The second episode of “The Flash” starts off in the absolute best way possible, by making light of the entire structure of these CW super hero shows. Barry knows that you know who he is and that he’s The Flash and as the man says, “Let’s get to the good stuff” (despite the fact that the episode would go on to have the most pointed exposition possible).
Barry runs into a burning building and saves three people in this opening scene, and we learn that Barry and Cisco have been using his powers for good, though Caitlin is unaware of what they’re up to. Caitlin thinks Barry should only use his powers to fight bad guys, a reasonable request, and even Dr. Wells thinks Barry should “dial it back,” but given he’s finally in a position to help people, Barry doesn’t want to listen to them. Barry gets a call from Detective West saying they need him at a crime scene, it’s a cute moment setting up the pair’s relationship in the episode. After arriving at the scene, Barry realizes that he forgot his actual clothes, so he just pops into a nearby shop and takes an outfit, as superheroes are want to do.
Inside the shop (an homage to one of my favorite DC characters Jonah Hex!), Barry learns that a clerk was shot and one assailant entered the building. Upon further examination though, Barry says at least six different men were in the building, he can tell by examining all the foot prints. Joe pulls Barry aside and quizzes him about his extracurricular activities, reminding him once again not to tell Iris about his abilities.
We flashback to a young Barry Allen running away from home after his mother’s murder and his father’s incarceration. I guess this is their way of doing “The Island” flashbacks from “Arrow.” Joe pulls up in his police car, back when he was just a beat cop, and brings Barry home. The pair get into an argument as children and parents do which ends with Barry saying “You’re not my real Dad.”
Back in the lab, Barry is mixing some chemicals by hand instead of using the centrifuge, which delights the science nerd in him. Iris enters and begins to talk about how she would rather take a European Folklore class instead of Journalism (the most baffling thing about this episode) before Eddie enters and they start to get flirty in front of Barry. Eddie thanks him for being “so cool” about their relationship, which is still the most messed up thing about the show.
Meanwhile, Simon Stagg (aka President Ellis from Iron Man 3) is receiving an award and Iris wants to get a quote form him for her journalism piece. As Stagg leaves, armed masked men show up and start to rob everyone. Barry wants to intervene but Iris forbids him, but when a security guard draws on the armed men and is shot at, Barry leaps into action, saving him from ten or twelve holes in his chest. He drops the guard off outside and runs to another exit of the building where he gets shaky and passes out. Iris finds him and brings him inside where the police are already investigating the incident. The security guard that Barry saved isn’t sure what to make of it all, and Joe tells Barry to stop playing hero.
Back at STAR Labs, Caitlin yells at Barry for not telling them about his fainting spells – she also uses a lot of big words in the process. We also get our first mention of Caitlin’s fiance by name, “Ronnie,” who will likely go on to become Firestorm in the series. The STAR Labs posse tells Barry they need to run some tests so they show him their specially-made treadmill (a precursor to the cosmic treadmill perhaps?) which he will run on and they will monitor his vitals. It doesn’t take long before they realize the problem, but Barry also passes out again and gets launched into what looked like a bunch of packing peanuts. I’d also like to point out how awesome his running looked in this scene.
On the other side of town, Joe enters Barry’s lab, which looks an awful lot like Jigsaw’s layer from the “Saw” movies, and he discovers “The Murder Board,” Barry’s collections of evidence and news clippings about his mother’s death and his father’s imprisonment. We get another flashback where Barry has run off once again, though it doesn’t take Joe long to know where he went, both in the present day and in the flashback.
Barry wakes up at STAR Labs and they inform him that he needs to eat more, apparently 850 tacos a day. Joe shows up and confronts Barry once again, chastising him for running around town saving people. Barry counters with, “You saw a man that could control the weather, how do you plan to fight that?” Something Joe hadn’t thought of apparently. He plays the “You aren’t my real Dad” card again. Joe plants the seed in both Barry and his “team” that what they’re doing is shortsighted and will fail.
At the docks, where you go for secret shady meetings, Simon Stagg’s head of security meets with Danton Black, who we quickly learn wants to kill Simon Stagg and can also clone himself. He pops out a couple copies of himself and then kills the guard. He is the bad guy after all.
The next day Barry is working in the lab when Joe enters and tells him that Stagg’s head of security was murdered. Barry wants to go to the crime scene but Joe tells him to stay put and work. Iris enters and for some reason is mad at Barry for not helping her with her homework, but since she doesn’t know everything that Barry is dealing with he comes off as a jerk once again. The best moment of the scene is when Barry runs around the room explaining the entire thing to her in between two words in her sentence and while sugar is ever so slowly falling into her coffee, but the most important moment plot wise is when Barry discovers that the cells from the killer appear to be “new,” like new born baby new. The killer is not a baby, unfortunately.
At Staggs’ warehouse he talks to the police who mention Danton Black by name, just as he enters the building, and start to reveal why he might be targeting Staggs – his research was stolen. That’s when Black and his clones pop in and start shooting at the trio. As Barry tries to tell someone about the evidence, he learns that gunmen are shooting up Staggs’ warehouse. Barry leaps into action and runs to Joe’s aid, getting him out of harms way and throwing down with Black. The sequence of the pair fighting is pretty great, especially because it pits two people with very different powers against each other. Barry quickly realizes he’s out of his element and jets from the scene.
