get married this year, even if every time they got married, they ended up interrupted. There are some episodes that worked to innovate, and there are also things like Barry in jail which seem to go on for too long. But at least with a DVD or Blu-ray you can fast forward, right?

Season 4 is also where we meet Ralph Dibny. He grows on you until you finally stretch your appreciation levels. By season’s end, you love Ralph as much as everyone else might.

The Extras: Of all the DC TV shows, The Flash usually gets the best treatment as far as extras go. We’ve got deleted scenes (including some WestAllen!), bloopers, and the all-encompassing Comic-Con video… and some other great extras, including Sterling Gates and Eric Wallace with Katee Sackhoff offering commentary on Amunet (who I do enjoy more after seeing Sackhoff speaking about her, but I still don’t understand why the silly accent was a thing). There’s also a really nice feature about the Elongated Man, and all four episodes of this year’s DC TV crossover are represented.

There’s also talk about The Thinker, and as I said, I appreciate the storyline more but I still didn’t have that emotional connection with the character that I feel I needed. The other bodies thing at midseason made that all even worse.

Packaging & Art: This is one of the best looking Flash Blu-ray sets so far. Dynamic design on the box art and on the discs. I like it.

Is It Worth It? As I said, nothing will be Season 1 again, but if you’re a fan of The Flash there are a lot of extras to make this worth it. Order yours from Amazon.com at a discounted rate and support this website!

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