The Flash: The Flash is Born
November 20, 2014 6:52 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Sometimes high school bullies remain bullies! Apparently you can box in your suit pants and shoes! Iris remains the weakest link! And my Professor Zoom theory is totally scuppered.

Iris is visited by the Streak, who again pleads with her to stop writing about him. Before he can finish, Barry speeds off to stop a car thief. Barry confronts the thief, but when he hits him the thief's skin turns to steel and Barry breaks his hand. Barry runs back to the lab before he can be hurt further. The thief is identified as Tony Woodward, who was Barry's childhood bully. Barry and the team discover Tony's hideout, and Barry rushes in without a plan to defeat him. Tony gets the upper hand again and Barry is beaten up and left for dead. Back at the lab, Cisco determines that if Barry can hit Tony at over 800 mph at the right angle, then he can create enough force to compromise Tony's metal structure. Tony kidnaps Iris and demands that she write about him. Barry arrives and successfully hits the speed necessary to temporarily disable Tony's abilities. Afterward, Tony is locked away at S.T.A.R. labs, and Iris renames her hero "The Flash". Meanwhile, Joe is visited by the metahuman that killed Barry's mother, who steals the case file and threatens Joe to drop his investigation.
posted by Kitteh (44 comments total)
 
The title of the episode is The Flash is Born. Will drop a note to the mods to fix.

As a personal comment, DAMMIT I THOUGHT I HAD THE PROFESSOR ZOOM IDENTITY FIGURED OUT.
posted by Kitteh at 6:53 AM on November 20, 2014


[Fixed.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:04 AM on November 20, 2014


i thought the final punch was incredibly ham handed - very overshadowed, and poorly executed.

and can someone explain to me why a fist can punch metal, so long as its at the right speed?

and can someone explain to me how Flash's speed works, anyway? It seems like a power that he can turn on and off. Sometimes he dodges incoming attacks like, obviously I'm going to dodge it, I'm the flash. Other times he gets hit like he's a normal dude who totally sucks at going faster than the speed of sound.
posted by rebent at 7:30 AM on November 20, 2014


To me, it seems like a lot of Barry's ability to control his power seems to center around his focus and concentration. But then, I really don't know; it just seems that way to me. I do like how sometimes he has to rein it in when interacting with normal people (see: the boxing scene between he and Eddie. He really wanted to properly punch the bag with his new speed/strength, but alas, questions, questions).
posted by Kitteh at 7:42 AM on November 20, 2014


In theory, Flash's Speed Force gives him a protective shell when he's moving so he doesn't burst into flames or get creamed by running into atoms. But then again, the Speed Force is Flash's version of "a wizard did it" when it comes time to explain the unexplainable. Well, that and 'Barry isn't 100% sure how to use his powers' which makes sense as he's a forensic scientist, not a physicist.

I was super psyched for this once they started talking about Super Sonic Punches as it reminded me of the MOST BADASS FLASH SCENE EVER .
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:01 AM on November 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


Barry's superpowers now include accurately measuring the distance he runs to two significant figures.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:52 AM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Not telling Iris who you are is plainly not working: that thing you're worried about happening if you tell her KEEPS happening anyway so just cut it and out and tell her; it's making me crazy.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:02 AM on November 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Not telling Iris who you are is plainly not working: that thing you're worried about happening if you tell her KEEPS happening anyway so just cut it and out and tell her; it's making me crazy.

UGH YES DEFINITELY, this is making me insane, and when her dad was like "she's not stupid" maybe last week all I could think was "show don't tell assholes, because she's seeming pretty stupid to me". Seriously, at this point there is ZERO reason not to tell her and MULTIPLE reasons to tell her so TELL HER. Christ.

On the plus side, I feel like Caitlin and Cisco have toned down a bit to the point where now I occasionally enjoy their presence instead of shrieking in pain every time Cisco talks. I feel like they were a definite improvement this week.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:11 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Guys, I am pretending Iris already knows and is playing some sort of weird long game because the alternative is just too painful to contemplate.
posted by Kitteh at 10:06 AM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't worry too much- Barry is undoubtedly going to tell her his secret, right before she gets fridged.
posted by happyroach at 10:10 AM on November 20, 2014


Oh, they're not going to fridge her, but they will likely play the Damsel in Constant Distress card until we are all shouting at our tv screens for someone to effing tell Iris already (preferably Joe because I can imagine that your parent being let in on the secret and not you will sting mightily).

