Following last week's record-breaking and critically-acclaimed series premiere, The Flash returned today with the first truly new episode in months (at least for those of us who saw the pilot at Comic Con International in July).
As you'd expect, there were quite a few winks and nods to the larger DC Universe and Flash stories of old, although not quite as many as in the pilot.
What did we see? Read on -- and let us know if something went by too fast for us to spot.
352 Miles Per Hour/Ladder 52
That's an awful lot of 52s in the first couple of minutes of the episode, eh? As with Arrow, that will likely be a recurring theme. 52 as a weekly series and The New 52 publishing initiative are both key moments in recent DC history, and DC Entertainment likes to remind us as much.
This is the last time we'll mention this one, since it's a favorite plot device of Geoff Johns's and is likely to show up every week: Barry's super-speed is often juxtaposed ironically in the comics against the fact that he's always late for everything, in no small part because of his double life as The Flash.
Eddie Thawne makes a comment about keeping secrets. That's...ironic, considering that we all pretty much assume he's a secret bad guy.
[For those uninitiated, it's not just because he seems too good to be true: Eobard Thawne is the name of the Reverse Flash, a distant relative of Barry's and his key antagonist in the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe.]
A physical toll
During the Wally West era of The Flash, we had the "I need to eat absurd amounts of food" thing when he used his powers. It was played for laughs as often as not, but Mark Waid in particular got some good material out of it.
Iris's journalism class
Just like it was Barry's idea for Oliver Queen to wear a mask, it's apparently also he who gave Iris the idea to be a reporter. She starts her career here, intrigued by The Flash, after taking an elective journalism class that she has no idea will (assumiing they hew to the comics) pay off big time when she's a reporter for a living.
Hey! Isn't that Bill & Ted's Grim Reaper?
He was also President Ellis in Iron Man 3.
Most importantly here, though, Simon Stagg is a longtime antagonist of the superhero Metamorpho, whose name has popped up in Easter eggs on the set of Arrow before, too. Doesn't seem we'll get to see that pay off, though.
The cosmic treadmill?
Anytime I see The Flash on a treadmill, I can't help but be reminded that Barry can't actually run fast enough to surpass the speed of light and travel through time without a little technical help. Or at least he couldn't for a long time. Since we know there's time-travel in this series, we'll see whether that pays off.
Danton Black is Multiplex, a DC Comics villain who...well, we saw. He makes energy-based multiples of himself. He was created a couple of years after Marvel's Multiple Man and has served as a villain for a number of characters, including Firestorm, The Flash and Superman.
Arrow Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim joked about "Arrowbacks" since Arrow has been doing flashbacks since the pilot. Well, apparently they took it seriously because they're spending nearly as much time in flashback as Arrow does in a given episode.
"Did you know about Barry?"
Obviously we all know Harrison Wells is in the know in a big way. Exactly what he wants to do with that knowledge? Well, we're just starting to see...!
AFTER THE FACT
Yes, we missed a bunch this week. I'm rusty after a long off-season.
Cimmerian points out: The gun shop that's robbed in the beginning bears the name of DC Comics Western outlaw Jonah Hex.
D20Gamer points out: "Near the beginning of the show when Barry is chatting with the S.T.A.R. Labs crew, Harrison Wells comes out and says something about him being a genius and a pariah ... now, since we know things are headed for a Crisis level event from the scene last week with the newspaper, and we know that Wells is a brilliant scientist, did he maybe just confirm/spoil that he's actually Pariah?!"
That could be interesting...!