Flash Review: “Fast Lane”

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Jim’s Thoughts

Pacing continues to be a problem for The Flash. It wasn’t that we got a bad episode. We got another entry in keeping with what we’ve come to expect from the show. That means we were introduced to another villain of the week, a few light hearted moments, and a bit of personal drama. Normally it doesn’t bother me, but we’re entering the back half of the season now, we’ve been teased with a huge Zoom confrontation, and for some reason we spent most of our time delving into West family theatrics. In short, what bothers me is that everything not Zoom feels like filler.

Iris had been bothering me less as a character lately, and that was largely undone this week. She was a human public service announcement, lecturing everyone, and sneaking around with all the investigative skill of a toddler reaching their fork into the electrical outlet.

Wells’ part of the story had something to it. That could be because it’s the only thing on screen that serves to remind us of the larger conflict the writers insist on letting die on the vine, but even here it played out too quickly.

This week’s episode gave us one great character moment, and that was Barry’s speech to the team about not leaving Earth 2, or Wells’ daughter to their doom. It seemed ill-fitting that he’d need to say any of that to his team, but after some weird emo-esque choices with Barry this season, I liked being reminded of why he’s a hero.

At this point, I’m hoping for a strong finish for season 2, but they really need to narrow their focus, quit cramming every storyline into every episode, and give us a proper buildup to the final showdown with Zoom.

Kyle’s Take

I agree, in principle, with most of Jim’s points. The biggest problem The Flash has is pacing. I can’t knock “Fast Lane” too much for continuing the West family story arc, when I’ve bashed this show and Arrow for dropping a story arc that didn’t have a resolution in the past, but I don’t find the West family story interesting either.

At this point the West storyline doesn’t serve a purpose except to give air time to more characters from the DC Universe, but perhaps one of the Wests’ Earth-2 counterparts is Zoom. I’m going to give Flash the benefit of the doubt for the time being. It would make sense to deviate from Zoom this much if Flash made Zoom one of Earth-2’s Wests and therefore the West family story from Earth-Prime could serve as a parallel background for Zoom. The biggest sin The Flash is guilty of this week is giving way too much time for the West arc, and moving their story at a snail’s pace, while putting the Wells’ story on fast forward.

There was nothing wrong with the progression of the Wells’ story: he betrays Barry, he comes clean, the gang locks him up, and after a minute, he’s freed and forgiven. The problem with the Wells’ story is that it was resolved in the amount of time it took our readers to read through that chain of events. It’s okay if The Flash wants to dedicate more time to the Wests, but the show has to provide the Wells story with more time to germinate and it needs the same care.

Iris annoyed me in this episode. I’m not sure what she brings to the table as an investigative reporter (she’s held that job for a year now), when she barges into a mobster’s front door and threatens to out him as a mobster. That’s a good way of becoming a blood stain. And every time she lectured one of the West boys (yes, even her father Detective West), I kept waiting for a G. I. Joe character like Duke or Scarlett to pop out and say, “And knowing is half the battle.” Then I would remember that G. I. Joe is a Marvel comic and that wouldn’t work unless we had a bizarre crossover. Seriously, someone has to splice footage of Iris from this episode with a G. I. Joe public service announcement and post it to YouTube. You’d get a thousand views from me alone. Go, Joe!

Sorry. I got off topic, just like the parts of “Fast Lane” that didn’t deal with Wells, Barry, or Zoom. Even though The Flash should focus on the main villain more, I don’t know that recurring villains isn’t a bad formula. The Flash doesn’t waste any time with a villain outside the big bad of the season and Captain Cold, and Captain Cold left for another show. I still wonder what happened to The Pied Piper, especially after Dr. Wells of Earth-Prime’s death, and I’m thirsty for more Gorilla Grodd. The Flash needs to slow down with revealing all of the hero’s rogues and let us latch on to a few of them. If it did that, we might care that this week’s episode features Mirror Master or whoever else happens to grace the screen.

The Flash did have that shining moment Jim mentioned where Barry ditched his emo aesthetic and rallied the troops. He did reminded us why he’s a hero. Hopefully, The Flash can remember to balance its storylines and give more attention to the main arc, but the show does have another half of a season to reach its conclusion; “Fast Lane” was only episode twelve of twenty-four.

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