As assured as The Flash has been in its opening batch of episodes, it’s very easy to draw similarities with other superhero TV fare. For good or ill, the show that always keeps cropping up in these conversations is Smallville and in Power Outage, we get to see The Flash’s version of what happens when a hero loses his power – a plot device used on more than one occasion in Clark Kent’s pre-Superman years.
Thankfully, even if some of the plot beats are a little familiar, Power Outage still manages to be a very good instalment of The Flash, thanks to some smart storytelling decisions. Chief among them is the split focus between the two villains of the hour – Blackout and Clock King, the latter first seen in Season 2 of Arrow. Clock King is an inspired choice for this episode; not only does it add more connective tissue between Arrow and The Flash before the much anticipated crossover next week, Barry’s powers being on the fritz make it perhaps the only time Robert Knepper’s adversary has had the upper hand. Also, anything that gives Iris something to do other than blog about our scarlet speedster or not recognise Barry’s love for her is always appreciated, even if the camera cuts away from her biggest moment too soon.
Blackout also makes for a solid adversary, thanks to a sympathetic back-story, which makes him more than just another thug affected by the particle accelerator. His energy draining powers are coolly visualised too, and the VFX scenes are at their usual high quality.
What The Flash really benefits from, though, is the impact Blackout’s presence has on Barry and Harrison Wells.
Power Outage is quite a dark episode for The Flash, but it still manages to squeeze in a few moments of levity in its opening minutes. In these scenes – narrated by Wells, marking another episode devoid of an opening voiceover from our hero (yay!) – we see that Barry has now come to rely on his powers for everyday life. The sudden change to normalcy gave us a chance not only to examine who Barry is without his powers, but also who Wells is too. While the former tries for empathy, Wells’ tactics are far more ruthless and, week to week, it’s interesting to discover the new edges Tom Cavanagh adds to the all-new character.
Finally, we’d be remiss not to mention the list of names Wells rattles off at one point during the hour, which included Elongated Man and Firestorm among others. Here’s hoping we get to see them on our screens sooner rather than later.
The Flash is available to watch online on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription – no contract. Sign up before 27th September and new customers will only pay £1 for their first month.
Where can I watch The Flash on pay-per-view VOD?
The Flash is available to watch online on blinkbox, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and iTunes.