Actually, getting back to the Iris Problem is that while I appreciate Barry's love for her and her being with Eddie doesn't edge into the friendzoning territory, I would like it more if there could be a genuine just awesome respectful best friends of the opposite sex thing going on instead. I tend to hate it when pop culture reinforces the narrative that women and men cannot have deep meaningful platonic relationships because SEX AMIRITE is always there.
posted by Kitteh at 10:18 AM on November 20, 2014


well, not everything can be holms and watson.

After binge watching season 2 and what's out of season 3 of Arrow, I figure that there need to be a MILLION new characters in this show and each and every single one of them has to go through a multi-episode "everyone else knows but THIS PERSON must NEVER find out until next episode that I'm the Flash" plotline.

OK my actual prediction: the only way iris will find out is if she is actually also a metahuman.
posted by rebent at 10:42 AM on November 20, 2014


Guys, I am pretending Iris already knows and is playing some sort of weird long game because the alternative is just too painful to contemplate.

She totally knows. Even if the writers don't know that she knows, I know she knows that she knows. She had the 'let them come to me in their own time' behavior modeled to her by her dad in regards to her boyfriend, plus after Flash got knocked down by Girder, he wasn't doing the voice modulation/facial blur.

What was your Zoom theory? It's still Wells, right?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:49 AM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I definitely did think she'd figured it out at the end of the episode last night -- I really hope so. I would be much happier with the show as a whole if it turns out she knows and is just keeping her own counsel.

I would also effing love it if she were also a metahuman. That would be so cool! Normally I roll my eyes when someone else turns out to have super powers but this would be great if it turns out she had them all along and kept them hidden. Wow! I would love that!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:03 PM on November 20, 2014


I am torn between annoyance at the show's physics and a belief that even marginal sense would result in a hero that nobody could be a threat to. I don't mind Barry getting shellacked when he's not paying proper attention but this high-speed punch thing... eh. There must be a way to do this better.

I always think of the early Wally West run, post-Crisis (was that Mike Baron writing? I don't recall) when Wally casually threatens to just punch someone in the neck 100 times in a second. Doesn't have to be super-hard if you can just pile it up. Barry can pick up Iris and run her to the roof in a blink, why can't get grab a number of hundred-pound weights and fling them at Girder's face at a piddling 600mpg? Hell, stick with this magic 800mph number for one punch but just let him use a damned aluminum bat.
posted by phearlez at 12:20 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


What was your Zoom theory? It's still Wells, right?

Yeah, that was my theory. Mostly because I really don't think Eddie Thawne as he is written in the show could be Professor Zoom (but if he is, what a shit sandwich to hand to Iris at the end of the season or whenever they resolve it), and Wells is superbly delightfully shady in re: to his future knowledge, his willingness to ensure Barry's future comes to pass, and his mourning of things he has lost. I also realize that that it doesn't really scan in terms of a potential archvillain keeping his archenemy alive, but then I thought about how lost Lex would be without Supes, etc.

I don't know. I really liked that scene with Wells and Joe at the bar, mostly because Tom Kavanaugh can turn quite menacing with only a smile. We'll see.
posted by Kitteh at 12:24 PM on November 20, 2014


I had forgotten, but was reminded in an AV Club comment, of the second Professor Zoom, Hunter Zolomon, a wheelchair-bound Flash superfan who had inside knowledge of his identity and was psychotically bent on "making" the Flash a better hero by subjecting him to trials. This is a much better Harrison Wells fit for me than Thawne-Zoom is working out to be.
posted by Shepherd at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


i know we're married so please don't be lying about this because i will be sad
posted by Kitteh at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2014


Yeah, there's multiple Zooms/Reverse Flashes. I can see Thrawne being duped/corrupted into one if Iris dumps him for Barry, while Wells can be another. Once Barry gets a better idea of what his powers can do (and seriously, Flash operating at full capacity is one of the most powerful DC heroes), they'll need to bring in other speedsters just to keep up. Something will happen and the bad guy Flash will die/get imprisoned by the Speed Force/turn into Black Flash which will put a clamp on Barry's abilities and allow more villains of the week again.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:11 PM on November 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


My current theory, in light of last week's episode, is that they're building up to Grodd being the big baddie at the season's end. I think that probably he's still learning how to control minds, so he can influence Wells and Plastique, but not completely dominate them. I think Wells is basically good (the newspaper-from-the-future scene I think is NOT Grodd, but rather future-Flash retroactively influencing Wells; alternatively, it could be Prof. Zoom doing the time-travelling); they're may well use the "mind control can't change your essential nature" trope to give Flash a way of overcoming Grodd, and to explain why Grodd can't make Wells do outright evil stuff, but can push Plastique in a direction she was willing to go anyhow.

