The Flash: “Power Outage” Season 1 Episode 7 Review

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Power Outage was easily one of the better episodes of The Flash. It used several villains really well while teasing more about Dr. Wells’ proposed future.

Everything going on in Central City this week was exciting. The A-plot had DC villain Blackout, who can control electricity, stripping Barry of his powers and wreaking havoc on the city. The B-plot saw the return of the Clock King, from last season of Arrow, as he takes several CCPD officers and Iris hostage. You know it’s a good episode when your B-plot is a hostage crisis. But let’s go back to the A-plot.

Blackout was the best out-and-out supervillain on The Flash yet. Through impressive CGI and makeup, he was visually arresting as the dark areas around his eyes highlighted their electric glow. Being another victim of the particle accelerator, Blackout not only controls electricity, but also feeds on it. So when he first meets the Flash, whose signature streak is caused by electricity within him, the villain drains Barry’s powers to seemingly quench a thirst, taking Barry’s powers with him. Just to make things more personal, he swears revenge on Dr. Wells for turning on the particle accelerator.

But Blackout was a cool villain because every time he came on screen he felt unpredictable, like a drug addict with his drug of choice being waved in his face. With the Flash still out of commission, Blackout goes right to S.T.A.R. Labs to confront Wells, causing a city-wide blackout in the process. As Caitlin and Cisco race to find a way to restore Barry’s powers, Wells lets out Tony Woodward to take on Blackout. This was a cool opportunity for this series because the Flash’s powers tend to make his fights with supervillains, well, fast. So it was fun to see a guy controlling electricity fighting a guy made of metal. Blackout fatally wounds Tony though, which did force upon us some unearned moments of earnestness between Barry and Tony before his death.

Once they escape, Barry confronts Wells as to what kind of game he’s playing by letting out Tony simply so he could die to save them time. I like that the trust between Barry and Wells is beginning to crumble so soon.

Apparently, however, the key to the Flash regaining his powers is within himself, with Wells suggesting a mental block. This gives us a speedy arc where Barry has to overcome whatever fear he has that he’ll fail and just give it his all to take down Blackout (Side note: The Legend of Korra has devoted much of its currently running final season to a similar arc for its leading heroine and has thus far done a much better job than what we got here. Granted, it should also be noted that Korra is as intelligent and nuanced as any Emmy winner on the air right now and that The Flash simply is not.). It’s not long before this happens and we get a pretty cool, although brief, Flash vs. Blackout. Flash wins, Blackout appears to be dead, and all is well at this corner of the city. Well, except for whatever plans Wells has to stop Barry’s powers with Blackout’s blood.

The other half of the episode didn’t even need superpowers. Robert Knepper reprised his role as the Clock King for the hostage crisis subplot, which worked because, if you watch Arrow, (let’s face it, most of us do) this episode didn’t awkwardly introduce you to another villain and not have the Flash punch him out at lightning speed. Since the Clock King debuted on the more Batman-ish Arrow, there’s nothing meta about this human, making him perfect for a conflict in a room full of people without powers.

While it was a bit of a leap in logic that this one guy could realistically take over a room full of trained cops, it did give Iris a chance to take down a villain for the second week in a row. This one felt a bit more earned than when she slugged Tony last week, knocking him out after the Flash failed to do so. Besides Eddie getting shot, everything turned out okay.

Power Outage made up for its illogical moments by having two very tense stories going on at once. Barry losing his powers made for some great character moments. This episode also featured the best action on the series yet. Just one week left until the big crossover with ArrowGrade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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