I’m sure none of you will find this surprising, but I know squat about The Flash. Until the amped up promos for the two part Arrow midseason finale, I didn’t even know the guy’s name was Barry Allen. I certainly didn’t know he was a CSI from Central City and he was supposed to be younger than Oliver, aka The Green Arrow. So, once I got all the background info out of the way, what did I think of this version of The Flash and his potential for a whole new spinoff series?
Not only am I totally ignorant of The Flash, but I’ve never watched Glee either (yes, sheltered life, me). So when Grant Gustin was named to be the new Flash, I didn’t know what the big deal was. Some liked the decision, some didn’t. Isn’t that always true of a high profile selection of lead actor? Once I saw how young and boy wonderish he was though (yes, I do know Batman and Robin), I suddenly got why he might be a questionable choice. Can such a green teenage, golly gee, enthusiastic kind of nerd sell what many liken to be a tough, stoic superhero? Luckily for The CW, anything can be done in an origin story.
Despite my educational needs in the finer points of comic book lore, I’m actually here today to evaluate my thoughts on the Arrow episode “The Scientist.” Did I like? It was okay. I wasn’t dorking out over meeting Barry Allen or feeling what this represents. The kid was adorkable. He certainly didn’t seem like a kid suffering from a dark pain of losing his parents in a very tragic manner. I know a lot of superheroes are born out of tragedy, but if that’s the angle they want to sell, I don’t see this new version of The Flash working very well. It certainly didn’t make me feel his motivation in this episode.
What I did feel was a young charismatic kid getting into his work, fascinated over every bit of new information he could discover. I also felt how endearing he was to Felicity, for it was a match make in geekdom. They spoke each other’s language, and bonded in only ways that true dorks do. It was magical. I know it was all meant in a way to spark some jealously in Ollie, possibly pushing that Olicity ship into the harbor, but Felicity and her new young friend are pretty damned cute together. Probably too cute to trigger profuse gagging among the manly men that supposedly watch this show, but hey, it definitely spoke volumes to all those nerds who have problems getting dates. It gives them hope.
Considering this episode also spent time paralleling the current villain of the week, someone getting super hulked up abilities because of Sebastian Blood’s experiments and stealing something big from Queen Consolidated, with Oliver and team on the island uncovering Ivo’s experiments and sadly turning Slade into a super hulked up being (he’s not dead, how else does he become Deathstroke?), there wasn’t much time to do more than a basic introduction of Barry Allen. Ollie had his hands full as usual, and there wasn’t even a Lance as a distraction (save for a quick Quentin as the loyal beat cop appearance at the crime scene).
For one, Moira was out and back in the boardroom. This didn’t go over so well with Isabel, and suddenly I realized it was another squandered and brief appearance by Summer Glau. I did like her and Moira having a rather frosty reunion. No surprise those two have a bad history. Two women together with the “queen bitch” personality traits tend to suffocate a room as well as each other. Moira did notice at the disastrous “welcome home party” that Ollie and Isabel are on far friendlier terms. All you’ve got to do is sleep with her Moira and you’ll both become fast friends too!
Moira was confronted again by Malcolm, and I do admit to squealing too hard over seeing John Barrowman where I had to rewind their scenes to make out what was happening. Malcolm tried to force her to tell Thea that she was his daughter, because his son is now dead? What? Is he only allowed to love one kid at a time? Did he never think that Tommy needed a sister? Tommy was like a brother to her anyway. Way to write Malcolm irrational and unbalanced again.
Anyhoo, Moira had an advantage this time. Somehow, and I really wonder who her connections are, she knew about Ra’s al Ghul and that Malcolm’s undertaking didn’t exactly meet approval of The League of Assassins. Malcolm is on their s*** list and they might not want to know he’s really alive. While I’m thinking “way to get some balls” Moira, I’m also thinking, why didn’t she use this to prevent the undertaking? Did she find this out in prison? Even being out of prison for a short time couldn’t trigger this kind of detective work. I mean, you just can’t dial up Ra’s al Ghul on a cell phone, right? Ah well, it’s something that I hope might make sense later.
Somewhere in all this other stuff, Thea and Roy went on an adventure with new friend Sin. This was the scenery chewing part of the episode, and it’s so good to see the street urchins of the Glades going back to B-plot filler (that’s sarcasm BTW). They are onto Blood’s dastardly plot since one of the sorry victims was Sin’s friend. Roy did his job and told the Arrow, and got an arrow through the leg for his troubles because Ollie (as Arrow) doesn’t want him getting involved. I must say I was very disappointed with Oliver over that act. What gives? First he wants Roy’s help now he doesn’t? Yes, I know Roy got all pissy for being shut out and pushed buttons but geez. Ollie needs to pay Isabel another visit!
Of course Ollie took all that rage and decided to take on the super hulked up villain in a fight, thinking since he’s seen this before on the island he can do this again. He held in there at first but then got bested, and ended up being injected with something very suspicious after being tossed hard across the room. Digg (remember him?) and Felicity found a near death Oliver, and for some reason Felicity believed that only Barry Allen could save him. So, guess who gets kidnapped under suspicious circumstances and turns up in the Arrow lair? We have our TBC for next week.
All in all, “The Scientist” was a busy and somewhat unfocused hour that was clearly a setup for the second part, which is a setup for the show’s return from the midseason break in January. It’s hard to make judgment until I’ve seen the whole package, so for now, hopefully Barry Allen will make a stronger impression in the second part. Otherwise, it’s going to be a long overhaul until The Flash pilot.