Episode 6: "Sins of the Father"
A man Barry's father put behind bars nearly 20 years ago escapes to seek his revenge and Barry must pull double duty in his double identity to keep his father safe and catch the criminal.
Ooo, look quick before it vanishes.... character development!
Yeah, okay, so this episode probably doesn't need that much snark... but really the character interaction is all that this story has going for it and that's not saying much.
Again, viewers are left with yet another cheap hood for a villain... and in this case the cheap hood in question really doesn't even seem that smart. The real mystery here is how such a walking impulse control problem of a villain manages to outwit the police, Barry's father and Barry/the Flash. Extreme stupidity and plot contrivences are the only explanation... sadly.
Meanwhile, you know that little sub-plot of the conflict between Barry and his dad that the writers have been unsubtly whacking viewers over the head with as if it were a Louisville Slugger? Yeah, that finally comes to a head here and gets resolved. Both of the actors involved handle the dialogue pretty well but, really, the dialogue and sequences are so formulaic that even someone who has never seen this episode before could probably recite the lines a beat before the actors do. There is nothing here that viewers haven't seen a thousand times before in other movies and TV shows. It must be said, though, that at least the writers don't screw it up and nothing here goes over the top... like it could have.
That's actually probably the biggest problem here -- there really never feels like there's any tension. You never feel at any point that the writers actually could be contemplating killing off Barry's dad and the one area they could have created some tension -- by having Barry struggle to keep his father from finding out about his double life -- is almost completely ignored except for one quick and really rather tensionless scene. There is nothing in the story that really grabs the viewer and keeps them interested.
Overall, the acting is solid... although our villain of the piece does more than his share of scenery chewing and is a bit annoying, and Shipp goes over the top in the final confrontation in a way that ends up being laughable rather than dramatic.
From a comic book standpoint there are problems in that, in this story, Barry's father, Henry, refers to himself as an "old Irish cop"... and, first of all, I don't recall anything in the comic books that specifically stated Barry's family was Irish and, second of all, comic book Barry's father was originally a retired, small down doctor.
The special effects here are well done all around and actually there are not quite as many of them as usual as the Flash doesn't make as many appearances as usual. From a physical and special effects standpoint, the fight scene in the bar is actually very impressive and well handled. The dialogue is a little corny there though.
This story is interesting because it is the first time that was actually sort of see Barry actually 'transform' into the Flash. Granted, it is just a flash of light during a speed blur effect but it's still nice to see the director decide to put it in. Of course, this again conflicts with the comic book version. The comic book Flash had a sleek costume which was compressed and stored inside the top of a ring (I know, I know, but it's Silver Age comic book science. Accept it and go with it) and Barry would change clothes at super speed to avoid being seen. With the TV series, because of the bulky costume (and presumably the lack of wanting to stretch suspension of disbelief) the ring gag was out. The thing is, aside from the pilot episode, viewers never see exactly where Barry is storing the costume -- he simply runs off and then reappears in costume.
In the end, not a terrible episode but rather more a dull one. The one redeeming factor being that viewers now probably won't have to put up with the whole "My father isn't a good father!" routine from Barry. Yay.