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After spending several years in social services, Nicole has finally followed her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer. In addition to her work for The Hudsucker, Nicole is also a staff writer for Womanista. An avid comic book fan, BBQ aficionado, professional makeup artist and first-time mom, Nicole can be found exploring Kansas City rich history when she's not blogging about suburban life at Suburban Flamingo.

The FlashBack: ‘The Flash’ – Episode 1 ‘Pilot’

The Flash is DC’s television adaptation of the comic book of the same name. It airs Tuesday nights at 8/7 Central on The CW. Our writer, Nicole Drum recaps the series each week updating you on the latest episode here in The FlashBack.


Image Credit: The CW

When I was a little kid I fell in love with comics. I was a really lucky kid in that, even though we lived in a rural area and there wasn’t much money for extras, our next door neighbor worked for a publication distributor and often got to bring the extras home. Those extras often included comic books that were handed over to me. Sometimes there were some issues of Superman, some Wonder Woman, the occasional Batman, but issues of the Flash were constants and after a few issues I was in love. It wasn’t hard to love Barry Allen. He was a hero whose only motivation was to be heroic, no need for vengence, no desire to prove himself. Barry was just a normal, nerdy guy who had been through a tragedy and didn’t really want anyone else to suffer. He was a good guy and the Flash made me want to be a hero, too. The CW’s new show based on those comics, The Flash, brings those feelings right back and in a DC universe populated by heavy, dark, and serious vigilantes with issues The Flash is the bright spot, that great blink of light that reminds us how great it is to be heroic. I’ve been waiting for this show since I was a little girl wishing for super speed so I, too, could save the day and now that show is here.

But enough fangirling. Let’s recap. Fair warning: this particular recap is going to be long and chock full of spoilers.

The pilot opens up with a voice-over introducing us to Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and setting the stage for the series itself: “To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first. You need to believe in the impossible. Can you do that? Good. You see that red blur? That’s me! That, too! There I am again! My name is Barry Allen—I’m the fastest man alive.” With that established Barry runs us through the important parts of his background, establishing that Barry has always had a wide heroic streak, running away from bullies and identifying just how wrong it is. We are also taken through the fateful night when Barry is eleven and he sees his mother trapped in a circle of yellow and red blurs as she screams for Barry to run. Barry’s dad, Henry Allen (John Wesley Shipp who actually played the Flash in CBS’ series in the 90s) comes down and yells for Barry to run. In a blink young Barry is transported miles away and his life is turned upside down: his mother is dead and his father is charged with and convicted of the crime and Barry has been searching for the real killer ever since.

In the present Barry, now all grown up, is a CSI forensics investigator for the Central City Police Department where he works closely with Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) who is the father of Barry’s unrequited love Iris West (Candice Patton) and also has been a surrogate father for Barry as well. Barry shows up late to the scene of a robbery, but redeems himself by identifying the tire tracks with Sherlock Holmes level skill, something that Gustin pulls off brilliantly. Back at the lab, Barry informs Iris that he might have to skip going to see the particle accelerator at S.T.A.R. Labs turned on by Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) because he’s trying to help Detective West by running some forensics tests. The tests finish faster than expected, Barry is able to give Detective West a solid lead, and off Barry and Iris go to the particle accelerator. Unfortunately they don’t get to see the launch of the accelerator as Iris’ bag containing her laptop that holds her dissertation is stolen and Barry gives chase. He is beaten up a bit by the purse snatcher and the bag is ultimately rescued by the CCPD’s new guy, Eddie Thawne (Rick Cosnett, who is always a perfect mix of pretty and smarmy.)

Meanwhile, Detective West and his partner are checking out the leads Barry gave them and are down to the last one, a farm where they find the getaway car Barry identified. Unfortunately the bad guy, Clyde Mardon shoots West’s partner and takes off in a plane piloted by his brother, a plan that is struck by lightning. At the same time, Barry has gone back to his lab and checks out his evidence board that he keeps in regards to his mother’s murder. Things start to go wrong at the particle accelerator and blows up into a storm. Barry is closing his skylight, chemicals rise out of their containers not unlike the night his mother died, and Barry is struck by lightning, mysterious power surging through his body.

