This week’s instalment of The Flash was not only a festive edition but a mid-season finale. We got the occasional warm moments of a Christmas special coupled with the dark, tense and explosive moments of a season finale. I may as well tell you now, I found this episode to be fantastic, it really was a work of art, the best episode of the season so far. It managed to top The Girder episode.
I liked that this was a festive episode, Christmas is my favourite time of year however due to the stresses of exams and coursework I hadn’t managed to feel truly Christmassy’ yet, this episode helped me with that a little bit. Aside from the festive shots of people putting up Christmas decorations in Central City the prologue was otherwise tense. The happiness of December was cut short when two streaks of lightning shot across the screen. It was Barry Allen otherwise known as The Flash, and his nemesis, the man who killed his mother, the man that he has been chasing for years. This scene was really tense, the directing on these moments in which Barry moves through the streets of Central City at high speeds is always strong. The moment was made stronger by Grant Gustin’s acting ability and the fact that the show has been building to this moment for weeks.
The soundtrack of The CW Network’s DC shows have been consistently strong from the off. The Flash is no exception, Blake Neely is to be applauded for how well he captures the tone of these iconic characters. Fans of these comic book crusaders are satisfied a lot more by their cinematic interpretations when the music reflects the characters well. The main theme of The Flash is actually quite uplifting in contrast to the badass but dark Arrow theme.
From his first clear appearance in the episode it was instantly understood that The Reverse Flash is a really intimidating presence. He was very commanding and frightening in the way he acted. For example when he killed the two security guards at the laboratory, the way he went up to the window behind which the scientist was standing and just peered through it. That was intended to be threatening and it was, he just stood there staring at the professor in a way that said “you’re lucky this time”. Another example of the strong physical acting of the actor behind this character was how he behaved with Eddy in the scene where Harrison Wells attempted to trap him. He runs up to Eddy, slaps the gun out-of-the-way and just stands in front of him looking him dead in the eye as if to say: “What are you going to do about it, bitch?”. The beating he gave Barry at the football stadium was a tense and well acted scene, the directing gave everything that happened some real impact. It didn’t feel annoying that Barry lost in that moment. Given that Reverse Flash is faster and has been at it longer than Barry it made sense that he would beat Barry.
Seen as though we are on the subject of Eddy, I like the transition that his character went through in this episode. For a while he was becoming quite annoying due to the fact that he was being an idiot and all of a sudden deciding to set up a task force for The Flash even though at that point Barry had given him no reason to mistrust him. Previously he had been quite an interesting character, as like I said in a previous review, we are supposed to hate him because he is with Iris but we couldn’t because he was a nice guy really. The writers ruined this turning him into the typical moron that gets in the way of the main character all of the time. They continued this trend in the first half of this episode, with Eddy blackmailing Joe West, his mentor, so that he could muscle in on the chase for Reverse Flash. However, by the end of the episode Eddy’s character took a really good step, making him likeable again. The moment at the end of the episode between him and Joe was really well done, it took for Eddy to be humbled and knocked down a peg for him to build back up in the right way. He got a little too big for his boots in the wrong way. He can use the knowledge that he now has about The Flash and the meta-humans to be a strong character in the good way and will therefore be likeable to the audience now that he is now on the same page as them.
There were a lot of moments in this where well written dialogue intersected with excellent acting. Some scenes in which this was noticeable was the moment after Caitlin and Cisco first spoke to Firestorm. The moment where the team confronted a trapped Reverse Flash and the moment between Barry and his father at the prison. Also the scene where Barry finally tells Iris everything, Gustin seems to be really good at bringing out the best performances from his co-stars. This episode was really strong, the series is going to an interesting place based on the revelations at the end of this instalment.