The Flash: Power Outage review

We have Clock King and we have Blackout, but this week's Flash is really all about Harrison Wells. Here's Mike's review of "Power Outage."

This Flash review contains spoilers.

We haven’t had a genuinely bad episode of The Flash yet, and I’ve groused a little about the most recent couple of episodes being a little formulaic. A little too much “villain of the week” and not enough real character development. While “Power Outage” is very much a villain(s) of the week scenario, it was done in an inventive enough way, and dropped just enough bombs on us to step things up.

Lots of eye candy this week, and it started with the opening. Any time we see the accelerator going up, I’m always looking for new clues. If you looked off to the right side, you could see the plane from the first episode get zapped out of existence. That was a nice touch. But what about all those other lightning bolts off in the distance? They all looked blurry…like maybe we were seeing lightning striking in other dimensions.

Anyway, that’s enough way out theorizing for this whole review, and far too much for the second paragraph. Sorry about that. You all know how excited I get.

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But yes, lots of eye candy. Terrific special effects, plenty of bright colors, and all in all, everything looked plenty superhero-y. Blackout isn’t much of a villain, and there’s nothing to really distinguish this guy from, say, if this was a Superman TV show (oh man, wouldn’t that be awesome, too?) a baddie like the Parasite. Guest villain Michael Reventar did a nice job, though, and I liked that they played up the vampiric elements.

One of the things that struck me about The Flash and Barry’s portrayal in the first episode was that, in some ways, this was being treated like the DC answer to Spider-Man. There’s a lot of Peter Parker about Barry this week. Maybe a little too much. I do like that they address his overconfidence issues. The way he gloated over Girder last week really annoyed me, and I’m glad to see that served a larger purpose, and was leading to him getting a little comeuppance this week. That being said, even the whole “you lost your powers because your neurotic” thing was treading on Spider-Man 2 territory. I’m also totally not buying it. I think they bit off a little more than they could chew this week.

But the thing is, when Barry told Caitlin how much he loves being the Flash, well, that’s a big breath of fresh air. When was the last time we saw any movie superhero speak so unapologetically about their abilities? Maybe Tony Stark? We sure as hell haven’t even seen it with Superman since the Christopher Reeve days, and I’m sure that it’s going to be all scowling, all the time as Warner Bros. continue to introduce their big screen superheroes.

It’s also interesting that this week they chose to open early with Harrison Wells doing his shady “man from the future who can actually walk” schtick. I’m glad they did this, if only to mess with the pace of the episode a little bit. While we’re talking about Harrison, I enjoyed his choice of words about people in general: “misinformed,” “short-sighted.” It’s a fairly obvious but still classic way for a man from the future to talk. There’s more than a hint of that golden age of mid-century sci-fi in the Flash’s DNA, and I’d like to see this show embrace it even more, if that’s even possible!

Harrison feeding Girder to Blackout (by the way, it’s time for Cisco to stop naming foes…the way they dropped that in there this week was brutal) did solve at least one problem. It eliminated a douchebag who knows Barry’s identity because of Barry’s own arrogance. But when Barry barks at Harrison about how “he didn’t deserve to die,” well, that rings a little hollow. He doesn’t deserve to die, but…he deserves life imprisonment without trial in Sciencetanamo Bay, here? They really need to work on this. At least we now know that Harrison has ulterior motives with these metahumans (as if we didn’t know already).

Splitting time between the crisis at STAR Labs with Blackout and the crisis at CCPD with Clock King worked well enough, but I couldn’t help but feel that they just wanted to get one more connection to Arrow in before next week’s big crossover. Neither of these villains really could have filled out an episode on their own, so this was a little bit of a cheat. Then again, at least they didn’t try to shoehorn them into a villain team-up. 

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Who the Hell is Harrison Wells?

Harrison showing his hand a bit at the end there, but again, it just seems far too obvious that he would be the Reverse-Flash at this point. They’re messing with us. I DO have a more out there theory about him, though…

Harrison is plugged in to the events of some Crisis in the future. He observes these events, and he’s desperately trying to influence them ahead of time. Could he be this show’s version of Pariah?

Flash Facts

– Harrison’s computer is named “Gideon.” There are several Gideons in DC Comics lore, but none really strike me as appropriate analogs to this computer program. But there’s no way this is an accident. UPDATE: But that’s Morena Baccarin as the voice of Gideon!

– Oh, that list of names that Harrison rattles off! So far, I’ve got nothing on Casey Donovan, Jake Davenport, or Daria Kim. But the others, hoo-boy. I’ll just go right down the list:

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Ralph Dibney is the Elongated Man. I don’t know if they could properly do a stretchy hero on this show’s budget anyway, but this is a character with deep connections to Barry Allen in the days of DC Comics gone by. I’d LOVE to see them give us a buddy episode with these two down the line somehow.

Bea da Costa is Fire, the green-flamed, hot-tempered badass who was a stalwart of the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League years. Please make this happen. 

Al Rothstein…I’m ridiculously excited about this one. He’s been Atom. He’s been Nuklon. He’s been Atom Smasher. He’s been a member of Infinity Inc and the Justice Society. Since Atom is already busy over on Arrow, I think Nuklon will work well enough for this show’s purposes. Like Firestorm, he’s a natural fit for the rules established in this universe. And since we already have Wildcat happening on Arrow, why not introduce young Mr. Rothstein’s godfather, Al Pratt, here on The Flash? (are you still reading this, or have you given up on me?)

Grant Emerson is Damage. He’s also Al Pratt’s son. He’s another guy with a power set that makes sense for this show. C’mon, TWO Al Pratt connections in a matter of seconds? This is no way an accident. It had better not be!

Will Everett was the All-Star Squadron’s Amazing Man. The All-Star Squadron, in case you actually have a social life and don’t know this, is an offshoot of the Justice Society. So that’s now THREE Justice Society references in a matter of seconds. Please don’t toy with me, show. I can’t take it.

Ronnie Raymond is…Firestorm. We’ll meet him right after the midseason break. But you already knew that.

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Did I miss anything? I’m pretty sure I was on top of things this week!

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3 out of 5