‘The Flash’ Season 1 Recap, Episode 6: ‘The Flash Is Born’
Welcome back to Up To Speed, home of the the Flashest Recaps Alive. Here we’ll recap the episodes, dispense some Flash Facts and talk about what works, what doesn’t and where the series might be headed, as we try and keep up with the adventures of Central City’s finest hero, Barry Allen: The Flash dundundundundundun–AH-AAAAAH!–Defender of the Universe!
This week, we’re looking at the sixth episode episode of the first season, “The Flash Is Born,” which features a greasy hunk in muscle shirts, guys being dudes, and a karate robot. On your marks, get set, GOOOOO!
FLASHBACK: What Happened This Week
We start off with Barry’s usual HOLD THE PHONE, this isn’t Barry, it’s Iris, and she’s doing a riff on Barry’s opening voiceover from the pilot. We find out she’s just typing on her blog like Doogie Howser MD used to, before he discovered musical theater or met those kids' mother. Anyway, so she posts her blog entry and WHOOSH! Barry flashes into the coffee shop, and tries to talk Iris out of blogging again by pointing out, again, that her blogging opens her up to being targeted by evil metahumans.
Their chat is cut short by the sound of sirens, as cops try and chase down a yellow Hummer that is tearing through the streets of
Vancouver Central City like a bat out of heck. The yellow Hummer is great shorthand, letting you know really quickly that the driver is a garbage person. The cops try and set up a barricade, and Joe West – again, one of two detectives in town, apparently – is on the scene with his partner, Eddie Thawne.
Joe basically corroborates that only a douchebag would drive around in a yellow Hummer, and they try and clear the area of civilians. Unfortunately, some kid with earbuds in is completely oblivious to the car chase happening behind him, due to him having earbuds in, probably too busy playing Pokeman or something. Kids, am I right?
Barry manages to save the kid, who should really not be wandering the streets this late at night, and the cops rain bullets down on the vehicle, because America. Eddie’s lands a few bullets right in the driver’s face, but it turns all metal like Colossus from X-Men or Bruce Jenner after his injections, and it bounces off. SPOILERS, this dude is a metahuman.
Hummer Mega-Douche blows through the cops' barricade and Barry tries to stop him, confronting him in an alley. He tells the guy to get out of the car, and he does, but he pulls the door off because this guy is seriously overcompensating. Barry tries punching him, but every place he lands a punch turns to metal and OUCH, that hurts.
Then the Hummer Douche leans over Barry and says, “Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?” or maybe that was something else I was watching recently. In either case, this dude says a very meaningful phrase to Barry before he hightails it back to S.T.A.R. Labs to get patched up by Caitlin and Cisco.
Mad scientist Harrison Wells is there, and when Barry tells them about the metal dude, he smirks and says, “Mmminteresting, a man of steeeeel,” in such a wink-wink way that it’s hard to be mad at him for it despite it being awful. Barry mentions that there’s something about the guy that seems familiar, and now that he mentions it, I just realized that this guy looks like the CW version of Leland from Dog the Bounty Hunter. Or if Jason Segel went all Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Back at the police station, Joe is rewatching Li’l Barry’s testimony from the night his mom got speed-stabbed by the Yellow Flash, and he’s putting two and two together, thinking maybe that whoever was responsible for her death was a metahuman who could also run fast. But then Barry comes in and Joe has to pretend like he’s watching soaps or something before they start talking about how Yellow Hummer Douche is a metahuman. Oh, and Barry has to work with Eddie because Eddie’s asking questions about why the guy’s head didn't explode when he shot it, so Barry’s gonna have to make up some sort of plausible reason why that could happen. There is no way this can fail because, as we’ve seen, Barry is Din-O-Mite at talking to people.
During the briefing, Singh runs down the perp's info; he’s Tony Woodward, which triggers a memory from Barry’s elementary school days. We’re treated to a FLASHBAAAACK, where we see the origins of the grand tradition of Barry explaining things to Iris that she really doesn’t care about, before this bully comes around the corner and shoves Barry down while also saying his trademarked slogan, “Looks like you were born to take a beating, Allen!” Say what you will about Woodward, but the guy knows how to create a #brand.
Meanwhile, the room has cleared out and Barry’s still having his flashback. Eddie mentions that he saw some crazy stuff last night and Barry’s tries to convince Eddie that face armor is totally a thing. Iris shows up, and Edie pass-aggs her for not returning his calls, but Barry basically bolts out of the room when Eddie asks why there’s a weird tension between Barry and Iris right now.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Joe shows up to talk to Harrison Wells about Barry’s mom’s case and Wells looks like the cat that ate the canary before they cut to commercials.