I don't know how they're going to turn Thawne into an archenemy (if they are), because he's too dumb (he doesn't know the name of the Millennium Falcon -- I complained about this before).
posted by axiom at 4:58 PM on November 20, 2014


So Tess Mason...Is there significance to that name?

I'm just going off the cuff, so I'm likely wildly off-based, but a one-syllable first name with a short e paired with Mason in a comic book context, automatically makes my mind jump to Rex Mason. The fact that she is linked to Wells and met an untimely end likely means it wasn't just a random everyday accident.

If her brother/cousin/other relative Rex happened to be suspicious of Wells' role in her death and happened to around the vicinity when the particle accelerator malfunctioned (say trying to dig up dirt on Wells) might that not have turned him into another metahuman? And might he not want to start using his new transformative powers to spy on/get revenge on Wells, thereby putting him at odds with Barry? It wouldn't be the first time to heroes end up on opposite sides of an issue, and it would be an easy, obvious way to bring Metamorpho onto the scene.
posted by sardonyx at 6:06 PM on November 20, 2014


I believe the name was Tess Morgan, not Mason.

I cannot get excited about Grodd, if only because of a limited budget and effects.
posted by Kitteh at 6:20 PM on November 20, 2014


Ah, I must have misheard it. Or something in my brain was searching for Easter eggs that weren't really there.
posted by sardonyx at 6:26 PM on November 20, 2014


Well, I mean, someone's the Reverse-Flash, whatever that means in the continuity of this show. He may not be what comics readers are expecting. But that was pretty clearly him at the end of the episode. As far as Wells goes, it's worth noting that there's more than one Flash villain from the future.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:48 PM on November 20, 2014




As a personal comment, DAMMIT I THOUGHT I HAD THE PROFESSOR ZOOM IDENTITY FIGURED OUT.

Isn't it Wells for sure, now? Only two people know that Joe is investigating the murder of Barry's mother - Barry and Wells. And Barry sure didn't steal the case files.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:00 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


im pretty sure a future person would know, in the future, and your line of reasoning is exactly the type of bait-and-switch im starting to expect from this caliber of a show
posted by rebent at 5:40 AM on November 21, 2014


Regardless, I still find this show infinitely more delightful to watch and speculate about than Gotham (which I have dropped like a hot potato because my god you managed to make anything remotely interesting about the Batman universe ham-fisted AND boring).

Is it a perfect show? Lordy no. But it is charming and bubbly in a way that makes me forgive a lot. I like to think of it as Prosecco for the brain.
posted by Kitteh at 7:12 AM on November 21, 2014


I cannot get excited about Grodd, if only because of a limited budget and effects.

For the right story how many effects do you need? Telepathy is invisible. I'm sure keeping a gorilla on staff is pricey but I think it would be great fun to have an evil genius gorilla who just treats the humans like puppets. The villain getting away with it right in front of almost everyone is a tried trope, and who on the police force is going to suspect the zoo escapee as the mastermind?
posted by phearlez at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2014


I kind of feel like they're setting up Eddie to be killed, and possibly his brother will blame the Flash and become a villain. Because Eddie is either a pretty nice guy (not a Nice Guy (tm) either) or a super-manipulative jerk.

Also, Iris finally got to do stuff on screen that wasn't about her love life or dad one way or another, so yay for that, though I continue to be squicked that Barry is into his foster-sister that way.
posted by immlass at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is the episode where, if I were Barry, my interest in being with Iris or cooperating with Joe would be rapidly cooling. It's pretty clear Joe's 'don't tell her' policy is the source of a lot this trouble, and it should be clear to Joe by now too. Abstinence only education doesn't work for sex - no reason to think it'd work with superheroes either. ;)

As for Iris... I mean, it takes a real asshole to repay being rescued with, "I am going to provide more information about you to a world that would dissect you, at great personal risk that you will demonstrably need to save me from later." Basically, she'd made it her mission to put him in harm's way above and beyond what his goal of saving people ought to entail. She comes across as either too dumb to be around, or too horrid, or possibly both. (The 'has she figured it out?' question only makes this worse: if she doesn't know, shame on her after he used his real voice. If she does, shame on her for either not respecting Barry's wishes, or at least calling him on his deception first.)

I'm actively hoping they do not get together in this continuity over more than the squicky kinda-incest angle. So... congrats, show.

Apart from that subplot, the Joe/Wells stuff was, as everybody said, great. Even if I were to stop watching The Flash in general, I'd still check the last five minutes of every episode to see if Wells stabbed someone. (He is my favorite.)

Also, I did actually like Cisco and Caitlin, so that was nice.

Oh: when Barry removed his mask for Cut Rate Colossus, I decided to suspend judgment awhile. I'm okay with it, as long as it bites him in the ass hard, later. If they let it go... yeah, that was awful.

