Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thieves Among Honor

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled Flash frivolity.

Episode 4: "Honor Among Thieves"

Plot: Six of the best thieves in the world arrive in Central City at the same time a priceless Russian artifact comes to the city as part of a traveling exhibit. Coincidence? The CCPD don't think so and they step up security on the museum. This brings Barry back into contact with his old college professor/mentor/father figure and reopens bad memories of the rift that broke their relationship. Everything may not be as it seems, however, and these six villains may have something even more spectacular in store for Central City... not even the Flash can be everywhere at once...

My Take:
And the series continued to show it had settled a bit more with the writers getting more of a handle on the pacing and concept of the series.

The villains, though, sadly continued to remain not only flat but one-note. Each villain is boiled down to one specialty and stereotyped characteristics and as such they become plot instead of characters. These are also still garden variety crooks raather than super powered foes. Their one saving grace is that the writers at least give them a little flamboyancy -- which helps to overcome the lack of real menace. Also, the sheer numbers of them -- having six intelligent (or reasonably so) highly skilled criminals make the audience at least briefly consider the idea that they might give the Flash a run for his money.

The writers also try to inject a little emotional drama here as we return to the themes set out in the pilot -- of Barry feeling forever dismissed by his father and never quite fitting in -- being neither fish nor fowl, neither street cop nor pure scientist. This all does get laid on with a trowel though as seen at one point where Barry states that his dad was "not much of a father." Ouch. Despite some of the heavy handedness, though, there is something sweet and genuine in the scenes between Barry and his former mentor and both of the actors involve hit the notes just right and make the dialogue for the scene a lot more easy than it might have been.

The special effects are kept to a bit of a minimum but that actually works well here as it creates a nice balance where the flashy (yes, I went there) Flash effects do not overwhelm the story. In addition to the usual generated effects there are a couple of nice pyrotechnic scenes which look good and make a nice impact.

From a comic book standpoint there again isn't much to fuss about here. We get confirmation that Barry wants to keep the Flash an urban legend and this is in contrast to the comic book Flash who was often appearing in parades or charity events or being announced on the news as lending a hand to the police. Interstingly, there are also some indications that for this series there were no other powered heroes anywhere else. If the show had gone on beyond the single season it would have been interesting to see if they would have kept to this. Even the other superhero show of the 1990's Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman occasionally dropped hints that Batman was running around Gotham. And the modern equivalent Smallville has had most of the Justice League hanging around for several years.

Flash Facts:
Another name check for Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick as the episode mentions "Garrick St." again. Also, another possible reference is the fact that, in one scene in the Central City Museum, Barry is seen studying a statue of Hermes. The Golden Age Flash's costume, most notably his helmet, was inspired by depictions of Hermes, fleet footed messenger of the gods.

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