Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#SummerRewatch The Flash 1x03 "Things You Can't Outrun" (Catching Up To You) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

"Things You Can't Outrun"
Original Airdate: October 21, 2014

The Flash opens up the episode by giving me the theme right away: everyone is running. Barry voiceovers for me and other viewers that, "Being alive means running. Running from something, running to something – or someone. And no matter how fast you are, there's some things you can't outrun. Some things always manage to catch up to you." How fitting is that for this show about the fastest man alive, huh?

The theme of running and “things catching up to you” does stick around throughout the episode, which I’m glad about. A lot of shows try to stick on a theme and then don’t follow through with it later on, but The Flash is more thorough with their ideas. For our main characters, we have Caitlin – who is running from her memories of Ronnie and his death and the negative associations she has with the particle accelerator – and Iris, who is running from facing her dad regarding her relationship with Eddie. Cisco might be running from his guilt over Ronnie’s death. Joe is running from his guilt over not believing Henry Allen to be innocent.

Then there is the episode-specific story involving the Metahuman of the Week, who doubtlessly believes himself to be the “thing” catching up to the people he thinks wronged him. I’m sure the fact that he turns into evil gas is symbolic of something. It’s hard to outrun like, air, or whatever. Notice the shift in roles – the good people in these stories are doing the running, while the villain is doing the catching up.

For each of the main characters, there’s a fear or a negative feeling that they’re trying to avoid. Barry, however, is running to something: saving his father and finding the thing that actually killed his mother. We even get that outlined in the episode itself, when Henry Allen tells Barry about when Barry took his first steps. Barry didn’t just walk – he ran, to his mother. “You ran to your mom, Barry. Right into her arms.”

It’s interesting to me how the writers set up a lot of plot and character in this seemingly generic villain-of-the-week early episode. There are some bigger things under the surface of this episode’s story. You know, “The Mist” (™ Cisco) is killing a bunch of people and then he gets stopped by The Flash and the team, gets thrown into the metahuman prison as its first resident, etcetera. If you just take that little synopsis of the episode, it’s a bland episode. But The Flash writers manage to hide some deeper ideas, not the least of which is the theme of “running,” which sticks through all twenty-three episodes of the show’s first season. Barry is running to that combined goal of finding out the truth about his mother’s death all the way up until the finale, while other characters vary between running to things and away from things, but none of them ever seem to stop.

I guess that’s why I’m so impressed with the first season of The Flash. It’s a great, action-packed season of television, to the point where I often mentioned how I couldn’t believe it’d only been one season. They manage to stuff a lot of story into a show that looks like it should be a fairly simple. Disregarding the weekly metahumans, even the arcing plot seems a bit cliché – you know, hero wants to solve the murder of a loved one, grows as a person and a hero as they do so. The usual.

But The Flash manages to work in some twists and turns and mysteries, not to mention the interesting subplots and character stories that can be fun and interesting. Having seen what they can do with a season of television – and being reminded of it with these rewatches – I can't help wondering what season two is going to have for us.

Bulletpoint Commentary:
  • Barry mentions the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus, which is probably my favorite horrifying nature thing to tell people about other than "hummingbirds stab each other in the throats during mating season."
  • I love the weird little shrug Barry does when Iris questions all the food he's eaten on their outing.
  • It took the jury 52 minutes to say Barry’s dad was guilty HOW? Were they paid off? All the evidence was from time travel!
  • “All I can think of to say is, I feel like I’ve waited for this day for centuries.” FORESHADOWING!
  • I remember laughing at Barry handing a lady getting mugged a knife when I first watched the episode, and it's still hilarious to me.
  • “It’s a small needle, you probably won’t even feel it.” “You’re definitely going to feel it.”
  • “My chest feels like that one time I had a cigarette… Yeah, teen me lived for danger.”
  • “I didn’t want him to be a hero. I wanted him to be my husband.” Still heartbreaking.
  • I’ve always kind of had the impression that Barry’s dad trusted Joe, but this episode shows he had a bit of a grudge against him so… how did Barry end up with the Wests, exactly?
  • “Rescuing you is exhausting.” “I really miss the ability to be able to ground you.”
  • “I should let you two talk, and I’ll just be outside… looking into the witness protection program.” Eddie. I’m sad about your future.
  • “So… We’re just supposed to get used to working above a makeshift prison, housing evil people… with superpowers.” Hee.
Thanks be to Deborah who so graciously has helped me out the past few weeks with our reviews of The Flash while I've been busy moving and packing and unpacking. Lucky for you, you won't even get a new #SummerRewatch review next week, since we'll be re-watching "Going Rogue" and... well, I've already reviewed that one! See you in a few weeks, lovely readers, and be sure to re-watch next week's episode and then read the review. :)

(And tell Deb how awesome she is for doing these for me, would you?)


Post a Comment