There are some issues with The Flash.
Yes, I said it. For all of the people who are worried the creative teams behind both The Flash and Arrow are spending all of their time here, there are a lot of loose ends that need to be tidied up. Not tied, as the series if fresh; just straightened out a bit.
That's not to say The Flash Season 1 Episode 7 wasn't entertaining, but it didn't feel as though there was a real plot to follow. Harrison Wells and his hidden Gideon agenda business wants Barry to kick it up a notch and, as a result of a new meta who drops by, Barry is persuaded to do that.
There is a lot going on with Harrison. A lot. So much that he's easily the most intriguing character on the series. His importance to The Flash is almost more than Barry Allen himself, and that says a lot considering the name of the series.
If you've been reading my reviews, then you can probably guess Farooq ("We could have called him Blackout.") is my type of meta. An excited young man when faced with the prospect of the particle accelerator being fired up, he got one one of the best seats in Central City.
Unbeknownst to him (but perhaps known to Harrison, which is confusing), sitting on a power line (while never "safe," let's be honest) was the worst possible place for him to be considering what was about to go down.
It's 352 days since the particle accelerator exploded. Farooq has been out there, feeding. There's no other explanation. He shared his story – he came to, touched his friends and killed them with his ability to drain electricity. So where the hell was he all this time? Who else has he been feeding off of? Did that occur to anyone else but me?
Draining Barry of his power gives Barry time to reflect on how much he loves being The Flash. He can't imagine his life without speed. Barry continues to be kind hearted and generous and reaches out to Farooq rather than pointing fingers at what he's doing. He knows what it feels like to find yourself changed.
Harrison isn't all that impressed with Barry's urges to help the unfortunate. In fact, it makes him a bit angry. He also gets antsy over the time Barry wastes on such endeavors when he could be cross training or something to kick it up a notch so he can use his powers to heal the world, such those paralyzed, like him. Is it all hot air?
I ask because Harrison can walk. All the time. The chair appears to be camouflage. The man is not paralyzed from what I can tell. He walks when he's speaking with Gideon (I'm losing the special room thesis as it's just where Gideon is located) and when nobody is looking, such as down in the prison.
I suppose he figures the metas are hardly ones to believe if they ever dared to utter Harrison walks but is just a lazy bastard hiding himself with a chair. Or something.
Harrison has no problem dragging out poor Tony Woodward to do battle with Farooq, probably knowing fully well he won't survive. And he doesn't. By the end of the hour, we've lost not one, but two more metas.
The very cool prison with what appears to be carnival-ride like cages for those kept there, houses only The Mist and the dead body of Farooq. Perhaps Tony's body is down there, too.
During The Flash Season 1 Episode 6 I wondered who Harrison is and if he could be the Reverse Flash that caught up with Joe. Since he steals some of Farooq's bodily fluids to test him to find out how he sucked the powers out of The Flash, I'm still of a mind to think he's not because I think he wants to know how to get the powers for himself. Unless he's trying to find out how to keep someone from stealing his powers. Hmmm.
Harrison is a true enigma. He's heavily invested in Barry's future and almost blows a gasket when Gideon reveals history has changed and there are no references to The Flash or Barry Allen as a result of losing his powers. He wants Barry to succeed and survive. That much we know.
He also knows all of the names of his victims (those who died) as a result of the particle accelerator exploding. Does he also know who was altered? How much of what he knows comes from Gideon and how much comes from experience gained over the last 352 days?
I have no theories on the topic, unfortunately, but it's far more fascinating than a speedy Barry. Yes, Barry likes to use his powers to save people, and he's a bit of a show-off pulling silly stunts with his speed. That and the goo-goo love aspect with Iris is draining. At this point, he should be less giddy over his powers. I get caring for Iris, but in the overall scheme of things, his connection to her is one of his weaker points.
Iris, however, is becoming more interesting. She is starting to put things together.
The Flash: I promise I'll never be late again.
Iris: My best friend is always saying that and he is always late.
The Flash: You're worth being on time for.
The look of surprise on her face when she sees Barry in Eddie's room proves the exchange has her wondering if The Flash may be Barry. Can she just get a story away from the boys now? She's right. A girl has to be her own hero once in a while. She's capable. Let's do it.
Here's my laundry list of other issues:
- Another uneventful visit from Robert Knepper as The Clock King. He was awful on Arrow and served double duty here. Let him move on please.
- Does Barry really run into his suit every single time he flashes? When Farooq tosses electricity at him, he suits up and is back to stop electricity from hitting Harrison...are we supposed to believe that? Yeah, I don't.
- Eddie high and giggling was adorable. Laughter really is the best medicine. Surely he's healed now.
- Every time I connect with the back story of a meta, they die. Don't bother sharing how they came to be if you're taking them away. Why waste my time?
- Harrison concluding Barry's connection to people being the key to his powers is important, but how will he use it? What is he searching for? How much does he know from Gideon? It's driving me nuts.
After his run-in Farooq, Barry is faster and wiser. Yet next week on The Flash Season 1 Episode 8, he'll still fall victim to another meta and go toe to toe with The Arrow. He grows in tiny amounts, but not enough to truly invest in his future.
Watching The Flash is all about wondering who Harrison Wells is for this viewer. While the other features can be engaging, they're not enough to hold up the series. What can be done to make it more cohesive and thrilling from every aspect? Perhaps keep a few metas in the prison? Maybe Barry's encounter with Oliver will cause him to grow even more.
I'm open for suggestions to improve The Flash or to hear I have it all wrong, so hit the comments.
If you're an Arrow viewer hoping to get caught up before next week's big crossover event, fear not. You can watch The Flash online right here via TV Fanatic!
And here is your first look at The Flash Season 1 Episode 8, FLASH VS. ARROW!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.