Hitting the Clones Running
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Pilots always have a lot to juggle. The most difficult tasks for them are more often than not characters and creating a world that can stand as a solid foundation without tipping the scales over by simply doing too much. City of Heroes almost did so but saved itself by always reigning itself in. Fastest Man Alive benefits greatly from the foundation built by the pilot and can hit the ground running without having to worry nearly as much about exposition. It feels perfectly comfortable with, for example, introducing a villain like the Multiplex who can basically clone himself hundreds of times over and expecting the audience to just roll with it. And we do. The thing that truly sets The Flash apart from all of the other comic book movies is that it knows what it is, a fun superhero show with some dynamic characters and it nails that tone consistently.
What helps the show, especially in comparison to Gotham (which I will admit does not have a superhero at its center, but I digress) is that it doesn’t constantly hunger for the big names in the DC universe. I like my big name characters to appear on a regular basis, but there is something about not always knowing all of their characters and their respective comic trajectories when you’re watching the show and or film. For example, I had to dig through to find Simon Stagg and Java’s cimic storyline and I was really pleasantly surprised how far back the team went to research its characters and tie them into the show’s narrative. That’s some serious dedication right there and it really comes across. An additional benefit is that the show can mold and bend these characters as befits the television adaptation without enraging too many purists.
Stagg in this case may remind some folks of Lex Luthor, as he is a wealthy corporate man. He’s a scientist by trade, pioneering the research behind cloning that is paving the way towards growing replacement organs. A bit of a twist is added her with our cloning villain named Danton Black. Black despises Stagg and rightfully so. What the script does well and without behind too heavy handed about is provide Black with a villainous nuance that makes it difficult to completely despise him. He was working on the cloning research himself as an employee and Stagg stole his research, allowing Black’s wife to die in the process. His righteous vengeance is accelerated significantly considering he along with the Flash was hit by the particle accelerator meltdown and that’s where the multiple clones of himself come into the picture.
Considering this is a comic book show, the acting and character interaction is so stellar it’s a bit hard not to just keep going on about it. Iris actually this week is a major improvement and she gets character shadings beyond being a part of the obligatory love triangle that exists. David Nutter’s direction is as usual pure excellence and his handling of the scenes where the Flesh is running are exquisite. Speaking of the Flash running, the visual effects have greatly improved over the course of a single week or they just polished it up a bit after last week. Either way, it looks better. And the multiple clone adventure portion of the episode? It’s a ton of fun and I honestly can say that it is simply one of the most entertaining sequences you will see all year. This show is a blast.
Great/Not So Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+“We were all struck by that lightning.” That made me a laugh a lot harder than it should have
+Cisco: “Meet Captain Clone! Don’t worry, I’ll come up with something cooler.”
+Multiplex is a great name
+Harrison: “The man in the red mask. He’s called The Flash. Or at least he will be one day.”
Stagg: “What the hell?”
Harrison: “Forgive me, Simon. I’m worried you will think this is personal and it’s not. It’s just the man in the red mask, the fastest man alive must be kept safe.”
+Iris: “How fast can you get home and change?”
Barry: “Uh, pretty fast.”
Title: Fastest Man Alive
Story by: Greg Berlanti & Andrew Kreisberg
Teleplay by: Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns
Directed By: David Nutter
Image Courtesy: Spoiler TV