After Last week’s Fastest Man Alive, The Flash throws up another villain-of-the-week for Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) in an episode that is as much about backstory, reflection and memories as it is about action and super speed.
Opening things up, we’re treated to a great little scene that only further pushes home the point of just how quick Barry Allen and his superpowers can save somebody. Whilst Iris (Candice Patton) turns her back for merely a moment in order to take a phone call from Eddie (Rick Cosnett), aka Detective Pretty Boy, Barry quickly nips off to give the audience a further example of his impressive new skills. It’s a brief scene that has no lasting impact in the episode, but it’s a great way for viewers to further see what Barry can do. Regardless though, Barry has a lot bigger fish to fry here.
With the show having already pitted Barry against versions of DC’s Weather Wizard and Multiplex in the previous two episodes, Things You Can’t Outrun sees Kyle Nimbus (Anthony Carrigan), aka The Mist, out on a revenge mission. Sentenced to death and about to be executed at the very moment the particle accelerator suffered the issues that saw the creation of so many meta-humans, Nimbus becomes the toxic gas that was set to send him into the afterlife. With this new talent, this wrong ‘un is able to get into people’s lungs and cause them quite the tickly cough. And by that, of course, we mean death. After Nimbus’ powers are showcased on a couple of new (and soon to be deceased) faces, Barry finally confronts this latest member of the show’s rogues gallery. Thing is, Barry is given quite the beat down, with him left in serious, serious trouble. Could this be a villain that is finally a true match for our titular hero?
Elsewhere in the episode, we’re given a little further insight on the night of ‘the accident,’ only this time looking at it from the viewpoint of those at S.T.A.R. Labs. And it’s here that we get our first glimpse at Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell – yes, cousin of that Stephen). The doomed other half of Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), Ronnie’s inclusion is used to stir up some semblance of backstory for the female member of ‘Team Flash’ and hint at things to come. As ever, what’s a backstory without a good dollop of tragedy? Safe to say, this element of the episode, with likely heavy percussions for the show as a whole, has a dollop of tragedy big enough to melt even the coldest of hearts. For those that know what’s coming in the future of Caitlin Snow, yes that’s very definitely a horrendous play on words. Not to worry, the Arnold-style Batman & Robin puns are being saved for another day.
Things You Can’t Outrun is arguably the first time that Barry Allen seemingly loses the self-doubt that has hindered him in the show’s opening two episodes, with him now struggling with a villain that seemingly has the odds stacked in his favour. With this, we see Barry looking at logical thinking and generating a plan to take down his foe. Then in the very Barry Allen world of our central character, we see him left with a moral dilemma. He knows that his father didn't kill his mother, and this is the moment where Barry clicks that he could easily use his powers to break daddy dearest out of prison. As ever, surely things are never that easy for a true hero?
Yet again, The Flash delivers another great episode, living up to the very strong standards of the opening episodes of the show. Key toThings You Can’t Outrun is a huge sense of foreboding. In fairness, some of it is may be just a little too cheesy – Caitlin’s ice and fire comment – but the show handles these moments well, for the most part. And then there’s Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) and the mystique about what his agenda is. As he mutters in this episode, “I feel like I’ve waited for this day for centuries,” could that be a huge hint as to who Harrison Wells really is? Either way, Cavanagh’s charismatic presence has our interest firmly established in the character and his arc throughout this season.
And lastly, credit where credit is due. When the skinny, gangly kid from Glee was cast to play The Flash, we admit we weren’t exactly sold. After winning us over with some scene-stealing moments in Arrow, we were excited to see what this Grant Gustin guy could do with the role of Barry Allen. Fair play to Gustin, for he has excelled in the role to date. Yes, the show, the role even, is in its infancy, but his performance is growing on a weekly basis, helped plenty by the show giving us slightly new facets to Barry each week and also having fantastic supporting performances from the likes of Cavanagh, Panabaker, Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon) and the brilliant Jesse L. Martin (Detective Joe West). And if the quality of the show to date isn’t enough to win you over, next week has the additional bonus inclusion of one Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) plus long-time comic book Flash foe, Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). Consider us sold!
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