Tuesday, March 17, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Flash' - Big Events Happen When the Weather Wizard Comes to Central City in 'Out of Time'

The CW's The Flash - Episode 1.15 "Out of Time"

Mark Mardon appears in Central City intent on avenging his brother Clyde's death, and sets his sights on Joe. Barry warns Joe not to go after a meta-human alone but Joe doesn't listen and ends up in grave danger. Cisco looks into the night the team captured the Reverse Flash and realizes something doesn't add up. Barry and Linda end up on an awkward double date with Eddie and Iris.

"Out of Time" is packed with big events and emotional revelations that would usually only occur in another show's season finale. Through Arrow, Greg Berlanti has embraced the idea of "Why delay until later when we can do it now and then deal with the ramifications of said action?" Big moves like the ones in this episode are always a risk. And yet, they are entertaining because the show isn't simply keeping to its status quo. The Flash is allowing its characters to change and evolve while also letting the audience in on a ton of information.

In this episode, Mark Mardon returns to Central City to avenge his brother's death by making Joe suffer. That brings a nice symmetry to this episode with the very start of the series. Things are starting to come full circle just as new mysteries and possibilities are being introduced. Mardon's presence then leads to Captain Singh getting hit by a lightning bolt and facing a grim prognosis of paralysis, Joe being taken with several broken bones and a tsunami wave about to hit the coast of Central City. Barry and Iris have both been lured to the waterfront in order to rescue Joe and that leads to Iris confessing her true feelings for Barry as something more than a brother and a kiss between the two on top of Barry then revealing himself as the Flash to her. While all of this is happening, Cisco is at STAR Labs looking further into the growing suspicion around Dr. Wells and learns that he is actually the Reverse Flash and his real name is Eobard Thawne - who is from the distant future, traveled back in time to kill Barry as a children but failed and got stuck living in this time for the past 15 years. Cisco learns all of this right before Wells drives his vibrating hand into hiss chest effectively killing him. It's a very chilling and daunting final sequence that this episode builds towards.

And then comes the final revelation of Barry running so fast in order to build a strong enough wall of wind to stop the pending wave that he actually travels back in time to a few days prior. Time travel has been on the show's mind for the past few weeks - ever since the revelation that Barry fought the Reverse Flash the night his mother was murdered. Barry knew that this was one day going to be possible for him. It just comes at a time where the emotional stakes are risen so high. Yes, all of the big events at the end of this episode occurred just so they could be later undone by Barry's trip into the recent past. That probably means that Cisco, Joe and Singh will be fine and Mardon will be caught before his attack on the city as well as Barry and Iris going back to their awkward dynamic of not telling the other how they really feel and his identity as the Flash still being a secret. And yet, this episode still works immensely well because of how entertaining and exciting it is.

The emotional revelations this episode dealt with felt earned. Just because things will likely be fixed in the present of this timeline doesn't change the fact that the audience experienced this episode as did Barry. He will remember all of this even though no one else will. He now knows exactly how Iris feels about him and that could drastically alter his outlook on her as well as his relationship with Linda - which already seemed to be growing quite distant as is Iris' with Eddie. He has the knowledge to rescue everyone and make sure that they are safe and able to continue living. And now, the audience has the knowledge of who Wells really is and what is really motivating him throughout all of this. This experience of fighting against meta-humans with Barry, Cisco and Caitlin has been a real connection. Those bonds are real relationships to him. He is simply out-of-place in time and trying to figure out a way back there. It really does pain him when he has to kill Cisco. Cisco learned the truth and the second Wells appeared in the lab again he knew what his fate was going to be. Cisco was like a son to Wells. They were able to watch old movies together and Wells cared about Cisco's family life. But there's also the impersonal connection that, to Wells, Cisco has already been dead for years and this was something inevitable and inescapable. That's a chilling prospect while still putting a ton of value into the main dynamics of the show so far.

It's going to be up to Barry to determine what occurs in the future. He already has firsthand knowledge of how one scenario plays out. He gave Joe the space to deal with this new meta-human threat that was personally targeting him. Joe needed to know that Iris was safe because there is nothing more important to him in the world than her. Sure, Joe isn't well-equipped to battle a meta-human by himself. But this case was personal and it needed to build to a personal climax. That didn't go so well for Joe as he got several people hurt in the process. Barry didn't know what it was when he saw himself at the beginning of the episode. It was always something that the episode was going to provide an answer too. And now, the prospects of it are very enticing. Barry has the potential to change things for the better and we'll have to see how they play out in the next episode. But "Out of Time" worked so remarkably well because it was the show at its absolute best across the board - the performances, writing, direction and special effects.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Out of Time" was written by Todd Helbing & Aaron Helbing and directed by Thor Freudenthal.
  • Seriously though, if The Flash doesn't get nominated for a special effects Emmy, I will be so upset. Everything about Mardon's powers in this episode was phenomenal and showed just how stronger the show has gotten since the beginning.
  • Wells is also a very distant relative of Eddie's. That's a relationship the show hasn't given any time too but now I suspect it will have so much more importance in the last part of the season.
  • Iris' colleague at the paper, Mason Bridge, has a story on Wells that is dropping in the Sunday paper that could change everything. Hmmm, I wonder what he's stumbled into?
  • Captain Singh is a pretty tertiary character but I still appreciated the follow though of telling us what happened to him after the attack. 
  • I'm surprised by how much I cared about Cisco's death considering he's a character who I don't really have a strong emotional connection with.