Nine months later Barry wakes up from his coma and everything is different: Dr. Wells is paralyzed, S.T.A.R. Labs is shuttered and has been declared a Class 4 hazard site, Iris is secretly dating Detective Thawne, and Barry is very, very different. He also utters the best line of the night: “lightning gave me abs?” Seems Barry has been cared for by Dr. Wells with Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker.) Barry is just happy to be alive and back so he heads back to his life, going to visit Iris at the coffee shop she works at and that is where Barry’s powers start to manifest. Time seems to suddenly slow down for him when a server trips and drops a tray of mugs in slow motion. When he gets to the station to visit Detective West he sees a perp go for a cop’s gun and is magically able to rush him in a blur and stop it. Overwhelmed, Barry excuses himself and tests out his new power in the alley, racing in a blur of light and ending up in a laundry truck deciding that this is definitely cool (and since we get to see it from Barry’s point of view it is, indeed, cool.) With these crazy new skills upon him Barry returns to Dr. Wells where the S.T.A.R Labs trio decide to test and monitor his new powers at Ferris Air (Easter egg!) The test goes great until Barry has a flashback to the night his mom died and remembers that he saw a face in those blurs of light. He ends up distracted by this troublesome memory and crashes into a barrier made of barrels of water, breaking his arm severely in the process.

And the break heals completely and perfectly in under three hours. Seems super speed isn’t just about land speed but about healing, too. Cool, indeed.

Meanwhile there are some hinky bank robberies going on wherein the robber is bringing weather indoors to help him do his dirty work. After catching Iris with Detective Thawne (and her making him promise not to tell her dad about this, oblivious to Barry’s pain) Barry has a run in with the robber as he speeds down the street and nearly takes Iris out.  The baddie? None other than the supposedly dead by lightning-struck plane crash Clyde Mardon. Mardon uses his weather manipulation to escape from Barry, causing the death of a bystander in the process. Barry tries to tell Detective West that Mardon is alive and is manipulating the weather, but Detective West is having none of it and even goes so far as to hurtfully tell Barry that the idea of Mardon manipulating the weather is just like the mysterious lights Barry saw the night his mother died: a fabrication, a fiction. Mardon is dead. Henry Allen killed his wife and Barry needs to accept it.

Upset, confused, and in need of a friend Barry runs all the way to Starling City to talk to Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. The scene is not the strongest. It doesn’t really fit very well with the rest of the pilot, but it does what it needs to: Barry says he doesn’t think he can be a vigilante and Green Arrow agrees, instead encouraging him to be a hero and an inspiration and Arrow unwittingly bestows Barry with his heroic name: Flash.

Definitely feeling better about himself Barry goes back to Central City determined to stop Mardon. Cisco presents him with a suit that had previously been engineered for firefighters but never used and heads off to deal with a weather spike suspected to be Mardon. At the same time Detectives West and Thawne have gone back to the Mardon farm because the eyewitnesses from the bank robbery also ID’d Mardon so they have to check the improbably lead. Of course they find Mardon who has in fact gained the ability to manipulate weather from the accelerator disaster. Mardon declares himself a god, which West challenges by asking why a god has to rob banks. This causes Mardon to take it to the next level and create a soon-to-be-massive tornado headed right for Central City. Barry, as the Flash, shows up just then and decides the only way to stop Mardon is to unravel the tornado by running around it in the opposite direction at top speed.  He tries, but it’s too hard and he is about to give up until Dr. Wells’ speaks to him over comms and encourages him to “run, Barry, run” which is just what he needs: the doctor who told him he’s not really a hero suddenly believing in him. Barry gets to work, breaking up the tornado, but he’s not out of the woods. Mardon has a gun, but Detective West shows up, shoots Mardon and sees Barry has super powers. Suddenly he realizes that Barry is right about what happened the night his mother died and vows to help him clear his father’s name, but asks Barry not to tell Iris about his powers.

Barry, now with renewed purpose and drive to free his father, goes to visit Henry in prison, telling his dad he loves him and that he’s proud to be his son. The Flash is born.

And then…back at S.T.A.R, Dr. Wells goes into a secret room, gets out of his wheelchair, takes off his glasses, and walks to a console where he brings up a news headline from ten years into the future: FLASH MISSING, VANISHES IN CRISIS.

So many questions: who is Dr. Wells? Why does he have future headlines? How many metahumans are out there? Don’t blink! The mysteries of season one have all been set…in a flash.

What did you think of the pilot? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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  1. Top 5 for 5: Nicole Ranks Her Favorite Episodes of ‘The Flash’ | The Hudsucker - June 14, 2017

    […] 5. Season 1, Episode 1 “Pilot“ […]

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