This review contains spoilers.
1.9 The Man In The Yellow Suit
The first episode of The Flash was, in my opinion, a perfect hour of television. It was instantly everything so many people wanted the show to be, and its subsequent success has shown that the way in which it chose to approach its particular corner of DC’s television universe was exactly what the 2014-15 telly slate needed.
Now, as we reach its first proper hiatus, and it has delivered its first big mid-season finale (if you can even get bigger than last week’s crossover), it’s lovely to note that first instincts were right, and this show is really, truly great.
It’s had its problems – Iris chief among them – but overall it’s just been a breath of fresh air. The Man In The Yellow Suit was the series as its best self, too, giving everyone plenty of great material to work with, some answers that force the audience to just ask more questions, great comic book fan-pleasing action and even the best use of Iris on the show to date. That last one’s important, too, because it gives doubters like me reason to think she might not be quite as awful in season 1b as she was in 1a.
It was also a Christmas episode, which are always nice. Aside from the sweet scene of Barry and Joe decorating the tree at the beginning, the time of year didn’t really factor into the action too much, but I always appreciate when shows ground themselves in a particular time and place, rather than existing in some alternate timeline where the weather’s always the same and holidays don’t happen.
The A-plot of the episode was actually a biggie, with Barry almost catching up with the titular man in the yellow suit. Joe’s confession that he knew about the villain’s return sets Barry off on a revenge-trip, and there was just the right amount of animosity between him, Joe and the rest of STAR Labs to, while not do any lasting damage to connections with those closest to him, justify his tunnel-vision pursuit of the bad guy for the rest of the episode.
There’s also the big confession to Iris, which was actually one of my favourite scenes of the episode. I’m not entirely sure it was meant to play out the way it did to me – I’m actually almost certain it wasn’t – but it felt like all of the weirdness of Barry being in love with Iris suddenly dawned on both of them in that moment. Iris’ reaction to his declaration was obviously left a little ambiguous so that the show could hold onto that dynamic for at least a full season, but for me it was the perfect pause button on this strange little romance.
But there were so many wonderful moments in the episode – Barry and his father in the prison, Barry and Joe, Cisco and Caitlin – all so packed with feeling that it’s a wonder we’ve only known these characters for nine weeks. A lot of this half-season was about reconciling Barry’s father figures, with Joe and Wells largely representing his two choices after becoming The Flash. That’s why Joe’s speech to him was so perfect.
And we may finally have gotten some real insight into why Wells is so preoccupied with Barry – it’s possible that he is some time-travelling incarnation of Reverse Flash (dubbed, as always, by Cisco), and that there was a second blur, a red one, there on the night that Nora Allen was killed. I say it’s possible, because what are the chances that the Flash writers would reveal their hand this early in the game?
We’re not even half way into a 22-episode season, so the notion that Wells is the villain we’ve all assumed him to be is unlikely, but the decision to put the reveal just before the break is a smart way to keep our interest. His storyline is going to pay off in the long run, but the immediate threat is clearly going to involve Ronnie/Firestorm, who Caitlin discovered was alive this week.
It’s rare for a show to start out this strong and gather this much fan support so early in its run, and that makes the future of The Flash a really exciting prospect. See you all in January!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Flash Vs Arrow, here.
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