Back at the lab, Barry is getting patched up, dejected about his first “loss” as The Flash. We realize in this scene that Cisco is the “fanboy” of the series as he tries to give Black the nickname of “Captain Clone,” which doesn’t stick. He also gets onto Barry for getting blood on his suit, which Barry says he’s pretty sure is Black’s. The group tries to encourage Barry to keep at it, even though he got beaten, but Barry is ready to throw in the towel on this one. That was fast. Heh.
Transitioning back into a flashback we learn that Barry went to the prison to see his father, which is kind of surprising that they’d let a little kid in by himself to see a prisoner (Also, did anyone else think of “No Touching” gag from “Arrested Development” in this scene?). Barry tells his Dad that he wants to come see him but that Joe won’t let him, leading his Dad to say it’s not Joe that doesn’t want him to come, it’s him, and he doesn’t want Barry trying to help him either. It’s a heart wrenching moment, and the kid they got to play young Barry is pretty great.
Barry runs to the restaurant that Iris works at, while Detective West tries to talk Simon Stagg into allowing the police to take him into protective custody. Dr. Wells shows up and it becomes clear Stagg and he don’t much care for each other. Wells and West begin to talk about Barry and his, er, condition, as well as about all the other metahumans out in Central City. Harrison tells Joe that Barry doubts himself and that he does so because Joe doubts him.
Back at dinnertime with Iris, Barry apologizes for being such a jerk to her and for not helping her with her homework, again, something I don’t get but this is a show for a younger audience so I digress. Iris tells Barry that she’s going to do an article on something else, this mysterious “Red Streak” that has been spotted around town just as people have been saved from muggers and fires. It’s about that time that Barry gets a hurried and scared call from Caitlin telling him to get to STAR Labs because Black is there. He runs as fast as his Chuck Taylor’s can take him.
Upon entering, Barry is greeted to a motionless Black and we’re given one of the funniest jokes of the episode. Caitlin explains that she cloned Wells from the blood on his suit and they realize the clones don’t actually work unless they’re being commanded by the real Dayton. As the clone moves for the first time Joe enters and shoots it dead, and he tells Barry that he was right, these are problems the police can’t handle.
Over at Stagg Industries, Simon is chilling in his office doing business man things and right on cue Black enters with some of his clones and takes out the guards. Barry runs into action and gets Stagg to safety before engaging the clones. Wells and company tell Barry he needs to find the “prime” IE: The real Dayton Black, in order to take out all of the clones. Barry dodges bullets and throws down with the clones, all while trying to reason with Black about why he’s trying to kill Stagg, which we still think is about just stealing the research. Black corrects Barry though and insists that while yes it is about that, it’s primarily that Black’s wife was dying and he was going to clone her a new heart but was unable to once Stagg stole his research (just go with it, dude just cloned eighty versions of himself).
The fight with all the clones is pretty spectacular and definitely raises the bar on special effects for this show. At one point it’s almost like the showdown at the House of Blue Leaves in Kill Vill Vol. 1 there are so many clones. It’s not like he stops cloning himself either as an entire army of Dayton Black’s pop up at the end of the sequence. Barry runs through the crowd looking for the only one showing any signs of fatigue, and he sees one with a bead of sweat running down his brow. He picks him up and tosses the guy into a pole, ending the whole fiasco, the clones fall to the ground. At first it seems like he’s dead, but just like the end of Scream the killer comes back for one final scare. Black lunges at Barry, who has already dodged bullets at this point, and dodges this attack as well, sending Black flying through a window. Barry reaches down to try and help him but Black would rather plummet to his death, which he does.
At STAR Labs Barry expresses his appreciation for the team, and Cisco even drops the new nickname for Black, “Multiplex” (a nice comic fan bit). Over at Barry’s lab in the CCPD, Detective West enters with three pizzas for Barry and confesses that he knows about the murder board. He confides in Barry that they can work together on it, they can solve his mother’s murder (bringing it all full circle with the flashbacks). It’s a nice father son moment, despite Barry saying twice in the episode that Joe isn’t his father, plus he apologizes for doing that. In Barry’s closing narration he talks about the best parts of being a superhero are the regular moments, and that no one ever thinks about that.
That’s not all though! In another stinger sequence at the end of the episode, which I hope is a recurring element, Dr. Wells shows up at Stagg Industries where he and Simon talk about “The Red Streak,” whom Harrison says is called The Flash, “at least he will be.” Wells stands up, throwing Stagg for a loop, and then stabs him right in the gut, killing him. Anyone else think this guy is up to something?
In addition, you can check out the preview for episode 3 of “The Flash” in the player below. Titled “Things You Can’t Outrun,” the episode is officially described as follows:
“As Barry and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs work to capture Kyle Nimbus (guest star Anthony Carrigan), a.k.a. The Mist, a dangerous new meta-human with toxic gas powers, they revisit the painful night the particle accelerator exploded and killed Caitlin’s fiancé, Ronnie (guest star Robbie Amell). Meanwhile, Joe decides to finally visit Henry in jail after all these years, but things take a dangerous turn when Kyle shows up looking to punish Joe for arresting him years ago. Meanwhile, Iris and Eddie continue to hide their relationship from Joe.”
Directed by Jesse Warn and written by Alison Schapker & Grainne Godfree, the episode is set to air Tuesday October 21.