Meanwhile, Caitlin and Cisco, AKA C+C Science Factory, unveil Cisco’s latest invention, a karate robot, to help Barry train against the bad guy they keep referring to as “Tony,” though I guess in the comics they call him Girder. Cisco has Barry spar with his metal man, but Barry gets a boo-boo and Caitlin has to pop his arm back in his socket. I assume that Cisco has gone of to watch Robot Jox for the 476th time, because that movie is baller.
As Caitlin’s trying to help Barry with his arm, he gets a call from Eddie, and you can only imagine what Eddie thinks Barry is getting up to with the way he’s grunting and groaning on the other end.
Turns out they found the Hummer in an alley. Eddie and Barry have a little friendly-ish chat, and when Eddie gets called away to talk about detective stuff, Barry flashes back to his young times, which is denoted by the fact that Joe is wearing his jaunty green trilby. Turns out Barry is just as bad at boxing his adopted father and sister as he is at boxing steel men and punch-robots, because Iris beats the tar out of him.
Back in the present, the stolen Hummer has two kegs from a Keystone microbrewery, so they have a lead there. Oh, and Barry finds some metallic pebbles on the floor of the car. A CLUE!
Back at S.T.A.R. Labs, Joe and Harrison are going over the West murder, and Joe asks Wells if it’s possible she was killed by a metahuman, and Wells is like, “Naaaah. There wasn’t any sort of reactor explosion to give anybody powers, and it’s not like people can TRAVEL through TIME, right? Anyway, let’s talk about literally anything else.”
At the Rusty Iron brewery, we’re greeted by a terrible logo and a couple roughnecks working the loading dock. Eddie and Barry show them a photo of the notorious Tony, and one dude, with some seriously jacked-up teeth, runs for it. Eddie and Barry chase him down, with Barry taking “a shortcut” via superspeed to take Fangmouth down. They shake him for answers and he rattles off Tony’s origin story: he was gonna get laid off from the iron works, went aggro and started punching people, so Fangmouth and somebody else OOPS! accidentally threw him into a pot of molten metal right as the reactor was spewing metahuman particles over Central and Keystone Cities.
At the coffee shop, some perky blonde lady is asking Iris where Barry’s been and Iris is like, well, we’re fighting, but then Tony shows up looking greasy as hell and trying to flirt with Iris in the most dirtbag way possible. The only thing this guy hates more than cops is shirts with some sort of sleeves. Iris starts listing off all the cops she knows and OH HEY look what’s on the TV? Oh, a picture of Tony with a big “WANTED” caption underneath it? Oh, what time is it? I gotta call my cop boyfriend to see how he’s doing. This makes Tony mad, so he shifts his hand to metal and crushes her phone, which is JUST RUDE.
And then, if that wasn’t douchey enough, he drops a roll of $20s in the tip jar and is like, “We’ll pick this up another time.” I legit hate this dude.
At S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco’s tracked the metal from the Hummer to a metalworks in Keystone, and Caitlin shows him a blog post that Iris put up to get Barry’s attention regarding Tony. Which means that instead of a signal-watch or Bat-Signal, we have … the Flashblog? Anyway, Barry heads over to see Iris (who lives at the coffee shop, I guess?) and she gives him her info, telling Barry about how Tony transformed his hand.
Barry heads off to the metalworks and pretty much just gets his ass handed to him again. C+C show up and bring him back to S.T.A.R. Labs so Harrison Wells can berate him. Barry’s like, “Yeah, this dude’s just gonna beat me up for my whole life, I guess,” but Cisco shows him a computer simulation of how Barry can hit him and do damage, but he has to be going 837 miles per hour and hit him at the juuust the right angle or, well, he splats all over. Caitlin is like, “This is cuckoo bananas and also dangerous. No.” and Barry is like, “Hmmmm,” and Cisco is like, “Oh man, I really want to see if he can break the sound barrier.”
Back at the police barn, Joe stops Barry and Barry breaks the news that Tony is after Iris, which Joe takes pretty well, all things considered. Eddie waddles up and is all pouty because Woodward’s gone beyond city lines and now is under state jurisdiction. This makes Eddie mad and he’s like, “Come on, Barry. Let’s go upstairs and take our shirts off and work some of this frustration out,” and that sound you heard when this moment aired was one million slashfics being birthed.
