Caution: Spoilers Ahead

CW’s “Flash” TV show has certainly garnered a lot of attention. Originally, this show was suppose to have a backdoor pilot from one of Arrow’s season 2 episodes, but fans responded so well to Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen that the show was given its own standalone pilot. This pilot broke The CW’s pilot ratings record, and for good reason. Currently awaiting the start of the second half of the season, fans are scrambling with theories about the characters and direction the show is going. For those that haven’t been tuning in and want to catch up in time for the return of Barry and his friends, here’s a bit of a recap.

The show follows Barry Allen, who works as a forensic scientist at the Central City Police Department. When he’s not running late to work, he’s busy chasing down a lead to something involving the supernatural. His obsession with the unexplained started when he was a young boy. He watched his mother get killed by a yellow blur, a crime which his father was blamed for. Barry spends his time seeking the impossible in hopes that he might be able to clear his father’s name and get him out of prison. This pilot is similar in terms of story outline to the film “300: Rise of an Empire”, the sequel to “300”. The same way that “300: Rise of an Empire” tells the story of what came before the movie “300” is exactly how this “Flash” pilot can be interpreted. The pilot tells more of the story of who Barry was before he became the Flash and introduces the people in his life, Joe West and his daughter Iris West.

Joe West is the officer who convicted Barry’s father for the murder of Barry’s mother. He practically raised Barry after his mother died and his father was put in jail. He didn’t believe Barry’s story of the yellow blur that killed his mother, and he doesn’t approve of Barry trying to find stories of the unexplained. He works with Barry at the Central City Police station as a detective. He cares for Barry and his daughter, and always has their best interest at heart. As for Iris, she is a part time worker at a coffee shop and a college student. Iris West grew up with Barry after her father took Barry in. She views Barry as her best friend and is completely oblivious to his romantic feelings towards her. She ultimately ends up in a relationship with Eddie Thawne, an attractive police officer who happens to be Joe’s partner.

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One night there is a fateful particle accelerator explosion, and the audience sees the scene where Barry is struck by lightning. Viewers might remember that this was first seen in season 2 of “Arrow“. Then we flash forward nine months where Barry is being held in Star Labs, and when he awakens, he meets some new people: Caitlin Snow, Cisco Ramon, and Harrison Wells. Caitlin Snow is a bioengineering expert who works at Star labs. The particle accelerator which gave Barry his powers also killed her fiancé, Ronnie Raymond. After Barry’s accident she helps him figure out how to use his speed. When Barry decides to become the Flash, Caitlin is against it at first but later comes around to the idea. Her role on the team is Barry’s health expert, checking his vitals and making sure he is healthy when he goes on patrol.

Cisco Ramon is a mechanical engineering genius who is a superhero fanboy. After Barry gets struck by lightning and obtains super speed, Cisco could not be more excited! He gets to make all the cool tech for the Flash and gets to help a superhero stop crime! An entirely separate article could be made on Harrison Wells and his role on this show, but for the sake of time just know that he was the individual behind the particle accelerator explosion. He also pretends to be a paraplegic, among other dark secrets he’s hiding from the rest of the members of the Flash Five (Barry, Caitlin, Cisco, Joe West, and Harrison).

The way that the Flash Five operate is extremely entertaining to watch. They all have a role to play in the group. The first few episodes have the group either stopping a meta-human by either killing them or letting them die. Each episode falls into a pattern where something new about Harrison Wells is revealed. I love how the writers have been able to reveal so much about this character, and yet his true identity and purpose is still relatively unknown! The episode titled “Things You Can’t Outrun” shows the team making a make-shift prison by using the remains of the destroyed particle accelerator. This episode showed excellent character development and introduced the audience to Robbie Amell’s Ronnie Raymond.

Thankfully, they eventually break the pattern of fighting a new meta-human every week. This change was brought around episode 4 with the introduction of Leonard Snart aka. Captain Cold. This enemy is not a meta-human and the Flash Five are ultimately unable to stop him, thus allowing him to recruit members for a team (Rogues anyone?). The following episodes have the Flash becoming even more like the Flash from the comics, in speed and personality. Grant Gustin has proven that he can play the awkward, nerdy Barry Allen and the flirtatious, confident Flash. His Flash personality shines through whenever he has scenes with Iris.

Originally the only story arc that Iris was a part of was her secret relationship with Eddie; that eventually comes into light, and Joe ultimately accepts it. Iris also begins to write a blog about a red streak (the Flash) that is saving people throughout the city. This catches Barry’s attention, and he tries (and fails) to convince Iris to stop writing about the Flash. Barry attempts to talk to Iris as the Flash, and the two have a lot of on screen chemistry. Ironically, when Barry and Iris share scenes they are somewhat awkward. Gustin should be commended for that- he has created two separate personalities, one for his Barry Allen persona and another for his Flash persona. This dual superhero/civilian personality is important for a superhero TV show. Another equally important aspect is raising the bar for each episode!

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In this way, the writers have successfully made each episode of the Flash better than the previous episode. If we see new developments of Barry’s powers one week, then we see hints of bigger villains the next week. A good example of one of the new villains soon to come on the Flash is Gorilla Grodd. Just knowing that this character exists in this universe and could potentially make an appearance excites me!  Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang… they’re certainly not pulling any punches!

An episode that excited everyone this season was the Flash and Arrow crossover episode! There are many similarities between “The Flash” and “Arrow” as television shows. During the crossover, we were able to see firsthand how different each show actually is when compared side by side. The Flash is light and humorous while the Arrow is dark and serious. These are two very different heroes with two very different ideologies, yet they blended well together in the end. This episode gave Eddie the incentive to form a “Stop-the-Flash” Task Force after the Rainbow-Raider causes Barry to become enraged. This led to the two heroes fighting in a manner that looked straight out of the video game “Injustice: Gods Among Us.” How do the creators do better than a Flash face-off with the Arrow? A fight between the Flash and Reverse-Flash, of course!

The mid-season finale was unbelievably epic and had so many reveals as well! This episode showed the return of Ronnie Raymond as Firestorm and Caitlin trying to deal with the fact that Ronnie doesn’t remember her anymore. The ultimate failure of a trap meant to catch the Reverse-Flash leads to him beating up Dr. Wells and killing all of the officers who are a part of Eddie’s Stop the Flash task force, except for Eddie himself. Joe ultimately reveals to Eddie that meta-humans exist, but leaves out the fact that Barry is the Flash. Cisco reveals that the night Barry’s mother was killed there were two speedsters after he saw Barry fighting with the Reverse-Flash. Still, the biggest reveal of the episode was Harrison Wells with the Reverse-Flash suit, showing the audience that he may very well be the Reverse-Flash!

I, for one, can’t wait for the return of the Flash. “Flash” returns to the airwaves on the CW on January 20th. ‘Til then, fellow Flash fans!

-The development from nerdy Barry to confident Flash felt natural
-Incredible special effects for the superpowers; Barry’s speed and Firestorm’s fire
-The progression of each character is engaging and keeps my interest each episode
-Harrison Wells as a mysterious helper/villain is fascinating and Tom Cavanagh’s performance is top notch
-Reverse-Flash was terrifying and I loved every minute he was on screen

-The love triangles between the characters are predictable
-The acting from the actors outside the main cast can be unbearable at times

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