Welcome to another Flash back. This week, I’m reviewing two episodes of the classic series. You get a Double Flash! Barry’s secret identity has been discovered in “Watching the Detectives.” If that wasn’t thrilling enough, our masked hero must stop a ring of thieves while facing an old mentor in “Honor Among Thieves.” Will Barry make it out alright? Will the Flash be exposed and have to retire? Well, there are 18 more episodes, so you can pretty much guess the answer.
In “Watching the Detectives,” the true identity of the Flash is discovered by private investigator Megan Lockhart. We discover that Lockhart has been in the employ of corrupt District Attorney Thomas Castillo who is in bed with the mob. Boss Arthur Simonson has hired an arsonist to torch various buildings in Central City in an effort to bring in legalized gambling on behalf of organized crime. With the Flash in his pocket, Castillo hopes to be able to take a larger share of the cut from his shady business partners. The result is a mix of old noir detective flicks, some comedic performances from John Wesley Shipp, and the traditional plot of someone learning the hero’s secret identity.
During a superhero show’s run, there is always that episode that deals with a bad guy learning the protagonist’s secret identity. Flash decided to get that story out of the way early. “Watching the Detectives” opens with our hero rescuing some children from a burning building. I really liked this scene a lot because it got me thinking about how we usually don’t see simple heroics like this anymore. There wouldn’t be a scene of Batman saving some frightened children from a fire. I thought it was a nice touch and combined with some memorable performances from John Wesley Shipp, these episodes definitely showed a lot more of the man behind the mask. I am curious to get John Wesley Shipp’s thoughts regarding this episode.
Another scene that I loved was the casino scene with Barry using his abilities to rig the odds in his favor (and everyone else at the end). We learn that Barry immediately gave his winnings to a reputable charity, another great scene which demonstrates the everyday humanity of Barry Allen. It really is these subtle moves that say way more about what the Flash represents than stopping the super villains. Shipp also gets to demonstrate some of his acting range with some solid comedic performances.
In regards to special effects, this one is a bit of a mixed bag. The scene of Barry rigging the card trick (nice setup to the later casino scene) is handled nicely. However, the later shot of hyper-speed Flash pummeling the mob made me think of an old VHS tape that was starting to mess up.
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