Barry Allen is a wonderful hero.
On The Flash Season 1 Episode 2, Barry falters a bit in his attempt to be all things to all people, but two very special men in his life have his back.
In my review of The Flash Season 1 Episode 1, I was initially worried about Joe West. While he redeemed himself before the premiere was up, this week his relationship with Barry was so genuine and touching it was difficult to keep my eyes from misting over.
Everything is coming together nicely on The Flash. We're getting bits of back story for many of the characters with enough detail to keep us satisfied and to keep us wanting for more.
The early events in Barry's life formed him into the man he is today. Barry is a lovely man, and the way Grant Gustin portrays him leaves no doubt about that.
Joe: You were wrong.
Barry: I have been wrong a lot this week. You're gonna have to be more specific.
Joe: You said that one of the things driving you to run around out there was that you couldn't help your dad. You can help him. We can. We're gonna figure out who or what killed your mother that night and then we're gonna get your father out of prison. Together.
Barry: Joe, what I said about you not being my father...
Joe: Barry, I know. I know I'm not your father.
Barry: You're right. You're not. You're just the man who kept me fed and in clothes, who sat on my bed at night until I fell asleep because I was afraid of the dark. You helped me with my homework, you taught me how to drive and shave and you dropped me off at college. It sounds a lot like a dad to me.
When Joe mentioned to Barry they would find whatever or whoever killed his mother together and would get Henry released from prison, Gustin exhibited the perfect amount of emotion before he launched into the importance of Joe in his life.
Earlier, we discovered that as a little boy Barry thought Joe was keeping him from seeing his father when it was actually Henry's wish to remain unseen so Barry didn't have the image of his father in shackles holding him back.
For most of his life, something has been holding Barry back, and now he is the fastest man alive. It's a little difficult for him to take in, and yet he can't help but brag about it a little, as he did when Joe mentioned his previous thoughts on the fastest man alive.
Joe: Until a few weeks ago I thought the fastest guy could run a mile in four minutes, not four seconds.
Barry: Bet I could do it in three. Not relevant.
Joe's worried Barry will be running out there without thinking and putting his life in danger, after all, he's not bulletproof (is he?). Nope, he's not, but he can dodge them Matrix style.
I was worried the special effects might be cheesy on The Flash. Instead, I find myself clapping and squeeing as they appear on screen. Barry running on the treadmill with little bolts of lightning coming off of his body didn't disappoint, nor did the blur of him rescuing people from a burning building. Somehow, everything he does comes off as completely believable.
The SFX department has taken great pride in what is presented on screen and it works like a charm. Another fun scene was Barry's swooshing around Iris as she poured sugar into her coffee, telling her in a nanosecond from all angles what he has been aching to tell her -- that he's super fast and changed.
Another thing that continues to impress are the multifaceted metahumans Barry encounters. Unlike what we have on Arrow, the "bad guys" are driven by circumstances not only out of their control because of the particle accelerator explosion, but due to what their lives were before that tragic event.
Multiplex could have been a one-note bad guy who could clone himself. Instead he was working on a cloning mechanism to procure a heart for his ailing wife when the explosion occurred. He was avenging a terrible wrong of the heart (pun intended) and not just lashing out at Stagg for firing him.
I'm a bit worried that Cisco could be a casualty of poor timing and comedic moments. The kid isn't a terrible addition to the series, but he doesn't have a lot to offer outside making the gizmos (in itself, that's important, but somehow not the way it's written) and naming metahumans for giggles.
Caitlin is sincere and we got wind of Ronnie Raymond for the first time tonight. We know her story will be increasing as the weeks go by, but as of yet we're given no indication of the same for Cisco.
In The Flash Round Table, we tossed around theories about who Harrison Wells might be. One of them was that Wells might be a future version of Barry. Tonight we were given clues that both supported and negated the idea. Talk about confusing!
His understanding of Barry is incredibly unique. It was his influence with Joe that allowed Joe to let go of his fear for Barry when Harrison pointed out that Barry's going suit up no matter what, but he'd be a lot safer if he lost the self-doubt he was feeling because Joe didn't believe in him.
Harrison also knows that Barry will be The Flash (from the time pedestal, no doubt) and that it's imperative he remain safe. That could be due to self-interest, but it doesn't fit because I cannot imagine any version of Barry -- even an incredibly jaded one -- killing Stagg to ensure that safety.
The only part of The Flash that isn't working for me yet continues to be Iris. While she was certainly better in this outing than the premiere, it is unfair of Joe to ask Barry to keep his secret from her and that inability to disclose information will make their friendship seem impossible. At the very least she's excited about the red streak.
Those who disliked Laurel on Arrow had to deal with her desire to tear down the vigilante. I had to laugh when Joe told Barry to lie better about himself in front of Iris because she's not stupid and will figure something out. Meanwhile, Joe can't read the signs of romance between Iris and Eddie. Forehead slap!
I'm willing to hold out hope that her character won't be dragged down the Laurel path, because Iris is on The Flash and it's a bright spot in the superhero world. Actions from almost all of the characters make us smile and cheer far more often than not and that's a pretty tall order.
If you haven't given it a shot, you need to watch The Flash online. You'll be happier for it -- really.
What are your thoughts the second week in? Do you have any ideas about who Harrison really is? Are you excited to learn more about the back stories of all the characters? Do you think Henry will ever get out of jail? Hit the comments!
Let's take a look, meanwhile, at The Flash Season 1 Episode 3, "Things You Can't Outrun."
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.