TV SHOW: The Flash
SEASON/EPISODE: 1.07 ‘Power Outage’
WRITERS/DIRECTOR: Alison Schapker, Grainne Godfree/Larry Shaw
Disaster strikes when an Meta-Human with the power to feed on electricity drains him of his powers and causes a City-wide blackout, meanwhile the Central City Police station endures a hostage situation curtsey of the Clock King.
So this week the Flash dealt with the dreaded two villain formula (something that fans of live-action superhero movies/tv shows usually worry about) and considering the track record with the majority of the rogues that have appeared on the show thus far (their powers were certainly impressive to watch), I have to admit that it was worrying to hear that was what the show was doing with this episode.
But the series has in fact pulled it off very well as we saw it’s version of Blackout (a DC comics superhero that in this iteration was a villain) and the Clock King (a returning bad-guy for the CW/DC shared universe, played once more by the excellent Robert Knepper), with both getting handled very well by the writers. I mean either Villain’s story could have been a main plot for an episode, but the fact that both were pulled off really well in just one means that the writers deserve applauds because this was exciting stuff to watch (most shows don’t attempt such episodes in their first season…to my knowledge).
Blackout (played very well by Michael Revantar) also was handled far better than the previous metas, since he was given a very strong sympathetic back-story which was well executed during the opening scene of the episode, revealing how he got his powers on the night of the Particle Accelerator’s explosion. We also learn during his first run-in with the Flash that he needed to feed on power to keep himself going, before draining Barry of his own speedster-power (much like one of Superman’s foes, namely Parasite). We then get a surprise when Blackout turns up at Star Labs and blames Professor Wells, because that same night he accidentally killed his best friends. But it was also during this part of the story that we see Wells release Girder (the enemy from the previous episode) and set him loose on the trespasser. This makes for an excellent Villain on Villain fight which also shows that there was more to Girder than him just being a bully (his death scene appeared to show as much, giving Barry closure on their rivalry), though I have to wonder how he might of turned out, had he survived this episode.
On the Clock King side of things, it was pretty much your standard hostage crisis(one that has been done to death on TV) though we did have an excellent bad-guy for this one, which makes it more entertaining as we also saw that Iris can handle herself in a tricky situation. We also saw that Joe is still shaken after his meeting with ‘the Man in Yellow’ from the previous episode, and we got a funny scene at the episode’s end with Eddie (who got shot after trying to be the hero during the hostage crisis) pumped full of drugs and seeing Barry use his abilities (nice way of dodging the bullet there, with the hallucination excuse).
Now even though this episode dealt with Barry losing his abilities (a superhero cliché and one that The Flash doesn’t do with that much originality, playing it a little too safely), only to discover that he still had them and just needed to believe in himself (resolving the issue rather neatly). But we did get a touching moment with Caitlin, with her showing her belief in him (as well as not watching someone else she cares for die).
But the real star of this episode was Wells himself, who continues to be the most interesting character on the show right now. His motives originally for wanting Barry in Star Labs was because he wanted to ensure that he becomes the Flash (like the scenes we have seen showing that the Professor has evidence of what the future holds for the speedster, as well as killing potential threats to his young friend) the hero he is destined to become. But all that is suddenly thrown out of the window come the very last scene of this instalment, where we see that he is intrigued by how Blackout managed to drain the Flash’s powers (even taking some of the dead foe’s blood for analysis). This just gives the character another layer of mystery as to what his end-game really is, which is just a joy to watch right now.
Also I have to say I did really enjoy Wells/Barry’s first scene as the Professor was making a report in his secret room about the his younger friend, while the latter is busy dealing with his usual morning routine (which includes a humorous moment where someone tries to rob him at gunpoint).