Oh, he just meant boxing, because I guess Barry has a punching bag in his lab now? Anyway, we get a little glimpse at Eddie Thawne’s younger life. He grew up pudgy, weak and the son of a politician, until he learned to fight back. He gives Barry some punching pointers and then OOPS! Barry puts his fist through the sandbag.
We cut to Wells meeting Joe for a drink at a bar, and Joe kind of blindsides Wells with the accusation that he might have killed Barry’s mom, as he sort of showed up in town right after the murder. Wells, who should really have been wearing a comically terrible beard in this scene, is like, “Good day sir I SAID GOOD DAY SIR!” but not before telling Joe to look up a “Tess Morgan,” before burning rubber to get out of there.
At the West house, Iris hears a big crash and looks out to see the car with her police detail flipped over, the cops sort of hanging out the windows all messed-up-looking, and there’s Tony, looking like a sentient grease stain. Looks like this damsel is definitely in distress.
Oh, and there’s more dudes-in-undershirts boxing in this episode for you Eddie-Barry shippers out there.
Tony takes Iris to their old elementary school, which is just sad. Tony yells a lot about how he’s the new “big man on campus!” and then Iris pulls a fire alarm, which alerts the police, which alerts Barry. He Flashes over there, but, despite getting some good shots in, Tony beats him up again, with an American flag no less. That’s like a metaphor or something. Barry remembers that Joe told him it was okay to run away sometimes, so he leaves Iris there and is like “Peace.”
J/K, he’s getting a running start to try the sonic uppercut punch Cisco worked out. He zooms through the city, blowing out windows everywhere, and I’m wondering if homeowners/car insurance in the Central/Keystone City area has a superhero damage clause or something.
So he manages to get up to speed and SKA-DOOSH, punches that dude out. Iris punches him, too, just for kicks.
In the Pipeline, AKA the super-illegal containment facility where they keep all these metahumans, Barry takes off his mask and lectures Tony about how he’s a better guy and how Tony is a turd. He’s not wrong, but it feels a little… vindictive? Petty?
Joe shows up S.T.A.R. Labs with liquor, trying to smooth things over with Wells, who tells him about Tess Morgan, his former lab partner and wife. She died in a car wreck and Wells, unable to get over this loss, moved to S.T.A.R. Labs and continued their research into… making a metahuman bomb?
Barry finds Iris at the coffee shop and Spoon’s “Do You” is playing on the radio. They talk things over and decide to be friends again. Iris starts Streak-talking, mentioning a Burning Man, who I’m guessing is Firestorm, but I’m sure somebody will correct me in the comments. Then Iris comes up with the idea of calling The Streak “The Flash.”
Then it’s epilogue time! This time it’s not Harrison Wells-centric (or at least I don’t think it is?), but rather involves Joe West sitting around, reviewing the West case files when a weird yellow streak circles around his living room, taking all the paperwork and leaving this very unsubtle warning for Joe.
Creeeeeepy! (Anybody else hearing that Too Many Cooks theme song or have I finally lost it?)
FLASH FACTS: Random Observations
- There’s a bit where C+C Science Factory are having a conversation about how many bugs Barry eats when he’s running around, and I just love these nerds.
- Anthony “Tony” Woodward, AKA Girder, was created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver in the Flash: Iron Heights Prestige Format one-shot. Their version is pretty close to the TV version, only it’s a sexual assault that leads to him being thrown in the vat of metal and not getting laid off.
- Cisco mentions that Barry’s lucky that Girder didn’t knock out his teeth, and now I’m wondering about which superheroes have dental implants because they took a crazy punch to the mouth. Definitely Hawkeye. Probably Batman.
- This episode’s seen the most of Eddie so far, with us getting a look into what he is beyond the guy we’re supposed to not like because he’s standing between Barry and his perma-crush. It mostly works, but it also doesn’t quite land because up until now, he’s been so under-written so as to not spoil whatever “terrible secret,” was teased in the show’s promotional tour media.
- I liked this episode, though more for the stuff that was happening around the main villain-of-the-week plot than that plot itself. It’s a combination of a kind an uninteresting, one-dimensional villain, and the idea that bullies deserve to be bullied back, or lectured while they’re in an extra-judicial secret prison under the city, that just kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Not a bad episode, but not my favorite by a country mile.
FLASH-FORWARD: Future Happenings
Next week! Some guy shoots green lightning at Barry and he loses his run-run powers! Plus, coming up soon: Flash versus (the not Green) Arrow! I can barely contain my excitement!