In closing:
Regardless, I still find this show infinitely more delightful to watch and speculate about than Gotham

Yeah, despite the flaws on The Flash, it has a sense of *fun* that has been missing from live action DC stuff for awhile, and is certainly dead on Gotham.
posted by mordax at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wasn't a huge fan of this episode, but for whatever reason I really liked Caitlin's little interaction with Barry while she reset his shoulder. Well played by her.
posted by brundlefly at 1:12 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, they're actually letting Caitlin develop some character now, as of the last couple episodes, and I like her. And Cisco is at least slightly less annoying.

Oh: when Barry removed his mask for Cut Rate Colossus, I decided to suspend judgment awhile. I'm okay with it, as long as it bites him in the ass hard, later. If they let it go...

I'm not hopeful about this -- in some ways the show's biggest weakness is "consequences - how do they fucking work?"

Well, that, and they're so busy introducing new meta-human-baddies every week that they run out of time to really connect one episode to the next, barring the three (probably season-long) arcs of "When will Iris find out Barry's The Flash?", "Who killed Barry's mom?", and "Who is Wells?"
posted by soundguy99 at 9:02 PM on November 21, 2014


Halfway through the episode I realized that the actor playing Iris' boyfriend had an amazing voice. I just looked him up: born and raised in Zimbabwe, moved to Australia and went to university there. So his accent is definitely studied and again, damn, what a great voice.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:05 PM on November 21, 2014


Speaking of Cut Rate Colussus, and I'm sorry if I've missed discussion of this, but who is keeping up the metahuman prison? Feeding them? Taking out their poop? Beyond that, we have people being shoved into holes in the ground without trial, right? Will the show just ignore this?
posted by brundlefly at 1:48 AM on November 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hey, Cisco's gotta do something when Barry's not out on a mission (besides smoke up & invent freeze-ray guns and fight-training robots).

My bet is that some kind of prison break will be a major plot element at the end of the season.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:47 AM on November 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wells time travels, right? (At least he sees into the future.) And he is truly proud of Flash as his creation. What if he goes back in time in order to kill Barry's mother so that the chain of events can lead to where we are now? And what if it is a far in the future (and much more insane) Wells that is creating the havoc in Barry's past and present?
posted by 90s_username04 at 3:16 PM on November 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yesssssss...which is why I feel strongly about the Wells/Zoom theory I have.
posted by Kitteh at 4:38 PM on November 23, 2014


Mr. creepygirl and I decided 20 minutes in that we'd just assume that physics works differently in Barry's universe, because otherwise we were going to spend way more energy trying to figure out how the precise-speed punch was supposed to work without severely harming Barry in the process.

The biggest WTF? moment for us was the part in the elementary school where Barry speeds up, grabs Iris . . . and moves her about five feet away. Why on earth didn't he run her back to the police station or someplace else safe a couple blocks away? This is in the same episode where we see him easily whisk her from the coffee shop to the roof and back.
posted by creepygirl at 8:50 PM on November 23, 2014


The biggest WTF? moment for us was the part in the elementary school where Barry speeds up, grabs Iris . . . and moves her about five feet away. Why on earth didn't he run her back to the police station or someplace else safe a couple blocks away?

The same reason why he didn't hit cut-rate Colossus with a crowbar instead of his flesh and bone fist. Or duck all of his (by comparison) incredibly slow punches. Because reasons.

This really wasn't a good episode. I mean, it doesn't matter if you are travelling at the speed of sound - punching steel with your fist is going to smash your hand to mush and probably not even scratch the metal.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:04 PM on November 23, 2014 [2 favorites]


Isn't it Wells for sure, now? Only two people know that Joe is investigating the murder of Barry's mother - Barry and Wells. And Barry sure didn't steal the case files.

Well, I mean they do tend to discuss everything in an open concept police station at normal speaking volumes or, at best, slightly hushed ones.

So many other avenues to victory besides punching, Barry! Wrap the guy up in steel cable. Get a big electromagnet. Aren't you a scientist? Don't you have three other scientists helping you out? The best you can come up with is : "Punch him really fast with your fist. You might win or you might die."

Also, running around at super speed while communicating with the team at normal speed seems like it would be really confusing.
posted by ODiV at 11:43 AM on November 24, 2014




Isn't it Wells for sure, now? Only two people know that Joe is investigating the murder of Barry's mother - Barry and Wells. And Barry sure didn't steal the case files.

Well, there is the telepathic gorilla to consider.
posted by axiom at 9:12 PM on December 1, 2014


I think we should start labeling these threads as including the books.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:36 AM on December 4, 2014


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