TV Recap: The Flash, ‘The Sound and The Fury’

"Pilot"

The Sound and the Fury Plot Summary:

After his encounter with The Rogues, Barry (Grant Gustin) must face off against a new villain, the Pied Piper. Once they meet, it is revealed that Piper is actually former acquaintance of the team Hartley Rathaway (Andy Mientus) and he has a vendetta against Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanaugh) that may spell certain disaster for S.T.A.R. Labs.

This week Flash gave us a break from Barry’s problems and moved onto everyone else’s. That is a huge step in the right direction. There was no Iris (Candice Patton) drama and very little Barry vs. Joe (Jesse L. Martin) arguments that end every episode with a big hug. To give you an example of how clearly this episode wasn’t going to be getting to bogged down in Barry’s usual drama, when Iris starts complaining about her day, Barry just leaves. He has more important stuff to do so he runs out of Jitters at super speed. Amen! If Flash could get rid of scenes like this entirely, it would be the best show on TV.

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We spent more time with Dr. Wells inThe Sound and the Fury’ than I think we have in the entire run of the series. We saw his house. We saw him messing around in the braile-cave (and yeah, we’re gonna talk about THAT scene). He used his powers out of costume. These were all great. More, please. And it doesn’t look like there can be too much. Tom Cavanaugh and the writers are doing an excellent job of making it impossible to not only predict Wells’ next move but also just define his character at all.

Dr. Wells’ speeches and monologues all seem genuine. It seems like he does want to help Barry and protect the team and that he even likes to be a hero. But he also goes and stabs people. And why is he in the wheelchair at all? Can he really not walk all of the time? It seems like that may be the case considering how he just collapsed during the attack. I don’t want to recklessly speculate mostly because I have no idea what is going on and don’t want to sound dumb so let’s leave it at this. I think Dr. Wells is not who he appears to be. How was that? Also he might be Barry from the evil future. I can’t help myself.

Let’s talk about this week’s Bang Baby..I mean Rogue. I didn’t love Hartley, and it will seem like a dumb reason but bear with me. Here’s the thing. Why does every gay character have to be a gay character? Why can’t they just be characters who happen to be gay? Maybe I’m out of line and maybe the comic book Pied Piper is exactly like the Pied Piper from this week’s episode but I doubt it. It bugs me when a gay character is played stereotypically especially because there are so few of them on TV. I feel like the only show to do it the way I would prefer was Happy Endings, but that has since been cancelled, so what do I know? Just maybe next time the writers throw a gay character on Flash, they could attempt to make him something other than a meticulous control freak who’s power exists to throw tantrums when he gets jealous of the other guys in Dr. Wells’ life.

It’s a shame that that aspect of the character bothered me because otherwise I really enjoyed the Pied Piper. I though the visualization of his sonic waves were very cool and the sound effect worked splendidly. The chess metaphors weren’t always my favorite but they did grow on me, especially his “discovered attack” line. The way he manipulated Barry and later Cisco (Carlos Valdes) set Piper up to be a great villain going forward and if his character goes in the same direction that his comic book counterpart did, it should lead to a really interesting dynamic. His costume was a bit silly, but I liked the gloves enough to let it slide.

Now let’s talk about that stinger. We finally heard the word SPEED FORCE! What?! It is almost as satisfying as getting the “It was me, Barry” line, which I am still expecting at some point down the road. For the uninitiated, the Speed Force is without a doubt THE most confusing concept in comic book history. Basically, and I may be 100% wrong because the definitions of the speed force change constantly, the Speed Force is a universal force similar to gravity or magnetism that Flash and other speedsters tap into to run and think at super speed. It also is responsible for doing whatever Flash writers can’t fully explain. For instance, it is the Speed Force that protects people that Flash carries at super speed from being injured from the pure force of being carried that fast. It is also apparently a living thing somewhere in the universe that characters can touch and it is a place where characters can go. There is a great moment from the Justice League Unlimited cartoon where Flash (Wally West) was able to tap into the speed force to perform a series of infinite mass punches. I remember how confusing it was to watch as a child. It is equally confusing now.

Regardless of how silly the Speed Force is, it is awesome that it was mentioned this early in the run of the series. While it is hard to tell at this point, it seems like Wells is siphoning the speed force via the tachyon device to move at super speed. That brings up a whole new mess of questions. Can Wells’ move at super speed without regular Tachyon use? Is Wells’ just using the device to make himself faster than Barry? Was Mercury Labs using the device to do the same thing? Perhaps. Luckily, The Flash is advancing at such a brisk pace that I have a feeling we will get all of the answers by season’s end.

Last thing, and this may have been my favorite part of the episode, how great was the Royal Flush Gang cameo? I love that they are still going strong and I really appreciate how subtly the show just slipped them in. I do think they should consider just going around Barry’s roadblocks but who cares? The RFG is back! Maybe in a season or two we will see them flying around on giant playing cards. A man can dream.

Rating: 8/10

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Matthew Nando Kelly is an incredibly cool and handsome staff writer for Pop-Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Aside from weekly Flash reviews, he writes about film, television, music, and video games. Matthew also has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he discusses pop culture related brackets with fellow Pop-Break writer DJ Chapman. He loves U2, cats, and the New Orleans Saints. He can also occasionally be found writing lists on Topless Robot and his twitter handle is @NationofNando

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Matthew Nando Kelly is the cool and tough Managing Editor of Pop Break who was allowed to write his own bio. Besides weekly Flash recaps, he has a podcast called Mad Bracket Status where he makes pop culture brackets with fellow writer DJ Chapman.