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Flash: The Man in the Yellow Suit Review

Kalem Lalonde's picture

The Flash has consistently been my favourite view of the week (disregarding SHIELD which I just caught up on). I always had faith in the show, since its announcement and since viewing the pilot. Everything just came together so well with this dream project. I’ve enjoyed every episode so far, despite there being ones that I didn’t love, but “The Man in the Yellow Suit” was on an entire different level than its predecessors. Here, the fun tone is replace with a desperate and alarming one as Barry is haunted and toyed with by Reverse Flash. The mid-season finale is intense, poignant, bewildering and among the best episodes of a live action superhero show this year. The Flash closes out 2014 with a bang!

I’ll get straight into talking about Reverse Flash. He was incredible in this episode. The Flash has done a mediocre job with its villains but the man in the yellow suit posed such an immense threat with his intimidating and ominous presence. The first fight scene between him and Barry gave me chills, just watching him push Barry around as if he were child’s play made me pity the red speedster. Having the man who killed your mother in your grasp and not being to catch him while you’ve believed yourself to be the fastest man alive would be crushing. Reverse Flash brought emotional intensity as well as amazing opportunities for fight sequences. Having him kick Barry around in the stadium was tense and aesthetically pleasing. But the real standout with Reverse Flash was his second sequence. His brief interrogation sequence was outstanding with palpable trepidation. This scene really made me believe that he’s identity is Eddie Thawne. The writers are just teasing us with lines such as “Detective Thawne, would you like to read him his rights,” and “Why did it not kill me?” I hope its Eddie because I would love to watch this likeable character’s downfall to villainy develop over time. Wells is an intriguing and awesome character but it seems too obvious and simple to be him (despite the end reveal). Theories aside, the decision to keep the Reverse Flash’s identity concealed (for fans of the comics) is a great one, leaving us speculating and debating.

Every time that Barry’s father appeared on the screen, the gathering of the father and son stole the episode. There’s a compelling tragedy to their predicament with a father that was stolen away from his son and said son who’s desperately trying to save him. The emotional value of these scenes is always incredible and this episode is no exception. This sequence was without a doubt the best performance given by Grant Gustin this year, he was excellent in conveying Barry’s sense of guilt and sorrow. I feel sorry for Barry and his father but I will miss their talks when the latter is released from custody (that will happen, I really hope so anyway), they’ve been incredible to watch up till now.

Barry also had a great talk with Joe West who continues to be one of the best supporting characters in the Arrow/Flash verse. Joe revealing to Barry what how he feels towards the boy was bittersweet. Their bond is convincing in that Barry completely altered Joe’s life, bringing a different kind of love into his home. Joe saying “I need my Barry Allen,” summed up their conversation perfectly adding new levels of depth to this unique father/son bond.

One thing that I haven’t enjoyed so much this season is Barry’s hidden love for Iris. I felt like the show was beating us over the heads with this plot-line due to CW’s necessity for drama of clichéd nature. I like Iris, but I don’t think the writers built their misconstrued relationship well enough to add weight to it. I never cared about Barry and Iris and most of their shared scenes were clunky and forced, provoking me to sigh or roll my eyes. This episode, however felt completely different. Barry’s (aforementioned) talk with his father revealed that the boy never pursued Iris because he was so focused and consumed by the parental aspects of his life that he didn’t have the time or the strength to be with someone. This gave reason to Barry’s love-life dilemma, exploring another side of Barry’s complex character. When he finally unveiled his feelings to Iris, I was invested in the scene. Watching Barry unfetter himself from such a vicious cycle of pain was fantastic and portrayed greatly by the Grant Gustin. I ended up caring about the romance because the writers conveyed its importance to Barry and fixing my main issue with the series thus far.

One element of the episode I was less keen on, however was the sub-plot involving Firestorm/Ronnie Raymond. Not to say that the plot was mediocre on its entirety. Catelyn was given some depth as she exposed her pessimistic views during a scene between her and Cisco. I was shocked by what she was saying, wishing that Ronnie had died rather than come bad as a meta-human. That was incredible, but there was a sense of irrelevance to the story. The scenes hindered to the momentum of the Reverse Flash material and even suffered from some extremely poor editing when Firestorm would flame on. I did enjoy that the writers worked it into the main-plot at the end when he saved Barry but overall, it wasn’t all that interesting in comparison to the other substance this episode had to offer.

The Flash’s mid-season finale was the best episode of the season to date, maybe even the best episode of geek T.V. this year. The Reverse Flash was introduced as an imposing presence with all sorts of mysterious ties to the principle cast. Barry will now have a new sense of purpose because from what we’ve seen, he stands no chance in a battle with his reverse. The bar has been set for the second half of Flash’s first season, January cannot come any quicker.